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Wines in the press - September 16-19

Published:  21 September, 2010

The Guardian

Victoria Moore's dad has put in his traditional autumn request for a vinous shopping list. The brief is familiar: price range £5-£7 the wine can be any colour, as long as it's versatile, she says.

This year she is sending him to two places: Waitrose and Majestic. From the Waitrose lot, Moore recommends Finca Flichman Gestos Shiraz 2008, from Argentina (£5.75, down from £7.19, from September 22 until October 12). At Majestic she thinks the Dourthe La Grande Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Bordeaux Blanc Sec (£6.99, down from £8.99 when you buy two) "is surprisingly good. Sauvignon blanc can be so brutal, but this is girlish, floral and pretty".

The Telegraph
There are worse places to be on a late summer's afternoon than the Mosel Valley, says Jonathan Ray. He adds that quality German wines have had a tough time of late gaining our attention. But this might be changing as according to recent figures, UK sales of German wines over £5 are on the up again, with growth of 30% reported this year. According to Ray one of the problems is the Germanic system of labelling which is too confusing for consumers as they don't know whether the wine is sweet, medium or dry. "You get confused? We get confused!" says Thorsten Melsheimer of Weingut Melsheimer in Reil. "But the point is the best wines of the Mosel are now of tip-top quality, the best expression of this wonderful grape. We just need to sort out our labelling so consumers realise this."

The Independent
Quoting famous people on wine Anthony Rose says Byron wrote of "claret light and Madeira strong" but is wine "bottled poetry" as Robert Louis Stevenson described it? "Not, perhaps, if you scan the deathless prose of your average wine tasting note - my own among them", adds Rose. Sponsored by The Independent, The Woodstock Literary Festival is in full swing and Rose says he will be there to introduce a tasting of Castillo Perelada by Charlie Croft, who he says expecting to be somewhere between Virginia Woolf and Kingsley Amis. Rose says he doesn't suppose anyone will mention Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking by Michael J Gelb (published by Running Press, £11.99). "This thoughtful guide cites Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates and Einstein as supporters of the view that wine is capable of inspiring creative thinking."

The Times
The death of the Nouvelle Vague film director Claude Chabrol has prompted a spate of national mourning in France, says Tim Akin MW. Contrast this with the Gallic attitude to winemakers of equal brilliance, but who are very low key. He cites Charles Chevalier of Château Lafite, who he says crafts what is arguably the most sought after wine in the world, but can walk down the Champs Elysée without being recognized once. Egos are considerably larger in the New World with Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon in California, seen as the "Stephen Fry of wine". So do winemakers matter? He asks. "The truth lies somewhere between the French and New World positions. Talented cellar masters are like chefs ? they need decent ingredients, but they are brilliant at tasting and combining flavours."

Financial Times
Jancis Robinson MW, says the internet has brought huge benefits in tracking a good wine down. It was initially down to New Zealander Martin Brown, who in the late 1990s helped set up Berry Bros' online retail operation. Thus was born, which lists more than 4m wines available from about 18,500 wine retailers around the globe, allowing complete transparency of pricing. It is no wonder then that Wine-searcher has attracted the sincerest form of flattery. Canadian programmer Eric McGee started in 2005 and is now about to launch a new, free, version for consumers. None of the other sites is anything like as comprehensive as either of these, says Robinson. "Truly, price-conscious wine buyers have never had it so good."