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Wines in the press - July 28-August1

Published:  02 August, 2010

There are many good things to drink when it is hot including iced coffee, Lapsang Souchong, non-alcoholic cocktails and of course wine, says Victoria Moore.

She says New Zealand's Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Oddbins £12.99), is having another good year. "This is a white that grabs you by the eyeballs. It smells of passion fruit, and though you'd have to be very discerning to notice that 10% of it is barrel-fermented, the oak adds layers of flavour and gives it a fuller feel in your mouth." In contrast Chilean Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (£12.95, Averys) is one of the new breed of cooler-climate Chilean Sauvignon Blancs, which is herbaceous and nettley.


There's a lot published about red wines for barbecues, but little on whites, says Susy Atkins. That's because reds are easy and whites can be real head-scratchers and they so often taste wrong.  She sets an example of a light, wispy Italian white with a smoky, sticky chicken drumstick, as a combination that doesn't work. Likewise she says grassy, bone-dry Sauvignon Blanc is out with barbecued fish, as it makes a nasty sweet-and-sour combo with syrupy marinades.

It's the richer, softer, rounder whites with a bright display of tropical fruit that work, as do modern, chunky Chardonnays, Sémillons or Chardonnay-Sémillon blends, peachy Viogniers and vibrant Chenin Blancs. These are the styles of white that can stand up to salmon steaks, vegetable kebabs, chicken and pork, with side dishes, dressings, mustards and sauces.

The only moments I'd pick a lighter white, says Atkins, are for sardines or prawns.

She recommends, Peter Lehmann Semillon 2008 Barossa Valley, Australia (Tesco, £6.99).

The Times

Tim Atkin MW is questioning how the bottles of last week's discovery of a cache of pre-French Revolutionary Veuve Clicquot survived for more than 230 years. It's because at the bottom of the ocean it's dark, cold and constant in temperature which is a good, if inaccessible, place to store wine. Two years ago, Louis Roederer did a trial ageing some of its Champagnes, in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. The results were positive, especially for its non-vintage Brut Premier. Stored properly, Champagne stays fresh because of its combination of bubbles and pronounced acidity. Atkin says, most Champagnes develop added complexity in bottle, even supermarket own-labels, but the better the wine (and the higher the percentage of acidic Chardonnay) the better it ages. "Perhaps not for 230 years," adds Atkin, "but certainly for a decade or more".

Financial Times

Earlier this month, Fine & Rare Wines, hosted an educational and revealing blind tasting, says Jancis Robinson MW. Fine & Rare's Simon Davies and Amanda Baxter organised samples of the 2008 vintage from 56 producers of the famous Grand Cru, Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy. "I have never had the chance to taste so many Grand Cru burgundies at the same time," marvelled Robinson. She says one of the delightful consequence of this huge blind tasting was discovering some producers little known in the UK, of whom some had made some very good wine. Her favourite wines revealed that all came from the top third of the vineyard except for Joseph Drouhin's vines, which are in two parcels in the middle and the bottom, plus Régis Forey's and Grivot's which are at the bottom. She also remarked on Clos Frantin's, which are in all three elevations of the vineyard and which Robinson says she'll be taking much more seriously from now on.

Daily Mail

The British summer is awash with strawberries, says Olly Smith, whether at Wimbledon, or from a PYO farm, nothing tastes quite as awesome as a freshly picked berry. But what to drink them with? You may immediately think of Pimm's which is a good shout. But have you ever tried adding chopped strawberries to a jug of chilled white wine? Even a slice of strawberry in a glass of fizz such as Prosecco, can bring a sense of occasion and summery fun to your day, says Smith. There are some who consider that serving a bowl of strawberries steeped in red wine such as a Shiraz and then grinding fresh pepper over the top, which is not to everyone's taste. For superb value, he suggests opening a bottle of sweet chilled, bubbly Moscato such as Asti Spumante popping the cork and reveling in its sweet frothy fun. Smith adds, it's like liquid sherbet and superb with sweet strawberries.