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Wines in the press, September 14-17

Published:  17 September, 2012

The Guardian
The problem about being a food and drink writer is that time away tends to be a bit of a busman's holiday, says Fiona Beckett.

While recently in France she looked in at Thierry Germain of Domaine des Roches Neuves. Germain is one of the best-known of the Loire's biodynamic winemakers that makes "particularly delicious, crunchy" Cabernet Franc-based reds in Saumur-Champigny, she adds. His "thrilling" 2011s, should start to trickle through in a month or so but in the meantime she suggests trying Germain's Chenin Blanc based L'Insolite 2011 (£17.95, Les Caves de Pyrène; £18.45). On the way back home through Burgundy, she called in at the biodynamic estate of Guilhem and Jean-Hugues Goisot in Saint Bris, where she says a good starting point is the Bourgogne Aligoté 2010 (£10.95, Museum Wines). Beckett loves visiting winemakers and thinks it's a great way to remind yourself that wine is about passionate people and amazing places.

The Observer

Visit a winery at most times of the year and not all that much seems to be going on. But at this time of the year it all that changes for a few weeks, says David Williams. Right now wineries are buzzing with vintage activity. The date on the label is a reminder that wine is an agricultural product, subject to the whims of the weather that year. However, there's also an argument that wines have become much more consistent, thanks to developments in winemaking and winegrowing. But that doesn't mean the concept of vintage is past its sell-by date, says Williams. No two vintages of the same wine will ever be exactly alike. With most products, that would be a flaw. With wine, it's part of its magic, he adds. Wiliams recommends: Martin Códax Caixas Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain 2011 (£9.99 or £7.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic).

The Independent

Anthony Rose was adding a host of obscure grape names such as Pelaverga, Areni Noir, and Bovale Sardo to some tasting notes, when he was struck by the extent to which our experience of wine veers towards complacency. Like sticking to the same old newspaper or washing-up liquid, he says. In his opinion brand loyalty may well be a virtue in the eyes of the marketing industry but it's as often as not the refuge of unadventurous consumers. A continually expanding wine universe challenges us to peer our from under the shell of our comfort zone. He reckons something similar must have occurred to Julia Harding MW when, tasked with finding her 50 top Portuguese wines, and decided to stick to wines made only from native Portuguese grape varieties. The result was a group of surprisingly good dry whites, among them the 2010 Quinta de la Rosa Branco, (£14.95, Berry Bros), says Rose. In Italy Friuli has long been recognised for its "brilliant" whites such as: Vie di Romans Flors di Uis 2009, (£25, Laithwaites). But it's to Italy's South, that we're turning to increasingly for fine new wave whites such as its Planeta Carricante, 2011 (£16.95-£18.95, Great Western Wine).

The Sunday Telegraph

For Susy Atkins it's a rich, rounded red wine, plump with juicy blackberry and cassis, and spiked with aromatic spice and pepper, for mid-September. If you're looking at price, she suggests trying South Africa, which, of all the New World wine countries, has the sub-£10, full-bodied red category neatly sewn up, says Atkins. Her favourites priced between £7 and £10 are the blends with the best, often from the warm Stellenbosch region. They have bags of ripe flavour and firm tannins, underpinned by vanilla-spiced oak. Bring them out for roast pork, peppered steaks, curried lamb, and the first casseroles of autumn, she adds.  Atkins recommends: Boschendal Shiraz-Cabernet 2010, Coastal Region (Waitrose, £9.99) to deliver delicious blackberries, tinged with clove and pepper, in a scented, generous, satisfying style.