Creating a wine list

restaurant menuJudging a restaurant on their food will only ever give you half the story. A competent wine list is just as important as the menu as it not only matches the food but also the expectations of the diners. It should also describe the wines in enough detail so that the paying customer can make an informed choice. A notable wine list, though, must do this and more.

Read more: Creating a wine list

Organising a Twitter wine tasting

Twitter wine rim‘So what do you think the wine tastes of?’ is one of the one of the most frightening questions to be asked during an evening class in wine appreciation. Because not only is your ability to pronounce waffle being judged but also how well you’ve got the whole body language thing under control. Because bum shuffling and mumbling gets ‘nul points’ when you’re face-to-face with teacher. But what if all that could be avoided? It can if your wine class meets online through Twitter.

Read more: Organising a Twitter wine tasting

Free wine tasting sheet

tasting sheetIf the Co-op's fairtrade wine offer has inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then you'll need to get some kit together. Get yourself some tulip-shaped supermarket wine glasses (about £3.99 for 4) – their elongated shaped bowls capture any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting. To help you keep track of all the wines you taste why not use my free wine tasting sheet?

Read more: Free wine tasting sheet

Fairtrade wines at a fair price

Fairtrade symbolThe Co-op’s own-label fairtrade wines are on offer this week. Which is good news if you like your wines to be both ethically-sourced and taste quaffably fruity. Because these South African wines are superb examples of what wines made from well-known grape varieties should taste like.

Read more: Fairtrade wines at a fair price

Autumn wines

sausages and mashWhat with falling leaves and falling temperatures you may have thought autumn had already started but it turns out Friday is its official start. Which 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.

Read more: Autumn wines

Piccini Memoro: a house red that thinks it's a port

Piccini Memoro labelYou could be mistaken for thinking that Piccini’s new red is a Portuguese tawny port: it looks like port, it smells like port and at 14% there’s almost enough alcohol in the wine to make it taste like a red wine ‘fortified’ with brandy to turn it into a port. But when the label claims it’s ‘reminiscent of port’ the game’s up - this rich unfortified red is in fact an Italian blend of four different grape varieties from four different regions of Italy.

Read more: Piccini Memoro: a house red that thinks it's a port

Tesco wines review

Tesco MetroTesco may be famous for its groceries but they also dibble and hoe: in 2007 they added Dobbies Garden Centres to their profitable enterprise. But unfortunately none of these sell grape vines. So instead of growing your own Tesco wine you’ll have to make do with buying their ready-made stuff in one of their 270 superstores. But do the 1400 wine lines deserve Tesco’s own label of ‘highly valued brands’?

Read more: Tesco wines review

Back to school for wine

school deskTerm is starting for the children, and in a few weeks time it’ll be the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.

Read more: Back to school for wine

Blackberry: It's a wine thing

blackberriesIf you ask someone if they’ve got the latest blackberry they’re more likely to spout on about communication technology rather than the new thornless hybrid suitable for freezing, jams and winemaking. But fruit-lovers needn’t fear, the common or garden bramble is still common and it can still be found in many gardens (intentionally or not). And if the thought of its tart and tannic flavours make you salivate then why not try a blackberry-tasting Merlot of Shiraz as well.

Read more: Blackberry: It's a wine thing

Wine and women on Twitter

Twitter huxelrebeTraditionally the first anniversary is marked by paper. But as Twitter is electronic, a 140 character message (or Tweet) will have to suffice. Because it’s been a year since @Huxelrebe joined the social networking community and tweeted daily wine tasting notes and her views on screwcaps versus corks. But Twitter is also about interacting with other wine enthusiasts and sharing ideas. But does the reality live up to the ideals?

Read more: Wine and women on Twitter