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Oddbins Wine Merchants


    Dr Oddbins would like to welcome you to the latest issue of Oddnews. This edition is somewhere between an anatomy lesson and a medical examination. We’re going to start off in your mouth, then check the arm and finally finish up by peering into your ears. But don’t worry it’s not as scary as it sounds; it’s just what the doctor ordered…

    The Palate

    Open wide; let’s have a look at those taste buds. Oddbins are launching a nationwide competition to find the UK’s best amateur wine taster; The Palate. The competition will take place over five rounds, including a tasting boot camp with a celebrity wine critic. Three lucky winners will receive holidays to some of the world’s most famous wine regions, influence the wine hitting our shelves and be crowned “The UK’s Finest Palate”. To find out more and watch our video, simply click here.

    To enter Round One, just pop in to any branch of Oddbins on either the weekend of 2-3 June or 9-10 June and you could find out what victory tastes like.

    6 x d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz for £150

    OK, about that arm… There are two times in life when a "dead arm" is fun. The first is when you’re six years old punching your friends in the playground. The second is when you discover d'Arenberg’s iconic Dead Arm Shiraz. It’s this second experience that we want to talk to you about as it takes fun to a whole new, and far less painful, level. The wine gets its namefrom a fungal infection (yeah, who knew that could be fun?) that kills half the vine, concentrating all the goodness and flavour into the grapes in the remaining half. The result is an enormously rich Shiraz that’s spicier and more packed with revelations than an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show and more voluptuous and indulgent than an evening in Nigella Lawson’s kitchen. The 2008 vintage was picked before the heat wave ensuring the wine maintains crisp rhubarb, dried herbs, gamey meat, chunky cherries, big plums (ahem!) and more spices than a Moroccan Souk. Although you’ll be rewarded highly if you open it immediately, we recommend holding your horses (easier said than done with a dead arm) as this will continue to improve over the next 15 years.

    If you want to try the d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz, it’s available in our shops at £30 a bottle. But just for you we’re offering an amazing online only offer of six bottles for £150, including delivery. That’s a whole bottle free. Stocks are limited though, so order here soon. We’ll even deliver them, so there’s no risk of any damage to your arms carrying them home.

    London Wine Fair

    Many of our customers reported symptoms of music and the sounds of sipping and slurping resonating in their ears. We don’t need Dr Gregory House for this; we know it wasn’t Lupus…

    We’ve been waiting 64 years for the Olympic Games to return to the UK. It’s been 115 years since our last Diamond Jubilee party. But when it comes to epic returns and monumental parties, 2012 will be remembered as the year the Oddbins Wine Fair returned. Much love and respect to all those who joined us at the Oddbins Wine Fair in London at the weekend for some amazing wines, great music and a welcome cooling break from the sunshine. We had some excellent reviews from two of our favourite wine bloggers; BigPinots and Spittoon, GQ Magazine were “very impressed” (keep an eye out for a GQ and Oddbins collaboration coming soon here) and one of our attendees described it as “one of THE BEST wine fairs of the season...Oddbins is back!” If you missed out or want more of the same, the party continues in our shops, on our website and in every bottle we sell.

    That’s all from us, it wasn’t so bad was it? Until next time, Dr Oddbins prescribes more sunshine, more fun and nothing but the finest wines.


    Are you sitting comfortably?  Well then, welcome to the May issue of Oddnews.  We’re going to fill you in on all the mischief we’ve been up to and the much anticipated return of the Oddbins Wine Fair.  But before you venture a word further, if you haven't already, go and put some music on.  We don’t care what, we’re not judgemental, but we think that music is important.  Extreme-whiskered philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that “without music life would be a mistake”, and this was echoed by the Barbadian musical conveyor belt, Rihanna, when she sang “please don’t stop the music”.  We’re proposing a wine and music adventure…Sound Wine Advice
    Oddbins has always been a noisy wine merchant, but we’re about to crank it up to 11.  We want to take you on a magical mystery tour that’s more punk rock than wine shop.  Like Vivaldi, we’ve elegantly divided the year into four seasons and assigned each an unusual theme.  For the next few months our theme will be “sound”, and we’ll be kicking off the season with “music”.  There’s more to wine and music than just UB40’s “Red Red Wine”, scientific studies have shown that music can affect the wine you buy and how it tastes.  To give you a snifter: playing accordion music in a wine shop makes customers more likely to select French wine and Cabernet Sauvignon tastes better while listening to dark angry music.  Crazy huh?  All this got us thinking, if certain songs make some wines taste better, then there must be a perfect music match for every wine.  So we’ve dug deep in the crates and come up with a recommended song match for each of our wines.  We’ve put them all slap bang on our website in our Music & Wine Matcher.  All you have to do is buy a bottle of our finest and go online to see what we recommend you listen to.  But this is an open debate, we want to hear from you, if you disagree or have a better idea let us know.  You can do this via our website, by filling in a form in one of our shops or on Twitter using the hashtag: #oddbinsmusic.  The best wine and music matches will win prizes of festival tickets, cases of wine or even an honorary place on the Oddbins Music and Wine Matching Panel.  To find out more just read our manifesto online or pop into one of our shops.

    Oddbins Wine Fair: The Return
    Wine and music madness not enough for you?  Well we have some news that will definitely be music to your ears…

    Boom!  The legendary Oddbins Wine Fair is officially back.  It will take place on 25-26 May 2012 at Victoria House Basement, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1B 4DA.  Save the date, because we’re back with a bang.  There will be over 400 wines from more than 65 producers (wine, not record), masterclasses, loads of music, food, gifts and your chance to meet the winemakers.  More information will follow, so keep your eye on us.  If you would like to join in, either pop into your local branch to buy tickets, call us on 0800 328 2323 or visit our website.

    More Mischief
    The fun doesn’t stop there.  Fermented grape juice was never supposed to be stuffy and elitist.  Oddbins are eternal troublemakers and we say down with the wine bores and winosaurs, enough of the doom and gloom, let’s put the joy back…

    So as well as launching our wine and music matching competition, we’ve been dabbling in politics.  Last week we chose seven wines that sum up each of the candidates for the London Mayoral Election.  With people voting today there’s still everything to play for, our OddGov survey puts one of the candidates out in front by a few bottles.  However, we’re keen to avoid a political scandal, we’ll leave that to the politicians and Murdochs, and so we’re keeping the facts and figures close to our chest.  We might let you know our results after the election.

    If that wasn’t enough, we’re also remixing the tasting note.  So you can expect less “aromas of kumquats in a dirty plimsoll” and “meaty notes reminiscent of jerky on a thundery summer evening” on our website.  Instead you can expect giant wooden ducks, Chuck Norris, marauding vampires, Gil Scott-Heron, disappearing Iranian cities and a wine made by dogs.  If you don’t believe us, have a look at Canard-Duchêne, Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz, Falanghina Biblos, Cigarra Shiraz Tinta Barroca, Berton Paddock Shiraz and Hunawihr Gewürztraminer.

    If you have any ideas for more mischievous wine-related tomfoolery, drop us an email or get yourself on to Twitter or Facebook.  OK, that’s all from us.  We hope to see you in one of our shops, at the Wine Fair or online.  Until next time, pump up the volume and watch this space for more Oddbins shenanigans…


    Dostoyevsky wasn’t known for his sunny disposition. But, being Russian, he would probably have dealt with our winter better than we do. On Sunday 27 October the clocks go back, heralding the end of the ironically named British Summer Time. From there on the nights will grow longer and darker. Our answer is to hunker down with something warm and equally dark, like Bowmore Darkest 15 Year Old malt whisky, which smoulders with the richness of dark chocolate, black treacle toffee, smoke and worn leather. Or why not take on a walk on the darker side with our craft beer case: London By Night, six pitch black ales that are certain to warm the cockles. The darker the night, the brighter these stars will shine.

    Remember, remember the 5th of November, fireworks, jacket potatoes and Champagne. Wait a minute, that isn’t how it goes, is it? Anyway, for us, the fireworks of Bonfire Night mark the real start of the party season. So how are we going to celebrate? We turned to our Wine Buyer Ana Sapungiu for advice, and she said “According to legend, on trying the first ever sparkling Champagne, the monk Dom Pérignon was reputed to have said ‘Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!’. Well stars are OK, but if it's cloudy you can't see them. I prefer the excitement of fireworks. Drappier is so bright and breathtaking, each sip is like drinking chilled fireworks.” Pop. Ooh. Aah. All we can add to that is that at just £26 a bottle, Drappier is one firework it is safe to return to.

    The red safelight in Hell’s darkroom must really set off Satan’s eyes. But why doesn’t he ditch the darkroom and go digital like the rest of us? Maybe modern technology can’t cope with all that damnation and brimstone. We’re much less afraid of Lucifer now that star of Point Break, Gary Busey, has informed us that he has a nice hobby. But talking of all things scary, 31 October is Hallowe’en, so you will be wanting a suitably ghoulish wine we imagine. But not one of those supermarket trick wines that Oz Clarke was talking about on Watchdog, you’ll be wanting one of those treat wines, like the ones that Oddbins sells. So why not try Longview’s dark and minty Devils Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon, missing the apostrophe because it takes its name from an Aussie road rather than Beelzebub’s olecranon (we think it's still grammatically dubious though). It’s devilishly good and develops in the glass, not a darkroom.

    That’s all from us, except to say that although this edition of Oddnews has had quite a dark and nocturnal feel, keep an eye out because we’re about to lighten things up with some fun…

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