It's a gift.

Being married to Mr Christmas (not his real name, obviously) means the tree is up and the Christmas playlist is on repeat. Has been since Sunday. It also means that we've made a start on the presents which, given that there are three children, twelve nieces and nephews and a number of godchildren to think about, requires a certain amount of planning. There is a spreadsheet. You may will laugh, but without my spreadsheet, I'd get present-tense. Someone did ask me today for a great wine book recommendation and happily, it's a no-brainer. This one, The World Atlas of Wine, written by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. Now on its 7th edition, it's stuffed full of maps and information on wine-making regions. A proper reference book and a real favourite of mine. Widely available, including here for under £20.

I've written about wine accessories before but there's one other gift that I do rather love. A lady called Lidi emailed recently to ask if I had any corks she could have, to make pin boards. Given that we've run out of space on the fridge for letters about nativity plays/concerts/calls for mince pies from school, I'm putting one on my wish list. Lidi has kindly offered one as a prize here, worth £30! Usual thing - leave your name here and someone* will pick a winner out of a hat next week.
Current white in the fridge: Domäne Wachau 'Terraces' Grüner Veltliner 2012, £9.99, Waitrose
Having tasted my way through a gorgeous line up of Austrian whites made from the Gruner Veltliner grape at the International Wine Challenge last week, it reminded me go and buy this one again. Peachy, with a sprinkling of spice, I tell you. And the steep slopes on the banks of the Danube is the place to get really good Gruner. Well, Waitrose in this case, but you know what I mean. One for roast chicken. 

Current red in the rack: Chianti Classico Riserva 2009, £8.99, Aldi
One of the wines in Aldi's Exquisite Collection range, it's lovely. Happily drinkable with bright cherry fruit flavours so typical of the Sangiovese-dominated wines of Chianti. The name Classico on the label tells us that it's from the better quality-rated subregion and the word Riserva tells us it's been aged for at least a few years before being released. Think mellow and medium-bodied. Drinking this whilst curled up on the sofa with a blanket over your knees greatly adds to the enjoyment. A plate of strong, hard cheese makes it exquisite. 

*My Mother (and her decision is final). Other T&Cs:
1.  Competition closes on 9th December 2013 at 11.59pm
2. The prize draw is open to any UK resident over the age of 18.

Please note I received a copy of Wine Atlas 7th Edition to review, but own two previous editions such is my love for this book. 

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