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Tag Archives: Champagne

  • Orang-Utangover!

    The bar has reached a Friday evening peak. Everybody is loud and excitable, Prosecco is flowing and there is love and laughter everywhere. The Headache Fairy will be busy tomorrow, but for now...

    "...So, then I said, right, I said 'And anyway, darlin, that's not a banana you're peeling!'" Mass guffaws. HAHAHAHA HA HA HA ha...ha...haaa...and fade to black. And silence.

    Crazy-Banner

    A chimpanzee is lying beneath a tree. Well, perhaps "beneath" dignifies the picture somewhat. "Underneath" might be better. And the tree is horizontal. On the floor surrounding the chimp are a number of festive baubles, and on a nearby sofa is a crumpled heap of clothes and blankets. Looping on his television screen is a video of a chimp invasion of a wine store. After a BLT he will realise how much fun last night's Christmas party was, but right now he is sulking about a lost battle with a tree.

    "Oi, Snazzy", he says to the sofa. The crumpled heap moves a little to show the head of another chimpanzee, this one topped off with an angel. "How did we get here?"

    "I think we started off with a couple of aperitifs, Crazy, Laurent-Perrier Non-Vintage, £27 a pop. Christmas has come early at that price..."

    LP

    "No, here!" I was a tree climbing aristocracy not so long ago, now I'm pinned to the floor by a Norwegian Spruce wondering how I'm going to get to work. I should be sitting in the sunshine picking fleas off my girlfriend, not working in a wine shop in Clapham!"

    "Well for a start, I warned you against putting your Christmas tree up after a night on the Brasso. You should have savoured some Bourgogne Blanc Girardin with me - elegant, pleasantly aromatic, and appealingly fruity. The wine's not bad either, boom boom!"

    Bourgogne

    "And as for your job, well, think about it. People want a shop with character, and they want the best of everything. The confused man with ten quid who'd never been in the place before - you gave him Coteaux du Pont du Gard - fruit, structure, intensity and complexity. And a rather saucy joke. Think how some small part of his life may have been changed by a wine of such quality. He might have had a Road to Damascus moment with a country wine from Avignon."

    Pont-du-Gard

    "...and the lady wanting a change from boring, boring Pinot Grigio? Domaine de Coudoulet Viognier - a lovely flowery nose and tropical fruit on the palate, balanced with a dash of citrus. She didn't think wine shopping could be such fun, and now she's looking at the more generic offerings with something approaching pity. You see, we send out little ripples of love and affirmation with every bottle, and though you can't see them, they cross your path with every step you take from the shop to Clapham Junction station. Every cosy looking, lamp lit window may have a Coudoulet Viognier behind it. If only you knew!"

    Snazzy-Banner

    "Cor blimey, Snazzy, you don't half talk some cobblers. And there's nothing elegant or pleasantly aromatic about you while you're piled up on my settee! Now get yourself out and get us a banana, lettuce and tomato, while I sort some coffee out."

    As the front door closes, Crazy Chimp's mind drifts to Snazzy's comments. To the tables he may have enriched in some way, to the laughter he's brought to unsuspecting shoppers, to the enrichment of his own mind and so many others with knowledge of the seemingly obscure or opaque. Clapham has become a beautiful place, and Christmas is his, for him to give to the world!

    Well, that's if he can get from under this tree now Snazzy's gone out...

  • The Long Arms of The Law

    Hilarious Chimp is listening to records. At the moment it is the turn of Pithecanthropus Erectus by Charles Mingus, a long-standing family favourite. The music is terrifically exciting, with five men seeming to make the noise of eleven, and Hilarious is playing it at an appreciable volume while whirling around the room on a unicycle and whooping and a-hollering with the band! Unfortunately, his neighbours are rather less appreciative. They've seen the video Hilarious made recently with all of his other Oddbins cohorts, and they didn't find quite the same joy in its assorted muckslinging or the Mingus-maybe melodies that have sent the chimp back to his record collection. And now this racket! Tired of his primate pranks, they have summoned the long arm of the law...

    Hilarious-Banner

    In the conference room of a swish hotel, Sassy Chimp is delivering a seminar entitled 'Writing On The Wall: When To Flog Your Business, and Where You Won't Be Found'. It consists, in large part, of the murky tales surrounding his sale of 'Monkey Vegas', a huge empire founded on teaching circus skills and party tricks to primates. By what he described as an 'uncanny coincidence', Sassy sold the business at an eye-watering profit exactly one month before animal acts were banned from circuses. "I didn't so much avoid the country after that, it was more a case of simply being somewhere else...". He has come back to help his friends and family with the cheerful invasion of Oddbins, whence he has graced his event with ample supplies of Terra Noble Reserva Terroir Syrah, a deep and deliciously savoury red from the Maule Valley in Chile, together with a Chardonnay from the same winery, a warmly approachable white that partners delightfully with the hors d'oeuvres he's provided. While he's pointing to a Venn diagram on a Bo-Nobo board, he is discreetly called out of the room and taken into a police station.

    Terra-Noble-Syrah

    Terra-Noble-Chardonnay

    "...and he says you're the only person he knows who can pay for his bail. Well, you and..." consulting a notebook, "...Billy Expletive Smart. Funny bloke considering he doesn't even crack a smile!"

    "Funny?"

    "Yeah. He's cracked everybody up round here, playing table tennis with the boys. 10p, 50p, whatever, absolutely thrashed all of them. Funny thing was, he was riding a unicycle throughout. Even when we brought him in he pedalled out to the panda. Then he made the handcuffs disappear and we found them in the glove box."

    "How much is his bail exactly?"

    Sassy-Banner

    "Well, he's clearly a chimp of good character. In fact, we considered dropping all charges when we told him we don't usually have much to do with hominoids, and he said that's because you can get cream for them nowadays. If we can find a caring home for him we'll forget the whole thing - you seem to have done better than he has out of circus regulations, maybe you owe it to him to see he doesn't spend another Christmas in the park? Meanwhile, we'll set him up in Oddbins and the staff will take him under their loving wing! Now,  back in the car and you can pick up your records while we bring your neighbours in for crime against hilarity. A couple of days in the cooler listening to Kenny G should teach them what side their bread's buttered!"

    In the back of the car, Hilarious and Sassy are making up. "So, Hilarious, 50p a game, you say? I'm sure I could fix you up with plenty more games, and at a pound a pop! How about we seal the deal with a bottle of this Tarlant Champagne..."

    Tarlant

  • 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

  • ATTENBOROUGH ON CHRISTMAS: THE HUNT

    *Adopts hushed David Attenborough voice* Behold, the Christmas Shopper! This strange creature emerges once a year, on its winter migration down the High Street, to hunt down presents for its family. Whilst not essential to the group’s survival, they appear to do it for fun.

    The crew here at Oddbins have been studying their feeding habits and, along with their well-documented preference for raw salmon, turkey and Christmas pudding (although this last one seems to make some Christmas Shoppers confused and angry), we have noted their favourite Christmas drinks, which reveal a remarkable sophistication.

    Ever ritualistic, the Christmas Shopper always tracks down a sparkling wine which they pair with the salmon. Extraordinary. The particularly skilled hunters know the best hunting ground is in Oddbins and are able to track down rare Champagnes such Drappier Carte d’Or NV. Made by a family House, with a large proportion of Pinot Noir, it has incredible flavours of peach, quince and spice that make the perilous High Street a risk worth taking.

    Rush

    The circle of life is sometimes cruel and, whilst it giveth to the Christmas Shopper, it taketh away from the turkey. These two groups – mortal enemies – only ever do combat at Christmas and it only ever goes one way… Once the group has its turkey, they will only settle down for feeding time once the parents have found a decent bottle of Pinot Noir. Tagging devices placed on the parents suggests a favourite is the Cuvée G Burgundy from Albert Bichot. Experts believe it is a hit owing to the fact that it was made in collaboration with the renowned Bernard Loiseau restaurant, specifically to go with food. Yet again, we can only marvel at the skill of the Christmas Shopper.

    For the past two years, outside influences new to this species sent them into an unseasonably early frenzy on ‘Black Friday’. A curious phenomenon with worrying consequences, you can see the unique footage of the confused Christmas Shoppers captured by Black Friday experts below…

    Attenborough

  • ART, USAIN BOLT AND THE FICKLENESS OF VALUE

    1 August, 2014

    Value is a fickle thing. If spotted on the arm of a Middleton sister, the price of a seemingly bland handbag can skyrocket faster than Usain Bolt leaving Glasgow after calling the Commonwealth Games ‘a bit s**t’, while house prices in Lancashire drop as quickly as you can say ‘fracking is dangerous and dirty’. Salvador Dalí was a master at manipulating value and, after taking friends out to dinner, would often do a sketch on the back of the cheque, pretty much safe in the knowledge that it wouldn’t be cashed as it was more valuable to them as a ‘Dalí original’. Our point? Value is what you perceive it to be. So, without wanting to do a Dalí and inflate opinion and therefore price, we’d like to show some appreciation to that unjustly under-valued sparkler; Cava.
    Cava is a prince among men. It is the only sparkling wine that, by law, has to be made the same way as Champagne. This ‘traditional’ method, which involves a second fermentation in the bottle, pretty much guarantees extra depth of character and finer bubbles. So why the blazes the prices aren’t higher, we know not. In this context, Cavas like Anna de Codorníu (£10.50) begin to look darn hot. The Codorníu family were the first Spaniards to use the traditional method and are something of experts at it; Anna de Codorníu, for example, is exceedingly Champagne-like, with a soft, well-balanced and refreshing palate, elegant citrus notes and fine, persistent bubbles. So, think of Cava like an eccentric aristocrat that runs around in a battered old Mini, giving no indication that they’re actually Lord Asquith Wellington Montagu the Second, tenant of Walsingham Court and owner of half of England.
    Now. All this is at odds with the fact that that Spanish food staple, tapas, is often hideously over-priced. We’ve seen grown men break down in anguished sobs, screaming “but it’s a street foooooood” when they see menus listing tapas at £8 per dish. That ain’t pretty. So, whaddaya do? You have a P-A-R-T-why? Because tapas, particularly seafood tapas, pairs brilliantly with Cava and, together, they can make for a great fiesta, for not a lot of pesetas (sorry, euros). Crispy calamari with garlic mayonnaise, for example, is a match made in heaven for Cava Renaixenca Brut (£11). Pronounced ‘rennay-shen-sha’, this is a Catalan set-up that has been in the Pons family for 250 years and, today, Joan and Pere Pons embrace both tradition and modern technology to great effect. This Brut Non Vintage has a gently playful fizz, subtle creamy notes from the 20 months spent ageing on its ‘lees’ (used yeast), combining with a gorgeously cool, thirst-quenching rush of green fruit.
    For the next six weeks, Oddbins will be looking at the Art of Wine. For it is made by skilled craftsmen who must balance a number of elements and its aim is to stimulate the senses; who says it isn’t art? If a load of bricks on the floor of Tate Modern – or ‘Equivalent VIII’ by Carl Andre to give it its proper title – constitutes art, then we’re darn sure our next Cava does. Shimmering gold, with copper reflections and exquisitely fine bubbles, we’d go so far to say that Torre Oria Reserva (£9.50) is the Gustav Klimt of the wine world. *Rubbing our hands and warming to our theme* which would make the gentle brush strokes of Anna de Codorníu a Claude Monet and the playful, cool Cava Renaixenca an Alexander Calder mobile. Excellent. Wine is so much easier than art. But what do you think? Finish the statement “Wine is easier than art because” on Twitter, using the hashtag #WineVsArt, to win a bottle of Champagne.

    And not one ear was cut off in the writing of this email – there’s one reason wine is easier than art for a start…

    ‘Til next time.

  • HOMAGE TO CALEDONIA

    What with the confused Saharan dust cloud on England’s south coast and the fantasy drama-cum-daily routine destroyer Game of Thrones, we’ve been reticent to leave the house of late. But we have stepped bravely away from the TV, blinking and pasty in the sunlight and our attention has turned, to steal GoT imagery, both north, beyond The Wall (i.e. Scotland), and overseas to the south (i.e. Spain). We’re referring to the referendums planned in Scotland and prevented from happening in Catalonia. Veering clear of fence-sitting, we reckon we’ve got it right for once here in Blighty: let the people speak! Credit Catalonians with the intelligence to decide for themselves! But anyway, we should probably stick to what we know, so saying, here’s a look at some of the best that Caledonia and Catalonia have to offer by way of whisky and wine…
    Manic-eyed Catalonian Salvador Dalí is a man we can empathise with. Not that we’re mad keen surrealists (though we have been known to don the odd diving suit to tastings). But we love our job and get real satisfaction from sharing joys like Anna de Codorníu Brut Nature Cava NVwith you lovely people. 500 years old and still going strong, Codorníu is a family business with history, being the first Spaniards to use Champagne’s ‘traditional’ method of production. The Anna Brut Nature NV is an elegant, crisp Champagne-alike that is more than worth the £10.50 price tag.
    Representing Scotland? Cragganmore 12 Year Old (£35), which is every bit as mellow, smooth and charming as its Alter Ego Kirsty Young. Quintessentially Speyside in character, it has flavours of freshly cut wild flowers and herbs and was described by the late whisky critic Michael Jackson as having ‘the most complex nose of any malt whisky’. Not ‘alf bad. The perfect companion for watching Question Time and shouting at the panellists. Just make sure that Cragg-y host David Dimbleby keeps his mitts off. Anyway, having possibly upset half of Spain with our dalliance with Catalonian politics, we’ll remind ourselves of something Yoko Ono once said…

    Ms Ono, it just so happens, is a past curator of London’s Meltdown Festival – tickets for which you may win by dint of subscribing to these emails. Exciting stuff. But that’s in June and, in the meantime, there’s Easter to look forward to (we accept your praise for not banging on about Easter for the entirety of this email…) Apart from the classic lamb and Rioja option (for which we’d recommend Bodegas Luis Alegre’s delicious Koden Rioja 2011, £9.75), there’s always rosé, for people who laugh in the face of convention and match their wines to their whims. The newly-arrived 2013 vintage of Clos Bellane 'Altitude' Côtes du Rhône Rosé is a springtime beauty to set your heart a-flutter with its poetic elegance and Provenҫal-esque panache.

    ‘Til next time.

  • KATE BUSH, THE QUEEN AND OTHER CLEVER BIRDS

    It’s spring: Mother Nature is returning to her most creative phase, producing daffies, lambs and chocolate (or do Green & Black’s make chocolate?); Croydon’s finest, Kate Bush, is returning to the stage like the sun to Narnia after a 30 year hiatus; and The International ‘Bloomin’ Eck is Mothers’ Day This Sunday?*’ Day is upon us. Yes, really! So read on and find out what the people who understand Mums best (that’s us, not Loose Women) recommend for these Givers of Life…
    This is the refrain, sung over and over again by Kate Bush in a song about her son Bertie and is not, we’ll sacrilegiously offer, one of her finest moments. Very often, something happens to women when they have children that interferes with self-censorship, leading to very vocal enthusiasm for their offspring. So say thanks to your Mum for probably embarrassing herself for at least five years, enthusing about YOU – yes you! – with a beautiful, rarefied Champagne. Henriot Rosé NV (£46) was recently described by The Times’ Jane MacQuitty as having a ‘bright, lemony scent and [a] long, creamy, spicy finish’. It’s also in limited supply, so fill your boots quickly. Anyway, if you are a Mum, particularly with a child around seven years old, you may want to cover your eyes now because…
    Yup, according to boffins, the reasoning faculties of young humanoids matches that of ‘Caledonian crows’ (that doesn’t just mean ‘crows in Scotland’). But (dignity slightly wounded) we invite you to join us in pretending not to have heard that. Instead, let’s remind ourselves how classy, beautiful and intelligent we are… So classy, that we drink delicious things like Crôzes-Hermitage ‘La Tuilière’ and say highly witty things like “you could say it’s a Crows-Hermitage”. Though, what everyone doesn’t know, is that this brilliant, gently spiced classic is currently down to £12.50 from £14.50. We can celebrate our classiness by attending the highly cultural events like the Meltdown Festival though, if you happen to win the tickets, we won’t mention you got them free simply by subscribing to Odd News… Which leads us ever-so elegantly on to the ‘Royal We’…
    The Queen is a Mum who, it’s fair to say, has put up with a lot. The above quotes from her ever loyal, gaffe-prone other half, were the most quotable of the book – we repeat, book – written about his Royal bloopers. Well, every family has one and, if your ‘Prince Phillip’ happens to be visiting this Easter, you can get a wine that's smooth, even if they aren't… Latria Montsant is a cracking alternative to Rioja with lamb (more food matches from Oddbins’ Buyer Ana in Fine Foodies Magazine (page 33), and is one of the most unctuous, silky, juicy wines around. And – shhhh – it’s only £9.50. Mum’s the word.Toodles.

  • THE ARK OF LOVE

    When we moan about the weather here in Britain, we usually do so with a grim sense of humour, draw up our coats and go about business as usual, mumbling about it being nice weather for ducks. But our recent hammering by Atlantic storms is testing even the most stiff upper lipped of us. Here at Oddbins Towers, whilst we can’t control nature, build an Ark (round or otherwise) or prevent the predictable bun-fight of people trying to score political points in hastily-purchased Hunter wellies, we can – and will – do the only thing we know how... free Champagne anyone?!
    As British and as controversial as our misbehaving jet stream, Disraeli certainly had a valid point about passion. Enter stage left, Drappier Exception 2008; a Champagne that doesn’t have a PR machine spinning away behind it, or music mogul clientele, but what it does have by the truckload is passion. Drappier is a family-owned House that's mad keen on Pinot Noir, who happen to be the former supplier of Charles de Gaulle. The love and energy they put into their wines is evident in the 2008: with flavours of freshly baked cinnamon buns paired with cleansing acidity, it’s an absolute charmer and has made Drappier converts of our staff and customers alike (plus, with £4 off, it has extra allure). So today, on this rain-lashed Valentine’s Day, we’re putting this big hunk o’ passion on free tasting in most shops, which are not flooded, we assure you*.

    *Flood status correct as we went to print.

    Meanwhile, for those inconvenienced by the recent tube strikes or those who just love their beer, our London shops will be offering a free tasting of London Fields Brewery’s rather fine range. And, if you’re after an alternative to Cadbury’s Milk Tray this Valentine’s Day, we’d thoroughly recommend their Chocolate Porter. Plus, you can get the Milk Tray Man look for free as you splosh through puddles on your way back from Oddbins, all because the lady loves a nice Porter…

    February 14 is unquestionably a day to celebrate being big Down Under, right?! Seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss our love-in with creative genius Ben Glaetzer who – along with his chums in Langhorne Creek, South Australia – creates wines to make you go weak at the knees. As well as having a very Valentine's-friendly name, his Heartland Dolcetto Lagrein is a brilliant example of Italian grape varieties thriving in Australia. If bright, perfumed and sensuous is how you like your ideal dinner companion, then Ben’s bottles are bound to have you at g’day. His wines are available online and in selected shops and you can get up close and personal with Ben on our Meet the Winemaker page here.
    But if neither free Champagne nor craft beer tastings can alleviate your displeasure at the weather, then you may want to go On The Road to the Americas. No, we’re not going to take you on a personal quest for meaning and belonging across the United States - as romantic as that may sound - but 'Beat' a track further south, to the enticing climes of the Caribbean. Distilled in Guatemala, and aged in the Solera method used in sherries, Ron Zacapa’s Solera Rum offers real escapism and currently has £5 off. The oldest part of this mix has been wending its way to the bottle for some 25 years and the result is sweet, unctuous and utterly sexy. It is swathed in heady caramel, dark chocolate, molasses, coconut and dried banana flavours, and its lingering finish is perfect for those who are in it for the long run…

    So, unless the Atlantic winds thwart us entirely, we’ll see you next time.

  • 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…

  • ODDBINS VS JAMES BROWN

    It’s Friday and we feel good, da na na na na na na, we knew that we would now, da na na na na na na. And as you might have guessed, just for fun, this edition of Oddnews is inspired by the hardest-working man in show business, Mr James Brown. A man who was knocked down, but came back stronger. A man who wasn’t scared to speak his mind or do his own funky thing. A man who inspired millions. And most importantly a man who said “The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.” Wise words we think you’ll agree. So, with no further ado, we’re ready to get up and do our thing! We want to get into it, man, you know? Like a wine merchant machine…

    It is often said that this is a man’s world, despite Soul Brother No 1 pointing out that “it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” Well Oddbins disagrees. The Palate, our search for UK’s finest amateur wine taster, has proven that when it comes to taste buds, it is very much a woman’s world. For the second year running our competition has been won by a woman (watch the video here). This year’s winner, Chloe Dickson, has chosen a devastatingly delicious wine for our shelves and we are proud to announce that it has finally arrived. The Manz Platónico is an elegant red blend from Alentejo in Portugal, and according to Chloe it is “perfect for the wintry festive period”. So as the cold now seems to have set in, in the words of JB himself, “please, please, please” make sure you don’t miss out on what we predict will soon become an Oddbins’ classic.

    We love Champagne, but why does it all have to look so plain? Mr Dynamite wouldn’t have stood for such boring labels; he’d have wanted sequins, a cape and a horn section fanfare for his fizz. And that is practically what Heidsieck have done with their Monopole Blue Top Champagne. Look at it: blue, yellow and proud. But there is more to his cheeky Pinot Noir-dominated sparkler than just spangly packaging, it is toasty, buttery, spicy and unbelievably good value at just £21 for the next few weeks. A decadent treat without the extravagant price tag. Feel free to take it to the bridge, but we’d recommend enjoying it in the comfort of your own home.

    Just like the Godfather of Soul, Balblair’s Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, demands discipline, perfection and precision from those around him. But the rewards for this level of dedication are awesome. Balblair’s 2002 Single Malt bursts out of the tumbler spraying oranges, lemons, pears, custard creams, vanilla and toffee apples every which way. But it’s the freshness of it that will have your reaching to refill that glass. And the rewards don’t stop there, not only have we knocked £3 off it, but we will also automatically enter anyone who buys a bottle into a competition to win a 16GB mini tablet, perfect for browsing Oddbins.com, searching for images of polydactyl cats or watching videos of James Brown strutting his funky stuff.
    That’s all from us, except to say that if you want to get hold of any of the bottles featured in this email, you can either pop into one of our shops or buy them at Oddbins.com and have them delivered in three working days or even quicker, if you are in a hurry, with our next day service. Toodle pip.

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