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.

My Round: Break for the Bordeaux

Unlike our newly crowned Bar Writer of the Year, the latest claret is not an award winner. But it's still a hot-blooded full-bodied treat

A nice battle of Bordeaux

Producers say critic Robert Parker - who can make or break a vintage - just doesn't understand claret. Is it a case of sour grapes?

Wines Of The Week

Food & Drink: Shiraz or syrah - the next big thing?

In the third and final part of our guide to Christmas wines, the spotlight is turned on New World reds.

Captain Moonlight: Glad to be your image consultant, Ma'am

AHOY! Come alongside and walk this way, why don't you? Because today, drawing on the Captain's early experience as a floor walker at Gamages, I am, respectfully, going to offer some discreet advice to HM The Queen, whose current dress sense, and, in particular, a very lively little number last week, is, I read, giving rise to some concern: 1) Check that wardrobe in the seventy-second bedroom at the back, third floor, the white MFI one with vanity panel, to see if your Mum left anything behind. She has quite an eye for a frock, you know. 2) Posh Spice, Your Majesty, shops at a splendid little place called Tarts in Waltham Cross, where you can pick up one of those handkerchief top efforts for as much as pounds 22.50. 4) And the Duke could wear it on his head when you're not using it. 5) I often liven up an old outfit by putting it in the washing machine at max temp with one of my replica footie shirts. But it looks as if you're wise to that. 6) Do you knit? We're only on dishcloths here so far, but there is talk of a pants suit. 7) Accoutrements can also - subtly! - liven up an "old number"; which is why I have sent you one of my exclusive black and silver enamel effect Moonlight Badges. Your servant, Maam! Next!

FOOD & DRINK: Bordeaux and burgundy for a traditional Christmas

On Wine: Start planning your festive drinking with our three-part guide to great-value wines

Top Table: Casaurina, Hunter Valley, Australia

Location

Letter: Bordeaux `plonk'

Sir: The blind tasting of clarets that you report does not support the conclusion drawn by some participants that reds from Australia and South America would be "much better". It appears that no wines from these countries were tasted blind along with the 39 clarets, and so the comparison seems to depend upon the mere memories of those making it.

Claret, favourite tipple of Britain's drinking class, condemned as plonk Experts condemn favourite wine of drinking classes as cheap plonk Drinking classes reel after experts condemn clarets as cheap plonk

IT HAS lasted hundreds of years and held the upper classes of England under its spell - but has the great claret myth finally been punctured?

Drinking: A day in wine world

ON BOTH the occasions I have met Tony Hodges, he has quoted an alarming statistic: 70 per cent of customers leaving Sainsbury's with a bottle of wine do not know what grapes it is made of. This is sobering news for wine writers. For Hodges, it is a cause for cautious celebration: he aims to make a packet by educating the parts of the population that wine writers do not reach.

Drink: Corney, but original

The wine bar's tired, Eighties image has finally been given a makeover ... by a company that's been around for 200 years

The complete guide to wine holidays

There are as many different tours for wine-lovers as there are wines from different parts of the world. Whether you're an oenophile who can spit on a sixpence, or a "I don't know much about wine but I know what I like" type, there will be a holiday out there just right for your taste - and your pocket.

A short break in: Bordeaux

Dominic Hamilton discovers a city in south-west France with grand architecture, great museums and gourmet restaurants - and the wine's not bad either
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

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So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect