December is the month where you finally catch up with all the friends you’ve been talking about seeing during the year.
There are a few reasons for that, I guess. Some people play the ‘we have to see each other before the new year rolls around’ card, which is fair enough, and then there’s the fact that you’re on leave and you get sloshed in the middle of the week without fear.
Nothing says ‘I’m on holiday’ quite like a hangover on a Tuesday.
Whatever your reasoning, there’s a good chance you’re going to some dinner parties, or braais, in the weeks that follow. To ensure that you put your best foot forward, we did a little digging into the etiquette of bringing wine to such an affair.
This information below pairs well with that story we wrote about five basic principles of wine that people often get wrong.
Firstly, and we cannot stress this enough, the wine you bring is a gift to the host(s) of the get-together.
Exhibit A, from VinePair:
When bringing wine to a dinner party, the first thing you must understand is that the wine should always be seen as a gift you’re giving to the host. Wine is a thank you for hosting you, so while the bottle you bring will most likely be opened while you’re over, one should never go in with that expectation.
If that bottle goes unopened, you damn well leave it there. To back up the above, here’s more from STS:
We can’t stress this enough: there are no circumstances where it’s ever acceptable for you to try and take the bottle you showed up with. It doesn’t matter if it was unique, expensive or just something you really wanted to try, it belongs to your hosts now. If they didn’t open it, tough luck!
OK, we’re on the same page. You’re leaving the wine behind.
Now comes the part about how much wine to bring. Generally, if you’re going as a couple and intend to get stuck in (no work the next day – live a little), two bottles may be the way forward.
Some people take a net spend approach, in which case one bottle of the really good stuff could do the trick. If you rock up at Seth’s place and you’re clutching a bottle of the Anthonij Rupert Optima, you’re getting a warm welcome.
If you ask nicely, he might even let you pop a block of ice in it, a la Diane Keaton, but there’s no chance you’re going home with it.
For those adopting the two-bottle approach, and thus Ubering to the dinner party, you may want to stock up on some mid-priced gems that still satisfy the palate.
You can’t go wrong with the Protea Range, comprising eight wines which recognise the Protea, so distinctive of the Cape Floristic Region.
There’s also the added bonus that the bottles are made to be re-used and recycled. Given Eskom’s propensity for plunging us into darkness now and again, I would suggest candleholders, but you do your own thing.
It may also be worth asking the host(s) what food they will be providing, so that you can tailor the wine you bring to pair nicely with the meal.
Finally, make sure you get home safely, because hopping in your car after sharing a few bottles of wine leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.
May you break that terrible Cape Town tradition of never actually getting around to organising anything, may you wine and dine like a pro these holidays, and may your hangovers be mild.
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