“A lot of people drink wine, but they don’t know much about it,” remarks one of our hosts on the Brighton Wine Rebellion Tour. It’s an obvious statement, but why is it true? Pretty much every person we know drinks wine, but hardly any of them could tell a Chianti from a Malbec on a blind taste test, let alone know what grape their glass of Burgundy is made from.
Why is this? Wine is surely the queen of drinks. It has unparalleled nuances of taste and scent, and a history of cultivation dating back thousands of years. It pairs with food better than anything else. It can even be bought as an investment, if you’re a bit of a high-flyer.
So why have craft beer bores got more street cred than wine wankers? Snobbery. And that’s exactly what the Brighton Wine Rebellion Tour (run by the crew behind the Brighton Independent Food Tour) is railing against.
Their blurb invites us to “Rebel against pompous, pretentious wine snobbery”. Yes! This is what this city’s wine lovers need. Vive le vin! Let them drink wine! Let’s ram-raid the cellars of elitism, lob a molotov cocktail into the old-Bordeaux network, guillotine the snobs… and then have a chat about the benefits of malolactic fermentation over a nice canapé.
We fished out our Che Guevara beret and power-to-the-people army shirt and joined a small band of rebels on the inaugural tour. Unfortunately, as it’s a mystery tour, we’re not allowed to tell you where we went (although the pictures above do offer some clues). We can reveal, however, that it was a lot of fun. We met some very friendly people, visited half a dozen of our favourite food and drink venues and drank a wide range of damn good wines — from super-rustic “natural” red to award-winning English fizz.
Groups are restricted to eight, and each rebel gets a clipboard for tasting notes, although the notes got gradually jettisoned as the drinks went down. We were given a bottle between us in each of the six venues, which turned out to be more than enough. And, because some extra-generous proprietors were happy to open another, it ended up being a boozier-than-expected afternoon. You can opt to spit, of course. But we don’t reckon that’s what Trotsky would have done.
Words and pictures by Gary Rose
The Brighton Wine Rebellion Tour runs on Saturdays, 3-6pm between 23rd September and 11th November. Price £65 (includes wine and food samples).