A tale of two Malbecs

Two MalbecsThis is a tale of two supermarket French Malbecs: one costs £4.49 and is Aldi's Vignobles Roussellet Vin de France, and the other – SPAR's M Malbec Pays D'Oc IGP - costing £6.50. Both taste fruitily of damsons, plums and cherries; both are quaffable, and both are excellent value for money. So why does one just taste a little bit more exciting?

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Give the grape vines a drink

grape bunchIf the continuing great gardening weather 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 year's lack of rain water and this summer's inevitable hosepipe ban but 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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This is me

PG on the allotmentAs an ex-engineer turned adult education lecturer, I got into the exam marking business after running evening classes on my hobby interest of GCSE psychology. The move to marking several hundred exam papers came quite naturally after marking coursework for my students.

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A nice cup of tea - from scratch

tea leavesI've always wanted my own tea plant. Being a complete teaophile I've tinkered with teabags and then discovered the delights of loose leaf tea, but this has never completely satisfied my urge to make my own cup of tea from scratch.

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What no alcohol!

a cup of teaThe key to choosing a non-alcoholic alternative to wine is to find one that doesn't taste too sweet. Because an overly sweet drink can not only overwhelm the taste buds and hide the taste  of the food you are matching it to, but it's also really filling – it may taste great on its own but the sweetness will fill you up faster than the lovingly prepared plate of food. But there are non-alcoholic choices that taste good, match food as well as wine.

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Dandelions: wine and tyres

dandelionsTraditional picked on St. George's Day, the flower petals of the dandelion can be brewed into a country wine. It turns out that its leaves can also 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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Chocolate Easter egg anyone?

eating chocolateEaster means eggs. Chocolate eggs. And there are lots out there in the shops at the moment. Dark chocolate eggs, milk chocolate eggs, eggs filled with Smarties and even chocolate eggs filled with liqueur chocolates. But come the final egg count this Sunday there will be two important questions to answer: “Which one to unwrap first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

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Wine quiz - just for fun folks

school deskYou've read the columns, bought the bottles and drunk the wine. But how much do you really know about wine? A lot? A little? Dunno? Then why not find out with this ten question wine quiz. The answers are at the bottom of the page – so no peeking until you've at least had go or passed this quiz along to someone else.

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Lidl's Easter Selection

Lidl logoThis Thursday the 30th sees Lidl's Easter selection of 41 new wines arrive in store. Wines from France, Spain and Italy predominate with the twelve chosen from Italy's many regions designed to show consumers that there is life beyond Italian sparkling Prosecco.

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Let mum choose

Woman in cork hatChoosing a gift for next Sunday's Mother's Day is never that easy for sons and daughters, of whatever age. I'm sure you'll not complain when you receive the usual bunch of flowers or box of chocs, but it would be nice to get something rather more personalised wouldn't it? So why not help your children along by dropping subtle, or not, hints that a bottle or two of your favourite wine would be much appreciated.

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