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Wines in the Weekly

Published:  18 January, 2007

A new column from SUSY ATKINS talks up the virtues of New World Riesling. Don't be distracted by the endless bottles of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc from these parts of the world - dig around in the antipodean section of the
wine shelves, and you should unearth a few distinctively tall, screw-capped bottles made from Riesling.' The alcohol level tends to be lower and they age well, she reports, although the price tag is less of a bonus. Her personal favourites include 2004/5 Leasingham Magnus Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia (7.49; Sainsbury's).


Sparkling red wine is the subject and TIM ATKIN MW can't quite get his head around it. Red bubbly might not be up there with Scottish Amicable, French resistance, Sun reader and military intelligence in the oxymoron stakes, but there's no denying that the stuff is a little strange.' That said, he has still managed to find a few good examples and even Lambrusco gets a recommendation: Pruno Nero Lambrusco, Graspa di Castelvetro (7.99; Enotria Winecellars). Moving up the quality scale, Atkin reveals that sparkling reds can be very serious wines, made with the same attention to detail (and the same production methods) as top Champagne'. Among the higher-end options is 2005 Charles Melton Sparkling Red (32.95; Noel Young Wines, Philglas & Swiggot).


ANDREW JEFFORD is at the helm this week and he has decided to give some time to Bordeaux's lesser-known neighbour: Bergerac. France's appellations form a hierarchy as strict as any caste system, and it is Bergerac's ill-luck to rub backsides with Brahminical Bordeaux.' The aim of Jefford's visit is to discover Bergerac's uniqueness, and he reports that the wines do indeed have a character of their own'. David Fourtout at Chteau Les Tour des Verdots is a producer to look out for, says Jefford and one of the more interesting new additions to the region is New York and London merchant banker Robert Adler, who sells his wines under the label Le Vin de Bob. However, one man stands out beyond the rest and Jefford comments: If I had to tip one winegrower for future greatness it would be the uncompromising Pascal Cuisset of Chteau des Eyssards.'


JONATHAN RAY and his wife head to Bristol for the weekend to see if it has managed to hold on to the wine connection from its heady days as the port of choice for shipments from Bordeaux, Cognac, Jerez and Oporto. Although the trade isn't what it was, Bristol remains a fascinating destination for wine lovers,' observes Ray. This is mainly thanks to some top-notch independents, such as Averys and Corks of Cotham, but the on-trade side is also looking good, with options ranging from Hotel du Vin's decandently extensive list of more than 800 wines', to the Clifton Sausage, a much recommended wine bar'. Wines of the week include 2003 Val Viadero Roble Oak-aged, Spain (7.99 down from 8.99; The Clifton Cellars).


The big issue among ANTHONY ROSE's readers is high alcohol levels and they have challenged him to find some summery whites that don't have hangover written all over them. Balance is key,' says Rose, and some grapes lend themselves to lighter styles and vice versa.' Riesling is a case in point and Rose likes 2002 Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Riesling Auslese, Germany (5.49; Majestic). Other options include 2005 Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde (4.99; Booths).


VICTORIA MOORE is on the lookout for something unusual and comes up with 2004 Vale da Clara White, Portugal (6.04 to 7.50; independents including Butlers Wine Cellar and Richards & Richards), made from the three varieties used in the production of white Port (Gouveia/Verdelho, Rabigato and Malvasia Fino).


JANE MacQUITTY goes soft and talks about mixers, saying nothing beats a spot of home-made lemonade and ginger beer. Although, for those who stay away from DIY, she suggests Fentimans ginger beer (99p to 1.05; Budgens, Tesco), which delivers almost the same peppery, fresh ginger blast as home-made'. As far as commercial lemonade goes, Waitrose's Cloudy Lemonade (99p) is a little too sweet for MacQuitty and Sainsbury's version of the same is lacking

in lemony-ness.


MATTHEW JUKES picks out seven summery wines and he's looking forward to sitting in my garden and chilling out with a bottle of each'. 2005 Simonsig Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch (6.99 or 4.66 when you buy three; Thresher, Wine Rack) is a fun wine with a gooseberry tang on the finish', and the solitary red, 2005 Chinon Cuve de Pcques, Domaine de la Roche Honneur, Loire (5.99; Booths) is packed with blackberry fruit and crunchy tannins).


The French wine industry might be in crisis but JOANNA SIMON concentrates on three of the good points: Champagne, ros and the 2005 vintage. Her recommendations include 2005 Taste the Difference Chablis (7.99; Sainsbury's).


RICHARD EHRLICH makes gazpacho from tomato juice, cucumber, onion and green pepper and he's not modest about the result: It doesn't just cool the brow and refresh the palate, it makes you think happy thoughts of ease and contentment.' His wine suggestions include 2004 Altos de la Hoya Monastrell, Jumilla (5.99; Oddbins).


When game is on the menu, red wine is the only show in town,' says JAMIE GOODE. And it's difficult to go wrong with a good Pinot Noir, such as 2005 Scotchmans Hill Swan Bay Pinot Noir, Geelong, Australia (7.99; Oddbins).