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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Reyneke Organic Syrah, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2011

David Williams, writing in The Observer, celebrated three wines from South Africa this week. One of his picks was this “evocative” Syrah.

He said: “Perhaps the biggest leap made by South African wine, however, has been with its reds. And there was plenty of room for improvement. When I first visited the country in 2002, my abiding palate-memory was of a dirty ashy quality that had more to do with bad winemaking and poorly managed vines than, as some South Africans said, the unique Cape soil.

“You can still find that flavour, and not only in the bargain basement, but it’s increasingly rare, and the better bottles are carving out an identity that is distinctively South African in a much more agreeable way. Although I’ve had some very creditable Cabernets and Pinot Noirs from the Cape, the wines that are most convincing and evocative so far are those made from southern European varieties, particularly Syrah. At the top of the tree is the pair of syrahs named after the soils they’re grown on by Mullineux, Granite and Schist 2011 (£64.50, Reynecke’s dark and sinewy organic syrah is a more realistically priced alternative.”

Price: £10.50,

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc, Durbanville, South Africa 2013

Another favourite from the Cape was this Sauvignon Blanc, which he said South Africa had developed a “justified reputation” for producing.

He said: “It would be wrong to say that South Africa’s current good fortune is all about the cheap and its varying degrees of cheer, however. As an excellent book – Wines of the New South Africa – published last year by the South African wine writer Tim James describes, there has been a flowering of creativity in the Cape wine scene in the years since it emerged from the isolation of apartheid, and particularly in the past decade.

“As I’ve written here before, this new South Africa, driven by some of the world’s most talented and thoughtful winemakers, has its most distinctive expression in the whites made from chenin blanc both on its own and in blends, from producers such as Donovan Rall, Eben Sadie, AA Badenhorst, Vergelegen, Miles Mossop, Mullineux and that man Forrester. But the country has also developed a justified reputation for sauvignon blanc which, while not so singular in style, can certainly compete with the Loire and New Zealand for quality in the hands of Ataraxia, Iona, Cape Point and, in this quivering, zesty box-fresh example De Grendel.”

2011 Ravenswood, Lodi Zinfandel, Sonoma, California

This week Matthew Jukes, writing in the Daily Mail, paired six wines to match the Hairy Bikers’ recipes in its Weekend Magazine.

Among his selection was this 2011 Zinfandel of which he said: “There is a staggering amount of fruit intensity and bravado in this heroic wine. Blueberry, mulberry, cinnamon and ‘hot tar’ notes abound and the texture is decadent and mouth-coating.

“This is a superbly appointed wintry red which would work wonders with this week’s crispy beef and black bean recipe.”

Price: £10.99, reduced to £8.79 each if you buy two bottles, until 3 February, Majestic.

2012 Torres, Sangre de Toro, Catalunya, Spain


This “lip-smackingly” delicious 2012 red from Spain’s Catalan region was also a winner, and is currently on offer at just £6.63.

He said” “This year sees the 60th anniversary of Torres producing their iconic wine Sangre de Toro or ‘Blood of the Bull’. Made from Garnacha and Cariñena this is Spain’s most reliable, inexpensive red wine. Year in year out it is a star, multi-talented with all manner of food and lip-smackingly delicious to boot.”

Price: £8.29, reduced to £6.63, until 11 February, Waitrose.

Araldica Moscato D’Asti 2012 (5% vol)


If the excesses of w inter are still lurking over you then this week’s selections by Terry Kirby, writing in The Independent, are perfect. His picks include three of the best low alcohol wines, perfect for keeping up a New Year detox.

Of this Moscato D’Asti he said: “Now is the time to discover the sweetish, very slightly sparkling Moscato wines of Italy (Australia also does some decent ones) that are perfect as an aperitif or to accompany cakes and fruit tarts.

“Zingy, fresh flavours of apricots and pears and a lovely clean finish.”

Price: £8.49, Virgin Wines

Torres Natureo Muscat 2012 (0.5%vol)

For an even lower alcohol intake try this sweet Muscat from Spain which has an alcohol volume of just just 0.5%.

He said: “Here most of the alcohol has been removed, allowing the naturally sweet honey and apple fruit flavours and floral aromas of the Spanish-grown Muscat grapes to shine.

“Drink with salads and lighter foods or richer desserts.”

Price: £4 (to 15 February; usually £5, Asda); £5.99, Waitrose.

Vineyards Côtes du Rhône NV Cellier des Dauphins


Writing in The Telegraph Suzy Atkins this week showcased some of the best reds from the Côtes du Rhône which she said is home to a host of “good-value, medium-bodied, versatile reds” with this NV Cellier des Dauphins just £3.79.

She said: “France’s south-eastern, warm Rhône Valley produces some serious, expensive red wines, of course (Châteauneuf-du-Pape the most famous) but late January finds most of us in keen pursuit of value. Here the region’s widely available, affordable Côtes du Rhône and – up a quality notch – Côtes du Rhône Villages really deliver.”

Of this 2007 NV Cellier des Dauphins, she said: “Tesco stocks richer, more structured Rhônes, but for sheer value, this new, fresh and raspberry-tinged red – fairly light and easy-drinking – gets my vote.”

Price: Tesco, £3.79

Domaine de la Meynarde Plan de Dieu 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages

Stepping up a notch, Atkins picked this Côtes du Rhône Villages from Domaine de la Maynarde Plan de Dieu.

She said: “More serious, with a fuller texture and rich blackberry fruit, laced with liquorice. Great with roast pork or a peppered steak.”

Price: Marks & Spencer, £8.99.


2012 Dr L Riesling, Loosen Bros Mosel, Germany

With Chinese New Year approaching, Brian Elliott, writing in The Scotsman, picked out his favourite wines to match the occasion.

This 2012 Riesling by Loosen Bros was one of his top picks.

He said: “For anyone limiting their alcoholic intake, this is very much what the doctor ordered.

“The peach and honey flavours make it clearly off-dry but the delightful acidic prickle to the tongue and very clean, crisp finish makes the whole thing versatile and relatively complex.”

Price: Currently £6 on promotion in Asda.”

2010 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley, Chile

Another of Elliott’s selections was this “intense” Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile.

He said: “If the kitty is not totally empty, try this delightful month-end treat.

“Despite its lovely, dark and intense style, there is a lively acidic edge and only gentle tannins – which merely add a little grip to the bramble and cherry fruit and the minty cinnamon backdrop. Classy and robust powerhouse wine. ”

£11.99, Sainsbury’s.

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