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Wines in the press -October 9-11

Published:  12 October, 2009

The Guardian

Victoria Moore says customers she has spoken to in supermarkets say they buy wine there because specialist shops are too expensive and they feel out of their league.

The Guardian

Victoria Moore says customers she has spoken to in supermarkets say they buy wine there because specialist shops are too expensive and they feel out of their league.

But, she says she came across "such a good collection of lower-priced wines at a recent tasting thrown by the Bunch".

She adds, "granted, independents can't compete on screechingly cheap £3 and £4 bottles, but the tasting showed there are great riches to be had if you're spending a couple of pounds more."

Her recomemndations are Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2007, Calatayud, Spain (£5.99, Adnams) and Rayun Carmenere 2008, Rapel Valley, Chile (£5.99 Tanners).

Moore also says she "found that rare beast, the sub-£8 claret that doesn't taste like a bag of dirty sawdust or a Bordeaux-themed wine as blended by Baldrick" and recommends Chateau Mayne-Graves 2005 (£7.49, Corney & Barrow). "It's all there, she commends, "a well-made wine from a good vintage that earns its keep in your glass".


Jane McQuitty says not so long ago to her Greek wines "were just about downable on holiday, but back home, forget it".

She adds a decade or so ago Oddbins and others promoted Greece to be the next big thing, "but few swallowed the hot, quirky, aggressive flavours of the country's wines".

Since then MacQuitty says its new generation of oenology-trained winemakers have moved mountains and standards have risen. She recommends Santorini White 2008, (£9.99 Waitrose).

Fianancial Times

Last week I found myself at a wine trade forum held in London to discuss the trend toward lower alcohol wines, says Jancis Robinson MW.

She explains how American winemaker David Stevens, a partner at TFC Wines & Spirits, a company specialising in producing reduced alcohol wines, took the audience through different technological ways in which the alcohol levels in wines can be lowered.

But, as Dan Jago, Tesco's wine supremo, pointed out, there is natural resistance among consumers to what are perceived as "Frankenstein wines" yielded by this sort of manipulation.

Robinson says "it seems as though 12-12.5 per cent is a magic threshold. I can find dozens of recommendations at this strength but far fewer under 12 per cent, and all of them are white."

The Independent

Jonathon Ray is asking if beer is the new wine? He says, "it's the weirdest thing. Pubs are shutting all over the place - yet sales of quality beers are on the up".

Ray says his "new favourite local brewer", Hepworth & Co in Horsham, is brewing around the clock in order to keep up with demand and he adds, "sales are soaring, up 18 per cent on last year, according to the company's head brewer Andy Hepworth".

"We concentrate on making beer that a few people rave about, rather than beer that a lot of people don't object to," Hepworth says. "This seems to strike a chord with our customers, along with the fact that we source everything as locally as possible. Our barley and water are local, and our hops come from Christopher Daws's farm at Bodiam in East Sussex. In the current climate, people like that."

The Observer

Tim Atkin MW is comparing Laithwaites to Dan Brown, "loved by the general public, but dismissed as a bit of a joke by us critics". He adds, in parallel the best-selling author published his follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, while Laithwaites held its first press tasting for more than a decade.

"To be fair to Laithwaites, it has always sold some good wines, especially from France and Spain", says Atkin. The problem was the prices, which tended to be £1-2 higher than everyone else's."

He says he's tasted the new range twice this year and has "been impressed by what the team of buyers has sourced from around the world. Prices are cheaper and quality is generally good to very good".

Three wines that Atkin recommends which "typify the new approach" are; The Loom Riesling, Clare Valley, 2008 (£7.99) the, Ascención Malbec 2007, Salta, Argentina (£7.99) and from New Zealand, the Gunboat Point Pinot Noir 2008, Central Otago (£14.99).