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Tag Archives: Burgundy

  • Mission Chimpossible!

    A couple of leathery digits poke around in a box. They remove a corkscrew and deftly prepare it for its noble purpose. A few more leathery digits introduce a bottle of wine, and as the cork is removed, the customers in the Maida Vale branch of Oddbins heartily applaud Loveable the chimp. Loveable has just opened the day's tasting wine with nothing but his feet and a winning smile. It's clear that his boyish demeanor has charmed the socks off some of those present, who will happily take him home and mother him. Job done! Now he must go on a mission. He grabs a handful of shiny, colourful cards from the counter, hops on his bike and wobbles off to another Oddbins store, to meet his brother Crafty. Crafty is deep in conversation with a group of American tourists.

    Loveable-Banner

    "...and it turns out the blighter had made off with my bally wallet! Anyway, yes, that claret is a big favourite of mine, tell you what, buy two and I'll take one home with me and we can compare notes tomorrow. Oh I say, here's my young brother, adorable chap. Looks young but he's actually in his twenties...". He places another bottle on the counter, next to what is now two Bordeaux wines. "...so you won't come unstuck adding his favourite Chilean red to your basket. Quite the star in his youth, whole string of TV adverts, got me a part as a confidence trickster in Carry On Cajoling. Who'd have thought?". 

    Loveable pushes the shiny cards upon him, with an imploring look. "What's that, old fruit? Malaysia? Your shop in Maida Vale is offering a free trip to Malaysia? Oh no, I can't go back there, not after the hoo-hah with the bridesmaids, dreadful kerfuffle, heh, heh, heh...Oh, the customers? Free entry with every purchase? And all the shops are doing it are they, even this one? What-ho!"
    Crafty-Banner

    From the no-chimps-land beneath the counter he conjures open a bottle of Burgundy and a handful of wine glasses, and starts pouring. The Americans are looking nervous. "You heard that, gentlemen? Once you've paid for this little beauty you get chance to win a holiday. Worth eighteen pounds of anybody's money if you ask me! Anyway, I was telling you about this chap, absolute blackguard he was..."

    With a forlorn expression, Loveable slips out of the shop and disappears into London, his rear wheel squeaking a little. From Notting Hill Tube to Portobello Road and on to every store in the capital, he is compelled to tell every single customer about this fabulous trip to a simian heartland, the very mention of which chimes a lost ancestral chord, a misty memory of Home. Instead he finds to his delight that the entire Oddbins estate has been taken over by chimpanzees, every one of them totally in command of this remarkable customer initiative, and driven entirely by thoughts of numerous festive get-togethers, for chimp and customer alike! The look on his face changes from desolate to blissful as he realises that the once lonely city is now teeming with his extended family, all wanting to take him to their bosom. Even the thought of exactly what might happen to a branch under Crafty's management doesn't rain on his parade!

    Now to find that accommodating couple from Maida Vale who were keen to put him up for the night. They might want to share the bottle of Château Peyrabon Haut-Médoc in his pannier, that his brother inveigled from a bloke wanting a bag of crisps. Will Crafty notice it's been acquisitioned? Will Loveable be expected to open the wine with his feet? Will the couple have plenty of 'nanas in after all this cycling...?

    Chateau-Peyrabon

    And off he squeaks along Elgin Avenue, back towards Maida Vale, wondering how the shops outside London are dealing with having chimps all over the place. Aren't we all...?

  • An Oddbins Peek Into Burgundy

    Following the recent revamp and launch of our new Burgundy range, on 6th July we hosted a Winemakers dinner at the impressive ICA on Pall Mall. Attended by customers, lifestyle press, wine bloggers, some lucky staff and three of the winemakers, it was a night full of gorgeous food, great company and even better wine!

    The night began with guests mingling over glasses of Pol Roger champagne, getting to know each other and becoming increasingly eager about what the night was to offer.

    Everyone then made their way through to the dining room. It looked incredible. We managed to snap a few pics before it was full of people, some of which included our wonderful trio of winemakers, Nicolas, Bernard and Stéphane. Cheeky!

    The dinner kicked off with Angela (our Events Specialist extraordinaire), welcoming everyone to the dinner designed to showcase our dazzling new Burgundy range and show people the passion behind the bottles. Next, Jenny, the buyer responsible for the new range, told everyone tales of her buying trip to the region, the adventures in her little rental and the benefits of Google Translate! Telling her story of discovering these wines and being welcomed into the homes and cellars of our honoured guests, we began to fully understand why these wines were as stand out as we were about to discover.

    Face to face with the menu packed full of wine and food pairings, the room began to get excited.

    The first batch of wines were on the table and ready to be poured, so of course we obliged. We helped ourselves to glasses of Remoissenet Puligny Montrachet 2014 and Roche de Bellene Bourgogne Pinot for starters. One word? Incredible! These exceptional fine wines complemented the first course perfectly. Black fig and taleggio terrine and brioche tuille. We're salivating just thinking about that pairing and yes, it tasted as good as it looked. See!

    A few glasses down (small glasses may we add), and everyone was ready to devour the starter. Potel-Aviron's Bourgogne Aligoté was absolutely perfect with this starter and had a beautiful citrus sweetness. We even overheard someone saying it needed to come with a "warning to be restrained" as it was truly "gluggable"! Our new favourite word for sure.

    Next up was the main event - lamb rump, shallot puree, purple potato and rosemary dauphinoise paired with six of our Burgundies designed to complement this course to perfection. Stéphane took to the stage delivering a wonderful speech and setting everyone up to enjoy the next round. The first wine enjoyed was the robust and sweet Remoissenet Vosne-Romanée. Beautiful.

    "If I was Duke of Burgundy, I would make it illegal to sell Burgundy in supermarkets!" - Bernard Repolt

    As would we Bernard.

    Dessert followed with a rich amaranth mousse with hazelnut crumbs, honey jelly and wild raspberry. It was absolutely divine, and paired with a choice of another round of five of our Burgundies, it was a treat for the taste buds. Sipping on a glass of Collection Bellenum Chambolle-Musigny, we worked our way through the dessert, listened to more fascinating tales from our winemakers and enjoyed conversation about "Oddbins quirky early years", from the legendary Stephen Spurrier. We finished the night tasting the wines we couldn't quite fit into dinner and mingling as the sun went down on the impressive ICA balconies.

    All in all, it was a night spent celebrating our amazing range of new Burgundy wines and sharing our love with everyone in the room for three things. The wonderful evening, the wine and Oddbins.

    "Oddbins is on a roll and I think the Bourgogne roll is the best roll to be on." - Stephen Spurrier

    Pop onto our Facebook page to have a peek at the rest of the photos from the night.

    The Burgundy Winemakers Dinner - Complete Wine List

    Starter Wines

    Marchand-Tawse Côte de Nuits Villages 2013 - £26.00

    Roche de Bellene Bourgogne Pint Noir V.V. 2014 - £16.00

    Remoissenet Puligny Montrachet 2014 - £45.00

    Remoissenet Chablis 'Amiral Vernon' 2014 - 19.00

    Potel-Aviron Bourgogne Aligoté V.V. 2015 - £11.00

    Main Wines

    Remoissenet Vosne-Romanée 2014 - £50.00

    Remoissenet Rully Blanc - £20.00

    Marchand-Tawse Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Perrières 2012 - £55.00

    Justin Girardin Pommard 2014 - £32.00

    Roche de Bellene Chassagne-Montrachet 2014 - £40.00

    Roche de Bellene Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru 2012 - £60.00

    Dessert Wines

    Potel-Aviron Macon-Villages V.V. 2015 - £12.50

    Remoissenet Vosne-Romanée 2014 - £50.00

    Roche de Bellene Meursault - £38.00

    Collection Bellenum Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 2001 - £50.00

    Justin Girardin Bourgogne Blanc 2014 - £15.00

  • EU Referendum - should we stay or should we go?

    In a little over a week we will march like toiling drones in an Escher painting to the polling booths to make one of the most important decisions in our nation’s recent history.

    The EU referendum is almost upon us, and thank the stars we will consign these months of repulsive campaigning to history.

    In the Donald Trump inspired post-truth era we have been besieged by misinformation, lies and malicious slurs by campaigners on both sides of the so-called debate. Never have our politicians stooped so low to secure our support and never have voters been so repulsed by their foul antics.

    What should have been an informed, serious and measured debate to decide one of the most important questions to have faced the UK in generations has been reduced to a slagging match. The mother of all democracies has been left an imbecilic bereft of all decency.

    Depending on whom you choose to believe, the NHS is doomed if we remain in the EU and definitely doomed if we leave. And the cost of a bag of groceries will significantly jump if we opt out and we would be inundated with half the Turkish population if we stay in!

    A plague on both their houses!

    Brexit Arguments

    Is there any way that we can cut through the fusillade of mud-slinging to come up with an informed decision on which way to vote?

    Well, before me as I write is a bottle of CoBo Côteaux Bourguignons 2015 (France) and a bottle of Leyda Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 (Chile). In my futile attempt to come to a clear minded decision, I might as well let these two wines guide my thinking.

    Meanwhile, business leaders from the founder of JCB to the CEO of Unilever are all graciously offering words of advice from their gilded pulpits.

    The Masters of the Universe that run the City would have you believe that they would migrate like swallows to the other side of the Channel if we leave the EU. These are the same banks that loathe “EU red tape”. Oh and the same banks that nearly bankrupted the country in 2008. Yes, let’s listen to what they have to say. Good idea.

    Brexit Voting

    Their profound utterances from on high are supposed to sway their staff and others to support their personal business cases. Well balls to that! At Oddbins I am quite happy to let my colleagues across the UK make up their own minds. They have a tough enough decision without me weighing in with dire warnings. They probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

    My, this CoBo Côteaux Bourguignons is remarkably good. Say what you like about the French, but they are masters of “le humble grape”.

    Where was I?

    Ah yes, business leaders weighing in sprouting drivel – the only business person to have put forward a rational, logical argument void of emotional claptrap or sentimentality, is Sir James Dyson. He argues that we are better off voting to leave not because of various dubious reasons given by the political class, but solely due to his first-hand experience of the uncompetitive nature of the EU - “we have never once during 25 years ever got any clause or measure that we wanted into a European directive. Never once have we been able to block the slightest thing”.

    Time to sample the Leyda Reserve Pinot Noir. Yep, as good as the CoBo.

    As for Boris Johnson and David Cameron – they are both so divorced from reality that they wouldn’t recognise the difference between Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir. David Cameron’s so called Euro Reform deal doesn’t add up to a hill of beans and Boris’ suggestion that we would have a strong hand negotiating with the EU is nothing short of cloud cuckoo land.

    Jack

    Back to the CoBo, yes, this seems to get better if you let it breathe a bit. This is something I am struggling to do in a calm fashion at the moment – is it too much to ask to have a clear answer about the consequences of either option?! All I am reading now is an analysis of the nature of the debate! Am I guilty of adding to that? Yes. Maybe. But one thing I know for sure is that in the event the result is a vote to leave, we can expect the rest of the EU to make life difficult for us even if it means cutting their noses to spite their face. Why will they do this? In order to protect the EU they will have to make an example of us so as to deter other countries that might be thinking of leaving - similar to the 'zwischenzug' manoeuvre in a game of chess.

    Really can’t make up my mind as to which of these two wines is better…

    My last comment on the subject: No one really knows what the blinking consequences of ‘Brexit’ will be, because we have not been informed or simply because the politicians haven’t thought this through. This however, should not stop people from voting to leave as long as we all realise that we can expect a world of pain for the next 10-12 years.

    So I am going to vote with my instincts and suggest you do the same. Now, where did I leave my polling card?

    IN or Out?

    According to latest opinion polls (assuming one can believe them giving how wrong they were at last General Elections!) 11% of voters haven't decided which way to vote. So if you are one of these voters we invite you to pop into an Oddbins store and taste 2 wines that represent the "in and out" proposition and let your palate guide which way to vote. The wines will be on tasting across all Oddbins stores between 20th and 22nd of June. Preferences will be counted and results released on 24th June.

    On the other hand why not try our "Leave" case of new world wines and/or our equally compelling "Remain" case of old world wines. Both cases are priced at £65 and available to order online until 2pm Wednesday 22nd of July.

    Remain

    Brexit In Mixed Wine Case

    Leave

    Brexit Out Mixed Wine Case

     

    Well, my mind is made up now, what about yours?

  • HOBBITS, ANCHORMAN AND DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

    For this edition of Oddnews we’ve taken inspiration from the upcoming Christmas cinema and TV viewing…Tonight on Channel 4, everyone’s favourite mentalist, Derren Brown, is going to teach grannies to steal pieces of art. This novel approach to combating the impact of rising fuel prices on pensioners landed the illusionist in hot water when two Damien Hirst artworks, which looked very much to us like a join-the-dots London Underground maps, were stolen. But we want to assure you that not all magic will result in a visit from the po-po. To prove it, our final magic video teaches you a trick that you can use to astound your friends over the festive period. Alakazam.

    We are proud to announce that in preparation for Christmas 2015, Peter Jackson has just started filming his third Hobbit-based film series, the lesser known J.R.R Tolkien work: Hobbits Open a Wine Shop. The basic premise, if you haven’t read the book, is that under the watchful eye of Bilbo, Frodo sets up a wine merchant called Oddbaggins and goes on multiple wine tasting adventures to find the perfect Christmas wine, all the time hounded by his evil competitor Gollum. We’ve got the inside scoop on a couple of the preciousss beverages featured… Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir (you know hobbits love New Zealand) and the great value Burgundy-a-like Viña Leyda Falaris Chardonnay from Chile are Frodo’s top matches for Christmas dinner. And we heartily second that motion, because they were our pick of the bunch too. But for those who prefer beer to wine, we’d recommend our first ever collaboration beer ELB Oddbins Nº1, a limited edition amber winter ale brewed with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange peel, nutmeg and vanilla. Available by the case online or in selected Oddbins shops, while stocks last. It also makes an incredible chocolate mousse, click here for the recipe.

    Mother Christmas, who continues to give away Champagne on our Twitter page, has advised that she will not be going to see The Hobbit, siting elf flashbacks and her annoyance at the lack of strong female characters. She will instead be going to see Anchorman 2…

    Jumpers, socks and scented candles are terrible gifts. Sorry if this offends anyone, but we are campaigning for the rights of bad gift receivers across the country. Scotch is a great gift. If you get snowed in, you don’t want a scented candle, you want the creamy, warming peatiness of Ardmore. When the in-laws descend, you don’t want to lock yourself in the kitchen with a pair of socks, you want the reassuring smoothness of Tamdhu. Ugly Christmas jumpers simply do not taste as festive as Balvenie DoubleWood. And that is a scientific fact. 60% of the time, it works every time.

    Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with our handpicked, ready wrapped, free delivery Christmas Gifts or a nice bottle of (Ron) Burgundy. Just remember our Christmas delivery cut off is midday on Friday 20th December.

    Did you see Kate Middleton at the premier of Natural History Museum Alive? She was wearing those 3D spectacles, just like a normal person might, only she is far more beautiful and regal. Sorry we sarcastically digress…David Attenborough is quite right. Tonight is no ordinary night. It is Friday 13th people. On such a night, our advice is to stay home. Don’t be tempted to go out, something terrible might happen. Stay at home with a bottle of Champagne and celebrate surviving another Friday 13th. To be honest we’ll celebrate anything if it means we’re allowed Champagne. The outstanding Pol Roger Brut Réserve is a great place to start. Packed with gently spiced baked apple and croissant flavours, this has long been an Oddbins favourite. But if you’ve been very good, upgrade yourself to the peachy and toasty Pol Roger 2002 Vintage, currently with £8 off. Described by the Wine Gang as “exceptional”. Unfortunately we can’t tell you how we described it because it was so good that on tasting it we inadvertently swore a little, and that won’t get through your spam filter.

    That’s all from us, not many sleeps until Christmas…

  • MAY WE HAVE A WORD?

    Hannibal LecterLadies and gentlemen, we are proud to introduce our new posters...

    If you’ve strolled past one of our shops in recent days, you may have noticed that we have some colourful and rather natty posters swinging merrily in our windows, emblazoned with unusual quotes. You may have asked yourself “What the blazes are Oddbins going on about now?” And to be honest that would probably be fair. So bear with us and we’ll try to explain…

    We’ve hung the year up, drawn some lines on it and roughly quartered it (yes, we literally went medieval on 2012). We then designated each portion a theme. We started the year with “taste”. Rather than going down the obvious route of telling you that Sauvignon Blanc tastes like gooseberries and Gewürztraminer has hints of Turkish delight, we asked whether it matters what the flavours are as long as you like it and it perfectly complements your dinner. We concluded that maybe there’s room for both.

    Then things got noisy when we moved on to “sound”. Here we explored what music goes best with our wines. We also carried out what we think was the world’s first synchronised music and wine matching tasting and discovered that “Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds prefers Burgundy. Who knew?

    Jean-Antheleme Brillat-SavarinPortuguese Proverb

    Then we hit the third quarter and the theme of “words”, which coincided with it coming to our attention that the world had gone “loco” and that asinine restrictions were being placed on our freedom to use the English language. As you can imagine, this made us pretty angry, so we tooled up and fired off a few rounds of devastating words. After a bit of a Mexican standoff, we emerged from the written shootout victorious. We’re not really allowed to talk or write about it so we’ve holstered our weapons. But we’d have no problem drawing them again if another fight comes our way.

    For now though we are just peacefully getting back on track with our “words” theme. If you would like to understand the reasons that lead us to choose this preposterous subject, please have a read of “A Brief Word…”. But be warned, the title is ironic. We’ve ignored Thomas Jefferson’s adage that;

    “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

    Instead we’ve proceeded to write about seven times more than was completely necessary (kind of like JK Rowling did with the Harry Potter books), but hopefully you’ll find it entertaining.

    Ana Sapungiu

    Homer Simpson

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Where were we? Words? Thomas Jefferson? Oh yes, quotes. For this quarter we’ve chosen six quotes roughly on the topic of drinks and drinking, and put them pride of place on our beautiful posters. But there were some classics that didn’t quite make the cut, including the following…

    “There’s a beverage here.”

    The Dude

    "Drink a glass of wine after your soup, and you steal a ruble from the doctor."

    Russian Proverb

    “Wine… is a food.”

    Oliver Wendell Holmes

    “If wine disappeared from human production, I believe there would be, in the health and intellect of the planet, a void, a deficiency far more terrible than all the excesses and deviations for which wine is made responsible.  Is it not reasonable to suggest that people who never drink wine, whether naïve or doctrinaire, are fools or hypocrites…? A man who drinks only water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men."

    Baudelaire

    “We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now.”

    Withnail

    Emma Nichols

    If only we could’ve had more posters. Anyway, our questions to you are these… Which did we miss? What are your favourite wine, Champagne, beer or whisky quotes? No need to put your answers on a postcard, this isn’t Blue Peter, just pop it delicately into our comments section down at the bottom there. Thanks for reading, but we’ll love you more if you comment too. (TO)

    This post was written while drinking: Gusbourne English Sparkling Rosé. However, even England’s sexiest fizz couldn’t stop us getting horrendously distracted by the genius of the Mo Farah Running Away From Things website. P.S. The introductory price on the Antoine Remy Champagne will only last until the end of October 2012.

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