Top Ten Shiraz of 2015

Da Luca redTop Ten Shiraz of 2015 this week with recommended wines starting at £4.80 and going up to £13.99. Again, as with last week's Top Ten Sauvignon Blancs, no one supermarket or High Street seller dominates – with excellent examples available from Asda, SPAR, Lidl, Majestic and others.

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Matching wine with chocolate cake

chocolate cakeChocolate 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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Majestic's own-label Definition range

Definition bottlesTwelve wines make up Majestic's new own-label Definition range – that's five whites (Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc), five reds (Claret, Côtes du Rhône, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Malbec), a rosé and a sparkling wine. Priced between £9.99 and £17.99 a bottle (with multi-buy offers bringing this down to £7.49 - £13.49) the range is designed to be “approachable to seasoned wine drinkers and intriguing to new wine lovers” - but are they tasty?

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Part II: Lidl Wine Cellar review

Lidl logoLast week I reviewed the more expensive wines (ranging from £14.99 down to £7.99) of Lidl's recent additions to its Wine Cellar range – and this week I promised a look at the £5.99 and £4.99 wines from this latest launch. All French and all pretty good as it turns out – but are they value for money?

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Part I: Lidl Wine Cellar review

Lidl logoLidl have added even more wines to their Wine Cellar range – 40 French wines ranging in price from £4.99 for a pale pink rosé, to £14.99 for a champagne and a red from a named Bordeaux chateau. Wines added earlier in the year to the same range hailed from all over the world and proved to be pretty good, and in one instance out right spectacular – but how will they taste this time?

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What to do at a wine class

classroomTerm 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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Bank Holiday beers

beer in glassIt’s going to be a settled and slightly breezy Bank Holiday according to The Met Office. So why not get out and enjoy the last of the vague summer warmth with a picnic? A picnic with a difference that is. Instead of sipping wine with your sandwiches, why not get in a couple of beers instead. There are a host of different beers out there and many make exciting choices for summer sarnies.

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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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