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Wines in the press, August 24-27

Published:  28 August, 2012

The Guardian

If you're thinking of bringing back wine from your holiday, leave room in the boot for a bottle or two of rum, says Fiona Beckett.

Thanks to the French Caribbean connection - you can buy it for a fraction of what you'd pay in the UK. In the local Lidl near where she is staying, there's a bottle for just €6.99 (£5.50). However, if you're not travelling, Waitrose has 20% off a number of well-known brands, including the Havana Club Anejo Especial (down from £19.85 to £15.88) and Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum at £13.24, she adds. Supermarkets are also upping the ante by listing own-brand rums of specific origin. Marks & Spencer has a pair from Trinidad and Tobago made by Angostura; a white rum (£15.49) and a five-year-old golden rum (£17.99) which Beckett says smells of demerara sugar and tastes like a crème brûlée topping. Her personal preference is the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference eight-year-old blended Trinidad golden rum (£15.69) which is drier, with more complex, woody flavours.

The Observer

Picking his wines of the week David Williams opts for Tesco Finest Somontano, Spain 2010 (£5, reduced from £6.99, until September 4). Williams says Somonano is a region to watch, and this is a very affordable introduction. Made from Moristel blended with Syrah and Garnacha, it's juicy and succulent rather than hefty, he says. His second choice is Villa Maria Private Bin Syrah, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand 2009 (£12.49, or £9.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic). Villa Maria almost always comes up with the goods and he thinks this peppery, pure, supple northern Rhône-like red is no exception. Lastly; Mas des Dames Blanc, IGP Pays d'Oc, France 2011 (£12.95, Robersons) is made by Dutchwoman Lidewij van Wilgen, who was an ad-exec in Amsterdam before finding a patch of vines just up from Béziers. She now produces stylish wines such as this "rich and rounded but precise and fresh, herb-inflected" white.

The Telegraph

It's not been a great season for English winemakers so far, but that could all change with an Indian summer, says Susy Atkins. But it was cider that saved Kim and John Coulson in 2007, when their vintage was damaged by torrential rain at Cornish vineyards in Polgoon, near Penzance. Polgoon's ciders are fresh, crisp, dry and delicately appley - not sweet, tannic and powerful like some of their "lurid" orange rivals, says Atkins. She especially likes Polgoon Aval Raspberry Champagne Method Sparkling Apple (£13.50 for 75cl). Atkins says ideal on a hot day, a splash of raspberry gives a blushing, juicy, extra-fruity quality to the cider, without taking over from the apples, or making the blend too sweet.

The Mail on Sunday

Stand in for Olly Smith, Damien Gayle is looking at the recent report by Wine Intelligence which reveals the number of supermarket shoppers paying more than £7 for a bottle of wine has doubled in the past four years. It says 16% of wine buyers now spend this amount on a single bottle, compared to less than 8% in 2008. However, with the average bottle price increasing at twice the rate of inflation, many drinkers are being put off the vine entirely with overall consumption falling slightly over the past four years. Supermarket pricing policies is partly accountable for the drive towards higher prices, according to Richard Halstead, chief operating officer for Wine Intelligence,
However, increases in tax and duty on wines have also had an effect on the increasing amount spent on a tipple. The report adds that consumers buying bag-in-a-box wines is on the rise with more than half of consumers buying one at least once a month. However, the upper end of the market was also found to be in good health, with sales of 'wine over £10' from shops growing by 32 %.