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,, £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, David Williams of The Observer and Jane Parkinson of

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

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

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

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959


Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part

...and the perfect time to visit them

Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week