While my boyfriend obliviously looked for our tickets, I caught snippets of a tete-à-tete between a couple as they wobbled out onto the road. The rosy cheeked male was on the receiving end of a telling-off, but he was stubbornly pleading his innocence. The controversy? The case of the 6 stowaway bottles in his carrier and the mystery of the self-spending kitty. While the thought did cross my mind that it might soon be me desperately pulling the fluff out of my pockets, I knew that if what was on offer at Wine Car Boot was that irresistible then we were in luck.
Hidden deep in the arches of a disused SE1 car park, the Wine Car Boot made its second appearance a few weekends ago. It’s essentially a wine event geared at making wine accessible and I for one think it does a great job – it’s a great mix of quality, spontaneity and there’s certainly no snobbery allowed. At the one we went to, 10 independent wine merchants were showcasing a handful of their favourites from (unsurprisingly) their car boots and a series of makeshift tables. £11.25 equips you with 5 golden tasting tickets and a GoVino glass, all the necessary materials you need to wage war on wine…
I kicked-off proceedings at the Vinoteca van with the Marsanne by Chateau Tahbilk on recommendation. It was stonking. A far cry from its French relative, this native Rhone varietal has morphed into something pretty special in Australia. Electric green in colour; it assaults the senses in the best possible way. Ageing in stainless steel for 7 years sooths the rebellious zest and gives it some gorgeous honeyed and soft floral notes. A bit of complementary calamari (never amiss) would have completed my happiness. Just saying…
Our next stop was the very promisingly named ‘Good Wine Shop’. It had a number of delicious wines which were noteworthy, but the outstanding number was the Touraine,Cave de Tourangelle – quintessentially fresh and feisty, but at the same time completing a stunning balancing act by keeping the infamous old world elegance of a Loire Sauvignon, without the hefty price tag. An unquestionable bargain, it’s one of those wines which you can buy a few of in case of emergencies and still stun the crowd; a few might well wangle their way into my personal stores.
By the time I had reached Borough Wines the self-spending kitty prophecy had fulfilled itself. Taking pity on the thirsty ticketless tasters the guys kindly gave us some samplets – The Mollard et Fillon Rouge was a delight.Like the filling of an autumn crumble, ripe blackberries and plums created a wonderful mishmash of sweetness and spice. Despite that it was quite the opposite of flimsy -it had the backbone of a trooper, great tannins and a clean finish.
By this stage the necessary hunt to find something to soak up the booze was well underway. Donostia Social Club, I praise you. Dolling out delicious morsels from their van, the exceptional Iberico pork cheek melted in the mouth and the scallops were marvellous. We set up camp with some cheese-based fuel and Vinoteca’s bag in box Montsant Crianza, ignored the rain and put the world to rights. I officially retract all previous disparaging comments made of the ‘bag in box’ types; rich fruits and sexy tannins proved me wrong and was the perfect end to the day. Absolutely exceptional value too.
Worth an ear bashing? Absolutely. “Taste your way out of the supermarket” is the strapline of Wine Car Boot and it excels as doing just that. So why not spend your precious pennies on something interesting which combines quality, value as well as supporting a welcome antidote to the supermarket giants? Rhetorical question: I’m looking forward to the next one already.