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Wines in the Press- May 28-30

Published:  01 June, 2010



Victoria Moore is looking at how retailers manage blanket offers. She says recently Waitrose took to running twice-yearly "25% off all wine when you buy six bottles or more" deals.


Victoria Moore is looking at how retailers manage blanket offers. She says recently Waitrose took to running twice-yearly "25% off all wine when you buy six bottles or more" deals.

Moore adds, being a cynic, last time it ran one of these week-long offers, she suspected it of holding stock of certain wines out of the warehouse that supplies Waitrose Wine Direct (WWD) so it couldn't be cleaned out by online buyers. At the time Moore says Waitrose denied any such thing. But WWD manager Alex Murray says: "There are other wines that we de-emphasise on the website when we run those promotions." According to Murray, the wines that are "de-emphasised" are the £5 wines that don't normally go on promotion because the low margins would mean it would be paying people to take them away. Moore says, such wines - when they taste all right - are good value all year round and recommends Cuvée Chasseur 2009 Vin de Pays de l'Herault (£3.99, Waitrose ).

Financial Times

The Canadian wine industry is in turmoil, says Jancis Robinson MW, but with any luck it will emerge from its current state infinitely stronger than before, judging by a recent showcase of Ontario's finest Chardonnays in London. The fortunes of the big Canadian wine producers are based on selling a product known as Cellared in Canada (CIC) wine. These are brands made up of inexpensive bulk wine imported into Canada, blended with basic domestic wine, and, often water, and packaged as though they were 100% Canadian. Although rules have been tightened, the whole issue has also brought into stark relief the different objectives of the big wine bottlers and the smaller family wineries. But at the top end of the quality scale, Canadian wine is doing just fine, says Robinson. The best of these wines have real delicacy as well as density of flavour.

The Times

Once vegetarian and vegan wines had to be bought from specialist outlets such as Vinceremos and Vintage Roots. Not any more, says Jane McQuitty. She says at a recent mid-season tasting, Waitrose fielded almost 100 vegetarian-suitable wines, over half of which were also vegan-approved, their largest listing ever. At Marks & Spencer there were a record 60 vegetarian wines to taste, 30 were vegan-suitable. She adds, such wines are bang on trend for any drinker who is fed up with bland bottles made in industrial quantities from grapes often doused in agro-chemicals. The fashion now is for wines made with the minimum interference. It has been helped by the use of the fining agent, bentonite, which is both vegetarian and vegan-approved. With national vegetarian week starting on Monday, McQuitty suggests picking up a red such as Umani Ronchi's, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008 (£5.49, Waitrose)


The Bordeaux en primeur campaign is in full swing. But you'll have to wait several months for them to be bottled and delivered, and many more years for them to be mature enough to drink, says Jonathon Ray. Yet in Champagne, it's different, the Champenois take the trouble to mature them for you. Also, unlike Bordeaux, most of the production is devoted to non-vintage (NV) wines and vintage Champagne isn't produced every year. "Non-vintage Champagne accounts for 94% of our sales," explains Dominique Demarville, chef de cave at Veuve Clicquot. "But that's not to say that our vintage Champagnes aren't important." It's common knowledge that Champagne sales are depressed at the moment, but Ray says, Demarville refuses to be discouraged: "Our consumers are loyal, just as they are when buying a car. Most would rather wait for the new model than settle for an inferior make."


Laura Jewell MW likes the expression "does what it says on the tin", says Anthony Rose. That's because, since she joined Spar as their wine buyer a year ago, she's been busy re-vamping the range with wines that do a job at the price. "In a year she has smartened up the range with wines you can put on the dinner table without a derisory snort from your guests," adds Rose.
For the first time, Jewell has introduced the idea of a national wine festival to Spar with the main focus on South Africa and France. Rose recommends: Vin de Pays d'Oc Chardonnay, £3.99