It's Pimm's but not as we know it

Pimms and jugJames Pimm, owner of an oyster bar in Victorian London, designed his Original drink to wash down the oysters. This house blend, known as a ‘cup’, included ingredients common to many bars or pubs - gin, soda, lemon, sugar, quinine and spices. What these ‘spices’ actually are is still a trade secret, supposedly known to only six people, but probably includes Seville (bitter) orange peel, cloves and cinnamon; giving Pimm’s Original Cup a taste of orange, Madiera cake and milk chocolate.

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Pink-hued and pretty tasty

3 bottlesChilled 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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Red wine reduced to ashes

Barbecue manBarbecues and delicate wines don't go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine that tastes of berry fruit and chocolate. So what's needed are robustly-flavoured reds.

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Barbecues need white wine

Barbecue man and women lookingBarbecued 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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Here comes summer (hopefully)

the sunSummer is now officially here and with it the hope of sultry days and the need for a cooling drink. So now’s the time to choose chilled whites as these make a good choice for wine lovers looking for refreshment.

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Women stay slim on wine

woman drinking wineFinally scientists have finally found something to celebrate about the female condition. It seems women who drink wine put on fewer pounds than teetotallers of the same sex. So you can tuck into a couple of glasses of wine every night and still stay slim. There are a couple of provisos: limiting yourself to drinking two glasses a night and those glasses should contain red wine.

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Lidl new summer wine selection review

Lidl logoLaunched into store at the end of last week, Lidl's 40 new additions to its Wine Cellar range make tasty and affordable accompaniments to any meal. Ranging in price from £4.79 to £16.99 these new wines hail from the well-known wine regions of Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, Italy and Chile but boast some lesser-known grape varieties. But how good are they? I tasted eight of the new range, all priced under £8.99, and the results varied from the out right spectacular to the alright.

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What is champagne?

bread slicesChampagne is often described as smelling and tasting like a freshly risen loaf. That's because a double dose of yeast is added to give this famous wine its fizz and in doing so leaves a trace of its creamy flavours behind: méthode champenoise turns a very dry French white wine into a sweeter and more expensive sparkling version.

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Wine quiz

WritingYou've read the columns, bought the bottles and drunk the wine. But how much do you really know about wine? A lot? A little? Dunno? Then why not find out with this ten question wine quiz. The answers are at the bottom of the page – so no peeking until you've at least had go or passed this quiz along to someone else. Here we go:

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Corner shop wine

Wine aisleThere's no wine in the house and with only ten minutes to go before the food is ready what can you do? Buying the meal-matching wine from the local village shop or corner convenience store is the best strategy when time is limited.

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