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week beginning 05/03/2007

Santa Rita

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the Times - Jane MacQuitty

1997 Ch£teau Pavie MacQuin, St Emilion, Bibendum sale £19.99

superb claret; elegant, floral, yet leathery spice; sweet, crunchy

2002 Piedra Feliz Pinot Noir, Chile, Bibendum sale £5.99

lively, plummy palate; sweet, juicy, almost Ribena-styled fruit

2006 Taste the Difference, Marlborough Sauvignon. Sains £4.86

wondrous, ripe, verdant, peapod, green tomato and gooseberry blast

2005 Merlot, Cit£ de Carcassonne, Sainsbury£s, £3.36

ripe, earthy, herby yet precocious plummy fruit

2005 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc, Chile, Somerfield, £5.59

crisp, full, punchy; zesty, lime juice-laden

2003 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, Somerfield £5.59

fat, ripe, dusky blackcurranty fruit of this impressive 2003

the Sunday Times - Joanna Simon

10-Year-Old Marks & Spencer Aged Tawny Port, £11.99

Luscious nutty, raisiny tawny, made for M&S by Taylor£s

10-Year-Old Noval Tawny Port, £15.59 Waitrose

Round and full; coffee, nut and dried-fig flavours

Graham£s The Tawny, £14.99 Tesco, Waitr, Sainsb, Thresh

Aged about eight years; mature, smooth and sweet

the Independent - Anthony Rose

2006 Fairhills Fairtrade Colombard / Sauvignon £3.99 Waitrose

refreshing with classic ripe grapefruit zing.

2006 Montana Reserve Sauvignon Blanc £6.48 Asda

lightly herbaceous, nettley sancerre-ish fruit; ripe gooseberry quality

2002 Contino Rioja Reserva. £20, M&S

Seamless red berry fruitiness and lightly spiced touch of oak

the Observer - Tim Atkin

2004 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot (£7.99, Sainsbury's)

sweet tannins and notes of mint, blackcurrant and cedarwood

2004 Domaine Fonts£que, Corbi£res, (£8.99, Marks & Spencer)

spicy, perfumed, chunkily fruity Languedoc red; well-judged oak

2005 Peter Lehmann Tempranillo, Barossa (£7.99, Waitrose)

full throttle, Rioja-on-steroids - like

2005 El Malbec de Ricardo Santos (Majestic 2 @ £6.79)

and the concentrated, dense, violet and blackberry-like

the Guardian - Victoria Moore

Dolcetto and barbera aren't as intellectual as those nebbiolo-based wines, barolo and barbaresco. They don't inspire quite the same reverence or sense of mystique. But they are much easier to drink and appreciate, and a darned sight cheaper, too. Dolcetto (the name means little sweet one) is quite low in acidity. It makes juicy wines that taste of morello cherries and liquorice and that zip about like a bouncy rubber ball. "It's a bit like beaujolais with tannins," says Alastair Marshall of Adnams. I'd add, "And an Italian accent." In other words, it's a relatively simple and playful wine, albeit one that still has that edge of savouriness present in most Italian reds. For me, this is a very casual wine, to drink and enjoy without too much stress or fuss, perhaps even, dare I say it, from Duralex beakers with the garden door open. Barbera, on the other hand, is invigoratingly acidic (sometimes it screeches with it). A common tasting note, oddly enough, is shoe polish (though I'd go more for a nice, thick, brown furniture polish myself) and it can make both very simple and more weighty, complex (and increasingly exalted) wines. But you don't need to blow the weekly food budget - you can get very decent barbera for less than a tenner, as the wine from Swig (see opposite) proves. Look for Piedmontese barbera from the Asti and Alba districts. For those who love Italian wines, they make a welcome change of pace from the thick, dark, ripe reds from the south or the sangiovese from central Italy. The only wonder is that they're not more widely available.

the Telegraph - Jonathan Ray

2006 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99; Maj, Wait, Sains)

zesty, minerally and full of expressive Marlborough fruit.

2005 Horseshoe Row Chardonnay, Australia (3 @ £4.99 Thresher)

delightful, tropical and citrussy; buckets of ripe fruit

2004 Alpha Domus Merlot/Cab, NZ (£9.99; Bona, Rsrv, Crkscrw)

A soft, mellow, beautifully-structured Bordeaux blend

2002 Mitchelton Print Shiraz (£9.99 from £17.26; Bibendum)

an absolute steal; mouth-filling spicy plum, liquorice fruit


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