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.

News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Sport
footballLive: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee