Salad matchers

Tokaji FurmintMatching wine to a lettuce and herb salad, whose only coating is a grind of salt and pepper, is easy - almost any white or light red wine will go. Finding a wine for a salad dressed in oil or vinegar is a little more difficult.

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Red wines for barbecues

Anda wineBarbecues and subtle, delicate wines do not go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine with dark fruit and chocolate notes, so forget about whites and rosés – think instead of robustly-flavoured reds. Red wines made with the red-berry tasting grape varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo work best with barbecued meats. Their blackberry and cherry flavours in Italian and Spanish blends have enough strength to keep up with oily marinades and crispy cooking.

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Shiraz over £6

The Black ShirazSo what can you expect from a Shiraz on the top shelf of the supermarket wine aisle that is so expensive that it comes with a security tag? Well it will taste somewhat like its cheaper cousins on the lower shelf with flavours of both blackcurrant and plum. And if those grapes used to make the wine have been grown somewhere warm (say Australia) then the flavour can exhibit spicy flavours like liquorice and black pepper – which do have an unfortunate tendency to come across a bit like burnt rubber in some South African Shiraz.

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Wine tasting on Twitter

Twitter and wine‘So what do you think the wine tastes of?’ is one of the one of the most frightening questions to be asked during an evening class in wine appreciation. Because not only is your ability to pronounce waffle being judged but also how well you’ve got the whole body language thing under control. Because bum shuffling and mumbling gets ‘nul points’ when you’re face-to-face with teacher. But what if all that could be avoided? It can if your wine class meets online through Twitter.

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Let's celebrate being female

woman drinking wineFinally scientists have finally found something to celebrate about the female condition. It seems women who drink wine put on fewer pounds than teetotallers of the same sex. So you can tuck into a couple of glasses of wine every night and still stay slim. There are a couple of provisos: limiting yourself to drinking two glasses a night and those glasses should contain red wine.

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White wines for barbecues

barbecue manBarbecued red meat and robustly-flavoured red wines are well matched. But where are we white wine drinkers in this mass of red? The lighter tasting flavours of white wines go well with barbecued fish, chicken, vegetable kebabs and salads.

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Spraying champagne - Dan Gurney started it 50 years ago

Dan Gurney spraying champagneIf you’re celebrating Father’s Day by going to Le Mans to watch the 24-hour motor race this weekend it’ll probably rain, rain champagne that is. Traditionally the winner’s bottle is sprayed into the crowd and we can thank the American racing driver, Dan Gurney, for starting it all 50 years ago in 1967.

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Wine will taste good if you want it to

wine labelChanging the wine label affects not only the opinion of restaurant wine but also the opinion of the food served with it according to an American study. Customers at a popular student restaurant were given a free glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with their meal. Half of the free wine was poured from bottles showing the name of a prestigious Californian vineyard while the rest showed their origin as North Dakota – a very unfashionable American wine region. Unbeknown to the diners, the wine was the same in both cases - an inexpensive branded wine.

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Review: Majestic Loves range

Majestic logoWhen the empty wine bottle is as enjoyable as the just-drunk content then you know you're on to a good thing – and you need look no further than Majestic's new own-label Majestic Loves range at £5.99 a bottle to please all of the senses. Because it's the cartoon bottle labels, designed by French artist Jean Jullien, that add the pièce de résistance to these really nice and affordable wines.

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Ten minutes to go and no wine

clockThere's no wine in the house and with only ten minutes to go before the food is ready what can you do? Buying the meal-matching wine from the local village shop or corner convenience store is the best strategy when time is limited.

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