What is that clanking noise? It is the sound of the indulgent wine drinker, rushing to enjoy the current supermarket discounts off six or more bottles of wine.
You know when supermarkets are running one of these sporadic offers, “25% off any six bottles”, because you will be passed in the street by someone bent almost double, arms like a baboon, clanking like Ernie the milkman. Me.
The sound of clanking has a particular resonance in the world of wine. In the days before security constraints, the clanking of bottles was the soundtrack of the airport departure lounge. People were always lugging back multiple bottles of cheap plonk they had bought on their holiday, ignoring suggestions that “it won’t travel” with a determined “Yes it bloody well will!” They would then struggle to stuff into the overhead locker a barrel bag containing half a dozen bottles of wine, all going in different directions like cats in a sack.
Nowadays, the clanking is the sound of multiple purchase, which has to be disguised when you get back from the shops. You can try the CJ tactic, of calling out as he arrives home, “I got some more olive oil…!” But it’s what we in the drinking game call a bit of a giveaway.
I presume that when it comes to these six-bottle offers the supermarkets are imagining one of two scenarios. Perhaps you will have the wine delivered – but I have written before of my problems with wine deliveries, which invariably come when I am either out or in the toilet. Or perhaps you are simply going to add half a dozen bottles of wine to your trolley of weekly shopping. This is really not advisable when my spouse is pushing said trolley. If you think there are arguments over HS2…
So I set off solo to Sainsbury’s on a quiet afternoon to benefit from their offer. Now, you can’t really stride back up the High Road with a case of six bottles under your arm. It’s that bit too heavy, and that bit too big, and a cumbersome shape to carry as well. And you look like a looter.
But if you unload it into shopping bags, it clanks and clonks as you walk home, announcing to everyone that you buy your booze several bottles at a time.
Oh yes, we know it’s going into the cellar to drink over weeks and months ahead, but it sounds to everyone else as if you consume in such quantity that you just had to buy half a dozen bottles, there and then. If it was for a special occasion, they think, you would have made a special trip – in your car. Plus, of course, as the sound is not muffled, you have clearly bought nothing else. No, to them this is obviously just profligate personal consumption, bought impulsively by a pedestrian.
So this time, I thought I would take and employ the very clever carrier pictured above. This has little compartments to hold six bottles – separately, and silently. It’s made out of recycled bin liners or something, and is as tough as old boots. In fact, it may even be recycled old boots. But as you see, it bears the Majestic logo.
Which is doubly embarrassing. First, because I had to stand at a Sainsbury’s checkout loading up a Majestic carrier like some kind of turncoat. The looks! Coming in here when the 25% offer's on…This whole reusable bag thing is all very well, until you try loading one up in a rival shop.
And then, I had to walk up the High Road, looking like the kind of idiot who would go shopping at a wine warehouse like Majestic without a car. It’s one thing to be overcome with self-indulgence at a supermarket, and emerge with half a dozen bottles of wine when you only went in for a loaf. We’ve all done that. Surely.
But to go to a wine warehouse, which has a minimum purchase of six bottles, without a car? What, you visited Majestic absentmindedly, and suddenly felt you’d forgotten something…spectacles?…credit card?…ah, car!!
Anyway, I finally struggled home on foot from Sainsbury’s, lugging my six bottles – silently. Since you ask, I got a lovely mature Chianti Classico Riserva – Marchese Antinori 2008; fruity,smooth and with that lovely smoky, toffee edge which only age can bring. From their Fine Wine selection, with 25% off an already reduced price. Even though it sounds like something which footballers are caught doing in hotel rooms, I believe this is called a “double dip”. As they say, job’s a good’un.
But I had to make the call to shop as either a clanking compulsive alcoholic, or a silent forgetful idiot. I chose the latter. After all, were it true, I would of course have forgotten the whole experience.
Either way, I appear to the world as a stooped figure with elongated arms. I look as if I only made it halfway along the evolutionary scale.
Which, now I come to think of it…