Oddbins Unicorns

Prompted by another discussion on so called “unicorn wines”…

It’s a funny old world.

I managed to get voluntary redundancy back in 1989 (company relocating and didn’t want to go).

The money paid off the credit card debt that was run up to live on when the mortgage rates were excruciatingly high. Base rate 14 odd percent in 1989!

Some left so bought some (now unicorn) wines from the local Oddbins.

1983 Leoville Las Cases, 1985 Lynch Bagels, and 1986 Ducru Beaucaillou. From my ever fading memory maybe £20-£25 a bottle.

Out of interest did any here buy these?

Don’t want to sell them. Somewhat scary to consume them. The usual problem with the price of something and the value!

Have a few of all three hidden deep. Most consumed with wine geek friends or family. The geeks know the price. Try to keep it from the family!

BTW the 83 LLC still appears to need more time. The 85 LB was plain gorgeous the last time (maybe 3 years ago). The 86 DB has been mixed. Don’t think I had high TCA but some muted

Funny old world…

Robert Parker has a lot to answer to…


Had the 1983 LLC on my birthday this year and agree still needs time. Ageing more elegantly than I am.


I had the 83DB, it was also muted, I assumed lightly TCA affected.

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Thank you for the reply.

From memory they had some form of TCA infestation in the wooden roof of the chais.

Need to bite the bullet and open one…



Yes I read with great envy your gargantuan birthday tasting notes on WP.

Your review on the surly LLC piqued my interest.


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I understand your dilemma. I had a similar issue with a case of mixed port. I was working for S&N Brewery and Waverly Vintners was part of the group. I asked for a mixed case of port , which came with 4 Bottles of the following: Warres 1963, Dows 1966 and Taylors 1970…
For the price of £95
I was in my local wine shop and telling the owner about these as the value was soaring. He said that for the price I paid, I should enjoy my purchases, the price now is irrelevant



I understand (all too well) as a collectors (ok compulsive hoarder). :grin:

At college all too many years ago the cellar was offering 1945 port to students first come first served (too long ago to remember - but it would have been a good price). Cottoned on too late. Had to settle for 1963 Offley Boa Vista!!! Hidden deep…

Used to buy port from the old Brakspear’s wine shop in Henley. Still got bottles of Taylor’s, Graham’s, and Cockburn’s 1977’s. All for less than £10!

The other contemporary dilemma is that not many people drink port…

BTW I used to work at an S&N pub in Ramsgate before university. Great hoot.

In the end it’s the price / value proposition…


As the years went by, I used to buy a lot of en-primeur wine , but the company went into receivership, Thankfully I did get my wines. I then went down to Lay and Wheelers in Colchester for a few tastings and purchased three cases of 1st Growths at £500 a case.
Mouton Rothschilds 1970, Cheval Blanc 1970 and 1990 Latour. I envisaged drinking them.
However, a divorce meant I had to sell. I did get a good return, but have always wondered what these wines were like and now the price is so high, I cant justify buying any


L&W brings back good memories.

Pre-internet. Sending off for wine lists in the early 80’s.

There’s was always a great read.

Used to also read the Hungerford Wine List. Great list.

He got caught out not hedging his EP purchases when the pound crashed and went bankrupt. Great shame…

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I used to really enjoy the L&W printed lists (and the Coche-Dury they used to let me have…). I also have fond memories of the Loftus era Adnams lists.


I’d forgotten that one too.

Lovely written prose too

May be my fading memory but world class Sauternes for pennies almost.

Yes, that was a really good company and the one that I was able to salvage my wines from

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It is relevant - you could sell them and buy other stuff with the money that you want more.

But humans are irrational. Give someone a choice between a gift of £20 and an object of the same value, the chances are they’d take the money. But give them the object, and then try to buy it from them for £20, and they would refuse.

Personally I would embrace the irrationality and drink them :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yes, that is true, but then one may wonder what they tasted like as you could never get them at such a low price again.

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I guess my take is as follows.

I bought them years ago as I wanted to drink them.

They were relatively dear at the time, maybe 4-5 times more than usual bottles. I can remember my usual wines then like Seaview, Marlborough were £4.99 ish.

I admit the rapidly increasing asset value is slightly daunting

Gonna stick to Plan A as originally envisaged.


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True, but…

  1. When you know what they taste like, your curiosity might be satisfied, but you could be disappointed.

  2. There are many wines in the world you will never get to taste. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Actually I am just trying to put forward an alternative view - I’ve already said that personally I would drink them. That is exactly what I did with one particular bottle that had increased in price to a stupid degree. I WAS disappointed by the wine, but I still don’t regret drinking it.


I think you make interesting point Steve. I’m in the drink it camp, however does knowing the value now change how you analyse the wine and enjoy it. Presumably expectations of the wine are different now to when the wine was purchased?

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Fair question. In some cases I’m sure expectations can lead one to be more critical, while in other cases expectations can have a positive effect on enjoyment.

But in my case, and for other people around the table, I think we all were prepared to be open-minded. And we also realised that the high market value was largely due to the silly increase in the prices of top Burgundies - which incidentally also affected some or the other wines we drank that evening.

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Sad to hear OddBins is closing down

Oh really? There’s a branch in Hampstead which I never bothered to go in. And Amathus opened a very well-stocked branch next to oddbins, which is the one wine shop in NW3 I pop in occasionally.