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.

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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.

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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’?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Aldi wines review

Aldi logoAldi – they’re German, they’re over here and they’re cheap. But are they great value? Well yes when it comes to wine. Of the 30 bottles of Aldi wines tasted for this column, 24 are right corkers and only 6 are complete duds. So which wines are best avoided and which taste great without leaving a hole in your pocket?

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Low weight picnic baskets need light-weight wines

Banrock Station tetrapakChoose lightly flavoured whites to match the subtle flavour of picnic cucumber sandwiches and more robustly-flavoured reds to help wash down the heartier flavours of Ginsters Cornish pasties. But with all that nosh packed away the picnic basket is going to be quite heavy enough, so it helps if the accompanying wine comes in light-weight packaging.

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Wine for chocolate cake

choc pudChocolate cakes come in many guises – dark chocolate sponges, white chocolate chip muffins and high-cocoa content cake topped with melted Mars Bars. But come the final cake count there will be two important questions to answer: “Which cake to slice first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

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White wines for slurping and sniffing

nose in glassTry sniffing and slurping these whites to see whether you like them.

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