To Tobacco Dock for the Real Wine Fair - a convivial gathering of international wine-makers who commendably lean towards minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar and eschew chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This Bacchanalian bun-fight is (extremely well) run by our old chums at Les Caves de Pyrene and was born out of the inaugural Natural Wine Fair in which we participated back in 2011.
The problem with the 'Natural Wine' movement is that it is a very broad church and at the more 'yoghurt weavery' end of the spectrum the wines can be cider scented, cloudy, volatile and pretty unpleasant. A good rule of thumb is to avoid wine-makers with beard plats, thumb rings or South American headgear and you'll probably escape the worst offenders.
This year we've been joined by three longstanding Yapp suppliers - Laurent Bunan from Bandol, Marc Imbert from Corsica and Bruno Ribière from the Roussillon. All three domaines have full organic certification and already enjoy a loyal following on these shores. Unsurprisingly with London basking in 16 degrees and bright sunshine Laurent was doing a brisk trade in his lovely coral-pink rosé in the newly bottled 2013 vintage. I acquired a taste for this wine when I worked a harvest with the Bunan family back in 1993, and sitting outside the pop-up pub the Unfiltered Dog, with a bowl of Duck Soup's unimpeachable taramasalata as I type this, I have to say it as good as ever.
To give credit where it is due Marc's scrub-scented Vermentino and Bruno's inimitable, sherry-like, old vine Grenache Blanc were also showing extremely well in the East 1 sunshine.
With some great artisan food offerings, the aforementioned pub and a one-off Natural Wine shop there's lots to explore at this refreshingly relaxed wine fair - you can bet your beard I'll be back for the next one!