Life and Style

Considerable volumes of wishful thinking and even more hot air have been expended on the 'wonderful' 2012 Burgundy vintage, currently on offer. Sparing you the hyperbole and cutting to the chase, Burgundy 2012 is a good vintage in which a handful of great wines have been made by a few exceptional growers. It is not a rising tide that raises all boats in the mould of 2005 or 2010.

Gravesend man hangs himself after sickness benefits were cut

Victor Cuff had been drinking heavily before his death, inquest heard

Never mind government U-turns, the decision on plain packaging for cigarettes is the right one

Evidence from Australia indicates that uniform packs leave addicts likelier to consider kicking the habit

Couples that drink together, stay together

Couples where only one member drank heavily had a 50 per cent divorce rate; for couples where both drank heavily or neither did this rate fell to 30 per cent

Mice with the mutated gene got a bigger reward stimulus from the alcohol compared to ordinary mice

'Single fault' in one gene can lead to alcohol addiction in laboratory mice

Humans with similar variations in the same gene could also have increased risk of the disease

Diageo offers to sell Whyte & Mackay to dispel competition concerns

Diageo has offered to sell the bulk of the business with the exception of the Dalmore and Tamnavulin distilleries

The umpires and James Anderson have words following the Englishman's spat with Michael Clarke

Ashes 2013-14: Fear and loathing in Brisbane shows two teams split by acrimony

There is a clear and present danger that the Ashes series may descend into mayhem. The brutal and excellent fast bowling of Australia, led by Mitchell Johnson, has already given the series a physically intimidating dimension but evidence mounts that the teams have a fervent and mutual dislike.

Flying High: Israel Folau breaks away from Moray Low and fellow defenders to score his try

Scotland 15 Australia 21 match report: Israel Folau bursts Scotland bubble

Cooper puts Australia on the front foot from the start but the home side fight them all the way

On the agenda: Batkid; Rob Ford; Breaking Bad; All Saints reunion; Christmas gifts

Middle-class problems: Christmas presents

Woolf Hall: Emma Townshend finds a new book about the author's final home irresistible - and she's not the only one

So I'm standing next to a woman in Belgravia Books (it's much friendlier and less posh than it sounds, and a tippety-top-class independent bookseller, to boot), and she's clutching this book, Virginia Woolf's Garden, to her chest.

Anthony Rose: 'A little bit of sugar helps the medicine, whether tannin in red wine or acidity in white, go down'

I first heard of Apothic when the PR for the new California brand from Gallo asked me if I wanted a sample of a wine "fusing Old World intrigue with modern sophistication". It sounded too untrue to be good so I declined. I thought no more of it until, lo, two days later it turned up all sweet and chocolatey at Tesco's press tasting. Yum, I hear you say. Perhaps. The wine trade refers to this kind of wine as an 'entry wine', in other words, designed to appeal to newcomers to wine in the same way as, say, moscato or gewürztraminer.

Calderwood in 2010; his latest hotel has just opened in Shoreditch

Alex Calderwood: Hotelier and self-styled ‘cultural engineer’ who gave his Ace chain a distinctively unconventional and offbeat style

Alex Calderwood was the co-founder of the Ace Hotel chain, which had just opened its latest venture only six weeks ago in Shoreditch, London. His body was found in one of the rooms of that hotel; the exact cause of his death is still to be determined.

Cans of lager on supermarket shelf

Pint, pint, pint, fight: How we can help Britain's problem drinkers

Our Demos research looks at three defining areas

The Policing Minister, Damien Green, has been told numbers of banning orders have fallen

Exclusive: Police warn of problems controlling hooliganism

Fewer officers mean banning orders are harder to enforce

Despite a third of 11-15-year olds admitting to having obtained alcohol in the last month in a recent poll, prosecutions of adults buying it for them are at a quarter of the level they were in 2008

Prosecutions for under-age alcohol sales fall to quarter of 2008 level

... even though third of 11-15-year olds have been getting hold of booze

Glencore claims long, boozy City lunches are no more

It's a tradition that has thrived in London's financial districts since Hogarth wielded his brush: the four-bottle business lunch.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future