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OUR LOVE LETTER TO YOU

Putting Our Hearts on the Line (and into the Wine)

Dear customer,

We know we probably shouldn’t be writing to you now: it’s well past midnight, we’ve had a dram of whisky and we’re feeling a bit misty-eyed. But we have something to tell you, something important… we love you!

The thing is, customer, we’d be nothing without you and we thought that we should let you know how appreciative we are. We first got thinking about all this last month, when we noticed that you struggle to find the time to unwind, and show yourself a bit of TLC. You may have noticed the posters we put in our shops to remind you to treat yourself, like our very subtle “Relax with some red wine IMMEDIATELY” poster.

But the nearer it gets to Christmas, the more we’re reflecting on how lucky we are to have you. When you think about it, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a journey: there have been heady highs, when we felt light and dizzy just at the thought of you, and there were lows when we felt empty and we weren’t sure if we’d make it. But when times got tough, you….*sobs*…. stuck with us….*loud sniffing*.

However, we think you’ll agree that, these days, things are pretty swell. In fact, we reckon things are better than ever. As our lovely Head of Buying, Emma Nichols, said recently: “People talk about the glory days of Oddbins, but I’m excited now because I think the glory days are ahead of us.” So to hell with looking back, our sights are firmly locked on the future because our love was meant to last.

We believe that the reason our love is so strong is that we are doing what relationship counsellors will advise any partner: we are listening to you. We’ve understood your needs and desires and we’ve been going hell-for-leather making them happen, baby…

We’ve re-stocked our shelves with some dangerously exciting products that have got the wine world a-chattering, like the fabulous Le Cigare Volant from the talented folk at Bonny Doon, our mind-bendingly innovative Cellarfoot Underwater Syrah, the most incredible Pinotage ever created in the Chamonix Pinotage and our Portuguese range, which has been much lauded in the press.

We’ve been holding regular, free tastings and have provided a gamut of easy, fun ways to buy your wine. For example, you can peruse the latest case of wine handpicked by our very own bloggers, or buyers, or if it’s gifts (corporate or otherwise) you’re after, we have a range of ready-to-go gift sets, available pre-packed that we can deliver to single or multiple addresses complete with personalised gift messages.

But we’ve been learning too: you told us you’d love more local beer on our shelves and, loving you deeply as we do, we took this very seriously and now have nearly 150 local ales in total. From southwest London we have, for example, the very popular Rocky Head Pale Ale, made by Steve Daniels, a former Head Buyer with Oddbins, while in Oxford we have the festive brew Tannenbaum, from the Compass Brewery. Also from London we have a range of exceptional ales from microbreweries like Moncada and London Fields. In Bristol we have the spiced Bristoltoe from the Bristol Beer Factory, which won the 2011 BBC Food and Farming Awards, while in Scotland we have Jarl from Fyne Ales, which scooped gold at last year’s International Beer Challenge.

Now although we can’t buy you presents (sorry to tear down the “fourth wall”, but you do realise we are a wine merchant and not your lover, don’t you?), but what we can do is to offer you splendiferous prices...  like the delicate yet yeasty Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV, which is down to a very approachable £30 (was £40), the French grape-based G'Vine Nouaison Gin £33.50 (was £38.50) and the Sauternes and cognac barrel aged Excellia Blanco Tequila £39 (was £44).

If you’re thinking “yes, yes, this is all well and good, I know you love me, just tell me what is going to go well with me Brussels Sprouts you daft idiot”,

…then allow us to direct you to our Oddbins 12 Wines of Christmas case. Delivered straight to your door, for £115, you get 12 delicious, handpicked wines. From the gorgeously smooth Sandeman LBV 2007 to the ‘people’s Cava’ Condesa Blanca; from the bestselling, practically iconic Quinta de Bons Ventos to the honeyed and gentle Concha y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, this case has it all.

We have some flipping fabulous new Fine Wine arrivals too, the kind that would transform the most humble Pigs-in-Blankets into something altogether more exalted, such as Château Gloria Saint-Julien 2007 (£38). Firm, supple, full-of-fruit but perfectly-balanced, it is a dream of a wine. But do you know what would look really good on the Christmas table? A giant magnum of loveliness, like the Louis Alegre Crianza Rioja 2008.

Well, we really must go to bed now, it’s getting light outside and if we continue all this mushy stuff we might end up saying something embarrassing. But before we go, we should tell you that… (LT)

This post was written while drinking: Old Pulteney 21 Year Old. We pushed the boat out, because that’s just the effect you have on us. Crowned king of the whisky world by Jim Murray in 2012, it really is a handsome malt. As Mr Murray says, it “explodes from the glass with vitality, charisma and class." It might have you writing love letters throughout the night, though. As a last thought, and as we’re writing about things we love, we thought we’d dig out an old favourite from the criminally funny Monty Python, the Upper Class Twit of the Year Competition...

Remind you of anyone? Let us know in the comments box below...