Fortified Wine - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent

Keep it on ice: Mark Hix reveals his delicious freezer essentials

Great ingredients such as prawns, globe artichokes and tomato sauce can all be kept in your freezer, ready to be deployed at the drop of a hat for a delicious tasting dish. You can even have a vodka shot on hand, too

Clermont Auvergne 16 Munster 10 match report: Paul O'Connell's grit drives brave Munster close

Clermont survive late Irish fightback to reach Heineken Cup final as province fall just short

Wines of the week: Terry Kirby selects the best bottles for Easter Day

Easter Day wines can be a problem if you neglected to buy in advance – large stores are closed, leaving just smaller supermarkets and independent dealers. But don't despair – here are three bottles you might, with a little perseverance, track down today for a family meal…

Terence Blacker: Time to put email, Twitter and texts in their place

The landline telephone rings only occasionally these days and, when it does, it often brings a call-centre hustle of some kind. Yet every day passes in a blur of staccato communication with the outside world: can you do this? Have you seen that? Nudge, link, like, follow. The rhythm of online correspondence provides an easy sort of company, and can sometimes – not always – make life more convenient, but there is a price to be paid. We are losing the art of conversation.

Sherry Cracker Gets Normal, By DJ Connell

Sherry Cracker, the far from normal heroine of Connell's second novel, is a loner, obsessive note-taker and lover of tartan trousers. She works for Mr Chin, who runs a business buying used gold from dentists.

Anthony Rose: 'As with Marmite, there are some wines you either loathe or cherish'

The Marmite ad doesn't pretend that everyone has to like the sticky brown stuff. It's OK that some of us – such as myself, for instance – love it, while others find it loathsome. Wine tends not to divide opinions but achieve a common consensus based on reliability and quality. Indeed, products like non-vintage champagne flaunt their consistency of style to reach a broad common denominator of taste.

Anthony Rose: 'Richard Bigg, owner of Camino, described sherry as ‘the best-value wine on the planet'

On a biting cold night when a thick blanket of snow lay on the ground, I went on a tapas-bar crawl as a guest of the Tortilla Club, a group of Spanish food and wine aficionados. Starting off at Fino, my first surprise was at how many tapas bars there are in London's Charlotte Street area. My next surprise was how much I found myself enjoying sherry with just about everything consumed that night. I enjoy fino and manzanilla as refreshing summery aperitifs, but their warm full-body and appetisingly tangy flavours made them good winter drinks too.

The Sketch: Fiddling, flipping and filching: what's a decent chap to do?

They couldn't get Lord Ashcroft to come in so they took it out on Hayden Phillips.

Cocktail: Sbagliato

This light, refreshing yet bitter drink is a wonderfully grown-up cocktail. You might also want to have some peach purée on hand. This way by stirring 1 part peach purée with 3 parts prosecco one makes the delightfully delicate and fruity Bellini.

The King's Jewels

Serves 4

The ten best sherries

Forget mojitos - sherry is back in vogue

Wine: A question of taste

Isn't it strange how certain styles of wine keep returning? Just as flared trousers and mutton have regained popularity, so too a number of the wine styles we consigned to history have started to make a comeback. Among the worst offenders were German riesling, sherry and beaujolais, which had all sold their good names down the river.

Album: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive (Vagrant)

The Hold Steady, for the inattentive, are a Brooklyn quintet whose sound fuses Eighties hardcore with bar-room blues: imagine Hüsker Dü meets the E Street Band. Their USP is that their major players were already well into their thirties when the band formed, and are now staring down the barrel of 40.

Port maker hopes to tickle women pink

Port, the after-dinner tipple of choice for the gout-suffering classes, is attempting to shake off its stuffy image with a new pink version aimed at elusive female drinkers.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
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