20051218

It's wise to depant after opening wines for certain people I know

"WHAT is with this blog business!?" screeched Jane, a friend who perhaps just came to realize that the time I used to devote to socializing is now being absorbed by my wineblog. She was exasperated. Not only did she recently end her blogging career two minutes after it started (she instantly forgot her URL), but she also has absolutely no interest in wine talk -- unless it's a discussion about getting the waiter to pull out a corkscrew. As a result a blog about wine is her sworn enemy and I was harbouring it daily.

And with that, she reached out for another swat at my shoulder, jaw clenched and making a show of looking fierce. I didn't get too pummelled because the group at the table behind us was up to no good. We all stopped and watched, brows raised, as one, two, three elegant pieces of stemware emerged glistening from a sleekly padded wine caddy. We knew our restaurant was bring-your-own-wine, but this was the first we had witnessed bring your own glasses. Jane was about to speak. But wait, now our neighbours were inserting drip-free wine pourers into their uncorked bottles in a way so that the paper bags wrapping the bottles stayed firmly in place and offered no hint of the bottle or the wine producer. Now I was sharing Jane's look. We were aghast.

I thought that if the wine glasses have to be that fine, it's obvious that someone's going to be indulging in some pretty exclusive wines. Good times! But now seeing these masked bottles turned my curiosity into obsession. What were they drinking? I was practically put off my food. Luckily I soon learned that this was not a elitist snub to the rest of the dining room but a tasting challenge for the diners at this table: Remark on each wine free of label bias and then reveal and compare notes. Now that seems like fun. I'll have to organize something like that sometime.

But maybe not when Jane is there. According to Jane, to decant a wine that benefits from a little breathing is cause for ridicule. She'd roll her eyes, as if the most pretentious act ever committed was unfolding right in her lap. I must admit that she's becoming a better sport with time. (I tell her that this is called mellowing out with age and then whisper that she is like a feisty Madiran.) Last time the topic came up, we were chatting about the general rule that it's almost always a nice idea to decant before dinner. She playfully jumped in: "I don't know about how I would decant, but I find that on most nights I like to depant just before I get into bed."

Maybe it's funnier after the third bottle.

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