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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Lower alcohol, lower calories

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 reduce the daily intake of wine calories.

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Top Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day

brussel sproutsTop Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day this week. Because, if you’re like me, then you’ve been concentrating on the nosh side of Christmas rather than what wine to match with the roast turkey, the cold turkey, the turkey curry, the mince pies, the puddings, the nuts...yes well. So here are ten wines ranging from £4.49 for a stonking value Greek red to a posh sherry tasting pack at £30.25. And what these wines have in common is that they’re all well worth the money.

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Top Eight Sparkling Wines of 2013

champagne frothTop Eight Sparkling Wines of 2012 this week. Which is better situation than in 2012 when there was only enough decent bubbly around to make a top five list, while in 2011 there was such a dearth of the decent stuff that a top sparkling round-up couldn’t be justified. So things are a little better this year. But while we’ve had a Top Ten Whites and Top Ten Reds, and even a Top Ten Under Six Quid, there still wasn’t quite enough tasty fizz this year to make a top ten list. So you’ll have to make do with a top eight instead. And here they are.

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Top Ten Reds of 2013

Piccini labelTop Ten Reds of 2013 this week including three at under £8 plus plenty of slurpable chocolate and liquorice flavours. Here they are in order of fabness.

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Top Ten Whites of 2013

trophyTop Ten White Wines of 2013 this week. There will also be a Paula’s Top Ten Red Wine choices of 2013 and the Top Sparkling Wines of 2013 as well as the Top Ten Must Haves for Christmas Day. But no Top Ten Rosés or After Dinner wines.

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Top Ten Wines Under £6 for 2013

Morrisons CellarThis year’s annual listing of Top Ten Wines has been struck by both inflation and spending habits – no longer can the under-a-fiver category produce ten wines worth the time and expense of joining the Christmas rush, instead we must look to the £5.99 and under category to find 2013’s Top Ten Wines Under Six Quid.

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Time to soak the Christmas cake

Christmas cakeWhisk(e)y, both Irish and Scottish, and sherry are sampled this week as I get started baking the Christmas fruity puds and cakes. Recipes for booze-soaked Christmas fruit cake always say you should let the cake 'mature' for at least a week before you ice it. But the cake will still taste wonderful if you start munching when it’s only been out of the oven for an hour and just (about) cooled down.

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Chilly Cabernet

Perez Cruz Cab SauvIt’s cold. And it gets dark before the day has properly begun. Which means we now have to turn the light on when admiring the colour of that pre-supper glass of red wine. Shorter periods of daylight send a signal to our brain to reject the lighter hues of summer and seek out dark reds and browns of winter. So leave the light-green Sauvignon Blancs unopened and pick up a bottle of its red cousin Cabernet Sauvignon instead.

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