A couple of decades ago, British wine lovers often had the luxury of a wine retail chain store on their high street such as Threshers or Oddbins in addition to buying from supermarkets or an independent – or, particularly relevant today, buying on-line. Unsurprisingly, buying wine is transitioning in the same way as many high street shops – either online or upping the game to give an ‘experience.’ (I digress but for an example of mind blowing wine retailing experience, visit Hedonism in Mayfair, London).
Shrugging off a rather chequered corporate history – many of its peers did not survive the financial crisis in 2008 – Oddbins is on the up. It has recently been sold by the French Castel Group, prompting a new lease of life and its eclectic range of wines and quirky marketing – just a couple of traits for which it became popular under independent ownership – are starting to resonate again. After becoming disillusioned with Oddbins’ invariably uninspiring range whilst it was under the Castel ownership, I’ve increasingly found myself going out of my way to visit our local shop in Richmond. The wines are a mixture of reasonably well-known names with a sprinkling of more niche producers. All competitively priced and countries such as Germany and Austria are relatively well represented rather than an exclusive focus on the likes of France and Italy. So next time you are passing an Oddbins, pop in and have a browse.
This fragrant red berried loveliness from Germany’s sunny, dry Nahe region has become my top red picnic wine so far this year. It’s easy drinking but very interesting with its intense redcurrant, sour cherries and juicy watermelon aromas. With a hint of summery mint on the nose, there’s also a definite lick of vanilla that adds body. It’s lovely on its own but also pairs well with salads and light dishes such as Picnic Quinoa Salad.
At a glance
- Style? Medium bodied red wine
- Where is it from? Germany – Nahe
- What’s the grape? Pinot Noir, Dornfelder and Cabernet Sauvignon
- Tastes of? Tangy and ripe redcurrants, vanilla
- What food would complement it? On its own or with canapes/nibbles/salads