Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wine

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wine

Article excerpt

Byline: By Helen Savage

The best way to discover which wines you like, and why, is to try as many different ones as you can.

Wine-tastings are a golden opportunity but the idea can seem daunting and stuffy (though not, I hope, the ones I run). Avoid the angst by doing it yourself ( all you need is half a dozen bottles of wine, glasses and friends. Spread the cost among you for a cheap night.

If you feel you need more help to get going, The Waiter's Friend Company has put together a cunning wine-tasting kit in the form of The Tasting Game. All you'll need in addition is wine, glasses and friends.

The game box has lots of good advice, a spittoon (great fun!), bags for each bottle to make sure you can't see what it is (`blind tasting'), invaluable little `drop stops' which do exactly as they say, score cards and so on. You can find it at www.winegiftcentre.com or drinkstuff.com and it'll cost around pounds 29.95.

If you're not sure which wines to buy, why not try some I recommend here? You'll then see how well my descriptions match your sense of taste and smell (everyone's a bit different). This week I've tried some of the special offers at the Co-op, which also offers 15 holidays to Australia to be won by filling in the neck tag on selected wines. Aussie wines, unlike its cricket team, thank goodness, keep getting better.

Oxford Landing, made by Yalumba, is justifiably one of the best-selling and keenest-value Australian brands. Its 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (reduced to a mere pounds 3.49) is very good but a different style of dry white from the pungent, nervy Sauvignons of New Zealand. Fragrant, clean and light, it has a smell and taste of ripe citrus fruits, passion fruit and spicy peach.

Lindemans is another of the great Antipodean wine names, with a proud history and a real commitment to quality. …

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