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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Erraziriz

Last century saw major upheavals in the Chilean way of life, especially during the Allende and Pinochet regimes. There has, however, also been a quieter – but much more agreeable – revolution among its winemakers. Take, for instance, Eduardo Chadwick, president of the now familiar Vina Errazuriz family business. Despite his country’s troubles, he was determined …

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Seal of Approval

The red carpet has been rolled out and the trophies are waiting on the stage. All is now ready for this quarter’s Spectrum Seal of Approval awards. The theme this time is tempranillo – Spain’s most widely planted red grape variety – and, with one exception, flying solo rather than as part of a blend. …

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Sweet Wines

Despite – or, perhaps, because of – our parents’ generation’s love affair with sweetness, dessert wines attract depressingly little interest these days. Far from being passé and unsophisticated, however, they are brilliant partners to a sumptuous dessert or, as a contrast, to foie gras. Indeed, many restaurants now provide 125ml glasses of pudding wine to …

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Wine Info Sources

For something closely linked with pleasure, it is amazing just how much anxiety wine decisions can generate. Will I, for example, look (literally) a plonker in front of friends, guests or a sommelier? Relax, guys, if things are that intense you are probably in the wrong place – or with the wrong people! Nevertheless, acquiring …

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Seal of Approval

It’s time folks for more Spectrum Seal of Approval awards; my quarterly quest for High Street wines that punch significantly above their price point. My focus this time is the relatively small but keenly priced ranges of the UK’s premium discounters – Aldi and Lidl. Since both have wines that often win awards, let’s see …

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Warwick Estate

Although the basic 80 per cent of winemaking is undoubtedly science – art and artistry is, surely, the sherpa for the final ascent from good to great. Or so I thought – but I recently met a man who proved me wrong! Mike Ratcliffe, managing director of South Africa’s Warwick Estate, applies science to most …

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Portugal

Judging by the example set by its wine producers, it was no surprise to see Portugal shaking free from its international financial bailout last month. Admittedly, the Portuguese economic recovery remains work in progress but then so, too, is its wine industry. The momentum producers have already created, however, is astonishing. Not so many years …

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