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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That smell of damp dog

dog asleepOpening a bottle of wine and then drinking its contents should be an enjoyable experience. But if instead of inviting fruity aromas wafting out of the bottle you're met with a disgusting smell of wet woollen blanket or damp dog then the wine is not fit to drink and is said to be 'corked'.

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Over 70s to drink tea and wine

tea in cupWine, dark chocolate and tea improve thinking and memory skills in men and women aged over 70. A study conducted by researchers from the universities of Oxford and Oslo found that a combination of wine, dark chocolate, and tea, consumed in moderate amounts, enhanced cognitive performance in the elderly. All three food stuffs contain relatively high levels of flavonoids.

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Lidl's Wine Cellar: new Summer Collection

Lidl logoLidl have added 40 new wines to their posh Wine Cellar range. All hail from from our European partners – with wines from France, Italy, Germany. Spain and Hungary – and all priced to appeal to the average-spending consumer with the majority of the new arrivals retailing at £5.49, £5.79 and £5.99. And all tasted appealing too – with the exception of one which get's the Paula warning klaxon.

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Don't put champagne on the label

Cava neck labelUnless champagne's marketing men disappear, their sparkling wine will always be the first choice for celebrations. But many countries get their wines to sparkle using the same techniques as those of champagne. But they can't say so on the label.

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