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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Asda launches online Wine Shop

Asda onlineRivalling Tesco Wine by the Case, Morrisons Cellar and Waitrose WineDirect, Asda launches its own online Wine Shop today. With free delivery until the end of the year plus an extra 10% off first orders, this new easy-to-use site is definitely worth a go if you want to order six or more bottles of wine. You won’t find all the wines stocked by their main grocery site but with over 500 wines to choose from initially (more are promised for 2014) the site offers some interesting, if slightly expensive, oddities plus the usual popular brands priced at £5 and under.

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Dandelion wine and dandelion tyres

dandelionsIts flower petals can be turned into a country wine, its leaves can 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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