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Tag Archives: Chile

  • 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

  • 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...?

  • DISCOVER ANOTHER SIDE TO CHILE

    What do you think of when you think of Chilean wine? We would bet our bottom dollar that the first thing that springs to mind is fresh, easy-drinking good value Sauvignon Blanc. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with fresh, easy-drinking good value Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed, if you were to present us with a bowl of chili, ginger and garlic prawns with coconut rice and fresh coriander, we would demand nothing other than a fresh, easy-drinking good value Sauvignon Blanc, such as the laser-sharp zest fest that is Pora Py’a.

    However, like a latter-day John and Yoko, with a slightly different agenda, we are here to say ‘give other wines from Chile a chance’. For there is a small but fascinating group of producers who are moving away from full-throttle, pure varietal wines, to blended, nuanced wines made in the cooler fringes of this towering, strip of a country.

    Chile - Pic 1

    Via Wines, for example, have created Oveja Negra – a madcap blend of Sauvignon Blanc and… Carmenère? Bizarrely, it works. Really well. When made into a white wine (by not leaving it on the skins during fermentation), Carmenère’s spicy fruit and capsicum freshness complement the juicy, zingy pizazz of Sauvignon Blanc perfectly.

    Another small but important trend in Chilean wine is their almost supernatural way with Pinot Noir. This most fickle of grapes can end up flabby and boring in the wrong hands, but Chile seems to have become particularly green-fingered with Pinot. Viña Leyda Reserva Pinot Noir, for example, is as delicately fragrant as a midsummer breeze and is a tasty testament to the lighter side of Chile.

    Chile - Pic 2

    Here comes the science: cooler climes mean fresher wines and another trend for forward-thinking producers is, instead of focusing on the coolness found at more southerly latitudes, they are realising the importance of the cooling effect of the ocean. The windswept, maritime environment almost convinces the grapes they are in Europe and the resulting wines are very much European in style. Viña Leyda Canelo Syrah, for example, is more like a delicately spiced, violet-laced northern Rhône Syrah than many Chilean examples, which can be quite blockbuster-y in fruit, spice and structure. So, if you're looking for more art-house than blockbuster, take another look at Chile - its cinematic landscape and vinous auteurs means there's something for everyone...

  • HERALDRY, ORNITHOLOGY AND SPACE EXPLORATION

    Isn’t the retail calendar shamelessly predictable? Christmas has only just finished when the inevitable January sales roll round, next up is Celebrate Couples Day, soon we’ll be reminding you about your Mother (like you could forget) and before you know it, you’ll be knee deep in chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks, lambs, bunnies and the like. So we’re going to break free from the trade clichés that shackle us to this hamster wheel of holidays and tell you about heraldry, ornithology and space exploration instead……oh sorry, the powers that be have told us we can’t, we’ve got to tell you about Valentine’s Day, kissing and mushy stuff like hearts and flowers. Sorry we tried. How does one get off this infernal cycle?

    He may rival Cupid with his penchant for loosing arrows, but did anybody else notice how everybody’s favourite albino elf used the plural there? Nothing says “hopeless romantic” like a firm grasp on the concept of monogamy. If, like Mr Legolas Bloom you have a different lover for every day of the week, although Oddbins cannot condone this kind of behaviour, we are still on hand to help you out with Valentine’s Day gifts…

    We have six incredible new wines from a South American winery whose name rather fittingly means “beautiful heart”. Pora Py’a own vineyards in both Chile and Argentina, where they create a series of stunning wines made from single grape varieties. From Chile we have Carmenère, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc and from Argentina we have Malbec, Shiraz and Torrontes. Each one is an Oddbins classic in the making, but the standouts for us are the Torrontes, which is so jam packed with jasmine and rose notes that you won’t have to buy a bunch of flowers for February 14th, the Sauvignon, which is like a veritable tropical honeymoon, and the Malbec, which our buyer Ana described simply as “love at first taste”. And if you are counting them and thinking “that’s only six, didn’t you say a lover for every day of the week?” then please remember that although Orlando Bloom may be some kind of modern lothario, even that smoothest of operators: Craig David, had to chill for one of the seven days in the week.

    Mr Leno owns approximately 190 vehicles, including 90 motorcycles, so it is little wonder he resents spending a little extra on his wife, Mavis, on Valentine’s Day. Now, we may not be quite as cynical as Mr Leno, but there’s no denying that around February 14th prices on flowers, chocolates, underwear and restaurant menus seem to take a step in the wrong direction from a consumer perspective. Not at Oddbins though, we’re doing the exact reverse. To celebrate passion, love, companionship and all that mushy stuff, we’re knocking money off the most romantic of beverage of all: Pink Champagne. There’s £10 off the iconic Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne and £13 off the spicy and rose gold-hued Heidsieck Monopole Rosé Champagne. But our top tip is the Oddbins exclusive Antoine Remy Rosé Champagne, down to the unbeatably good value of just £25. By purchasing this glorious fizz, you aren’t paying for fancy marketing, celebrity endorsement or elaborate packaging, no, you are simply taking home pure boutique craftsmanship that has turned humble grapes into wild strawberries and cream, raspberry sorbet, cherry blossom and bubbling stars. Forget Jay Leno, when it comes to the most romantic night of the year Antoine Remy is the Tonight Show.

    If you don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day, don’t worry about it, it is just a day like any other. Except it isn’t this year, because this year it’s a Friday. So iron your best outfit, pour a gin and tonic (into yourself, not the iron) and hit the town. Caorunn is our gin of choice (currently £4 off), a crisp tipple made from a mixture of rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, Coul Blush apple, dandelion leaf and other botanicals. With that list of ingredients, the recipe sounds like a love potion, and to be honest it is: you’ll fall head over heels…

                                                                                                                       …for Caorunn.

    That’s all from us, except to say a very passionate and heartfelt toodles and to let you know that the next edition of Oddnews will definitely be about heraldry, ornithology and space exploration.

  • NOBEL PRIZES, DOPING AND OLIGARCHS

    Straight off the bat we’d like to apologise for our last email. Not the hideous typo in the first line (that was inexcusable and we have severely punished ourselves for that), but the fact that we got a bit carried away with the more expensive wine. In our defence, we’d just been paid and feeling a bit flush we were trying turn this economy around by spending it all.

    This week however, things have turned decidedly autumnal and we’ve edged a little further from our last pay packet. So we’re going to focus on good value reds in this email. But don’t think that means we’re going to be dumbing it down, oh no, we’ve packed in poetry, philanthropy, politics, philosophy and purlieus (sorry that was the best “p” we could find for environment)…

    Poco a Poco Tempranillo - £6.50

    You can’t just drop Pablo Neruda in front of any old wine. The fact that the Poco a Poco Tempranillo weighs in at a humble £6.50, uses no oak to bolster its stature and still has the cojones to stand up to the work of a Nobel Prize winning poet is pretty impressive. Talking of Nobel Prizes, did anybody else think it might have been a little controversial giving the European Union the Nobel Peace Prize at the moment? Sorry, we went off on a tangent there. Mama Oddbins keeps telling us to leave the politics alone. So where were we? Oh yeah, why have we stuck a quote from a dead Chilean diplomat in front of this wine? Well, Poco a Poco, meaning “little by little” in Spanish, got its name because the winemaker believes that to make good wine you have to do it gradually, bit by bit, little by little. As long as he doesn’t go too slowly, we think he’s on to something because this a veritable riot of fruit and check out that price, if only all austerity were this palatable. Oops, riots and austerity, quick get back to the wine. Fans of the bargainous Quinta de Bons Ventos should definitely get a piece of this action. We will certainly never stop loving this wine, not even little by little.

    Nuevo Mundo Carmeñere - £8.50

    Oh Lance Armstrong, what have you done? His hero side inspired millions by overcoming cancer, convinced us to get our bikes out of the shed, raised almost £300m for charity and won probably one of the world’s most gruelling competitions a record seven times. And then his more controversial bullying, tax payer embezzling, chemically enhanced side was revealed. Things aren’t always cut and dry, as our new Nuevo Mundo Carmeñere (£8.50) proves. Let us take you on a mental road trip to Fact Town. It’s ripe, plummy and extremely elegant. No threat of chemical enhancement here; it’s organic and vegan. The guys who make it use lighter bottles and recycled packaging, they have also proactively reduced their greenhouse gas emissions and increased their water efficiency. So far so good, huh? Verging on saintly, we say. But then they’ve just been certified as South America’s first ever carbon neutral winery and here is where the controversy begins. Cue opening of environmental can and spilling forth of green worms. Carbon offsetting is a thorny issue. Good or bad? We say what could be better than thrashing out the pros and cons over a glass of unequivocally delicious Chilean red wine? One glass of this and there is every risk you will get greedy, not Lance Armstrong greedy, just a healthy “mmm another glass would be excellent” greedy.

     

    Château Thénac Fleur du Périgord - £13

    In these tough economic times wealthy oligarchs aren’t always our favourite people. But do they deserve all that bad press? It’s easier to roll our eyes while hearing about their profligate exploits and tax dodging, than admit that some of them can be quite philanthropic. This is why Roman Abramovich spending £40,000 to hire a private jet to fly sushi to him in Azerbaijan, makes a much more tantalising news story than him anonymously paying a ransom to secure the release of British aid workers being held hostage in Chechnya. The fact the latter is true and he saved their lives, and the former might not be true, seeing as how he’s a vegetarian and it’s highly unlikely that anyone would pay that much for the boring cucumber and avocado sushi, is irrelevant. The über-rich aren’t all bad. We can prove it, but we’re afraid we have to use a football analogy, so bear with us. Roman Abramovich pumped a lot of money into an underachieving football club, which turned their fortunes around and promoted livelier competition in the Premier League. His best friend and business partner Eugene Shvidler is doing the vinous equivalent and his exploits are scaring wines’ Premier League big boys: Bordeaux. Mr Shvidler made millions by being very good at maths, he then invested some of it into Château Thénac, a rundown winery in Bergerac, a region that struggles to steal the limelight it deserves from its more famous neighbour. The Fleur du Périgord (£13) that he’s produced is a marvel, offering a vibrant and lively alternative to fusty old Claret and it even won the plaudits of another billionaire, when it was chosen to be served on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flights. Eugene Shvidler may be the rich one, but with a glass of this, we are the ones that are contented. Lao Tzu says that makes us the rich ones, and he was wise because he wrote the Tao Te Ching and had one of those really long beards that often go with such intelligence.

    That’s all from us, we need to lie down after all these highbrow words.  Toodle pip.

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