Breaking news: we’re on BBC radio today. Sandra Kanthal, pictured here waving a mic at a gin and tonic, writes and presents The Why Factor for BBC World Service. She came along to our Christmas tasting to talk to us about what we’re up to.
You can listen to it here. We’re on from 16m:15s and then again at the very end.
And why, you might reasonably ask, should the Beeb want to speak to little us? Our polished beauty and charm? Nah. Our faces for radio and general sweariness? Warmer, actually.
This episode of the programme seeks to understand attitudes around wine and asks: why are people still intimidated by it? This sort of stuff is our bread and butter, so it was lovely to be able to talk about it in some depth, and (you’d imagine) reach a broader audience with what we have to say.
Which is something like this. Two pillars for C&B, which we hope are plain in our tastings and how we approach wine, are:
Attitude: irreverence not pomp. That means joy, not glooming over glasses; salty opinions, not flowery winespeak.
Democracy: it’s all booze, so let’s drink the stuff and judge, as far as possible without prejudice, what’s good. Show of hands, a chat, everyone says cheers, and we move on.
We think this is key to getting people relaxed around wine. A glass or eight doesn’t go amiss either.
One of the very best and easiest ways we’ve found to achieve those noble aims in wine tastings has been our most popular format: posh v plonk. Sandra stayed for the tasting - our Christmas posh v plonk - to find out how it works.
The concept is simple: tasters get two glasses of wine next to each other, one posh, one plonk. First, they vote blind on which wine they prefer. Next, they vote on which is posh and which is plonk. They do this several times, getting merrier along the way. The result? Two things. Firstly, people don’t always love posh wines the most - and why should they? Secondly, regardless of preference, people are overwhelmingly able to tell which wine is which. The room is usually around 80% correct.
We prove to doubting folk that they can trust their palates, express conviction, and talk confidently about wine. In fact, we’re so convinced of the efficacy of posh v plonk as a way of extricating value and opening up conversation, we’re hereby starting The Revolution! Join us.
THREE REASONS TO JOIN THE POSH V PLONK REVOLUTION
Trust your judgement No one in the real world - viz. outside the absurd bloody wine industry - puts two glasses of wine together and judges which tastes best. Everyone who comes to our tastings discovers that it’s pretty blindingly clear which wine is posh, and which is plonk. It’s also blindingly clear which you like more. What’s more, those two things might not be the same thing - and that’s alright.
No pomp here The posh v plonk movement has its collective tongue firmly in its collective cheek. It has no time for pomp around wine. Don’t get me wrong: we love a fabulous story. Give me a load of guff about Lily and I’ll guzzle Bollinger with augmented joy. Tell me about gnarly farmers treading grapes in Provence and I’ll suck it right up, podiatric sediments, the lot. But the wine’s got to taste good. It doesn’t matter how much you talk it up or what chateau it’s from. People won’t be fooled in a simple game of PvP!
Value not money Posh v plonk helps the taster discern that one wine is more complex than another. It also proves that a lot of us prefer a good bottle of plonk. (On a hot summer’s day, who wouldn’t prefer a £6 bottle of cool Beaujolais over a sturdy old claret?) But ultimately, putting two wines together isn’t about slagging off one wine while exalting another, but about seeing - tasting - why one has a posh price tag, the other plonk. Then you can answer the more important question: in this situation, in this mood, what value does this wine have for me?
NEXT POSH V PLONK TASTING: FRIDAY 18th JANUARY
All sound a bit theoretical? Join us in actual real life at Two Spoons in Honor Oak Park on Friday 18th January for a special New Year’s Posh v Plonk.
Thanks for coming, BBC. Welcome anyone who’s listened. We hope you enjoyed what you’ve heard so far. Join us for more.