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.

The help desk: 'I'm a single mother in my forties and I dread any social event'

Q. I'm a single mother in my forties and I think I've begun to develop some kind of social phobia. People think of me as quite a confident person. I'm fine dealing with people in my work and at the school gate (I have two sons aged 11 and 14), but I dread any social event.

What would happen if I jumped in a pool full of alcohol?

You would find it much harder than usual to swim and might drown in an unusually horrible way, for two reasons:

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

Anthony Rose: 'Rumours of the death of the high-street chain may be a tad exaggerated'

Only ghouls and Majestic Wine could have watched the car crashes of the Oddbins and Wine Rack chains with any satisfaction. Poor judgment by Oddbins' previous owner and asset-stripping by Wine Rack's venture capitalists left a disorderly trail of lost jobs, empty-handed customers and second-hand bottle shops in its wake. Their demise left a vacuum in the high street only partly filled by Majestic, Bargain Booze and independents.

The conversation: Former England cricketer Ian Botham gets down to (beefy) business and assesses our chances at The Ashes

You're working with Beefeater at the moment as their 'Boss of Beef'. What does that involve?

Tesco blow as discount on six wine bottles ends

Wine shoppers at Tesco have been angered by the supermarket's decision last month to suddenly scrap a long-standing discount deal when you buy six bottles. The supermarket chain gave anyone who bought half-a-dozen bottles of wine 5 per cent off the cost.

Video: The world's longest ever basketball shot

A number of other records were broken yesterday

Paranoid schizophrenic Lloyd Drew at home with his father, Ray

The schizophrenia stereotype scares the sufferer too

David Nath explains why he hopes his ‘Bedlam’ TV series will help change ingrained attitudes to psychotic illness

<b>8. Lindt</b> Everyone loves Lindt and this includes 24 of their most iconic festive novelties, including mini Santas, mini reindeers and those melt-in-the-mouth Lindor balls. Children, be warned - you might need to hide it from the adults.
£5.29 www.lindt-shop.co.uk

The 10 Best advent calendars

The most delicious chocolate treats help make waiting for Christmas so much more enjoyable for children and adults alike

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych

Ukraine's planned release of political prisoner Yulia Tymoshenko and trade agreement with EU hindered by Russia’s chocolate strategy

Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine were expected to sign historic agreements in Lithuania later this month as a first step to eventual EU membership - but Russian tactics may put a stop to this

What it’s really like to tell people you have schizophrenia

Some people have been hounded out of jobs, or sacked on the spot when their employers found about their illness

Wines of the week: Rioja Vega Crianza 2009/10; Côtes du Luberon Rouge 2011; F'Oz Alentejo Red 2011

Terry Kirby selects the best bottles to buy

Sorrows to drown: This year’s vintage is likely to be one of the most disappointing ever

One poor year isn't the end of wine investment

Despite the worst harvest in a generation, there's still lots of money to be made in this liquid investment, says Julian Knight

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project