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AND THE AWARD FOR THE WORST SPEECH GOS TO...

Award acceptance speeches can be tricky. Alex Turner, the cheeky little Arctic Monkey, exemplified this in a rambling, bitter and frankly hilarious diatribe on rock ‘n’ roll when collecting Best British Group award at The Brits recently. What people say at awards ceremonies is often very telling: Alex Turner is clearly frustrated; some people have extraordinary egos; some are plain confused. It is with this in mind that we look at some of the winners and losers of the wine world – starting, modestly, with ourselves.

On Wednesday evening, we were delighted to receive the Specialist Chain Award for our Portuguese wine range, from the Association of Portuguese Wine Importers. So now we’re all here, gathered together at our computers/iPads/phones, we’re going to make an acceptance speech of the tearful, ‘thanking gazillions of people’ ilk. But don’t worry, we’re not naming individuals; we’re naming a single group: you, our customers. We can line our shelves with all the Portuguese wine in the world, but there ain’t no point unless people actually buy the stuff. And you have! You’ve embraced the unpronounceable grape varieties and the unknown wine regions with open arms. One wine that you particularly love is also beloved of the press. Hamish Anderson, in The Telegraph, recently said of Quinta dos Roques (£12.25), that ‘although [it’s] their ‘entry-level’ bottling, it delivers plenty: rich brambly fruit, leather and black pepper. Its grip of tannin is best served alongside hearty food – steak or a rich stew’. Hamish, we agree. Keep spreading the Portuguese word and maybe we’ll retain this title for a third year running. But for now, *wiping tears from our blotchy red face*, thank you, customers. This one’s for you.

One country that you don’t hear much about in the wine world is Romania. They haven’t quite nailed the Alistair Campbell school of PR, but what they have nailed is stylish, cracking value wine. If they were to make an acceptance speech, it would most likely be humble, self-effacing and quick. So we’d like to step up to the platform and make a bit of noise on their behalf, principally about Frunza Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio. These wines come in at £6.50, arrive dressed in very modest, yet chic labels, and they are fantastic. We’ve never tasted Pinot Noir so good under £7; it’s soft, it’s moreish and bursting with berry goodness. And the can easily compete with Pinot Grigios twice the price. So down with humility! Down with self-effacement – this stuff is brilliant and we hereby crown Frunza the One of the Most Excellent Wineries, Like, Ever.

And lastly, as we’re getting a little tired and emotional, we’ll hand over to Dan, the Manager at Oddbins Chorlton, which held its own Win(e)ter Olympics (see what we did there?) last week…
“Dan here! Throughout the last few weeks me and the gang have been re-tasting rather lovely tipples left, right and centre, in our quest to crown the ultimate bargain of bargains on our shelves. Without further ado, here are some highlights: Best Bargain Red goes to Paseo Red (£5.75), from Portugal, A.K.A. ‘The one with the bike on it’. Our little Portuguese friend here is seriously good value and seriously quaffable; Best Bargain Fine Wine goes to Filipa Pato FP Branco (£11.75), from Portugal. We finish on an absolute stonker here: featured in February's edition of Decanter Magazine, it was named as their ‘Must Try White’ in their ‘20 Great Wines Under £25’, scoring a whopping 94/100. A pear, white fruit and mineral affair that just begs for simple, fresh seafood.”

Before we go, we have to thank our Mum. Mum – we love you.