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Wines in the Press, April 22-25

Published:  27 April, 2010


Victoria Moore says after the 2000 budget, the average price of a bottle of wine was £3.62, the combined cost of duty and VAT was £1.70, leaving £1.92 for everything else. Today, with the average price at £4.35, the combined cost of duty and VAT is £2.34, leaving £2.01, for everything else.

"It doesn't take a mathematical or economic genius to work out that a decade's compound inflation on glass, shipping, labels, etc, not to mention the effect of sterling's recent collapse, is not going to be covered by 9p. Or that the main casualty is the money spent on the actual wine inside that average bottle," she adds.

The result is we're not drinking as well as we used to and it's supermarkets that are largely to blame for instilling the idea that wine should be evaluated on price, not taste, by piling it high, on special deals that reduce its value.

Moore says she can find you a decent bottle for £4, but adds, "oh, how much more pleasure, excitement and, yes, value, there could be in one costing a few pounds more."


The Times

Jane MacQuitty, says: "It's hell in the high street wine aisles." She explains, the Chancellor's increase in duty and sterling's poor exchange rate, have tipped supermarkets to breaking point.

But she does not feel sorry for them because wine continues to be a multimillion-pound business and the perfect vehicle for supermarkets seeking to lure us into their stores with the pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap wines.

She adds, the big four supermarkets have now gone a step farther, by attempting to woo wine drinkers with posh, dinner party- suitable ranges, a trend which she says is led by Tesco.

McQuitty has nothing good to say about Tesco's new limited-edition Style wines, which she says are aimed, at 'improving customers' understanding about wine'.


"This risible, dull, dirty, flabby and frequently sickly-sweet £4 foursome - entitled Cut Grass, Citrus Squeezer, Summer Pud and Jam Pot - are some of the nastiest wines I have tasted this year."

MacQuitty adds, "Whoever dreamt up this dross needs his head examined. Supermarket buyers may be feeling the heat but Britain's drinkers deserve much better."



Tim Atkin, MW, says some of the most celebrated Riesling vineyards will be under threat if the politicians in Rheinland-Pfalz get their way by building the B50 between Wittlich and Longkamp that will include a 500ft (152m) road bridge over the Mosel River.

He says several issues are at stake. The first, according to Knut Aufermann of the Pro-Mosel pressure group (, is that the bridge is unnecessary and will waste millions of euros of German taxpayers' money.


The second, is about aesthetics, as the Mosel is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world.


Thirdly is the potential damage to the fragile ecosystem, due to pollution and drainage.


Atkins says the silver lining is that Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson, have focused people's attention on the unique qualities of Mosel Riesling.


Although, he adds, the proposed Mosel road bridge would undoubtedly affect the region, but the neglect of Riesling wine drinkers is arguably more damaging still.


Burgundy can be desperately confusing, admits Jonathon Ray, even though there might only be two grapes to consider - Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


He says there are a bewildering number of producers and négoçiants, all making very different wines of very different quality under identical village names.


Plus, he adds, things are not always what they seem.


He tried some wines from Beaune producer Nicolas Potel, only to discover he no longer owns Maison Nicolas Potel, but had sold and started all over again, this time with his own (shareholder-free) estate, Domaine de Bellene.


Highlights for Ray were the, "scented and elegant 2008 Volnay 1er Cru; a textured, savoury, mouth-filling 2008 Clos de Vougeot and an old vine 2008 Puligny Montrachet. These are Burgundies to watch and no mistake." says Ray.