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Wines in the press - March 23 -26

Published:  26 March, 2012

The Guardian
Having had years of Delia and Nigella sending products flying off the shelves, it looks as if Gewürztraminer might be subject to the Raymond Blanc effect, after his recent BBC2 programme about Alsace, says Fiona Beckett.

Having had years of Delia and Nigella sending products flying off the shelves, it looks as if Gewürztraminer might be subject to the Raymond Blanc effect, after his recent BBC2 programme about Alsace, says Fiona Beckett.

Sales in Sainsbury's and her local Oddbins, have apparently doubled. It's not entirely surprising, you rarely get a duff Gewürztraminer - the only difficulty is predicting how sweet it's going to be, and what to eat with it, she says. In Beckett's opinion it's less of a good match for Chinese food than generally held. She finds it too exotically flavoured for simple fish and vegetable-based dishes - but far better with slightly hotter Indian and Thai ones, especially Thai red duck curry. It also has a curious affinity with ginger. Beckett's most memorable match was a lobster and ginger dish in a 40th-floor Chicago restaurant. She recommends supermarket own brands such as Sainsbury's fresh, young Taste The Difference Gewürztraminer 2011 (£7.99).

The Daily Telegraph

Jean-Claude Lapalu makes Beaujolais that's as thick as blood and as soulful as a patch of wilderness, and that sells in a shop for £20 or more, says Victoria Moore. Lapalu does not just work organically, he labours over every detail, and pours his entire being into wines that are in every sense handmade, she says. This makes them expensive. Her response comes on the back of a letter from a reader that asks why one wine might cost a fiver, another quite easily five times as much?" Where to start? Asks Moore. The cheapest way to start filling a bottle is to plant a load of vines on relatively fertile soil and leave them to run riot, machine harvest and ferment them, willy-nilly and unsorted, in bulk. That would be the cheapest way to start filling a bottle of plonk, without mentioning the cost of viticultural care, cellar management, and choice of closure, that still doesn't even scratch the surface.

The Independent

Considering that we'd all said our fond farewells to the once-popular high street institution, it's miraculous to see the 36 store Oddbins rising like a phoenix once more from the ashes, says Anthony Rose. This month, a new slimline Oddbins, owned by Whittalls' multimillionaire founder Raj Chatha, showcased 100 new wines which are either on or about to hit the shelves. Rose was "seduced" by the juicy fruit, of the Castello di Farnetella Lucilla 2008, (£12), and the "opulent" raisin-rich fruit, of the Baltasar Gracian Viejas Viñas, Calatayud 2009, (£13). He was less enamoured with one or two overoaked wines, but found the Perrin Syrah 2010,(£10), as elegantly peppery as he could wish for. By and large, the New World trumped over the Old, he says. The smoky, dark berry fruit richness, of the Chamonix Ripasso Pinotage, Franschhoek 2009, (£13) is an "off-the-wall" red that works. So too was Chile's green pepper and blackcurrant-laden Perez Cruz Carmenère 2010, (£13). This is not a resurrection yet, but a sort of Oddbins-lite that's making the right noises, he says.

The Financial Times

For the second time in her life, Jancis Robinson MW recently underwent a "professional ambush" - by the sweetest wine on the planet. The first time was on her first visit to Australia in 1981 30 super-strong "stickies", were laid on. More recently she was asked to taste more than 50 Rutherglen wines, all with an alcohol level nudging 18% and a residual sugar level of up to 250g/l. Surviving an "assault by sugar and alcohol" is challenging, she says. The eight producers that make up what they call the Rutherglen Network are a close-knit group , used to tasting and criticising one another's wines. They all have slightly different vineyards, techniques and, therefore, styles. Some age their wines in ancient soleras whereas others make a new blend every time. Robinson says she had always assumed one could hang on to these bottles almost indefinitely. But apparently one should drink them, chilled, within a few months of bottling in order to keep their freshness, she adds.

The producers consist of :
? All Saints - Very sweet, straightforward wines.
? Bullers - Big, burly wines.
? Campbells - An upholder of tradition. Slightly drier, more savoury wines than some.
? Chambers - Quirky wines chock full of character.
? Morris - Hyper-traditional, extremely rich wines aged in low-roofed tin sheds. Some great old ingredients.
? Pfeiffer - Fresh wines that reflect the youth of the producer, and winemaker.
? Rutherglen Estates - The biggest, youngest producer specialises in Muscat.
? Stanton & Killeen - Dirt floors to cool the wines. Very frank, fruity, almost modern wines.