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Wines in the Press- June 12-14

Published:  14 June, 2010

The Guardian
Victoria Moore is asking if anyone understands what silver, gold, trophy, or commended wine awards actually mean?

The Guardian

Victoria Moore is asking if anyone understands what silver, gold, trophy, or commended wine awards actually mean?

She says competitions like Decanter and the IWC have integrity and are tasted and retasted by some of the finest palates in the business. But she thinks the standard required to achieve a bronze medal hardly seems Olympian.

One Argentinian producer told Moore they prefer not to enter their (rather good) wines because it would be dangerously shameful to end up with a bronze.

But most keep on paying as such awards depend on the support of retailers and producers, who bankroll them through the entry fee, to submit their wines.

Moore says, as one supermarket buyer puts it, "if a bottle has a commended sticker on it, it gets a response. In a wall of wine, anything gets a response. The extra reassurance encourages people to branch out and try different grapes and areas, wine that would otherwise be ignored."


Jonathon Ray says, while no one may seriously rate the home team's chances during the Fifa World Cup, one hot topic is the dramatic progress of South Africa's wines up the international league tables.

Ray says certainly there can't be a supermarket, high street chain or independent that isn't offering great deals on South African wines throughout the tournament.

I plan to drink wines pertinent to whatever matches I'm watching, using South Africa as the default setting should I find myself stuck in front of Denmark vs Cameroon or North Korea vs Ivory Coast.

With Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, the US, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Spain all competing, there's a lot of fine wine to choose from, not to mention our excellent home-grown fizzes.


Anthony Rose says, outscoring France for the first time ever this year with the equivalent of 45 million cases of wine is South Africa. It now exports eight times as much to the UK as in pre-apartheid days, and we in the UK drink nearly a quarter of it.

One of the bonuses of modern South African wine has been the progress of its aromatic and richer, food-friendly dry whites, says Rose.

He recommends Fynbos Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (£5.99, Co-op) for al fresco sipping and the food friendly Lammershoek Chenin Blanc 2008 (£11.49, Colchester Wine Co).

Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW is talking about the difficulty of buying fine wine by the single bottle, as she says, British wine lovers are expected to buy their smart wine by the case.

But now that so much en primeur Bordeaux and top Burgundy costs a four-figure sum per case, there is surely even more of a market for single bottles.

In most countries, it is a given that wine stores are well stocked with wines at all price levels and degrees of maturity, Robinson adds.

An exception to this, and to most generalities in the UK wine scene, is The Sampler.

Here customers can buy scores of wines chosen by a true wine lover rather than by an accounts department.

Of the 1,500 different wines on sale by the single bottle, almost half could be described as "fine and mature" and they sell even faster than The Sampler's cheaper wines - precisely "because they are unavailable elsewhere", according to founder Jamie Hutchinson.

Daily Mail

Olly Smith says, gone are the days when Eastern Europe meant a bottle of Bulgarian red plonk - there's some serious vino out there.

He recently attended the Croatian Chamber of Economy's Fine Wine tasting in London, "and it was fascinating," he adds.

The tasting featured a host of unique local grapes he thinks have a future on our shelves.

The majority of the Croatian wine producers who showed off their wares don't sell them here yet, but their attitude was upbeat. "Did you know there are 17,000 wine producers in Croatia with 2,500 wines of controlled origin and 200 vine varietals? We're talking about a land of home winemakers. From the Mediterranean to the Alps, Croatia is a thirsty nation - my kind of place."