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Wines in the press, March 3-6

Published:  07 March, 2011

The Guardian
Fiona Beckett was thinking about how we never hear much about Merlot any more. Of course you implicitly discuss it if you talk about St Emilion, Pomerol or other Merlot-dominated "right bank" Bordeaux, she says.

But since it got trashed in the hit movie Sideways, it's now all about Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Beckett thinks it's a shame, as it's a great wine when it's serious and can be a hugely enjoyable, food-friendly one when cheap. Although the upside to its lack of "fashionability" is that there are some really good bargains around and she suggests trying Chevalier de Fauvert Merlot Pays d'Oc 2010 (£3.84, Lidl) which is hard to beat on value. Or Morrisons Everyday Claret 2009 (£4.79) which is 80% Merlot. Beckett thinks it's great with a plate of bacon and eggs. "Honestly - try it," she adds.

The Telegraph

Rummage around Victoria Moore's fridge and besides the staples you can guarantee to find a bottle of Riesling. Although wine nutters adore it, she says, Riesling is an obsession that passes most people by due to the cultural hangover from German Hock. It's clearly infuriating for the Wines of Germany people, who are organising a "National Riesling Week" to be held in July. What I love about German Riesling is that it is exhilarating, says Moore. Any sweetness is carried aloft by the rush of acid through your mouth, so that it never cloys and as long as the wine's in balance you scarcely notice if it's not dry, she adds.

The Financial Times

It is a real problem that most of the fine wines that are written about in detail are years, sometimes decades, away from being ready to drink, says Jancis Robinson MW. So, when offered the chance to sample a mature vintage and choose the year, by the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés, she jumped at the chance.

Robinson chose the 1995s thinking it would be interesting to have another look at them now that they are approaching their prime. Among Pauillacs below first-growth rank, it was the most Merlot-dominated of them all, Château Pichon Lalande, that was the star, says Robinson. She was also impressed by how the St Juliens showed. Plus none of the 1995s from the Médoc and Haut-Brion stable were past it. She added that all five first growths should provide rewarding drinking well into the fourth decade of this century.

The Independent

If your conscience hasn't yet been pricked, you might like to be reminded that we're bang in the middle of Fairtrade fortnight, says Anthony Rose. The "wine that not only tastes good but does good" mantra is all well and fine, but unless there's a solid basis for such a claim in quality and value, it's just empty posturing, he adds.

Rose thinks the Torres' rose petal-infused 2010 Torres Santa Digna Gewürztraminer, justifies the claims. Charles Steevenson (rrp £7.99). Rose has also visited Chile's Los Robles Co-operative in Curicó and says he has seen the importance of the contribution Fairtrade wines make towards workers' conditions and community projects, especially those for children. He recommends its Co-operative Fairtrade Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, 2010 (on offer £5.49).

The Daily Mail

Alsace may not be the first place you think of when you're tucking into Asian dishes. But the white wines of Alsace are a great match for mild spicy food and a must for any lover of fragrant flavours, says Olly Smith.

It pumps out a variety of styles, from crisp to aromatic, and is one of the few places in France to make stars of its grape varieties. Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Riesling are the big four. But you should also keep your eyes peeled for Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois and the odd droplet of Pinot Noir, he adds.

Smith says his pal David Galetti, head sommelier of Le Gavroche, is a visionary as far as matching wine with food goes and loves Alsace wines. He suggests that 'scallops baked in the shell with ginger butter sauce can't be better with a Riesling from the Turkheim area.