The problem with today’s world is we value the number of likes (or f*cks) given, not the quality of each like / f*ck.
As is outlined in the Louis Vuitton guide to Cape Town, and what is basic manners to the rest of us; is it is customary to bring a gift along when invited around for dinner. As a rule, this would take the form of a bottle of alcohol, or some flowers, or chocolates. It is usually the former, and it is usually wine.
The perceived value of the invitation, the friendship, and dare I say the person’s pedigree, is reflected by the choice of wine. I have had guests at my home before, who I invited to test the waters – you know, to see if we could be friends. It’s amazing what the wine gifted can do to the future of that friendship. But remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive to be interesting.
I’ve even received a case of a tasty, cheap, yet hard to find red wine before – perfect as a house red for guests. Clever. Thoughtful.
When the bottle is handed over, and if I notice out the corner of my eye that the label is looking like something relatively pedestrian and silly, I won’t look directly at it. I will thank my guest politely and put it aside. I will let them question my response, but never know for sure if I was miffed by such a “trivial” thing.
If however, the label doesn’t frighten me, I will hold up the bottle and give the label a moment’s consideration – similar to when you give your card to a businessperson. If it is simply good, I will smile and thank my guest for knowing not to buy (or surrender from his collection) anything silly.
If, however, the wine is impressive, I will slowly look up at my guest (and now close friend) with my head cocked to one side. My eyebrows will raise, and a smile will begin to form as I nod.
“Aaah,” I would exclaim. Like the ‘not bad’ moment given before someone retaliates in those badly dubbed Kung-Fu movies. The guest is fully aware of what he or she has done by choosing that particular wine, and they deserve a pat on the back (or on the head in my case, as my guests almost always kneel before me upon arrival).
If I’m somehow manipulated to be somewhere I don’t really care for, I’ll take a bottle of Wolftrap of Porcupine Ridge. But that’s purely borne out of good manners.
By the same token, I will take a bottle of either of those to good friend’s home. Because we’re so established, he or she doesn’t need to be wowed and will appreciate that it’s quality, affordable wine, rather than some plonk picked up at the 7 Eleven.
Chocolate Block is the red wine I drink at home, and will impress anyone on any day. You can take it as a gift on board somebody’s yacht, or use it to completely blow a simpleton’s mind apart.
At R200 a bottle at Pick n Pay, that’s fairly affordable entertainment.
Oh, I see now it is also available on Takealot for R188 a bottle if you take a case. Not bad. Like the product itself, Chocolate Block’s price point is a thing of pure genius.
I don’t usually go much further than that. I bought one of those Boekenhoutskloof Treasure Chests last year, and can’t bring myself to open any of the wine.
Look at it – beautiful:
But the other day a very close friend turned 41, and I didn’t know what to give him. Would you believe it I gave him one of the two ‘priceless’ bottles of Journeyman from the Treasure Chest.
I explained to him that you couldn’t buy it in shops, and if it ever pops up online it sells out in a matter of hours. He laughed, thanked me, and popped it in his bag.
It’s Chocolate Block for him next time.
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