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Wines in the press - November 18-21

Published:  22 November, 2011

The Guardian
Fiona Beckett is hoping that some serious beer will have a place in readers' holiday plans.

She suggests ordering a full-size bottle for the festive table, such as the limited-edition Santa's Little Helper 2011 (rrp £15.99 Cask in Pimlico,10.9% abv), from Danish brewery Mikkeller'. Beckett says it is a "sumptuously rich, dark brew" that reveals hints of lingonberry, red wine and dried fruits, and has a nice sharpness that would make it a great match for goose. Rather more affordable is the "stylish" Inedit ( rrp £4.99 John Lewis, 4.8%abv ), which is a citrussy, witbier-style beer that superstar Spanish chef Ferran Adrià had a hand in. Beckett also loves Marks & Spencer's new Greenwich Hospital Porter (£9.99 a 750ml bottle; 6% abv), which has just gone into 150 larger stores. It's made by Meantime Brewing Company, aged for four months in Islay whisky casks, which gives it a surprising richness along with the expected smokiness, and it's perfect for roast beef, steak or stilton, she says.

The Observer

Variety is the spice of life, according to David Williams, and he features wines from Italy, Croatia and Chile as his wines of the week. From Italy he recommends Asda Extra Special Fiano, Sicily, (£7.98). Fiano, the Italian white-grape variety, was once a rarity in the UK, but in the past few years the buyers of the major supermarkets have really fallen for it, he says. This wine comes from Cantine Settesoli, a huge co-op of 2,500 Sicilian vine growers and displays a ripe peachy fruit and perky citrus acidity. Bolfan Primus Rajnski Rizling, Croatia (£11.10, Jascots) is a rich, honeyed graceful white with an elegant, dancing acidity, a dry Riesling to match many from Alsace or Germany's Pfalz region, says Williams. Thirdly, Odfjell Orzada Carignan, Maule Valley, Chile 2008 (£15.99, Waitrose Wine Direct) is inky, dense and packed with explosive blueberry and black cherry flavours, requiring some charred red meat for maximum enjoyment.

The Telegraph

If wine should have a seasonal bent - as Susy Atkins thinks it should, for autumn she would want a ripe, inky, no-nonsense red. It would be loaded with blackberry, cassis and clove, underpinned by a layer of chewy tannin to give sturdy structure, plus a long, satisfying, mouth-coating finish. Wimps - cheap Merlots and Chiantis; summer-berryish and soft Pinot Noirs need not apply, she adds. Atkins wants the sort of hearty red to pair with red-meat stews and steak pies. Best candidates for the job are reds from hot vineyards: South Australian Shiraz, southern French blends; chunky South American Carmenères and Malbecs; peppery Rhône reds and South African whoppers. She recommends: Six Hats Fairtrade Shiraz 2010, Western Cape, South Africa (Marks & Spencer, £7.99).

The Financial Times

"A very famous Bordeaux Château is about to announce a major investment in China," was Li De Mei's "tantalizing" sign-off at the end of WineFuture in Hong Kong, says Jancis Robinson MW. Could this be connected to the rumour that Pierre Lurton, director of LVMH's Châteaux Cheval Blanc and d'Yquem, has been overseeing vine plantings near the Tibetan border? She asks. According to Li De Mei, only about a 10th of China's 400,000 hectares of vines are devoted to wine production, but there are now more than 900 wineries all over the country. Li De Mei reported that the official figure for wine production in 2010 of 10.9 million hectolitres (about a fifth as much as France) includes 1.37 million hl of wine imported in bulk from the likes of Chile and sold through as Chinese. There has recently been enormous investment by Chinese wine companies in creating supposedly luxury brands of Chinese wine, she says. Most of the money has gone into extraordinarily lavish packaging and the actual wine can often be remarkably similar to the one sold by the same company at a 10th of the price, she says.