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Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

  • The Chimpossible Dream

    Outspoken Chimp is sitting with friends watching himself on a video for the umpteenth time. The video concerns the seasonal takeover of a chain of wine stores by a bunch of likeable, if unruly chimps, and Outspoken has convinced himself and all around him that he is by far the star of the show. A former tabloid journalist, he has a great flair for persuading people to believe the clearly improbable. As another bottle of Girouette Sauvignon Blanc is passed around, the rather surprising finale takes him back to his journalistic heyday.

    Girouette-Sauvignon-Blanc

    'MUST WE FLING THIS FILTH AT OUR POP KIDS?' blared a headline in the Sunday People, back in the punk era, above a hysterical piece that accused the New Musical Express of covering the new music's attendant hysteria in tones verging on the hysterical. Even by tabloid standards, this was award-winning gobbledegook! Not to be outdone, Outspoken swung straight on to the bandwagon. Picking randomly on Mancunian no-hopers, Primate Scream, the Daily Spud's front page article 'PUNK ROCK DRUG HOUNDS BEAT UP VICAR' carried nothing to substantiate its headline, but seethed with enough ill-conceived outrage to drive the band's record sales through the roof. Outspoken subsequently left Grub Street behind, making the trek to Manchester to work as the band's PR. Tied up in the boot of their Austin Allegro, by his own account...

    Outspoken-Banner

    The band went from strength to strength, or at least from stunt to stunt, until their singer, Passionate Chimp, began to feel restless. The sincerity with which he dealt with the band's subject matter - creationism, species-ism, dodgy Clint Eastwood films - was beyond reproach, but he was wishing the audience would show their approval with something other than phlegm. Maybe they could leave flowers at the front of the stage, like they did for Barbra Streisand, or a bottle of deliciously elegant wine like Domaine Condamine Syrah-Mourvèdre, or even throw their...ahem, that's quite enough now...

    Syrah-Mourvedre

    On a night off in the middle of a tour, he wanders into a cabaret club in Liverpool. A listless turn has the audience tapping their toes politely while eating chicken in a basket and gazing into glasses of Vin Tres Ordinaire. During the interval, Passionate Chimp takes the stage and starts cautiously to sing 'The Way We Were', an evolutionary favourite. The bouncers move to throw him off until they notice that people are paying attention. He glides into '(They Long To Be) Close To You', an anti-creationism classic, and people are looking fondly into each other's eyes and swaying gently while they push the boat out with some Anxo Albarino.

    Anxo-Martin

    By 'Ape-ril In Paris', the original act has packed up and wobbled home, having drowned his mediocrity with Kavalan Concert Master Taiwanese whisky; and as Passionate brings the house down with 'Lover Come Back To Me', the man with the bucket of 'roses for the lady' has sold out completely, the whole lot piled up at the front of the stage! The audience are on their feet, grown men are in tears and the club is in uproar, and as Passionate Chimp gathers up the flowers, buried among them he sees - yes! - underwear! A Littlewoods panty girdle with a phone number written on it in lipstick. Passionate hasn't been here an hour and already he has arrived!

    Passionate-Banner

    Making notes in a dark corner stands Outspoken himself. Even he has never convinced so many people so unequivocally of his own greatness. He mooches over to a man in a sheepskin coat, his hands bedecked with sovereign rings, and starts making arrangements.

    Is this the end for Primate Scream? Will Tom Jones be dethroned by a chimpanzee? Will our hero dial the number on the Littlewoods passion killers? Tune in next week, and in the meantime keep the heat turned up with a bottle of La Multa Garnacha, a hot blooded continental with a powerful body that you won't want to share with anybody else!

    La-Multa

  • BLACK SHEEP AND SHAKY STARTS

    This week is A-level results week. Whether you are a have a younger brother or sister, who’s currently prostrate on a sofa, still staring grimly/elatedly at their results papers, dusting the kebab crumbs off their shirt, or a parent, trying really very hard to be enthusiastic about your off-spring’s C in ‘Citizenship Studies’, but wondering if a quick secretarial course is still an option, Oddbins is here for you. That probably doesn’t sound well-meaning coming from a wine merchant, but we have honourable intentions, we promise. Let us elucidate… All the best people have wobbly beginnings. Before becoming a ‘national treasure’, Stephen Fry was quite the black sheep, having been expelled from two schools and sent to prison. So rest easy, folks – ‘coz ‘black sheep’, like ‘ugly ducklings’, ‘underdogs’ and other animal-related subclasses, are the best. It is in this spirit that we collar some defiantly odd wines from a country not known for experimentation and shove them into the Odd News spotlight…
    The country we speak of is that thin, vertiginously mountainous strip of land that is Chile. Chileans are masters of ready-to-go, reliable, top value wines, which is obviously great. Super. Lovely. But… sometimes it’s nice to go mental, take all your clothes off and jump into a lake. Which is what, in vinous terms, the next wine does. Called ‘Oveja Negra’, which is Spanish for ‘black sheep’, and priced £8.75, it is a whacked-out blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Carmenère. A zingy white wine blended with a juicy red wine? Well, like our Citizenship Studies student, the choice may look unlikely, but it works. Sauvignon’s grapefruit-fresh zippiness marries exceptionally well with the plump yet herbaceous Carmenère. Oveja Negra might just be geniuses.
    So, if Oveja Negra is Chile’s black sheep, then Viña Leyda is their ‘ugly duckling’. Not that they were ever ugly as such. More like lonesome, frontier-dwelling outsiders. As we mentioned in Odd News a few weeks back, they were the first ones to set up camp in the Leyda Valley, which was previously farmed for wheat and barley, and secured its status as an official wine region in 2001. They continue to push the envelope, leaving the crowd way behind as they experiment with grapes like Sauvignon Gris (£11) – a rare, older sister of Sauvignon Blanc that is more expressive, tropical and spicy than its popular younger sister. If they were a family, they’d probably be the Kennedys; talented and celebrated, with varying levels of fame and exotic tendencies…
    Finally we turn to Chile’s underdog. We’ve waxed lyrical many a time about New World Chardonnay. It’s got a bad rep. ‘It’s big, oaky, overblown’, people say. They say ‘it’ll never satisfy me the way a nice crisp Burgundian Chardonnay does’. But we know otherwise, don’t we reader? We know that, if you go high up enough into the mountains, past the cloud line, where the temperature drops and the grapes can cool right down at night-time, you can get some mouth-wateringly lemony, nuanced, flinty charmers like De Martino Chardonnay (£11), which, one day, will go on to rule the world and people will say ‘I am soo glad I didn’t send him off to do a secretarial course’. Know what we mean?

    So, as your loved one studies those letters on that bit of paper, you can all be safe in the knowledge that it is a long road and this isn’t the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning… and Oddbins is just down the road (or on the computer) when you need us.

    Ciao.

  • WE ARE ALL ARTISTS

    22 July, 2014

    We have some shocking news: we don’t really care for convention at Oddbins.
    OK, maybe you already knew that. Anyway, that’s why we’re going to be a tad random start this newsletter with a poem:
    We are all artists
    Nothing’s the same in black and white
    Use your own colours and create your own light
    Don’t doubt your colour is you
    Never change the slightest hue
    What would the sea be if it lost its blue?
    This poem sums up how we feel about wine. At its best, we feel a wine should shine through with local character – ‘regional typicity’ as wine folk say – and with the character of the winemaker. When this happens, you’ve got wine gold and we are well chuffed to have been named High Street Chain of the Year 2014 by the International Wine Challenge (IWC) for stocking wines that do just that. So saying, let us introduce you to some IWC award-winning wines that really do create their own light…
    First up is Janeil Gros Manseng/Sauvignon Blanc 2013, a zingy, floral belter from the southwest of France, which scooped Gold at the IWC 2014 awards. Although ‘Gros Manseng’ sounds less like a grape and more like an unflattering description of a singer, the producer declares this local variety loud and proud on the label and quite right too: it’s a gorgeous example of this unique grape. Or, as the less florid judges put it, ‘Fresh lemon, apple, pear and grass. Zesty with balancing fruit richness. Great drinking.’
    Speaking of staying true to yourself, we’ve got some advice for Newsnight’s new anchor, Evan Davies: don’t try to be Paxo, yo. More news puppy than news hound, Evan is a nice bloke and it’s going to plain weird if he starts spluttering and yelling at interviewees that they still haven’t answered the question. Instead, we think Evan should follow the example of Luís Lourenço, the maker of Quinta dos Roques, and bring his own style to proceedings. Made from the classic Dão varieties Touriga Naçional, Jaen, Alfrocheiro, as well as Tempranillo, this is a proud example of the chunky, soulful reds that Dão does so well. Plus, the 2011 has just won Gold at the IWC 2014 and is the IWC’s Portuguese Red Wine Trophy Winner. It is for wines like this that we have, *dusts off black tie awards dinner outfit*, also won the IWC Specialist Merchant of the Year Award for Portugal. Yieah, boi!
    And lastly to a wine, a man and a city that all have splendidly strong, idiosyncratic personalities. We are speaking, respectively, of Viña Leyda ‘Falaris’ Chardonnay, Joe Wadsack and Glasgow. Viña Leyda were the pioneers of winemaking in Chile’s now desirable, cool-climate Leyda Valley, which was named after them in 1997. The cooler climate means they can make more nuanced wines such as this Chardonnay, which has a captivating mineral streak running through the ripe melon and guava fruit, and which won Bronze at the IWC 2014. This was one of the wines that former RAF pilot-turned-wine writer and educator, Joe, put on tasting at The Palate Semi Final Boot Camp in Glasgow last weekend and wowed the contestants. A spectacularly energetic, crazy man, showing a pioneering wine, in a bustling, fiercely proud city: a triumphant triad of ‘regional typicity’ and unabashed personality, we think you'll agree.
    Ciao for now.
  • FOOTBALL LOVE, FOOTBALL HATE, FOOT WHAT?

    20 June, 2014

    Major sporting tournaments tend to polarise sporty types and non-sporty types into two squarely opposing camps. The sporty types gather together to discuss tactics, glancing dubiously at the non-sporty types, while the non-sporty types wonder what the fuss is about, becoming increasingly incredulous towards their Lycra-clad opposites. But the World Camp introduces a third type: the ignorant enthusiast (Oddbins falls into this category). So, this week, whether you’re a lover, a hater or an intrigued novice swept up in the excitement of it all, we’ve something for you this World Cup…

    Mari

    Firstly, for the haters. We know that, when you haven’t got your head in the sand and your fingers in your ears avoiding football, you’re a really nice bunch. You like a good laugh and you like rooting out curious libations – that’s why you subscribe to Odd News, right? So, to appease your football-weary souls, may we introduce a lama. “What???” you may splutter. But don’t worry, we’re not talking about the fluffy South American camel, we’re talking about Mari – Join the Lama (275ml, 5.9%, £3.95): a medium-sweet fusion of Mosel Riesling, fermented Yerba Maté (tea leaves) from Argentina and Austrian elderflower. It sounds mental but it tastes out of this world. Also from Austria and also rather leftfield, we have a sparkling Grüner Veltliner made by wine wunderkind Markus Huber. With all the sensual orchard fruit and bold spice of still Grüner Veltliner, wrapped up in an enticing, soft fizz, it’s a total delight. Supplies are limited, so get stuck in whilst you can.

    FOX

    Secondly, for the ‘intrigued novice swept up in the excitement of it all’, we have a cunning plan that involves watching the World Cup and winning a £50 gift card, without knowing a crumb about football. Here’s how it works:

    1. Purchase a pair of wines that are up against each other (wine matching explanations here; wine and fixtures here)
    2. Taste the wines at home. (This is easier with four friends or relatives).
    3. Score the wines thus: each taster decides if they prefer one wine over the other or if it’s a draw. Each person preferring a wine scores a goal for the corresponding team.  So if three tasters prefer wine A, one prefers wine B and one has no preference, your score is 3-1 to Wine A. If all 5 tasters don’t have a preference between the wines, your score is 0-0
    4. Post your score (whether it’s 3:2 or 0:0), with a picture of both wines together, on Twitter or Facebook, using @OddbinsWine. To state the bleedin’ obvious, Tweets must be posted before the match.*
    5. All correct predictions will win a £50 gift card**
    6. We do not accept bribes. Unlike certain members of a Geneva-based ‘not-for-profit organisation’ reportedly.

    *ReTweets do not count as entries
    **One prediction is allowed per person, per match

    DES OLLIEUXThirdly, for people who actually know about football. Regardless of whether England cling on to life tonight (Forza Italia!), you can win wine this World Cup. If you correctly predict any score, using your knowledge of the game, we’ll give you both teams’ representative wines. For example, if you predict that Germany will beat Ghana 3-1 tomorrow, you win Château Ollieux La Volière (representing France) and Oveja-Negra Sauvignon Blanc/Carmenère (representing Ghana). For all the team’s wines, click here. To repeat, we’re inviting you to call any match to win wine. Just reply to this email, or Tweet us @Oddbins, using #WorldCup, before the match.*

    *Again, one prediction is allowed per person, per match. ReTweets do not count as entries.

    Yea, though our football knowledge be sparse and our passion sporadic, we will find a way to involve wine in the World Cup in any way we can.

    Go football!

  • 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.

  • DOGS, PENGUINS, CHARITY AND MUMS

    Today we want to talk to you about dogs, penguins, charity and your mum. And you thought we were just going to spraff on about wine didn’t you?
    The more observant among you may have seen a little video we put out before Christmas introducing you to a delightful Mexican penguin called Pepita. If you missed it amongst the festive mayhem, fret ye not, because we have managed to twist Pepita’s flipper into writing a guest post for our blog. She recommends our One Ribera del Duero and the exquisite Excellia Blanco Tequila, proving that there is more to penguins than Morgan Freeman and David Attenborough have old us. So if you’ve ever wondered what a Mexican penguin’s views on wines are (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), you can read Pepita’s musings by clicking here.

    Last year we released our Wine Not War Châteauneuf du Pape collaboration with War Child, which is still selling strongly; continuing to help this fantastically worthy cause with each sip of wine. We were so inspired by this that we were hungry to do more. So we’ve teamed up with Comic Relief to take part in its Wine Relief campaign this year. We’re donating 10% from the sale of eight or our favourite wines until 15 March 2013. You can check out the wines by clicking here, or by visiting any of our shops. Sorry we got a bit serious there; sometimes it’s better to leave comedy to the professionals.

    You’re a sweetheart, aren’t you? You wouldn’t forget Mother’s Day? Of course you wouldn’t…

    …but just in case, it’s on Sunday 10 March 2013 and we’ve got every angle covered from the very special Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin to the classic Ruinart Rosé Champagne: from the unctuous Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximinez Sherry to Henry Pellé’s elegant Sauvignon Blanc from Menetou-Salon. [Or if your mum is like mine, you may want to pick up all four – Ed] Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

    That’s all from us, we leave you with a question from P.G. Wodehouse to ponder:

    “Why do dachshunds wear their ears inside out?”
  • 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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