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Wines in the press, April 29 - May 1

Published:  02 May, 2011

The Guardian


When Fiona Beckett started writing about wine in the 1990s, Hungary was a reliable source of bargain drinking, she says.

These days, apart from the grand dessert wine Tokaji, you hardly ever see Hungarian wine, which is odd, given that it is part of the EU and its neighbours Austria, Croatia and Slovenia are all rather cool at the moment, she adds. Beckett decided to see what she could find on wine merchants and supermarket shelves. She recommends Waitrose Eva's Vineyard Chenin Blanc/Pinot Grigio/Királyleányka 2009 and Merlot/Kékfrankos 2009 (£3.99) that is good for a bank holiday barbecue to which you've invited the entire neighbourhood.

The Telegraph


Victoria Moore is talking about the "grand showmanship" of en primeur. She says the hyperbole begins at harvest as the Bordelais make positive noises about the quality of the vintage. The things really get going during en primeur week"at the beginning of April, when 2,000 critics, smart buyers from China and wine merchants descend on the Gironde, to assess the potential of the embryonic wines. Moore says Bordeaux puts on quite a performance and on Twitter, the vintage is the only topic of conversation. What no one can talk about, however, is the price. This is because no one knows what it is yet. A pronouncement from über-powerful American critic Robert Parker - can make a vast difference to prices, not that everyone admits it, adds Moore. The first growths may not release prices until June; even then they may test the market with a first tranche before hiking the price further. She thinks it's all quite a palaver. Moore adds, no wonder two unwitting Britons at the end of en primeur week confided: "All the restaurants were full of people with funny bottles of wine with no proper labels who were more interested in the wine than the food. We normally drink Blossom Hill."

Sunday Telegraph


Susy Atkins says Laura Jewell MW, joined the Tesco team in the autumn, and has been brushing up the Finest range. Now coming in at more than 100 lines, they are most important to the supermarket's more sophisticated customers, she adds. So which are the fresh, frisky Finest labels this summer? Jewell has added three new rosés to the list and Atkins favourite is Tesco Finest Touriga Nacional Rosé 2010, Alentejo, Portugal (£6.99, down to £4.99). She also recommends a pair of premium New Zealanders, too - a subtle Marlborough Chardonnay, and a well-priced Pinot Noir from the cultish Central Otago region. But best of all is the new set of sherries in sensibly small 50cl bottles. "A chilled glass of Finest Fino seems like a good way to kick-start the summer."

The Financial Times


Jancis Robinson MW has responded to the "experiment" at last month's Edinburgh Science Festival in which 578 people were asked to taste a wine and say whether it was under £5 or between £10 and £30 a bottle. It gave rise to such headlines as "wine drinkers wasting money on expensive vintages", she says. What fascinated Robinson was how passionately wine drinkers reacted to the story. Those who rarely spend much on wine patted themselves on the back, while those used to spending double- or perhaps treble-digit sums per bottle were incensed by the stupidity of the comparison and leapt to the defence of fine wine, for all its apparent lack of immediate appeal. Robinson says, it is true that wines currently on sale for about £30 a bottle in British stores would typically be very young and meant to be aged. But do you get what you pay for with the wine on offer today? I strongly believe there is little correlation between price and the pleasure a wine gives. There are overpriced wines at all price levels, and certainly many underpriced wines at well under £30 a bottle.

The Independent

May is National Wine Month, aimed at encouraging more adventurous wine drinking - Terry Kirby makes some recommendations in keeping with the spirit. First, proving that Spanish wine is not all Rioja is the "amazingly concentrated", barrel-aged red from the Ribera del Duero. Kirby says it displays lots of port-like liquorice, coffee and raisin fruit flavours and is best savoured with roast rare meats. (£18.99 Oddbins). For weekday supper, Kirby recommends the Aliwen Reserva Pinot Noir, Chile which he says is a great example of Old World elegance in South American wine. (£5.99, brayvalleywines.co.uk)

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