Mike necks a liquid dinner in Borough Market.
I enter the small Borough market unit of Cannon and Cannon, British cured meat and charcuterie outlet, just in time to nab the last disc of salami.
It’s tasty and piquant and that’s the end of the food review. Fortunately, I’m not here for meat, but for drink. About a hundred bottles of wine cover every surface so, equipped with pen and tasting sheet, I set about dutifully sampling them.
Do I even pretend to do the whole spitting thing? No, my mother taught me right from wrong and spitting is wrong (especially of wine). I launch in with a French Mas de Sainte Croix, “Douceur de Fruit” Rouge 2016, a Rhone valley blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan grape varieties. It feels rounded and smooth as it goes down the neck and I tick it off my sheet. Lovely, only 68 wines to go.
There are representatives from wine producers and distributors here so I introduce myself to Giovanni and ask him about the vino he’s plugging.
He is touting wines from the Friuli Region between Venice and Trieste. He says the region is less well known as it’s a smaller wine region with lots of little producers, but it has some great wines.
I try a few and they’re all good. GewÃƒÂ¼rztraminer is a pink-skinned grape variety originating in Germany, that apparently produces some of the world’s most distinctive aromatic wines. Fosso Mala Friuli Traminer 2016, displays a pinkish straw tinge. It’s light and floral and demands to be quaffed in a sunny garden. Very nice. I tick it off.
Clearly my initial technique is flawed as I will be shizzled before I get to Spain. Recognising that I need help, I spot a man who is making noises squirting wine around his mouth and sucking in air before spitting Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a proper expert.
I ask him what he likes and after much thought he plumps for wine number twelve, a French Domaine de la Metairie D’Alon Chardonnay 2016. I grab it and splosh half a glass.
It’s lightly oaked and pleasantly acidic. Obviously, you can’t taste them all, so how has he been able to choose which ones to try? Ã¢â‚¬Å“No noÃ¢â‚¬Â, he replies Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am trying them allÃ¢â‚¬Â. He indicates the table before him, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I’m going clockwise and I’m up to hereÃ¢â‚¬Â. Respect is due.
A goat wine, a rabbit wine, two cows and a bee (an insect, but rules are there to be broken). Just self-aware enough to recognise I need to go get some food to soak up all this plonk, I melt away to leave, but as I head for the door my eye is caught by three scaled down beer type pumps protruding from a barrel.
I divert to that corner of the room, where I find Nick from Borough Wines. The idea is that Nick installs this system in your bar or restaurant with 24 litre reusable kegs of white red or rose wine (the equivalent of 32 bottles) for you to pump and serve.
At £160 a keg it’s under £5 a bottle, so your large glass of plonk should be less than a fiver for a change – and it’s greener too.
Maybe my food can wait, pint of wine anyone?