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Wines in the press - April 22-24

Published:  26 April, 2011

The Guardian
Fiona Beckett says she's lost count of the number of press releases she's had linking products to the royal wedding, so she's ignoring them all and writing about gin.

Beckett did random blind testing with friends recently, and they found it really hard to pick out the big brands, particularly once they were turned into a gin and tonic. The group's top picks were Aldi's award-winning Oliver Cromwell Premium Gin (£8.99 for 50cl) and Tesco's Finest Classic No 1 (£10.99), both of which are substantially cheaper than a branded gin with a comparable ABV. She also tasted Asda's London Dry Gin (£9.97), which she thought a very passable Gordon's lookalike, right down to the dark green bottle.

The premium gins based on different botanicals that went down well with the tasters were; Edinburgh Gin (£22-£26, Vino and Valvona & Crolla) with flavouring ingredients of pine, milk thistle and heather. Beckett preferred the fragrant, more herbal Caorunn (£23-24, Scottish branches of Sainsbury's and Peckham's), whose botanicals include rowanberry, bog myrtle and coul blush apple.

Her overall favourite, though, was the more classic The London No 1 Original Blue Gin ( £26-£27,,,, which she says is flavoured with bergamot and coloured with gentian and is perfect for making blue martinis, should the impulse grab.

The Daily Telegraph

Victoria Moore tells us, various wits over the ages have cheerily noted: "A wedding is just like a funeral except that you get to smell your own flowers." You also get to taste your own wine, she says, which is why, for those who like to drink well, a wedding could get outrageously expensive. You need to concentrate hard on the the first bottle to be opened. Diana and Charles were spoiled at their wedding with Dom Perignon from 1961. If Moore were choosing Champagne for a wedding she'd make it feel more of a personal choice with a lesser-known label such Marc Chauvet. Both the Brut Tradition (The Real Wine Company £19.99) and the Brut Selection (£22.99) are good, she says.

At Buckingham Palace, they often support the British wine trade by buying English sparkling wine. Moore says Nyetimber, is responsible for possibly the finest English wine she has have ever tasted - the "enchanting" Nyetimber Rosé 2007 England (Harvey Nichols, £44.95).

The Sunday Telegraph

Susy Atkins is pairing wine to Angela Harnett's menu. With the trout and watercress salad she suggests a crisp Italian, such as Verdicchio, or a grassy, lemon-tinged European Sauvignon Blanc to pick up on all the 'green' elements from watercress and tarragon to green beans and pak-choi. For the chicken - the chorizo, red pepper and rosemary point firmly towards a red; a simple, juicy Tempranillo, a youthful wine from the Rioja or Navarra regions would be fab, she says. She suggests a chilled golden Muscat, for the Nutella panna cotta with blood oranges which she thinks makes the course even more irresistible.

She recommends; Puklavec & Friends Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Stajerska, Slovenia (Waitrose, £8.99). Bodegas Age Rioja 2009, Spain (Marks & Spencer, £6.99) and Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, Victoria, Australia (widely available, from £6.89 for 37.5cl).

The Financial Times

Jancis Robinson MW says kosher have changed from being sweet, red, strong - and disgusting enough to give kosher wine a bad name to "now indistinguishable from equivalent non-kosher ones," according to New York lawyer Keith Berman, whose wine collection is virtually all kosher.

She says Diana Finn and her husband, who live near Manchester, have drunk only kosher wine at home for 40 years and agree that it's much more drinkable and sophisticated now.
Finn's local Tesco in Altrincham has a substantial kosher wine section, with Clarksburg Chenin Blanc from California ( £8.00). But while kosher wine is no longer a cheap joke, it will never be cheap says Robinson, for a wine to be kosher it must be handled only by observant Jews throughout the production process, and that tends to involve another layer of cost.

There are kosher cuvées of such famous names as Château Pontet-Canet of Pauillac, Château Léoville Poyferré of St-Julien, Château Malartic Lagravière of Pessac-Léognan and the prototype "garage wine" Château Valandraud of St-Émilion, all of which taste remarkably similar to the non-kosher version, says Robinson.

The dramatic improvement in the international production of kosher wine has been mirrored in Israel, which now has dozens of ambitious, highly successful wine producers. Robinson says even the highly respected, older producer Castel makes both kosher and non-kosher wines. Thirsty Israelis tend to keep exports relatively low and, again, prices relatively high.