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Wines in the press, August 30 - September 2

Published:  04 September, 2012

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore asks what makes a good wine list? Good wine, obviously, and that's where she wishes more pubs, bars and restaurants would start.

She also likes a wine list to be short. "The CV rule applies; get the main stuff on an easily digested side of A4 or, let's be generous, two - and no cheating with a minuscule font," she says. One reason for curtailing choice is; it makes adventurous drinking seem more appealing, which is not the same as making adventurous drinking compulsory. Moore says psychological studies show that, confronted with a long menu, we are more likely to fall back on the more safe and familiar choices such as a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio. When presented with a tighter list, consumers are increasingly drawn towards the unknown or the exotic. One of her favourite wine lists is written by Jack Lewens at Quo Vadis in London's Soho, because reading it feels like opening a jewellery box, she adds.

The Observer

David Williams' wines of the week include a South African red; Charles Back La Capra Pinotage, Coastal Region 2010 (£7.99, Waitrose), which exudes a waft of smokiness but not of the stale-ashtray persuasion, says Williams. This is more like Beaujolais on steroids with its super-succulent red fruits and juiciness, he says. He opts for Italy for his second wine; Contesa Pecorino, Colline Pescaresi, Abruzzo 2011 (£9.99, or £7.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic) Made from the "lesser-spotted" Pecorino grape is a white with plenty of baked-apple-and-almond richness and the verve and zest of a freshly squeezed lemon, he says. Lastly; from Austria is Fred Loimer Zweigelt, Kamptal, 2010 (£12.25, Oddbins). He says it's a singingly pure unoaked red, full of "gorgeous" dark raspberry fruit with a twist of pepper.

The Independent

Anthony Rose visited London's "poshest" new wine emporium, Hedonism Wines. Tatiana Fokina, the Mayfair shop manager, was keen to impress that 500 of its 4,500 lines, including 1,000 spirits, cost less than £30. Rose was tempted by the 25ml serves from the four enomatic machines, whose prices vary from £1.70 for a six puttonyos Tokaji to £26.50 for a glass of 2001 Yquem. Two more enomatics are due in for Champagne. But Rose observed "There's nothing cheap in this place". In the same week, the previous buyer at Marks & Spencer and now Harrods' new buyer; Jo Ahearne MW, was putting on a tasting of a "fascinatingly" quirky range of rosés and Champagnes (on special offer until 16 September). At Harrods Ahearne can indulge her passion for parcels of interesting wines too small for M&S, says Rose. He enjoyed the "herby" Argiolas Serra Lori Rosé,2011 (£11.50) which is a Grenache-based pink from Sardinia. From its "eclectic" selection of sparkling wines, he found the La Farra Prosecco Valdobbiadene, £14.95, refreshingly pear-flavoured and satisfyingly dry.

The Sunday Telegraph

As game birds begin to flutter on to butchers' displays and into farm shops, Susy Atkins is prompting a search for mellow, more autumnal red wines to drink with them. In the case of partridge, her advice is; be careful not to overwhelm its delicate flavour. She recommends Merlot-based Bordeaux such as a Saint-Emilion, or a soft, rounded Rioja. Roast woodcock has a bit more clout and she suggests a New World Pinot Noir or Aussie Cabernet-Shiraz. Grouse meat has a stronger character, so she suggests cranking up the wine to partner it. Complex and full-bodied reds made from Syrah are the stars here, says Atkins. A roast pheasant calls for medium-bodied wines with red-berry notes and Central Italy triumphs with Chianti Classico, Brunello, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. She suggests trying Torre Scalza Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010, Pescara, Italy (Marks & Spencer, £7.99) which Atkins says punches well above its weight, with wonderfully intense plum and red cherry, and a twist of vanilla plus wood spice from oak-ageing.

The Financial Times

For most people I know, holidays are a time to relax which becomes synonymous with drinking, says Jancis Robinson MW. But for wine writers, things are different. Outside holiday time, diaries are stuffed with back-to-back tastings. So, she admits, to relishing the holidays as a time when any exposure to alcohol is voluntary. At her holiday house in the Languedoc, she opened more of her own bottles, This year she dipped with into the stocks of "refreshing" German Riesling, such as Dr Loosen, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 2004 which still available commercially in Napa. Sturdier Turkish reds were more to her husband's taste, and Robinson was impressed by how well Kavaklidere's 2008 Bo?azkere and Öküzgözü grapes had lasted. There were one or two plums in her wine cellar; Dom Pérignon 2003 and the 2008 top bottling Garrus from Provençal rosé specialist Château d'Esclans. This Champagne was ageing a little faster than she expected, while the four-year-old rosé, which I half-suspected would be over the hill, was still drinking beautifully, she says.