|Wines in the press, October 10-11, 2009|
|Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:33|
This week's round up of what the newspaper wine critics have had to say:
Victoria Moore says customers in supermarkets say they buy wine there because specialist shops are too expensive and they feel out of their league.
But, says Moore, she came across "such a good collection of lower-priced wines at a recent tasting thrown by the Bunch".
She adds: "Granted, independents can't compete on screechingly cheap £3 and £4 bottles, but the tasting showed there are great riches to be had if you're spending a couple of pounds more."
Jane MacQuitty says not so long ago that Greek wines "were just about downable on holiday, but back home, forget it".
She adds that a decade or so ago Oddbins and others promoted Greece as the next big thing, "but few swallowed the hot, quirky, aggressive flavours of the country's wines".
The Financial Times
Last week Jancis Robinson MW found herself at a wine trade forum held in London to discuss the trend toward lower-alcohol wines.
She explains how US winemaker David Stevens, a partner at TFC Wines & Spirits, a company specialising in producing reduced-alcohol wines, took the audience through different technological ways in which the alcohol levels in wines can be lowered.
But, as Dan Jago, Tesco's wine supremo, pointed out, there is natural resistance among consumers to what are perceived as "Frankenstein wines" yielded by this sort of manipulation. Robinson says it seems as though 12%-12.5% is a magic threshold.
The Daily Telegraph
Jonathan Ray is asking if beer is the new wine? He says: "It's the weirdest thing. Pubs are shutting all over the place - yet sales of quality beers are on the up."
Ray says his "new favourite local brewer", Hepworth & Co in Horsham, is brewing around the clock in order to keep up with demand and adds, sales are soaring, up 18% on last year, according to the company's head brewer Andy Hepworth.
"We concentrate on making beer that a few people rave about, rather than beer that a lot of people don't object to," Hepworth says. "This seems to strike a chord with our customers, along with the fact that we source everything as locally as possible. Our barley and water are local and our hops come from Christopher Daws's farm at Bodiam in East Sussex. In the current climate, people like that."
Tim Atkin MW is comparing Laithwaites to Dan Brown: "Loved by the general public, but dismissed as a bit of a joke by us critics." He adds in parallel that the bestselling author published his follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, while Laithwaites held its first press tasting for more than a decade.
"To be fair to Laithwaites, it has always sold some good wines, especially from France and Spain. The problem was the prices, which tended to be £1-£2 higher than everyone else's," he says.
He says he's tasted the new range twice this year and has "been impressed by what the team of buyers has sourced from around the world. Prices are cheaper and quality is generally good to very good".