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Critics May May 22-24

Published:  26 May, 2009

What the press have to say over the May bank holiday weekend.

 

Guardian



Victoria Moore finds that some tastebuds are a little harder to please after lunching with sales rep Dave who claimed to have, "virtually no sense of smell or taste."



So she prescribed wines with masses of texture and body to, "punch through those dull tastebuds and give his tongue something to think about."



The first wine she recommended was an Aussie Shiraz that, "has brightness, is overt and all but growls."



Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Shiraz 2004 (£9.99 or £6.99 when you buy three at Wine Rack).

 

Independent

 

The relevance of Bordeaux's system of selling its top wines as futures, or en primeur, in the spring after the vintage, has been called into question by the "latest shenanigans," over the 2008 vintage, reports Anthony Rose.

 

Every spring, the top Bordeaux châteaux release their prices to give consumers a chance to buy early at a relatively affordable prices which are based on how they see the quality of their wine that year, of the vintage as a whole and what the market will wear.

 

But no one was expecting great shakes from 2008 not even the Bordelais, Rose reports. Until Robert Parker pronounced 2008: "a notch below 2005, but better than any other vintage of the last decade except 2000".

 

All of a sudden prices of wines rated highly by Parker went through the roof, says Rose. With the first growth châteaux Lafite Rothschild trading at £3,200 per case after releasing at £1,900 and Latour, released at £1,590, up to £2,500.

 

This means real wine lovers will be priced out of the market if the reaction is to yield to the temptation not to drop prices.

 

For wine lovers in urgent need of a case of fine red Bordeaux, here's a few names the best critics agree fulfil the essential pre-requisite of good quality and reasonable pricing: La Lagune, Calon-Ségur, Léoville Barton, Langoa-Barton, Pichon Lalande, Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Le Petit Cheval.

 

Financial Times

 

Jancis Robinson says that her a visit to New Zealand, earlier this year, she met the most extraordinary wine producer.

 

Hiro Kusuda, admits that to pursue his dream he and his young family had to subsist for eight years without any income at all, she says. "Even today, the total production of Kusuda Wines in Martinborough is but a few hundred cases of Syrah and Pinot Noir a year."

 

Bob Campbell, a wine writer and Master of Wine, sent Robinson a report of Kusuda's 2009 harvest, saying he was witness to the most rigorous grape selection process he had ever seen . "Each berry was inspected for any flaw and removed if not perfect."

 

Here, clearly, is Japanese perfectionism as applied to one of the world's most pragmatic wine industries. And the resulting wines are truly exceptional, says Robinson.

 

Just before the 2006 vintage Kusuda managed to buy a small vineyard of his own, 1.2 hectares -3 acres. "I tasted two wines made in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages and thought that not only were the 2006s unusually fine but both wines seemed to get better with each vintage," says Robinson.

 

"I'm not proud that I had no income for so long," Kusuda told Robinson. "But as the whole family sat round silently watching me taste the full range of his wines from perfectly polished Riedel glasses, I could feel their pride radiating," she says.

 

Times

 

Go on, celebrate the start of English wine week with a crisp, delicate elderflower and hedgerow-scented English wine, says Jane MacQuitty.

 

With the first new vineyards planted in London since the Middle Ages, one on wasteland behind King's Cross station and the other at Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, English wines are no longer a joke, she says.

 

Bulldog British enthusiasm, has seen plantings up by 50 per cent in the past five years, to more than 1,000ha, and our production is set to double in the next five years, reports MacQuitty.

 

Until May 31 there are lots of fun functions. Visit www.englishwineweek.co. uk for details, and contact English Wine Producers on 01536 772264 for a free map of Vineyards of England and Wales.


Telegraph

 

Everything is coming up rosé, says Jonathan Ray. As rosé wines continue to soar while those of red and white wine fall.

 

"And where rosé used to be infra dig, it's now de rigueur," he explains.



According to market researchers AC Nielsen, sales are up 17.7 per cent on the year, with the total rosé category now representing 11.5 per cent of the British off-trade by volume and worth some £533 million.

 

Value is starting to outstrip volume, which suggests that we're all finally prepared to pay more as the wines improve. Thank God for that, he says, since more than half the pink wines in this country still come from California, home of that dire vinous bubblegum, ''Blush'' Zinfandel.

 

 

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