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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Jancis Robinson focused on the founder varieties of grapes while Jane MacQuitty was full of praise for a Syrah-Viognier blend.

Robinson wrote about the rise of varieties at the expense of geographical names.

She wrote: “We now know wine as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir rather than as Chablis, Claret and Burgundy. Our wine-drinking forefathers would probably have been hard pushed to name a single grape variety, whereas many a wine list and supermarket aisle today is dominated by them.”

In The Times Jane MacQuitty highlighted the changes in France’s wine classification system. She wrote: “Eagle-eyed wine drinkers will have already spotted that it is all change again in France. With effect from the 2010 vintage, out went the old four-tier wine classification system and in came a new three-tier version.

“Top-dog appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) wines have become AOP, or appellation d’origine protégée. The next rung down, VDQS, is being phased out, which leaves vin de pays renamed as the unlovely-sounding Indication Géographique Protégée, or IGP, while the old bottom rung of Vin de Table is now to be known as Vin de France.”

Now see which wines have been recommended in the UK press over the last seven days.

Dom André et Mireille Tissot, Savagnin, (£19)

Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times wrote a feature about the founder variety of grapes, she wrote, “Savagnin is best known under that name in Jura, eastern France, where its wines have an attractive nuttiness and a particular affinity for producing the local speciality, vin jaune, that tastes a bit like an alpine Sherry.

Pieropan, La Rocca, Soave Classico (£22)

Robinson also wrote, “Garganega is the main grape of Soave and was first mentioned in the thirteenth century. DNA profiling shows its close relationship to other important Veneto varieties such as Corvina and Rondinella, thereby confirming its local origins. This is clearly a key grape, whose wines, if yields are restricted, can recall both lemons and almonds.

2011 Paul Mas Estate Syrah-Viognier (£8.99, two for £6.99 each)

Jane MacQuitty in The Times was very happy to see some changes in white blending, writing, “Let’s be grateful for the new IGP experiment of allowing, from 2011, the white, seductively perfumed Viognier grape to be blended with the burly, spicy Syrah, producing such a stylish offering as the 2011 Paul Mas Estate Syrah-Viognier, a delicious, beguilingly spiced, inky, peppery red.

2009 Beaune, Domaine Françoise André (£20.95)

MacQuitty described this wine as a keeper. She said; “I adored this sumptuous, lively, strawberry-rich red beaune. Crack this glorious red Burgundy open now or cellar it for five years for some gamey flavours of its own to develop.”

2011 Les Boudalles, Côtes de Ventoux, Brusset (£8.95)

Matthew Jukes in the Daily Mail recommended this red wine, saying, “Laurent Brusset is a phenomenal winemaker and his power-packed, sensual red Rhône wines are amazing. This is the newly released, entry level red in his portfolio and it is a gem, borrowing expertise from wines four times its price.  Do not miss out on this incredible find.”

2011 Tanners Merlot, Pays d’Oc (£6.90)

Jukes was also full of praise for this French Merlot, “this is one of the most impressive, inexpensive merlots I have tasted this year – it’s a must buy! Cherry fruit and a velvety texture mean that this wine goes with any dish you can think of including this week’s roasted tomato soup.”

Venta Vieja Malbec 2011 (£8.29)

In The Guardian Fiona Beckett considered the problem of what happens as your wine tastes differ as you grow older. She said: “A Bordeaux drinker, say, isn’t necessarily going to migrate to a strapping, south Australian Shiraz. But they may well enjoy the ripe, plummy flavours of a Malbec such as the excellent Venta Vieja Malbec 2011, which surprisingly comes from Spain not Argentina.”

Yering Station Village Chardonnay 2010 (£15.99)

Olly Smith in the Mail on Sunday was full of praise for a new wave of Australian wines, saying, “at a recent tasting I was hosting, I served two secret wines – one was a top-notch white Burgundy costing more than £25, the other was a new wave Aussie Chardonnay, lightly oaked and with just 12.5 per cent alcohol for £15.99. No one liked the French wine – everyone adored the Aussie.”

Jean-Marie Haag Pinot Blanc 2009 (12.60)

In the Independent Terry Kirby selects what he thinks are the best wines to buy at the moment and one of his recommendations is this white wine. He said: “The fine white wines of Alsace in north-eastern France are an undiscovered pleasure for many and this Pinot Blanc is an excellent place to start. A lovely aromatic nose leads to clean, bright but full-bodied orchard fruit flavours and a crisply acidic finish, the whole package being full of elegance and finesse.”

Paolo Leo Primitivo di Manduria Puglia 2009 (£7.99, reduced from £9.99)

And finally this recommendation from David Williams in The Observer. He wrote: “Made from the Primitivo grape variety deep in Italy’s heel, it’s the sheer depth of blueberry and blackberry fruit that impresses here, along with a sweet spiciness, a subtle twist of aniseed and a smooth texture.”

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