Anthony Rose: 'There is nothing like a Bonfire Night sparkler to get you in the mood for, er, a sparkler'

 

Bonfire Night might make members of the House fidget in their seats, but the idea of blowing up Parliament brings a little anarchic glee into our lives. There's nothing like a sparkler to get you in the mood for, er, sparklers, and if you don't want to push the boat out too far for Guy Fawkes, Marks & Spencer's Sparkling Burgundy NV, £11.99, will give you a biscuity, weighty fizz at an affordable price. Add a dash of Sainsbury's quintessence of cassis-like Taste the Difference Blackcurrant Liqueur, £8.99, 20cl, either to that or your favourite cheap cava, and there you have your very own grown-up Kir Royale.

For explosive luxury at a less than incendiary price, one of the top-value supermarket champagnes on the market is Asda's gold-medal winning 2002 Extra Special Vintage Champagne, £20.17, a nine-year-old blend with a briochey, toasty mousse of bubbles and a silky creaminess. If, before lighting the fire under the Guy, you like the idea of playing the patriotic card, you might give Sainsbury's 2007 Taste the Difference English Sparkling Brut, £19.99, a whirl for its vinosity and tangy Anglo-Saxon freshness. Or if you haven't already discovered this guy, the 2009 Ridgeview Merret Bloomsbury from Sussex, £21.99, Waitrose, is a proudly stylish English blend with a rich, champagne-like mousse of bubbles and a lick of acidity.

Bonfire Night food (see Mark Hix's recipes on page 50) requires reds with autumnal warmth and spice, such as the dark-fruited, spice-scented southern French 2009 Domaine des Crès Ricards 'Alexaume' from Mont Baudile, £9.99, buy 2 = £7.99, Majestic. A notch up in power, Sainsbury's 2008 Taste the Difference Priorat, £9.99, delivers strawberry-jam fruit and grippy tannins all balanced by high-altitude, cool-climate crispness. If a red ever summed up autumn bonfires, the 2001 Rioja Reserva Especial 2001, Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta, £22, buy 2 = £17, Majestic, is it – a traditional rioja whose succulent, strawberryish fruit plays second-fiddle to the complex, smoky characters of maturity. Ratcheting the heat-factor up a notch, the 2008 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition, Domaine Giraud, £26.75, Lea & Sandeman (020-7244 0522), brings young Rhône's typically muscle-bound spicy, juicy plum and raspberry fruit and peppery opulence.

Coming in from the cold, an electric blanket of sherry or port is what you need. Gonzalez Byass' Apostoles 30-Year-Old Palo Cortado, around £15.99, half-bottle, Waitrose, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440), is just such a fortified – and fortifying – aged sherry, smoky caramel and coffee blending with a mild sweetness of dried apricot fruit and a nutty aftertaste. Also rich and warming yet elegantly dry, Sainsbury's bronze-hued Taste the Difference 12-Year-Old Oloroso, £7.99, in half-litre, displays toffeeish dried fruits and grilled nut and caramel complexity. As for port, there's warmth, sweetness and spice in abundance in Marks & Spencer's 2005 Late Bottled Vintage Port, £9.99, down from £12.99, a youthful port with a spicy aromatic quality, juicy dark-berry-fruit richness and concentrated treacle-toffee flavours.

Tawny devotees will warm to Ramos Pinto's fabulous 10-Year-Old Tawny Quinta de Ervamoira, £18.50, half-litre, Fortnums, slurp.co.uk, £32.95, bottle, Roberson (020-7371 2121), a complex port rich in liquid walnuts with an intensely nutty aftertaste. Light the blue touch paper...

The Wine Gang Christmas Fair 2011 ticket giveaway

The Wine Gang is five of the UK’s most respected wine critics: Anthony Rose of The Independent, Joanna Simon of House & Garden, Tom Cannavan of wine-pages.com, David Williams of The Observer and Jane Parkinson of janeparkinson.com.

For the third year running, they have put together an incredible all-day festival of wine in Edinburgh where you can taste from 300 wines priced £6 to £80, take part in a fun and a free wine walk conducted by the Gang, and meet and learn from our tutored masterclasses on Chablis, Chile, Portugal and Argentina.

This is Britain’s brightest, best and most relaxed wine event and is a fabulous chance to plan your wine drinking for Christmas and beyond. Many of the exhibitors at the fair will be offering exclusive discounts on the day, too.

We have three pairs of tickets to the event, including a masterclass of your choice (subject to availability) to give away (each of the three prize packages is worth £70). Please write to indy@thewinegang.com.

The Wine Gang Christmas Fair 2011, The Merchants Hall, Edinburgh; Sat 12 Nov; £20, early bird £15, optional tickets for each masterclass £15; ticketSOUP.com; 0844 481 8898.

The closing date for this offer is midnight, Friday November 4th 2011.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering