If you attended the Freshers’ Fair last week, you will almost certainly have heard of The Oxford Wine Company, and maybe even picked up a voucher or two. With 3 stores in the Oxford area (Turl Street, Botley and Little Clarendon Street), and a 10% student discount for Bod card holders, it’s certainly a go-to for anyone looking for something slightly classier than your usual supermarket bargains.
This offer becomes even more attractive for anyone looking to host an event, with further discounts offered for common rooms, societies and balls, and bespoke tastings offered on request. With a selection ranging from classic French and Italian drinks to more niche bottles from South America and Eastern Europe, and a thorough knowledge of each, The Oxford Wine Company truly has a wine for every occasion, so I was excited when given the opportunity to review a bottle.
After a year largely confined to the cheapest drinks I could find in Tesco, the sheer range of the selection on offer both in quantity and variety was incredibly appealing, in spite of the obvious jump in price. This is justifiable however, given the quality of both the wine and its proprietors. My visit to their Turl street branch was friendly and in spite of my rudimentary knowledge of the wines of the world, somewhat collaborative; my own preferences were poorly articulated I am sure, but taken seriously all the same. They were incredibly knowledgeable and picked out a wine to my tastes – Noir de Katz, a Pinot Noir from the Alsace region of France. Red, dry, though incredibly sweet this wine had notes of red fruits and honey which made its consumption an enjoyable experience both independently and with savoury accompaniments – I found even a simple charcuterie board from any local supermarket was much improved with a few glasses of Noir de Katz. Though not an attribute of the wine itself, the bottle is made more attractive by the very cute cat on both its label and cork, which stood out on the shelf in the store.
Knowledge of and education regarding wine, can often seem elitist. In some ways it is by its very nature- bottles can go for thousands of pounds to collectors whose knowledge is cultivated over a lifetime. Learning to differentiate each drink based on nuances subtle enough to appear invented to most, and regularly parodied. The Oxford Wine Company is above all accessible. Whilst they do carry some high ticket items, the majority of their products are very reasonably priced, and with the appropriate discounts, within a student’s price range for an occasional treat. The friendly attitude of the staff and the clear labelling of the store made the experience one which defied the norm, encouraging curiosity. I would certainly consider The Oxford Wine Company my first call for new discoveries and old favourites.