Wine

It is at this stage of the term that we realise quite how poor we really are. Personally, I’ve a fondness for ignoring such dull notions as debt, budgeting and thrift. However, there comes a point, namely when your card no longer actually works, when one has to re-dress their priorities and contemplate such horrors as swapping delightful, three course, Ocado-supplied dinners for slightly more credit crunch friendly alternatives.

Happily this provides yet another reason to spend lavishly on your vino. Considering you’re about to go home for the holidays, you should think of this as an investment. What better way to gain some parental goodwill before announcing how comprehensively you’ve attacked your overdraft than a present? With luck, you’ll return next term in a more favourable financial position.

Ideally, the benefactors, thrilled that you’ve finally learnt to appreciate them and blinded by your newfound generosity, will lavish all manner of extravagant allowances upon you. If not, the very least you can expect is a little sympathy.

2005 Château Parsac, Côtes de Castillon (13.5%; £7.95 each, The Wine Society) A natural fruity Claret without oak ageing.

2009 Stoneburn Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (13.5%; £7.25 each, The Wine Society) Dry, tangy and refreshing.

2004 Chianti Rufina Riserva, Grati, Tuscany(12.5%; £10.95 each, Berry Brothers and Rudd) Black fruits and an elegant finish.

2008 Penfold’s Koonunga Hill ‘Seventy Six’ Shiraz Cabernet, South Australia (14.5%; £6.99 each for two, Majestic) Ripe, spicy and chocolatey.

2006 Chablis, Caves de Chablis (12.5%; £7.99 each for two, Majestic) Good value, typical Chablis.

2007 Wild Rock Gravel Pit Merlot / Malbec Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (14%; £7.49 each, Waitrose Wine) Full-bodied, ripe and plummy.

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