Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.
School may be out for summer, but as we also come to the end of the supermarket wine tasting season, Fiona Beckett is “not impressed”.
Most seem to have used the recent increase in tax and duty to jack up prices much more than the 25-30p they should have, which Beckett thinks is to fund their “deeply misleading” half price offers. Her overall impression is that ranges are narrowing and becoming increasingly uninspiring, that even applies to Waitrose. Exceptions are Rustenberg John X Merriman 2008, from Stellenbosch (on promotion, £9.99). She thinks Tesco, has improved since the last tasting, and advises readers to check out the new “Finest” range, Amontillado (£5.29,50cl). But her prize for the most improved range – goes to Asda, which she says put on its best tasting yet. Try Extra Special Pinot Grigio 2010 (on special at £5.98), which is made by Alois Legader.
The Sunday Telegraph
Susy Atkins doesn’t understand the extraordinary popularity of the “bland, scentless, wimpy white”, Pinot Grigio. In her local supermarket there are 10 lines of Italian Pinot, Grigio, why not more Grüner Veltliner, or minty Vermentinos? Unless ‘character’ is what some drinkers are trying to avoid, which if so, it’s a depressing theory, says Atkins. She advises trying Pinot Gris from Alsace, where it is more rich, fat and smoky and more autumnal in style. For a good examples of the grape she recommends SO Organic Pinot Grigio 2010, Italy (Sainsbury’s, £6.99) and Balbi Pinot Grigio 2010, San Juan, Argentina (Marks & Spencer, £6.99).
The Daily Telegraph
There’s no denying that something akin to a goldrush is afoot in the world of English wine, says Victoria Moore. The investment into our vineyards has been remarkable and latest statistics show we now have 75% more ground under vine than in 2004. But why now? Asks Moore. The fact that England is warming up was a big factor in the decision of Mark Driver, who bought 600 acres, on the Sussex Downs. “Two things persuaded me,” he says. “First, tasting the wine being made. Second, looking at the data. And the number of degree days [the unit used in viticulture to measure climate] has increased dramatically over the past 20 years.” The picture is shifting, says Moore, and we’ve yet to see whether or not these new prospectors will strike gold.
The Financial Times
The growth in popularity of pink wines has been one of the few success stories for UK wine retailers in the UK, says Jancis Robinson MW. Its growth may have slowed down but rosé has firmly established its position as a valid wine style. Robinson has been tasting many different examples and has come to the conclusion that Provence produces more great rosés than any other wine region. Navarra in Spain, is another great source of dry rosé, or Rosado, but is much beefier and more obviously fruity. She recommends
Ste-Lucie, Made in Provence! Premium Rosé 2010 Côtes de Provence (£11.75, Lea & Sandeman).
Olly Smith was initially drawn to Australian wine because they felt friendly and easy to understand. Labels were in plain English, often with food-matching tips, and there were widely available brands that could be relied on year in, year out to produce vibrant, fruity, good value wines. He says the Margaret River region is an area that deserves more attention. Vasse Felix, Moss Wood and Cape Mentelle are some of the better-known names – but by and large it remains a place for those in the know. It may only account for a fraction of Australia’s wine output but in terms of premium wine, but it punches well above its weight, he adds. On the white front, you’ll find Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay and Verdelho, all with their own unique personalities, as well as Sauvignon blended with Semillon. Cabernet Sauvignon is the red grape the region is probably best known for, and you can find it blended with the likes of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot. Margaret River is well worth exploring, says Smith, he’s planning to pop there for a visit – one glass at a time.
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review