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Critics May 9-11

Published:  11 May, 2009

What the wine critics have to say in the press this weekend.


What the wine critics have to say in the press this weekend.

Financial Times

Jancis Robinson attends approximately five professional wine tastings a week designed to promote the wines of single merchants, but says, they are rarely worth devoting and article to.

But she enthuses that the tasting of Les Caves de Pyrène was, "sufficiently remarkable to want to bring this unusual outfit to your attention."

The policy of "Les Caves", explains Robinson, is to ferret out wines that are "never brands," are not available in supermarkets, or mass-produced in wine factories. Instead, they are largely artisan products.

About three-quarters of Les Caves de Pyrène's sales are to restaurants. They also sell to private customers from their shop in Artington just south of Guildford, Surrey (tel: +44 01483 554750; And now, with partners, they have opened a London wine bar and restaurant themselves.

At Terroirs, between Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross, it is possible to eat extremely well while trying a range of their distinctive wines by the glass.

The Times

The pink wine boom continues, says Jane MacQuitty, and goes on to explain how the craze for rosé is still growing year on year.

"In a recession, people splash out on wine to cheer themselves up, and pink wine's greatest attribute is its colour, which puts everyone in a jolly summer mood, even when it's pouring with rain."

Rosé has other good points, she says, it is one of the few wines that can cope with strongly flavoured summer foods.

Good pink wines lack the crisp acidity of whites and the fruit and complexity of reds, but they have a terrific thirst-quenching quality of their own.

She warns people to steer clear of Californian blush pinks and white Zinfandels, they have a whopping 35g-plus per litre of residual sugar, "these evil pinks," she says, "not only taste foul but will also make you fat.

MacQuitty recommends the "juicy 2008 Gran Tesoro Garnacha Rosé from Spain, only £3.54 at Tesco."


While on the subject of rosé, Anthony Rose says, " I knew that rosé had finally arrived during the long, hot summer of 2003, as my overheated car and I limped wearily into Bordeaux.

On every table of every bar and café I saw stood a bottle of Bordeaux rosé in an ice bucket."

Since then he says, rosé wines have taken off like a rocket and have never looked back, "and there are good reasons why pink is the new black."

"At heart, rosé is an excellent drink and often pretty good value compared to red or white. It's the perfect al fresco wine, goes brilliantly with spicy Asian food and has shed its naff image and become fun."

"And while brands have their place," says Rose. "There's a lot more individuality in today's rosé. As winemakers take on board the benefits of taking it seriously, rosés are being made not just as an afterthought, but as serious wines in their own right."


"So you're looking for a wine that's like a really good friend?" Asked a colleague of Victoria Moore. And that was exactly it, she commented.

"I love the obscure, the expensive, the apposite for the moment, whether that's an Albariño to drink with crab toast or an Australian Shiraz-Grenache."

"But the bottles most useful to know," she says. "Are the bottles you can buy by the half case, the one you can always have to hand she says, like an old friend that you can come back to over and over again without ever tiring of them and without ever having to make any effort with the conversation."

A good start, she recommends is Pinot Grigio Palataia 2008, (£6.99 Marks and Spencer).


After a scary aeroplane journey 10 years previously Tim Atkin is returning to La Serena in Chile with "clammy-palmed memories."

He is visiting Elqui Valley which he claims makes some of Chile's best Syrahs and, "as a self-confessed lover of the variety, I wanted to learn what makes it so good," he says.

"Is it the, er, convergence of cosmic and tellurgic energies, or is this just a brilliant place in which to grow northern Rhône-style reds?" Atkin questions. "I think it's the latter."

There are only 38 hectares planted, but they are leading a Syrah revolution in Chile but it has become one of the country's most talked about regions, says Atkin.

Syrah's profile is on the up, generally. The country's winemakers may traditionally have been obsessed with Bordeaux varieties - the first Chilean plantings weren't made until 1994, but Syrah is starting to emerge as a serious rival to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with distinctive regional styles in Aconcagua, Limarí, San Antonio, Colchagua and Elqui.