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26th March 2014

Champagne: Go out with a bang

Victor Croci, soon to depart Manchester for good, has left us with a guide to show us how to celebrate the coming end-of-year revelry in style. All you need is a flute, a magnum, and post-exam euphoria.

If this is to be the final issue of our unorthodox wine column with all its delightful little eccentricities – then we had better go out drinking, an opened bottle of Merlot in one hand and a 19th century vintage corkscrew in the other! Who am I kidding, as students a half carton of Tesco’s Basic Red Wine and some stale mild cheddar cheese will have to suffice.

Springtime is finally upon us and with it comes the promise of the 190th edition of the University of Manchester’s games (exams that is); a cruel ordeal where harsh and unforgiving professors strut through halls of malnourished exhausted students frantically scribbling away at an obscure algorithm, deep yet meaningless philosophy quote or worse, dreaded multiple choice question.

Friends! Do not fear because once the academic games are over and summer lethargy is here to stay – I have carefully pieced together with my Francophile posse of cork-teasers, a list of wines you may wish to consider for the occasion. It is bold, bombastic and yet somehow available on a meagre student budget.

Numéro Cinque : Tesco Cava Brut £4.99, in the arsenal of post-exam shenanigans and Formula One victory celebrations – this is a state of the art high pressure fire extinguisher. Corked and loaded somewhere off the Danube by Cava giant Cordoniu, this bottle always ends up falling into the wrong hands at a critical point of the party. This is the ultimate weapon a student has to aim in the face of the cynical bearded examiners who yell “though shall not pass!”  Failing that, you could probably just drink it.

Numéro Quatro: Prosecco Zardetto £11.99, no post exam festivities are complete without a very fizzy bottle of spumante. Hailing from Italy, the country which gave us the Mario Brothers, Luciano Pavarotti as well as Papa John’s Pizza service… This spumante is light years ahead of its ‘frizzante’ counterpart in taste, appearance and price. A bench beside Platt Lake isn’t quite a deckchair off Lago di Garda, but at least you won’t be deafened by the sounds of ‘pimped’ Vespa bikes.

Numéro Tre: Comte de Brismond Champagne Brut £12.99, what better way to celebrate a final exam than sprawled out on the lawn of the Armitage centre sipping Lidl’s finest from gimmicky plastic glasses? Keep it chilled, preferably in a plastic bag full of ice to maximize the fresh lemony nature of this decent bottle of champagne: incredibly good value and generally on offer throughout Lidl stores.

Numéro Duex: Champagne Blanc de Noirs £21.99, because you’re a lazy student in need of celebration and Sainsbury’s is just around the corner. Idleness and post-exam sloth aside, this full-bodied Pinot is a remarkably well priced for its bubbly feeling of elation. Genuinely, you could order a case of 6, get a 25% discount and still pull off the Wolf of Wall street’s pool party in whatever remains of your student house’s “garden”. Not to be consumer with moderation.

Numéro Uno: Bollinger Special Cuvée £40.99, the classiest and most expensive item to be sold in Asda since David Beckham forgot his Rolex on the Levenshulme fruit counter. Prestige, glory and the aroma of inevitable Victory – the perfect drink to crown your University experience! Expensive, yes but the event justifies the means, dixit Machiavelli. At first you’ll be afraid, you’ll be petrified, you’ll think you can never live with yourself again – but you are wrong! So wrong! Just be strong! This bottle’s nectar is the liquid equivalent to success, whether politely popped open in Cloud 23 or shaken furiously outside the Academy after your epic 4 hour exam… I suppose, against all the odds of University life – you’ve made it, therefore you’ve earned it.

My fellow readers, the list is hardly exhaustive – yet it captures the essence of what I’ve been trying to teach you since I first penned a wine column back in October 2013. There’s nothing wrong with a drink, as long as it’s in an actual glass and you convey a false air of sophistication with mixed appreciation. On that note, with watery tears running down my cabernet tinted red cheeks, I must scribble away a gentle goodbye and good luck to each and every one of you loyal readers.

Ladies and gentlemen, through the best of wines, through the worst of wines, the pleasure was entirely mine.

Arrivederci raggazi,

Victor Croci

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