International Wine Challenge 2001 It's that time of year again. when the wine press gets all of a flutter because the results of the International Wine Challenge are published. Oddbins wins the wine merchant of the year for the seventh year running. and while they're still about. let's have a look at some of the winning wines.


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Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2000 £7.99 (Marlborough. New Zealand) Gold medal winner. A worthy winner from one of New Zealand's really classic vintages for Sauvignon Blanc. Loaded with the usual gooseberry overtones on the nose. but with elements of lemon and passion fruit. It has a balanced creaminess on the

' palate. so is not as acidic as some of

its peers. This. and the fact that it has won twelve gold medals in the last

seven years. makes it a definite wine to

sell out quickly. Get it while it's hot.

Marques de Murrietta 1996 £8.99 (Rioja. Spain) Gold medal

winner. It is often forgotten that the

Rioja region in addition to its famous reds also makes a whole host of white wines. They can range in style from young fresh unoaked Viuras to immensely heavy oaked styles. This is very much in the latter category: 40 months in oak, followed by a year in the bottle before it's even released. It's not for the faint-hearted. with wads of caramel and sherry on the nose (this might lead people to believe it's

' off/oxidised. but it's just the style).

Don't let this put you off though, if you like a fuller-bodied wine it's a real classic from a single vineyard.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 $36.99 (South Australia) Gold medal winner. This will be known by many for its big. robust. reliable style. This vintage is no different. as the Penfold's house style is that of blockbusting. tooth-staining reds. Big cedar wood flavours vie with bursting cassis fruit with a rich plumy backbone. It has been cheaper. but it‘s never been this good.

Xanadu Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

$25.99 (Margaret River. Western Australia) Gold medal winner. No Olivia Newton-John references here (apart from that one). This is a belter of a wine for the price. similar to the Penfolds as far as grape blend goes. but not quite as full. It does. however. have a very rich caramel nose and a whack of eucalyptus on the palate; very nicely balanced. (Gordon Haggarty)

Food & Drink

EDINBURGH Filmhouse Cafe and Bar 88 Lothian Road. 229 5932

Relaxed. atmospheric cafe bar. semng great value snacks. salads. specials and brilliant cappuccinos 10am till late.


The Lane

57-59 Sauchiehall Lane. Glasgow. 332 8899

24 Hour restaurant offering three different menus to suit you whatever the time. Wonderful surrounds and excellent service.


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