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Wines in the Press- November 11-13

Published:  17 November, 2009

The Guardian

Victoria Moore says that every autumn she draws her father a list of the best inexpensive wines to have knocking around.

She was particularly pleased with this season's which began with Fontaine du Roy 2008 Costières de Nîmes (Waitrose, £5.99) which she says is "a supremely good-value red blend that proves 'real' - as opposed to bland - focus group-style, wine is still possible at this price".

Moore says "Dad may be a Yorkshireman but I'm also lobbying for him to indulge, just once, in the utterly gorgeous, headily scented," Vincent Paris 'Granit 30' 2007 Cornas (£23.99, two Waitrose branches only).


The Observer

Tim Atkin MW is commenting on what he calls the "rise and rise" of Angelo Gaja, who he says has done more than anyone to transform the fortunes of Barbaresco and Barolo.

Gaja's wines aren't cheap, says Atkin. His favourite from a tasting of his recently released 2006s, is the "perfumed, densely layered,"  Langhe Nebbiolo 2006, Sorì Tildin, which he reports costs  £192 per bottle.

Atkin says  "Gaja would defend his prices by pointing to the fact that in lesser vintages such as 2002 he makes no red wine. He would also claim, rightly in my view, that these are up there with the greatest wines in the world."


The Times

"It's cut-price heaven for high-street wine shoppers this Christmas," says Jane McQuitty. "I have never seen so many juicy deals and discounts on such a wide range of wines."

MacQuitty is looking at drinkable less expensive wines and says her star buy is the "stunning" Chilean 2008 Errazuriz Estate Shiraz, which she claims is a gift at £4.99.

McQuitty says France has fought back with a vengeance in this winter's top 100, which she explains is a miracle given the dire euro exchange rate. She adds, "predictably, the French dominate the upper price brackets of under £12 and under £25, but what is really impressive is their fielding of 13 white and red winners in both the under-£6 and under-£8."

The only French region to have "fielded some truly terrible wines" in '09 is Champagne, she says. "Forget about all those supposedly enticing half-price vintage Champagne stories in the press; the reality is that apart from the two good bubblies that win through here, none of you should be seduced into parting with good money for such dross. Just because a wine is dirt cheap does not mean that it's a bargain."


The Sunday Telegraph

Susy Atkins says "wine + date = potential disaster". She explains the difficulty is overdoing it in the obvious sense, or overdoing it in the sense of coming across as too keen, or  as someone with bad taste, or worse, both.

She says Champagne screams celebration, joyous bliss or love and marriage and pink is too "frivolous and quaffy, a wine for a girls' catch-up evening, not a date". 

Atkins recommends the best styles to choose that both taste fabulous and give out exactly the right impression. 

She says "Viognier is hip and heavenly, with a gorgeous aroma of honeysuckle and peach, and ripe, but dry, fresh finish. Definitely sexy. Pinot noir is the red equivalent - velvet-smooth, elegant, juicy and light, all at the same time, and with a classy reputation to boot."

Atkins adds she would choose a reasonably priced Pinot  from Chile, or a pricier label from New Zealand or Burgundy. "Don't go mad, though - being seen to spend a lot is another sure sign you're overdoing it".


The Telegraph

Jonathon Ray is discussing how South Africa has come a long way since its isolation, when he claims most of the country's wines were tired and dreary, with the reds often tasting of burnt rubber and the whites of acid drops. But since then, he reports there has been a dramatic increase in quality.

South Africa is currently the world's ninth largest wine producer with more than 600 wineries and 6,000 wines. It is the fastest growing wine-supplying country in Britain, with a 12.1 per cent share of the market, Ray reports.

He explains much of this is driven by the big brands such as Arniston Bay and Kumala, but the top end has played its part, too, he says, with fabulous wines to be enjoyed from the likes of Thelema, Tokara, Hamilton Russell, Vergelegen, Meinert, Iona, Raats Family, Meerlust, Kanonkop, Boschendal, Boekenhoutskloof, Jordan, Morgenster and Rustenberg.

Ray says South Africa now competes in every category, with "crisp Sauvignons and creamy Chardonnays; honeyed Chenin Blancs and silky Pinots. "Even Pinotage, notorious as something of an acquired taste, is producing some wonderful fruit-driven wines.