Tasting without the glass – Review of Barefoot Wine’s Moscato range

I have a friend who has a foot fetish. I won’t name him, as it’s not the type of thing that your friends like you talking about in public, especially as I’m fairly tight with his boss (so tight, in fact, we once played a game of darts together and I’m pretty confident he spiked my beer with some Drambuie or something).

My own relationship with feet is even more complicated: my sister painted my toe nails lilac, green and yellow once when I was eight and the next day we had to go barefoot in a drama lesson.

The only defence I could present to my goading classmates was that I’d fallen asleep after a Sunday roast and she’d painted them without my permission, but that didn’t really work, chiefly because the members of 4b knew full well that I was actually a very light sleeper. And then the whole foot and mouth saga came along in 2001 and I had to say goodbye to some of my favourite village livestock. And some of my least favourite too, to be fair. Every cloud, etc.

The reason I mention all this is because Barefoot Wine’s latest event was liberally sprinkled with foot puns. Feeturing this, Toetally that. At first I just thought they’d very kindly let a dyslexic person have a go at writing the event literature. But then I realised they were just puns and I relaxed. It’s easy to relax, I find, when there’s that much wine on offer. This was the launch of the Barefoot Wine’s Moscato range, from the Ruby to the Pink to the White, and I was forced to try each one of them by purple clad Barefoot advocates. The wine was luminescent and often criminally sweet: the sort of thing I imagine Willy Wonka would prepare for his sister’s hen do, especially if he was bitter about not being invited (“It’s a girls only event Willy, do try to understand”). If the wine wasn’t refreshing, then the general attitude of the Barefoot crew was: thoroughly unpretentious and utterly set on having fun. The wine wasn’t to my taste, but I’m certain that’s the point. Wine for people who don’t really like wine. Wine for a woman holding a preliminary pitch for a pyramid scheme at her new boyfriend’s flat. Wine for a girly sleepover and an experimental Sapphic fumbling in the semi-converted out house. In other words the best bloody wine in the world, if you take it on its own terms.

The centerpiece of the event was a sort of altar to diabetes, a slab of birthday party table cloth that was being constantly adorned with miniature sponges, gelatinous fruits and spiced sprinkles by a chef who looked like a Parisian Spencer Matthews, but a good three or four times cooler than that sounds. The event was even sociable, if you’re the kind of person who likes to socialise with golden syrup in your beard. I saw minor socialite and constant West London botherer Livvy Paris with her fingers in the custard bowl, and I believe the editor of Bridal Weekly was there (I have no idea if that’s true but it seemed like the kind of place she might hang out). As we left we were all given a goody bag with Barefoot branded sunglasses and a miniature fan, as well as a bottle of Moscato and, best of all, a key ring. A week on and I have absolutely no idea where these trinkets are, but the bottle was brought as a sort of peace offering to my younger sister’s best friend’s 21st over the weekend, and was gone within ten minutes. And that’s high praise indeed, especially when you consider that it’s got a very high sugar content and they’re all borderline anorexics.

words Joe Bullmore


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