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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Jilly Goolden isn't infallible

BBC 2 logoPretending to be Jilly Goolden, of BBC2's long running Food and Drink programme, while swirling and sniffing the contents of each wine glass is half the fun of wine appreciation. But sometimes, I admit it, I need help identifying a wine’s aromas. Just because someone tells you they smell and taste wines for a living it doesn’t make their judgement infallible.

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Tesco barbecue reds of the week

Da Luca MerlotTo compete with the smoky tangs of barbecued food you need robustly-flavoured red wines. Match this weekend's burnt offerings to these four cherry and plum tasting blends from Tesco.

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I'm an expert, Tesco says so

I'm an expert, Tesco Wines by the Case says so. A Mature Times review of one of their special offer whites caught their eye. Shame they've posted it next to the wrong wine.

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