Wine

Screwcaps versus corks

screwcapScrewcaps 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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Horses for courses

race horseBy 5pm this Saturday we'll know which of the entered one hundred and fifteen racehorses has won their owner just over half a million pound prize money of the Aintree Grand National. If you're looking to place a last minute bet don't look to me for any racing certainties. My first and only loose-change bet on horses net me the princely sum of minus two pounds. But should your stake prove to be a winner, how do you celebrate? Well it's got to start with the opening of a bottle of bubbly.

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Little red dress

red wine dressIf you find you don't always drink the last drop out of each bottle and you're pretty nimble with a needle and thread then you might fancy having a go at making a dress out of wine. What you’ll need is the equivalent of twelve full bottles of cheap Australian red wine and patience. Two weeks and a vat of red wine vinegar later, you’ll have enough Mother of Vinegar ‘material’ to make a mini-dress.

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Share your bath with your grapevine

watering cansIf the continuing sunshine has persuaded you to have a go at planting your own grape vine then you'll pleased to hear an Australian study has found a way for you to not only beat this summer's inevitable hosepipe ban (it’s bound to happen despite all those winter floods) and save money on your water bills too: filtered wastewater saved in a water butt is healthier for vines than mains water straight from the garden tap.

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Wine or a nice cup of tea?

pancakesAs you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes tomorrow will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea? Wine isn’t the natural partner of choice for the traditional Shrove Tuesday meal because lemon and the necessary lashings of sugar will almost stop the taste buds registering anything – unless the wine is even sweeter or more acidic than each of the pancake toppings. So what wine, if any, matches these criteria?

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Not water but wine

Welsh dragonHaving the nickname 'David The Water Drinker' tells you all you need to know about the Welsh patron's saint view on alcohol. But that hasn't stopped Wales' twenty-two vineyards getting on rather nicely without his blessing. From the far south in The Vale of Glamorgan right up to Anglesey, vineyard sales are flourishing. So why not join in the celebrations this Saint David's Day on Saturday and open a bottle of Welsh wine.

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Red wine for women

woman in red wine dressFinally 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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Say 'I love you'

heart glassThis Valentine’s Day rather than the usual box of chocs and bottle of wine, why not present your loved one with a bottle of wine that tastes of chocolate? To find those cocoa nuances you’ll need a full-bodied red from the warmer parts of Europe, South America or California.

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Wine improves the quality of life

woman drinks roseRegular alcohol intake, of the moderate sort, improves the quality of life in middle-aged adults declares the latest research findings investigating the link between alcohol consumption and health.

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Tasting, tasting

wine glassesIf 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.

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