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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Valentine's fizz

heart shaped wine glassSchmoozing with booze this Valentine's Day is a sure-fire way of turning your loved one's knees to jelly. Start by whipping out a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit from the fridge, open it (without taking your eye out with the flying cork) before pouring it into elegant champagne flutes.

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Italian wine categories

Italian flagItaly is the world's largest producer of wine, producing 65 million bottles of it every year. And as about 4.5 million of these are exported to the UK then the chances of coming across an Italian wine in a restaurant, supermarket or garage forecourt shop are extremely high. So it makes sense to understand what you’re getting before deciding to buy one of the multi-million number of bottles available. And the easiest way to do that is to read the wine label.

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Popping round the shops

SPAR MalbecThere'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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Sweet-sour wines for Chinese New Year

Chinese takeaway signReceived wisdom says the naturally sweet-sour flavours of German white wines work best with Chinese food. Which helps with the food-wine matching for this Saturday’s celebration of the Chinese New Year, but really any wine you like will match, but a bit of sweetness helps.

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Eat, drink and be merry

wine glasses on tableAre healthy shoppers also savvy shoppers? American research group NMI thinks so. Their consumer survey shows that if we’re careful with our bodies we’re also careful with our budgets. Categorising shoppers into five distinct types, the healthiest ‘Well Being’ shoppers make few impulse buys, while the ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merrys’ are more concerned with pizza than exercise. But surprisingly this unhealthy group of shoppers doesn’t spend any more on alcohol than the rest of us.

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Win wine prizes

MoneyWhen was the last time you didn't have to pay for your wine? Not more than a month a go I'll bet. Wine lovers often get bottles of wine as Christmas presents and I was no exception. My gift bottle tasted delicious but I won't be replacing it using my own money as it is just too expensive. In the post-Christmas economy drive I need to find another way of boosting the wine rack contents for free. And I've found the answer – entering competitions.

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New Year, New You - the sensible version

tape measureInevitably some of us will have put on weight over Christmas and, if like me, you not only cooked the food but ate it too then the waist-band button is probably straining a bit. One way of dealing with this post-Christmas excess is to be sensible and eat slightly less and exercise slightly more.

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Top Ten sparkling wines for Christmas & New Year

champagne frothTop Ten sparkling wines to see you through Christmas and New Year this week. And we've got quite a choice ranging in price from £6.50 to £160. Spanish cava has been making a come back against the popularity of Italian prosecco – champagne is ever popular and it turns out if you make it using the same techniques in Argentina it tastes equally as good at half the price.

Read more: Top Ten sparkling wines for Christmas & New Year