What wine for Chinese food?

Chinese bowl and chopsticksChopsticks leave me fumbling, but that doesn't stop me devouring Chinese food at least once a week. Unfortunately cooking my own stir fries has become a bit of problem since moving house: lack of mains gas means all my cooking must be done on an electric hob and my round bottomed wok just doesn't work well on that.

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ASADO: wine that looks like beer

ASADOIt looks like four bottles of beer neatly packaged in a cardboard carrying container, it opens like beer with the traditional crimped-on metal cap, and you finally pour the contents from long-necked 250ml brown glass bottles – into what? A wine glass. Because this four-pack is in fact Argentinean Malbec – on the shelves at Morrisons for £10. Ready to try it yet?

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Paxman might want to join the over-50s wine drinkers

peopleFeel aggrieved, feel very aggrieved. Up until now, the over 50s wine drinker has been more or less ignored by the wine industry as you’ve been perceived as neither an exciting or valuable market segment. However demographic changes are forcing a wholesale change in attitudes.

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What can surveys tell us?

red grapesSurveys issued as press releases must always be treated with caution. So when a new one arrived in my inbox I got straight back on to the Co-op, who wanted to impress on me that we are now a nation of wine buffs, and asked “So just how many people did you ask in this survey then?”. The answer was a bit of a surprise, 2000 (which is quite a lot when you realise that many so called surveys are based on a handful of people, who are often within sitting distance of the person who sent it). And it also turns out they're not just Co-op shoppers either, they were honest to goodness 'the general public'. So there's a good chance these survey results can actually tell us something useful about our nation's wine habits.

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Rosés grow on you

rose wineChilled rosés are light, but still flavourful, and are ideal for sipping on a hot day. That's why more rosé wines are sold during the summer than at any other time of the year. So you'd think picking up a reasonably priced and tasty bottle of rosé would be easy. Not so. Of the bottles tasted for this column, less than half came up to scratch.

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Wine tastings at a barbecue

Man at barbecueBarbecued red meat and robustly-flavoured red wines are well matched. But where are we white wine drinkers in this mass of red? The lighter tasting flavours of white wines go well with barbecued fish, chicken, vegetable kebabs and salads. These foods will often have picked up a smoke-laced tang and so need wines made with more fruity-flavoured white grape varieties for a better match. Gooseberry tasting Sauvignon Blanc and the honey tones of a Colombard go well.

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Wine fountains

PininterestSome empty wine bottles are just too pretty to throw into the recycling bin and never seen again. Perhaps the answer lies in creating a wine bottle fountain. Some DIY skills, a bit of tubing, a fountain pump and a set of tile and glass drill bits (Wickes set of 3 £5.99), plus an electric drill, will allow you to create your own masterpiece for your garden or patio. You think I'm kidding? Then check out Pinterest for a 1000+ ideas and images of wine bottle fountains.

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Red vino for barbecued burgers

barbecuingBarbecues and subtle, delicate wines do not go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine with dark fruit and chocolate notes, so forget about whites and rosés – think instead of robustly-flavoured reds.

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Co-op's hidden gems

Coop new logoUSP, or Unique Selling Point, is what every marketing department of every High Street retailer wants us to think of when their brand name comes to mind. With the Co-op it’s that there’s one of their food stores in every one of the UK’s postal areas. But with many of these stuck in out of the way shopping arcades and often too small to do the entire weekly shop in you may wonder what reason there is for seeking them out. Because their wine range is so fab. Think of them more of a brilliant off-licence with a convenience store stuck on the side.

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Wineboxes and bagnums

Asda bagnumIf you really like a certain wine, rather than buying it in single cork-stoppered bottles why not get in larger three or four bottle-sized amounts available in boxes?

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