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Wines in the press, October 26-28

Published:  30 October, 2012

The Observer

Three of David Williams's wines to cheer up the taste buds this week are Taste the Difference Marzemino delle Venezie IGT, Italy 2011 (£5.99, Sainsbury's).

Made from the "lesser-spotted" Marzemino variety in northeast Italy, it has a perfumed, fresh red berry and cherry character, and a lightness of touch, says Williams. His second wine is The Parcel Series Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia 2006 (£9.99, or £6.99 if you buy two bottles, Majestic) is at six years old, very much in its prime, and full of intense limey flavours and incisive acidity, says Williams. The next wine may be rather high alcohol here - 15%, but is not heavy and cumbersome. Instead the Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California (£12.99, Waitrose) has a mouthwatering palate of blackberries, blueberries and plums that are all jostling for attention, along with a subtle touch of chocolate, he says.

The Telegraph

There can be few subjects that divide a group of white-wine lovers as clearly as oak, according to Susy Atkins. For some, it enhances it no end, adding creamy, wood-spice, and smoky layers of complexity to aroma and flavour. For others, the oak character gets right in the way, overwhelming what should be the purely fruity, streamlined character of liquid. Of course, both opinions are right, since taste in wine is highly personal, she says. Atkins makes a firm case for oaked whites, if the oak is subtle and well balanced. Plus when it comes to food matching, oaky whites can shine, she adds. She suggests barrique-aged white Burgundies with salmon and full-bodied, vanilla-butterscotch oaked whites of Australia and South Africa with lobster, crab and roast chicken. She recommends Steenrust Chenin Blanc 2011, Stellenbosch, South Africa (selected Co-op, £11.99)

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore is at Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas, in the upper reaches of the Douro Valley, which for Moore is the most enchanting wine region on earth. Moore is asking why don't we drink more Port? Part of it is cultural, she says, wine has moved into the 21st century, but - despite canny initiatives such as the reintroduction of LBV (Late Bottled Vintage,) by Taylor's in the 1960s, a bright pink port from Croft, clear bottles and modern packaging - she thinks Port still feels stuck somewhere between the Bullingdon Club and Downton Abbey. Christian Seely of Quinta do Noval tells Moore one of his nightmare scenarios for Port is a black-tie dinner. "All male, and they're talking about the Bishop of Norwich. It's a prison for Port," he says. Seely would like people to stop attaching it to the end of million-course dinners. It may not be socially acceptable but he loves a small glass on a Saturday morning. One of Moore's favourites is Quinta de Vargellas 2001 Portugal (Majestic, Selfridges, Waitrose, Fortnum & Mason, around £29).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW says this year's choices of Absolutely Cracking Wines from France was even more interesting because, for the first time, the top UK sommeliers were asked to make selections. They were asked to nominate "a Christmas white, red and sparkling or sweet wine". Among the nominations Hamish Anderson of Tate restaurants chose the Trimbach Riesling 2010 from (£10.99 Majestic), Gérard Basset, current holder of the Best Sommelier in the World title, proposed La Bastide Blanche Bandol from (£13.99 Waitrose). At the top end of the budget, sommelier Maxime Bichon of Terroir and Brawn wine bar-restaurants loyally chose a £20 Ardèche 2010 Gamay from Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet imported by her employers Les Caves de Pyrène. Robinson was surprised by how relatively few red Burgundies featured, but Rhône, was definitively in. Of the 18 reds chosen by the sommeliers, six were from the Rhône with St-Joseph, the favourite appellation. Roussillon whites triumphed, and Le Soula Blanc, 2008 was the choice of no fewer than three top sommeliers: Isa Bal of The Fat Duck, Emily O'Hare of The River Cafe and Xavier Rousset of Texture and 28-50.