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Wines in the press - October 6-9

Published:  11 October, 2011

The Guardian

Fiona Beckett promised to put a selection of wine boxes through their paces, but wish she hadn't.

She says it's the worst wine she's tasted all year. Beckett can see the advantages of a wine box, particularly for someone who lives on their own and drinks a glass only every day or two. But so far as the quality is concerned, she thinks it would be better to buy a bottle almost every time. In her opinion there are some real shockers, most notably Waitrose's two Rue de France boxes, (rrp £18.70). "Waitrose - what were you thinking?" Even Sainsbury's new 2.25-litre House range, which they say has been selling well, was a disappointment, containing weedy and characterless wines, she says. The best of the bunch were two reds, Morrisons' juicy, exuberant Good Sicilian Red (£13.99), which is made by the thoroughly competent Cantine Settesoli, and Tesco's gutsy, honest Simply Côtes du Rhône (£14.49).

The Sunday Telegraph

Anyone still under the impression that Chilean red is all about cheap Cabernet and Merlot they should wake up, says Susy Atkins. Chile has moved on, and its portfolio of premium wines now includes juicy, succulent Pinot Noir as well as savoury Carmenère. Syrah is also emerging as a key style - with plantings of the grape doubling in the last five years. The Chileans say "Syrah", not "Shiraz" and the style is edgy and tannic, with nuances of toffee and treacle, black cherry and bramble. Atkins marked several down for clumsy overuse of oak, but most of them were terrific, if on the pricy side, she adds. Drink with red meat and roasts, game casseroles, or peppered steak. She recommends Doña Dominga Single Vineyard Syrah 2010, Colchagua (Waitrose, £7.49) and Matetic EQ Syrah 2006, San Antonio, (Majestic £22, or £18 for two or more until October 31).

The Financial Times

People often ask Jancis Robinson MW whether she'd like to make wine herself. No thank you, she says. Not only would there be conflicts of interest, but the passion for horticulture has completely passed her by, she adds. She's also a control freak and weather is the one uncontrollable variable in wine production. The 2011 growing season has been very different, a complete climatological roller coaster in both hemispheres and on both sides of the Atlantic. Piero Lanza of Poggerino in Chianti calls it "one of the strangest in the last 25 years". If Europe's vintners have found 2011 much more trying than any other recent vintage, six months earlier, while picking their 2011s, the Australians experienced the vintage from hell, explains Robinson. She thinks the 2011 vintage will not in general be prolific, and will truly have sorted out who exactly are those master craftsmen.

The Independent

Anthony Rose is talking about The Dirty Dozen reflecting a growing interest in distinctive wines of character, in contrast to the brand-orientated fare churned out by supermarkets. He says what the 12 have in common is their focus on wines made with TLC. The wine merchant Roberson, says, "we remain passionate advocates of wines that offer value, character and substance; we choose wines that we like - that speak of place and individuality from small artisanal producers". The TDD includes both retailers and suppliers to the trade and will sell by the mixed case to consumers. Barely known outside the trade, The Wine Barn, for instance, has established itself within the restaurant trade as a supplier of high-quality, German wines. Indigo Wine is another similar supplier, in which a "terrific" Spanish list includes, among others, the tangy, bone-dry El Maestro Sierra Fino Sherry, £14.95. Flint Wines is a relative newcomer specialising in high-quality Burgundy and a few gems from the Rhône and Oregon. "This may be the first you've heard of The Dirty Dozen but not, I suspect, the last", says Rose.