This time of year they’re as common as reindeer antlers on a 4WD… and about as useful. Wine wankers.
They breeze in to your festive occasion – just back from a tour of the Hunter/ Yarra Valley/ Barossa – and loudly announce that all the wines on offer are barely drinkable.
Instead they’ve sniffed out some terrific, limited run tipples made from rare varietals you’ve never heard of.
So why don’t you just have a sip of this cheeky, insolent Viognier/Brachetto/Carmenere and tell me… Can you detect traces of freshly cut grass/calico/unripe pineapple and singlet?
Reach for your favourite screw top bottle of cheerful Chardy made out of crushed grapes, leave this tosser in the corner to bore for Australia and party on!
Don’t let any wine wanker tell you the wine you like is out of fashion, too cheap, too common, too… well anything really.
There a just a few things you have to know about wine.
- Do you like the taste of it?
- Does it compliment the food you’re eating?
- Can you afford it?
- And that, my wine-loving friends, is about it.
- That said, this is the time of year when we’re often off to sit-down dinner party and it’s good to come up with something that surprises and delights your hosts.
I’ve got a few rules I follow as a dinner party guest (and I’d love to hear yours!)
If you’re offering to bring wine it’s thoughtful to ask what’s being served and bring something suitable.
Pretty simple: Red wine with meat and white wine with fish or seafood. If you’re having Italian or French, you could bring along something from that region.
However, if you’re like most of my busy friends and aren’t able to offer a clue, just bring along something you enjoy.
And if you like Chardonnay? Don’t be worried that everyone’s moved onto Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. Be a rugged individualist. Although don’t expect everyone to exclaim: “Blue Nun! Marvellous. Haven’t had that since I was at uni!”
If you know your friends are French champagne lovers, don’t bring a bottle of domestic sparkling and insist it tastes “just as good”.
Let them show off with the real stuff. They’ve probably broken the bank to buy it because they think you’re special.
Be suitably appreciative. Oooh and aaah over the delectable treat!
And NEVER take a glass of wine that you know is expensive and leave it half-drunk. This is a pet hate of mine. The hostess (if it’s me) will probably neck your left-overs later in the kitchen and that’s not fair because flat, warm Veuve Cliquot is a crime against humanity.
Do NOT insist that your hosts open your bottle. Doesn’t matter how desperate you are to drink it. Once it’s out of your hands, it’s a gift. It’s no longer “your” wine.
If you buy your BFF a hat, do you insist she wears it at the table?
I’ve had people saunter into the kitchen and open their own bottle and bring it to the table, which I reckon is the height of rudeness.
If your hosts want to save the bottle of rare vino you brought back from your recent trip to Umbria and use it in tomorrow’s pasta sauce? Bad luck. Bring flowers next time.
Although you could say: “I’ve got a beautiful drop here that I’d love to share with you.”
And while you’re talking about that special bottle you’ve brought along …try not bore everyone rigid with how you came to choose it.
“The vigneron showed me the actual vine in soil with a PH acid level of blah, blah, blah.”
Let the wine speak for itself.
Besides, if no-one likes the stuff you’re going to feel like a dill.
NEVER mention how much it did or didn’t cost.
“Mmm, this is lovely!”
“Yeah got it by the case and it works out at three bucks a bottle.”
Likewise, when you’re offered a glass of the host’s wine, DON’T hold it up to the light, sniff it, swish it around your gob etc. as if your host is a sommelier in a fancy restaurant.
You’re in someone’s home, you wanker.
If you don’t like the wine?
Tough. Are you going to send your meal back to the kitchen too?
And finally, never, EVER attempt to take home your bottle if it hasn’t been drunk.
Same with beer – if you take a six-pack and only drink one? Too bad. Host scores a bonus gift. (Next you’ll be stashing the half-eaten box of after dinner mints in your handbag. P.S. Does anyone bring those along these days?)
And it should go without saying – don’t get pissed.
Or, at least, more pissed than the host – and that means if you’re at my house, you’re up for a pretty good night!
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