- Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 10:18
- Written by Carol Emmas
Fiona Beckett asked our leading supermarkets for recommendations for street party wines under a fiver.
What they came back with were, a pretty uninspiring lot, she says. The latest tax hike has made it harder to sell a decent bottle for less than £5. But the most frustrating thing was that finding a halfway decent bottle of one colour was no guarantee that its counterpart would be equally drinkable. She says Marks & Spencer, has a decent smooth dry Argentinian white, Rincon del Sol 2011 Chardonnay-Chenin from Bodegas Santa Ana (£4.99) but its accompanying red, Bonarda-Shiraz, is "desperately weedy". Sainsbury's managed two drinkable bottles, its 2011 House Beaujolais (£4.79) and a crisp, Sauvignon-like Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne (£4.49). For value for money she recommends drinking cider instead; Tesco's Finest Single Orchard Cider (£1.79 for 500ml) is equivalent to £2.69 for a standard 750ml wine bottle. Now what kind of wine can you buy for that? She adds.
The Sunday Telegraph
Rosé is supposed to be easy; simple to understand and enjoy, an uncomplicated, hot-weather pleasure, says Susy Atkins. It's the wine's sweetness that can make it seem difficult and unpredictable. Those who love sweeter pinks, will hate the bone-dry, peppery ones. Conversely, if they dislike sugary wine, they'll loathe the confected, medium-sweet examples. California rosé is often sweet. As is most Portuguese pink and rosé d'Anjou from the Loire. Australian rosé is rich, ripe and usually just off-dry. Bordeaux; medium-bodied and tends towards proper dry, while Provence's classic style tastes "whistle-clean" and very dry. Spanish rosado which is distinctly dry, but bright and fruity, too is Atkins' favourite source of 'everyday' rosé, and she recommends it with jamón, chorizo, seafood or mild cheeses.
The Financial Times
Every now and then Jancis Robinson is asked what her desert island wine would be. Her answer is, Madeira. Partly because she thinks fine Madeiras are so "distinctively delicious". However, despite her soft spot for the wine she says most of the island's efforts seem to be aimed at providing simple, unambitious syrups for the tide of cruise passengers. The brightest exception to this rule during her visit in 2003 was John Cossart of Henriques & Henriques. But Cossart died suddenly in 2008 and she thinks since some of the steam, and fruit, seems to have gone out of the wines. Ricardo de Freitas was the "bright star" on her last visit. But the big new "surprise" to Robinson was range of wines launched by Blandy's. Judging by the Blandy's Colheita Madeiras she tasted in London recently, a new broom is sweeping through Madeira's dusty lodges, she says.
The Daily Telegraph
Victoria Moore is talking to Gary Boom, the founder and managing director of Bordeaux Index (BI), which he set up in 1997. It now employs 60 people and turns over close to £100 million of Bordeaux a year. In many ways Boom embodies the impact the City has had on the staid, red-trousered world of the fine wine trade, and in particular on what Moore describes as the en primeur Bordeaux "cartel". Boom says the en primeur campaign is the worst he's seen in 15 years. "The Chinese aren't buying, the Americans aren't buying, the UK isn't taking up allocations." He says it's a real stasis in a market that investors had "dragged" out of the Middle Ages in the past 15 years. He adds that BI just doesn't sell Bordeaux. "It's BI. Barossa Index, Burgundy Index, Barolo Index, Boom Index." Moore says he felt the service offered to those buying fine wine was "pretty shoddy". He told her he once ordered a case of '85 Petrus and it was just left in the rain at the back of his house. He compared it to "shoving a Cartier watch through the letterbox."