Sunday, 25 September 2011

Shopping notes

It's been a while since I wrote about something I do almost daily. This post is prompted by the appearance, for the very first time, at my local Auchan, of a New Zealand wine. Not just any wine from New Zealand, but a Sauvignon Blanc, from 2008, and at the entirely acceptable price of 26 zlotys a bottle. I acquired a liking for this wine in England some while back, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law (indeed overdoing it at the end of Lent 2010!). The region is Marlborough, the wine I took to so much ['to take to something' - phrasal verb alert] is Oyster Bay.

What's appeared in Auchan is not Oyster Bay, but Seagull Mountain. 'Podroobster', as my children are wont to say [from the Polish podróbka, a fake, a forgery, a fraud]? More like a podszycie [undersewing]... Name of nautically associated creature plus name of geographical feature. Glass of Flounder Promontory, anyone?

Anyway... well what's it like? Seagull Mountain is far, far closer in taste to Oyster Bay than to any Sauvignon Blanc - from Chile, Australia, California or France - that I've ever tasted. That blackcurrant (czarna porzeczka) note, tartness, fruitiness - all there. Just a wee bit too acidic, but for the price - five quid a bottle - this... is a wine.

Meanwhile over at Tesco, the era of the extremely good price-to-quality ratio of generic Chilean and Australian dry reds seems to be over; the 8.35 - 8.99 zlotys bottles have long disappeared; the excellent single grape varietals (Australian Cabernet Shiraz or plain Shiraz, the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, the South African Cabernet Shiraz) at 12.99 - 13.99 zlotys a bottle are becoming increasing harder to find.

I'm becoming increasingly enamoured of the Carmenere grape (mostly Chilean of origin); the Antares Carmenere for 23.99 zlotys a bottle is consistently good, and in my opinion beats wines that sell for double the price.

Now... wondering off down the aisles with my trolley, Eddie's shopping list in hand, to the cosmetics department. He wants a bottle of Garnier Flounce re-volumizing texturizing moisture-enhancing XtremeOptionz shampoo with the matching conditioner. PAH! When I were a lad, washin' me hair with a drop o' Alberto VO5 once a week were good enough fer me!

And here I must mention the Most Effective TV Ad That Ever Worked On Me. Can't find it on YouTube, but from the early or mid '80s, it was for Head & Shoulders shampoo. A young man and woman are leaving a gym. She glances into his holdall and sees a bottle of Head & Shoulders. In broadest Cockney, she says to him: "'Ead an' Shouldahz? Ah didn know you 'ad daindruff!" To which he replies, in broadest Cockney "Ah DOAN' " The message is clear. Use it regularly, make it your shampoo of choice, and dandruff will never reappear. Well, that ad worked so well on me that for the past quarter of a century I've stuck with that one brand, thus avoiding the 'D' word. I don't have dandruff - haven't had it for over 25 years - and continue to use anti-dandruff shampoo. [Nizoral, an over-the-counter preparation for dandruff 'that you can use in combination with your favourite shampoo' is currently being advertised on Polish radio. I can't say that message works for me at all.]

A propos of British TV ads from the 1980s on YouTube - there's hundreds of them (a sample for you here). Watching them fills me with nostalgia, surprise, shock [Kellogg's Cornflakes claiming to be "as refreshing as Champagne", the mother in a Fairy Liquid ad calling her little daughter an idiot] but above all the awareness that while all this stuff was being flogged to Brits, piled high and sold cheap, in Poland, people were queuing for the most basic human requirements - bread, meat, toothpaste, toilet paper, un-branded, third-rate products in grey, or garish orange.

Eddie and I have just watched an hour of YouTube 1980s UK TV ads. Half of them are laughable - how could consumers have been that naive? So many dead brands, failed banks, superseded technologies, defrocked celebrities... How times have moved on; how much wiser we all are. "If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club." "A finger of Fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat." Indeed. Yet during that hour of curiosity for Eddie, nostalgia for me, no ad proved anywhere as effective as that one for Head & Shoulders.

This time last year:
Grandson of Poles elected to lead UK's Labour Party

This time three years ago:
Give me sunshine!


DC said...

British Rail. Still getting there?

Anonymous said...

kg just sent me a long email raving about Carmenere. Weird. not sure i like it when worlds collide.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ DC - the British Rail ad - when 'passengers' first became 'customers' ARRRGH!

@ Basia - you don't have Carmenere in Canada?

Anonymous said...

Your mention of Oyster Bay brings back memories of a delightful citrus symphony on the palate. A wonderful imbibement.

At Present, I am mainly drinking Newfoundland Salar {a ubiquitous trinity of lighthouses, rough seas, leaping fish and celestial bodies on the label}

Frater Arboreal Cups

basia said...

not familiar with the grape. I'll have to do some "field research" on my way home from work.
I'll look for the wine your suggested. I'm guessing it will cost at least $14 here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael - Ewa and I just rolled back in from Tuscany - stayed in Castellina in Chianti - guess what we have been drinking for the past 2 weeks? Hit the area at a great time - Chianti Festival in Greve and then the Parma Ham Festival in Parma.