Life and Style

Burgundy is on a roll, bordeaux a roller-coaster. In 2013, bordeaux failed to deliver a good enough vintage to make it worth buying early.

Government spends £18,000 topping up wine cellar

Almost £18,000 has been spent topping up the Government wine cellar since the General Election, it has emerged - leading to calls today that the entire collection should be sold off to raise money.

Anthony Rose: 'The history of supermarkets selling fine wines is littered with bottles left unloved on the shelf

Just as the tasting of the Bordeaux 2009 vintage switched to sales mode a couple of weeks back, Tesco was announcing the launch of a new Fine Wine range on tesco.com. This has nothing to do with Tesco's Finest range which, despite the name, is simply a clever way of marketing everyday wines. According to Tesco itself, it was to do with the return of consumer confidence, although it was notable that it coincided with Waitrose and Majestic's Bordeaux 2009 opening offers.

Traveller's guide: The Dordogne and the Lot

In the third of our six-part series produced in association with Footprint Travel Guides, Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls explore this tranquil region of south-west France

Anthony Rose: 'The silver lining of Bordeaux 2009 is the plethora of wines soon to be offered in the £10-£25 range'

Hyperbole is such a natural accomplice to each new Bordeaux vintage that the "vintage of the century" cliché is now routinely trotted out at the slightest sign that the new claret might at least be drinkable. The problem with crying wolf is that when a once-in-a-lifetime vintage does come along, how do you sort the hype from the reality and recognise its quality?

Claret with horse power: How one top French vineyard went 'green'

The vineyard favours animals in place of tractors, and nature instead of chemicals.

Hit the bottle for an alternative investment

Although the fine wine sector was affected by the economic downturn, there are profits to be made if you're willing to risk it. Chiara Cavaglieri reports

Travel Agenda: International Science Festival; Open Doors in Bordeaux; Cities exhibition

Today: Head to Edinburgh for the start of the International Science Festival. Highlights include a photo exhibition of animals in their natural habitat with a talk from photographer Steve Bloom, and a Bang Goes the Theory roadshow; to 17 April (sciencefestival.co.uk).

Size really matters: Why matching the wine glass to the grape is crucial

Kate Hilpern has her tastebuds taken by surprise

Traveller's Guide To: Wine journeys in Aquitaine

To get the full flavour of Aquitaine, explore the region’s vineyards – a chance to see the sites and pick up a few bottles along the way

Aquitaine events

* Set more or less at the meeting point of northern and southern Europe, Aquitaine’s variety of landscapes – from mountains to lush river valleys and an extensive coast – enjoy a particularly kind climate. All of which means there are celebrations based around food, culture and sport throughout the year. Head south to pretty Bayonne during Easter for the Bayonne Ham Fair (1-4 April; bayonne-tourisme.com ; free), when the marketplace by the River Nive (pictured) becomes festooned with some of France’s best pork products, preserved with the highly prized local salt. Inland in northern Aquitaine, the town of Nontron stages a most eccentric fete on 18 April. Le Carnaval des Soufflets ( soufflaculs.net ; free) is a festival of bellows, for which townsfolk dress in nightshirts and parade the main street blowing bellows at each other and into the air while singing nonsensical songs in Occitan. The tradition dates back to medieval days and symbolises purification and the explusion of bad spirits.

48 hours in Bordeaux

Exceptional wine, dramatic architecture and cultural treasures await you in this sublime riverside city

A road to the past in a dazzling region of France

Simon Calder embarks on a journey through space and time, from pre-history to the 20th century

A glass half full – or half empty?

The châteaux of Bordeaux believe their 2009 vintages could be the best in living memory. But can that save the ailing wine industry? John Lichfield tastes the evidence

Châteaux splash out – on their own wine

French scramble to prop up prices as the world's biggest trader sells stock

The wine-lover's dream – in the suburbs of Paris

The hills around the French capital were once famed for their vintages. Now one small vineyard which has survived the urban sprawl is in need of an expert to run it
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform