wine glassesIf these weekly columns have inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then you'll need to get some kit together. Buy yourself some large wine glasses (cheap supermarket ones will do) for capturing any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting. And to help you keep track of all the wines you taste why not use my free wine tasting sheet.

There’s space to record the wine colour (red, white or rosé) as well as where you bought it and for how much. It’s also useful to keep a note of what the bottle label says so that if you like the wine you’ll have a good chance of finding exactly the same, or a similar type, again.

tasting sheetThe tasting sheet also has space to record the grape varieties used in the wine – these will be displayed on the label, unless it's French, when these will be hidden from you, because you shouldn't need to ask should you?

A white Burgundy will be made from Chardonnay grapes, a red Burgundy from Pinot Noir, and Bordeaux reds (or as we English like to call them, Clarets), will be a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Once you’ve written all that down you’ll finally pour the wine. Give it a sniff so you can make a note of its aroma and then sip and taste. There are no right or wrong words for the aroma and taste – write down whatever you think the wine smells and tastes of even if that's home-made custard or Persil washing up liquid.

Not sure what wines to get for the tasting? Then try these aroma-friendly and slurpable bargains.

PG Wine Reviews

Yellow TailSainsbury’s Taste the Difference Redbridge Creek Australian Chardonnay

£4.65 Sainsbury’s (down from £6.99 until January 21)

Aromas of Brazil nut husk and melon followed by flavours of creamy lemon and lime yoghurt.

Contevedo Cava Brut

£4.89 Aldi

Dry apple and peach flavoured sparkling.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Italian Marzemino

£6.49 Sainsbury’s

The aromas of cherry and almond follow you into the glass but then become less sweet with opening.

Grifone Italian Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

£7.49 Majestic

With the aroma of the inside of a box of spices, and the flavours of an assorted box of chocolates, this is makes an interesting wine to add to your tasting sheet.

Yealands Estate New Zealand Single Vineyard Riesling

£9.99 M&S

Flavours of lemon and lime soaked sponge cake.

Finca Manzanos Rioja 2012 Seleción de Victor

£11.99 M&S

The cinnamon and juniper flavours can be a bit insistent at first but they die down into morrello cherryness.

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

tape measureInevitably some of us will have put on weight over Christmas and, if like me, you not only cooked the food but ate it too then the waist-band button is probably straining a bit. One way of dealing with this post-Christmas excess is to reduce the daily intake of wine calories.

brussel sproutsTop Ten Must Have Wines For Christmas Day this week. Because, if you’re like me, then you’ve been concentrating on the nosh side of Christmas rather than what wine to match with the roast turkey, the cold turkey, the turkey curry, the mince pies, the puddings, the nuts...yes well. So here are ten wines ranging from £4.49 for a stonking value Greek red to a posh sherry tasting pack at £30.25. And what these wines have in common is that they’re all well worth the money.

champagne frothTop Eight Sparkling Wines of 2012 this week. Which is better situation than in 2012 when there was only enough decent bubbly around to make a top five list, while in 2011 there was such a dearth of the decent stuff that a top sparkling round-up couldn’t be justified. So things are a little better this year. But while we’ve had a Top Ten Whites and Top Ten Reds, and even a Top Ten Under Six Quid, there still wasn’t quite enough tasty fizz this year to make a top ten list. So you’ll have to make do with a top eight instead. And here they are.