Dandelions: wine and tyres

dandelionsTraditional picked on St. George's Day, the flower petals of the dandelion can be brewed into a country wine. It turns out that its leaves can also be eaten as a salad leaf and its horrendously long tap roots that seem to grow down as far Australia make a passable coffee substitute: but now the humble dandelion has another use – it can be turned into car tyres.

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Chocolate Easter egg anyone?

eating chocolateEaster means eggs. Chocolate eggs. And there are lots out there in the shops at the moment. Dark chocolate eggs, milk chocolate eggs, eggs filled with Smarties and even chocolate eggs filled with liqueur chocolates. But come the final egg count this Sunday there will be two important questions to answer: “Which one to unwrap first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

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Wine quiz - just for fun folks

school deskYou've read the columns, bought the bottles and drunk the wine. But how much do you really know about wine? A lot? A little? Dunno? Then why not find out with this ten question wine quiz. The answers are at the bottom of the page – so no peeking until you've at least had go or passed this quiz along to someone else.

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Lidl's Easter Selection

Lidl logoThis Thursday the 30th sees Lidl's Easter selection of 41 new wines arrive in store. Wines from France, Spain and Italy predominate with the twelve chosen from Italy's many regions designed to show consumers that there is life beyond Italian sparkling Prosecco.

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Let mum choose

Woman in cork hatChoosing a gift for next Sunday's Mother's Day is never that easy for sons and daughters, of whatever age. I'm sure you'll not complain when you receive the usual bunch of flowers or box of chocs, but it would be nice to get something rather more personalised wouldn't it? So why not help your children along by dropping subtle, or not, hints that a bottle or two of your favourite wine would be much appreciated.

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Half-sized bottles of wine

half bottles champagneHalf bottles of wine at half the cost? Not necessarily so, unfortunately. Because so few vineyards put their wines in 375ml bottles the price of this handy single-sized portion never gets lowered by mass production and so remains at about two-thirds the price of its 750ml equivalent. But half bottles aren’t all bad – they do allow you to assess the maturing potential of many wines without the risk and all the cost.

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More red wine please

DaLuca redRed wine is rich in chemicals called polyphenols. Research has shown that these compounds expand your blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and making it easier for blood to flow. They also fight hardening of your arteries, the major contributor to heart disease. Get polyphenols into your body and your heart will be happier.

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Screwcaps on wine bottles

screwcapped bottleScrewcaps make getting into a bottle of wine so easy that you wonder why some producers still stopper their products with small pieces of oak tree bark whose primary goal seems to be getting in the way of enjoying wine.

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Home tastings with my free record sheet

tongueIf these weekly columns have inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then you'll need to get some kit together. Buy yourself some large wine glasses (cheap supermarket ones will do) for capturing any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting. And to help you keep track of all the wines you taste why not use my free wine tasting sheet available from here.

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