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Wines in the Press November 28-29

Published:  01 December, 2009

The GuardianWhen, on a trip along the Loire, Victoria Moore wanted a wine to feel engaged by, something more than a "thoughtless brain-rinser", she felt herself steering towards Savennières.
"It's a small appellation on a curve of the northern bank of the Loire, south-west of Angers. It's less well known than Vouvray, another Chenin Blanc area to the east, but there is nothing second-rate about its wines," says Moore.
Savennières, she says, is "architectural" when compared to an entry-level Loire Chenin Blanc - a character endowed by the mineral-enhancing schist soil, explains a local winemaker.
She recommends La Jalousie 2007 (£13.99, Waitrose), with its "lovely, creamy-textured, lingering finish", and Closel Clos du Papillon 2004 (£19.95, James Nicholson), saying it "has reached a beautiful balance between maturity and vivacity".
The Sunday TimesThis week, down the allotment, Bob Tryer is suffering a serious bout of shed envy. But the kindly Mrs Tryer has offered to save his pride by buying him a timber-framed construction for Christmas.
"Less forbearing women," thinks Tryer, "might prefer to give presents that indulge cravings of their own ? such as Visciolata del Cardinale, a lush Italian dessert wine laced with sour cherry juice that gives it a tangy bite. Delicious poured over something chocolatey and eaten in secret (£16.50 for 50cl, millhillwines.com)."
While he thinks it might be a little self-indulgent of him to gift his almost teetotal wife six bottles of claret for Christmas, he thinks even she might appreciate the Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne de Cramant Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru 2004 (£48.95-£55 from Lea & Sandeman and Berry Bros & Rudd). "A masterpiece," claims Tryer, "from one of Champagne's most accomplished small growers ? dry, elegant and floral, yet bursting with rich flavours."
The Times"Perfect parties," says Jane MacQuitty, "rely on one thing: the contents of your guests' glasses." So, her advice is not to ask friends to bring a bottle, which apparently "always ends in tears, hangovers and no one having a good time". Do the "grown-up thing" instead, and serve a decent party-wine duo and a couple of cocktails to boot, says the seasoned host.
Crucially, warns MacQuitty, don't confuse party guests with too much choice. Otherwise she forsees panic among over-obliging guests and a messy bid to taste the lot.
Her quick-fix cocktail recommendation is White Lady - a variation on the classic Sidecar that can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
For a single serving, shake two measures of gin with half a measure of Cointreau or any good triple sec, some lemon juice and a whipped egg white. Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled jug. Serve with a sliver of lemon peel curled over the edge. Easy.
The TelegraphImpressed by a section showcasing wines from independent merchants at the London Wine Show, Suzy Atkins is taking the opportunity to stray from her more usual, readily available supermarket recommendations.
Indies are generally more expensive, she concedes, but you're more likely to find something in a different league from the "piled-high big brands" and "cut-price own-labels", although she did find well-priced, premium Rhône and Bordeaux reds, and thought the lesser-known Champagnes offered good value too. Anyway, she implores, "it is the time of year to trade up a bit, surely?"
For fans of gutsy, peppery Rhône reds, she suggests trying Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas 2006 (Lay & Wheeler, £13.50). "Although a spicy, satisfying wine, it has good balance, with a fresh blackberry note lifting the palate," she says.
The Financial TimesFrom an annual tasting rate of nearly 10,000 wines, Jancis Robinson MW has made the difficult selection of 75 white wine "good buys" for FT readers. Her choice concentrates on wines that are drinking well now.
Topping and tailing the list are Sainsbury's Vignerons de Buxy Bourgogne Blanc 2008 (£5.69), with a "nice top note of ripe apple juice and very juicy fruit on the palate", and Dom Bonneau de Martray Corton-Charlemagne 2003, "for those who like a Grand Cru white Burgundy with real oomph" - £85 at Jeroboams. Red wines, sparkling wine and Champagne, and strong and sweet wines will follow in the weeks running up to Christmas.

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