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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How to get started as a wine writer

Book coverIf being a wine writer is all about ‘tasting vast quantities of wine’, why isn’t everyone doing it? Because as Geoff Adams (wine writer, wine author and Greek wine specialist) explains eruditely in his chapter on Wine Journalism within the new book Specialist Journalism (Routledge, £21.99): ‘it can be difficult to commission a sufficient amount of work within this speciality alone to make a good living’. But if that hasn’t put you off, then how do you go about becoming a wine writer?

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If you spend the average fiver on a bottle what do you get?

money£5.03 is the average-spend on a bottle of supermarket wine. And with the recession predicted to carry on until goodness knows when that amount isn’t likely to increase any time soon - unless our Chancellor of the Exchequer decides to put up alcohol excise duty yet again. And he might - but until that time comes what exactly does an average-priced bottle of wine taste like?

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Sausages and mash for autumn

sausages and mashAutumn has started. Falling leaves and falling temperatures means a diet of comfort food is now required. A good pork sausage, a bottle of red wine and an extremely large dollop of creamy mashed potato should do the trick.

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