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Wines in the press- February 26-28

Published:  28 February, 2011

The Guardian
It's the annual Fairtrade fortnight, which means consumers may well be tempted to pick up a bottle of Fairtrade wine over the next couple of weeks.

But I wonder how much you'll enjoy it, says Fiona Beckett. Having tasted a number recently, Beckett says she was "underwhelmed" by the overall quality and puts Fairtrade wine where Fairtrade chocolate, tea and coffee were four or five years ago. She thinks producers such as Fairhills, which has schemes in South Africa, Chile and Argentina, are missing a trick. "Presumably it wants us to buy Fairtrade all year round, but couldn't it offer more exciting wines?" She asks."Organic, sustainably produced ones, even?" Beckett says she'd have thought the target audience cares about the environment as much as it does ethical trading.

For Beckett, the only ones that delivered were Asda's Extra Special South African Chenin Blanc (£4) and Extra Special Pinotage (£5), both ironically made by Fairhills. She thinks it has obviously been persuaded to up its game by Asda's head wine buyer, Philippa Carr MW.

The Telegraph

It always strikes Victoria Moore as unfair that such a fuss has been made about Cloudy Bay's Sauvignon Blanc when in her opinion, it's far from being its best wine. Moore prefers its Chardonnay - "it's a lovely wine, bright and open and scented like fresh lemons and white blossom with a gentle lilt of pannacotta."

We hardly ever talk about New Zealand Chardonnay yet a decade ago it was the country's most widely planted grape, she adds. Whereas Sauvignon Blanc plantings have increased almost sixfold, Chardonnay, has grown gently - and all too quietly. Moore suspects part of the reason for the quiet bit is a general Chardonnay-malaise. Some of Moore's favourites are:

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2008 Auckland ( £15.50, The Wine Society). Dog Point Chardonnay 2008 Marlborough (£18.50, The Wine Society) and Sacred Hill Rifleman's Chardonnay 2007/9B (£20, Eagle's Wines, Clapham).

The Sunday Telegraph

The drinks that match terrines and pâtés well are many and varied, says Susy Atkins. That said, dry whites and delicate rosés are too weak, while sparkling wines taste sour and fiercely fizzy next to the rich, soft, fatty textures.

The drinks that work best are ripe and rounded; that even goes for cider, which should be off-dry, mellow and almost still. For Diana Henry's pork and brandied chicken liver terrine, she suggests following the French tradition of serving a glass of cool, golden dessert wine alongside.

Otherwise, Atkin's tip is to head for the Rhône, where easy-going, less expensive blends of Syrah and Grenache make for a soft, fruity, slightly peppery red that's a "star turn" with Henry's terrine.

For the duck and pistachio version Atkin's recommends Pinot Noir. Try this: Errazuriz Pinot Noir 2009, Casablanca, Chile (Majestic, £9.99, or £7.99 for two or more).

The Financial Times

Every two years Jancis Robinson MW gets involved in Comic Relief.

This year, one of the major wine-related ways she hopes to raise money is to revert to tried-and-tested mechanics of having leading retailers select some of the wines from their range as their Wine Relief bottles, where 10% of their sales in the run-up to the Red Nose Day goes straight to Comic Relief. This year many retailers, especially Majestic and Laithwaites, have included some really very superior wines in their Wine Relief selections, says Robinson and Marks and Spencer wins the prize for the sheer number of wines included in the scheme.

She urges those of you living in the UK who know they have large parties to cater for later in the year to buy ahead from these Wine Relief selections, knowing that 10% of what you spend will go to some extremely worthy recipients.

The Mail

Olly Smith believes that a really great meal isn't just about what you eat, but where you eat it. Sharing good food and drink with the right blend of people in the perfect setting can enhance your eating and drinking experience, he adds.

Supper clubs are springing up all over the place, as anyone who's been watching his Channel 4 series, The Secret Supper Club will know. But does tasting a chilled glass of crisp white Muscadet, improve by the seaside? Or an aged glass of red Burgundy taste better when sipped in an old leather chair? He asks. On the other hand, you're unlikely to pour yourself a glass of hearty vintage port on a tropical beach if there are lashings of chilled Sauvignon Blanc glistening in a nearby ice bucket.

Smith says one thing he's been convinced of while filming the show is that you don't need to spend more to enjoy your food and drink to the max.