Majestic February offers

The Majestic Spring Promotions are now under way. To underline their commitment to less expensive wines, it contains a reasonable selection of wines around £5 or £6. Here, then, are some highlights from the promotion across a range of price points. Unless my notes say so the quoted prices apply when you buy two or …

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Burns Night Whisky

Even allowing for taste buds de-sensitised by the higher alcohol levels, it is obvious that some of the whiskies destined for next Saturday’s Burn Night celebrations match haggis better than others. Most successful alliances seem to avoid excessive smokiness or dominance but do contain elements of spice and sweetness – often courtesy of ex-sherry casks. …

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Fairtrade

Amazingly, it is now ten year since the Co-operative started its current Fairtrade wine range – and total sales figures for that period now top the 35 million bottle mark. The company are the indisputable leaders in the field retailing more Fairtrade wine than all the other UK participants in the scheme put together. Although …

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Wood Finishes

Part of the magic of whisky comes from the sheer length of time it takes to mature. Decades can pass as the cask and its content work through that complex two-way process that mellows the harshest of the spirit components while, simultaneously, introducing colour and a range of flavours. Most barrels used for aging whisky …

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Aitken

DUNDEE is changing. Gone are the days of jute, jam and journalism and instead we find the “City of Discovery”, centred around computer games, medical research and a regenerated waterfront. Since Victorian times however the pain of any such changes has been greatly soothed by the wines and whiskies of the City’s own Aitken Wines.  …

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Budget Wines

After the inevitable extravagances of Christmas, comes the reckoning – often in the form of the January Visa bill. That, however, need not mean embracing an austere, bleak life-style that forswears wine for ever. Take a look instead at the “financial emergency” six pack I have assembled here. All are decent wines, cost less than …

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Champany

Everyone from (allegedly) the First Minister down knows how fantastic Linlithgow’s Champany Inn steaks are. Fewer people, however, know about Champany Cellars – the Inn’s on-site retail shop. Nevertheless, many happy diners from the restaurant – or the less formal Chop House – already clank home with a half-case “carry out” to help them re-create …

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Sausages

From France’s Toulouse to the Lorne square slice, each country has its own variation on the humble banger – and television cookery programmes have put many of them centre stage. Spanish chorizo graces dozens of recipes, while black pudding has steadily climbed up the gastronomic hierarchy since its days as a breakfast makeweight. So, with …

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Levin & Misha

The days of a “job for life” have gone. However, individuals and traditional crafts often both benefit from the positive effects career switching can bring. Here, then, is a story about folk who have done just that – on opposite sides of the planet – successfully blending life experience with a deep respect for nature …

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Harvest

Hard to credit I know but the 2014 southern hemisphere grape harvest is now just weeks away – and could even begin this month in parts of New Zealand. Heidi Seifried from her family’s winery there reports on a “sensational start to summer in November and early December” with the wind quickly drying up any …

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