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Wines in the press February 11-13

Published:  15 February, 2011

The Guardian

Fiona Beckett says she hates the whole business of Valentine's Day. She would prefer a bit of thought to go into it, rather than eat heart-shaped food and sip pink fizzy drinks belongs to a teen movie.

There are sexy wines that aren't Champagne, such an older vintage, creamy white Burgundy, she says. Or something akin to the Meursault-like Domaine Michelot Bourgogne Blanc 2008 (£16.99), which she thinks would go down very well. For Beckett, there's nothing more sensuous a red than a Pinot Noir, such as the "ethereal" Domaine Lucien Muzard Santenay Premier Cru Maladière 2008 (£19.99, selected Waitrose). And if you're cooking your beloved a large, juicy steak, she says a full-bodied, voluptuous red could be a turn-on - such as La Leyenda Malbec/Shiraz, Argentina 2010 (£5.99, Tesco).

The Telegraph

The subject of debate around winemaker Mario Fontana's big kitchen table on a recent visit to the Langhe in Piedmont, was the idiosyncratic local Nebbiolo grape, says Victoria Moore. Strangely, it has fallen to an Englishman, David Berry Green, from Berry Brothers to lead a rearguard action on the grape, she adds. If you've tried to drink a Barolo or Barbaresco in its youth, can be one of the most gum-desiccating grapes. You won't find juiciness in the "B-wines" as Barolo typically undergoes a long fermentation so there's more extraction from the seeds and stalks, making for a heavier, more tannic wine. What you want is a Nebbiolo crafted to be a Nebbiolo - a message David Berry Green will be ramming home at a symposium for trade and press in April. These can be beautiful wines: cheaper than good Barolo and better than cheap Barolo, says Moore. "They have romance. They are not, dread the word, international in style; and when you drink them you see those misty hills, hear the rattle of Italian and start longing for risotto, stuffed onion and salsiccia di Brà." Moore recommends Cornarea Nebbiolo d'Alba 2007 (Berry Brothers, £16.30).

The Telegraph
Two clichéd, items high on most wish lists for Valentine's must be a fresh, dry, sparkling wine and some chocolate. Which is what most of us hope to get or give, says Susy Atkins, as long as they are kept away from each other. Matching sweet food with dry wine is one of the most common gastro-bungles. Most fizz is dry and if you put that crisp, clean flavour next to anything remotely sugary, especially chocolate, and you render it into sour acid, stripped bare of its subtle, yeast-laced complexity. So you may as well drink bitter lemon, adds Atkins. If you want fizz for your sweet treats, buy a 'demi-sec' , otherwise, sip Champagne and other bubblies with light savoury snacks and dishes, or on their own. Or best of all, track down a sweet red wine from California or the South of France for your chocs. It's a marriage made in heaven.

The Financial Times

It is a long way from a teetotal, non-meat-eating ashram in Florida to choosing wine for China's top government officials in Beijing, but that is the path travelled by 31-year-old Krishna Hathaway, says Jancis Robinson MW. Hathaway, is currently based at the Aman at Summer Palace in Beijing, but is required to rove around the globe training restaurant staff. He says his current location, Beijing, is "very exciting, because they're drinking so much there, and they're all so excited about wine. There's a culture of drinking already - with the baijiu [strong, rice-based spirits] tradition. Beer is also poured, and tea, and often a prestigious wine nowadays. They sometimes want them all poured at the same meal. I have to work out a sensible sequence." Lafite mania shows no signs of abating in China, he says. But he adds that for more everyday occasions, both the Indians and the Chinese know that Australia and Chile make the best-value, accessible wine.

The Daily Mail

We Brits have a close relationship with the Germans, whether it's football, our Royal family, the shared love of beer , or Basil Fawlty's uncanny ability to keep mentioning the war says Olly Smith. He's a huge fan of Germany, and that includes its wines, but he adds somehow, the perception of German wines seems still to be something reserved for wine fans in the know and German wine labelling can be off-putting. Take Künstler, Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2009 Rheingau (£14.24, It's a heck of a name to read let alone say out loud but he thinks it's a white wine that should convince all doubters. Smith goes on to ask, apart from him, who's buying it? Well, more people than you might think. At the end of last year it was reported that German wine sales in Waitrose rose by 36% in 2010, and the latest data shows that sales of German wine under £3 has dropped by 14 % - but in the £10 range, sales are up by an astonishing 204 %.