race horseBy 5pm this Saturday we'll know which of the entered one hundred and fifteen racehorses has won their owner just over half a million pound prize money of the Aintree Grand National. If you're looking to place a last minute bet don't look to me for any racing certainties. My first and only loose-change bet on horses net me the princely sum of minus two pounds. But should your stake prove to be a winner, how do you celebrate? Well it's got to start with the opening of a bottle of bubbly.

champagne frothIf you insist on champagne as the sparkling wine of choice don't despair if your winnings amount to less than the usual twenty five pounds and upwards most supermarkets and off-licences charge for a bottle of this French fizz. Aldi’s Champagne Veuve Monsigny Brut (£12.99) knocks spots off the supposedly posher stuff selling at double the price and you may wish you'd won more when you taste its apple and lemon sherbet flavours.

Winnings of under a tenner needn't dampen down the sparkle. Cava, Spain's answer to champagne, sells for around £5 to £15 a bottle. A fiver will get you a bottle of very acceptable lemon and coconut tasting Co-op Cava Brut and if you can spare £12 then try the toasty peach flavours of Codorniu's Cava Selección Raventos available at Majestic (buy two bottles and the price comes down to £7.99 a bottle).

I don't suppose you've got any racing tips you want to pass on?

PG Wine Reviews

Reserva RaventosCo-op Cava Brut

£5.49 Co-op

Lemon and coconut.

Codorniu's Cava Selección Raventos

£11.99 Majestic

Toasty peachy flavours.

Champagne Veuve Monsigny Brut

£12.99 Aldi

Simple apple sherbet and lime flavours. Lightly fizzy.

Marquis Belrive Brut Champagne

£25.49 Spar

This consistently classically nutty tasting champagne hits the spot every time. Enjoy white bread and lemon curd flavours.

Cloudy Bay New Zealand Pelorus Brut

£26.99 Majestic (buy 2+ bottles for £17.98 each)

A very dry ‘brut’ which makes it a bit too sharp and crisp to drink on its own. So match the woody freshness and fresh bread flavours to your salmon sandwiches.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk

red wine dressIf you find you don't always drink the last drop out of each bottle and you're pretty nimble with a needle and thread then you might fancy having a go at making a dress out of wine. What you’ll need is the equivalent of twelve full bottles of cheap Australian red wine and patience. Two weeks and a vat of red wine vinegar later, you’ll have enough Mother of Vinegar ‘material’ to make a mini-dress.

watering cansIf the continuing sunshine has persuaded you to have a go at planting your own grape vine then you'll pleased to hear an Australian study has found a way for you to not only beat this summer's inevitable hosepipe ban (it’s bound to happen despite all those winter floods) and save money on your water bills too: filtered wastewater saved in a water butt is healthier for vines than mains water straight from the garden tap.

pancakesAs you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes tomorrow will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea? Wine isn’t the natural partner of choice for the traditional Shrove Tuesday meal because lemon and the necessary lashings of sugar will almost stop the taste buds registering anything – unless the wine is even sweeter or more acidic than each of the pancake toppings. So what wine, if any, matches these criteria?