With my entire career to date being involved in selling wine it has frequently been remarked that I missed my true vocation on a market stall shouting out the merits of my wares and haggling with the punters. Strangely this prophecy proved self-fulfilling last Sunday as my home town of Frome boasts one of the best markets in the West Country when, on the first Sunday of each month in the summer, it closes the main road to traffic and combines its’ fabulous food, artisan and flea markets to create a vast open air retail space. It is a riot of colour, enticing aromas and chatter, sprawling throughout the streets and is an opportunity for families and friends to catch up, grab a bite to eat and stock up with some quality produce. There is more of a festival atmosphere than hard-nosed trading and there really is something for everybody to enjoy.
Having successfully procured a temporary event licence to sell alcohol I loaded up our beloved, blue Citroën ‘H-van’ with trestle tables, ice buckets, glasses, corkscrews and, bien sur, lots of wine. My colleague Bianca and I elected to show a selection of summery wines to appeal to Yapp aficionados and novices alike. We opened the batting with our ever-reliable Muscadet ‘Sur Lie’ from Domaine Mortaine, that has graced our list for over 40 years and has an eye-catching label designed by Quentin Blake. This was followed by our white Saumur – a whistle-clean, zesty Chenin Blanc with an equally striking ‘Charles de Gaulle’ livery. We had been crossing our fingers for sunshine to do justice to a rosé and we were duly rewarded. Unsurprisingly, our berry-scented, coral-pink, Domaine Millet Côtes du Gascogne proved popular on a beautiful, bright summer’s day. Our first red wine to sample was another Saumur, made from pure Cabernet Franc, that we elected to serve chilled on account of the fine weather. This was followed by a supple Cabernet Sauvignon from the Vignerons Ardéchois Cave Co-operative and a chest-thumping, Grenache-based blend called ‘Petit Caboche’, that is made by our old chum Jean-Pierre Boisson the long-standing mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Speaking of mayors we were fortunate enough to have Frome’s own recently retired mayor Pippa Goldfinger (aka ‘Mrs Yapp’) join us on our stand as she knows everybody who is anybody in the town – and quite a few who aren’t!
All in all our inaugural experiment in market trading could not have gone better. We secured a great pitch outside Frome library, in convenient proximity to an unimpeachable, wood-fired pizza vendor, the weather was terrific, the clientele were polite and enthusiastic and we attracted lots of new customers - which was gratifying. Needless to say we will be back for more of the same on Sunday 7th July so if you fancy seeing Yapp Brothers on the road and having a great day out in a historic, market town you know where to find us.