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Wines in the press - September 9-12

Published:  13 September, 2010

The Guardian

Victoria Moore is discussing the trend for BYO wines as restaurants increasingly offer the scheme as a way of boosting trade at quiet times.

Moore says there are plenty of pros to the likes of the BYO wine club launched this summer in London. "Yes, it's infuriating to scan a wine list and find it as dismal as a new BhS collection of autumn caridgans." But Moore adds shes not sure her nerves could take the strain of membership as unless everyone eats the same, restaurant wine is always a compromise. She asks what's good for modern European BYO, presuming you have no prior sight of the menu? Moore suggests a cold Riesling, which is always a good food-friendly, head-and mouth-cleanser, such as Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling 2008 (£8.69). Or Tesco Finest Grenache Marsanne 2009 Pays d'Oc (£6.99) which is lovely with fresh, fishy starters.

The Times

Tim Atkin MW says he still misses Food and Drink, the BBC cookery show that Delia Smith once dubbed "the most disgusting programme on television". The thing he pines for is Jilly Goolden's outrageous tasting notes. "Who but La Goolden could use terms like 'wooden bra', 'absolute mangoes' and a 'a wheelbarrow full of ugli fruit.'" In the UK, wine is under-represented on television, he adds. The only exceptions are Saturday Kitchen and there was a "half-decent" programme on a while back called Château Monty, about a wine writer's attempt to establish a bio-dynamic vineyard in France, but the ratings weren't good. Atkin says people are happy to drink wine in increasing numbers, but they don't want to watch someone else making it. So far, wine has not featured in a reality TV show, but the moment can't be far off. If it happens, Atkin says the channel could do worse than employ Jilly Goolden as a presenter.

The Independent

Anthony Rose went on a tapas-bar crawl as a guest of the Tortilla Club, a group of Spanish food and wine aficionados and found himself enjoying sherry with just about everything he consumed that night. One of the group was Richard Bigg, owner of Camino who recently opened Pepito, a sherry bar in Varnisher's Yard opposite King's Cross station. Pepito offers top-notch sherries from Hildalgo, Lustau and Fernando de Castilla, among others. Rose says Bigg described sherry as "the best-value wine on the planet" and it would be hard to disagree. Unlike most wine, sherry is not so much made in the vineyard as in the cellar and the blending and ageing takes time and know-how. The sherry that has re-kindled Rose's enthusiasm is Tio Pepe's En Rama Fino - made to celebrate Gonzalez Byass' 175th anniversary. He says its sales popularity shows that perhaps the old prejudices based on sweet and sickly so-called "cream sherry" are starting to break down.

Financial Times

Janicis Robinson MW says when she started writing about wine 35 years ago, people in the British wine trade were generally in awe of a dry white wine made just south of Angers in the Loire Valley, Savennières. It was rare, which helped, and it was supposed to demonstrate the Chenin Blanc grape at its best, and be capable of living to a great age. Robinson said she didn't "get it". To her they were austere, without much evident fruit, and too often uncomfortably high in sulphur. Now there has been a dramatic increase in the total area of vineyards, producers and styles of Savennières. It may no longer be the only dry Loire Chenin of note, especially since not only is Jasnières also experiencing a renaissance, but Robinson says so many producers in the great traditional sweet Chenin Blanc appellations of the Loire such as Montlouis and Vouvray are now making ambitiously styled dry wines too. But they don't have Savennières' terroir that can result in dry wines with the "strictest nerve and the potential to slowly build in the bottle to a haunting cocktail of hedgerow and brimfire".