20051216

Toeing the office-party wine

I'm planning to trample all over today's office party wine, and you know that I'm not referring to a grape stomp. In most offices you can't expect much in the wine department and I think mine is fairly standard in offering substandard gruel. I must accept this though there may have been a point when my proactive engagement with the organizing forces might have worked. It's clear I missed that chance:


  • Me: "I hear you are arranging all the wine at our party."

  • Big boss: "Yup."

  • Me: "Why don't you take a look at this website I just started -- it's a wineblog so you might be able to get some good ideas."

  • Big boss: "Oh no, I had to go through the usual channels -- you know, Ancillary Service is handling it all."

For a moment I pictured Ancillary Service to be a charming but outsized British woman, half-Nigella Lawson, half-Jancis Robinson, who doles out helpful entertainment tips while paying careful attention to the selection of wine for large groups of finicky people. No such luck. Ancillary Services is not a person but an operating unit. The name means "provider of things of secondary importance" and as a result has been ruining holiday office parties for decades.

So now I am prepared to scowl through the festivities with a Dixie cup of this year's swill. Just joking. Where's the spirit of the season in that? The reality of the situation is that I brought a flask of my own wine. I think I might need to dip into it, but maybe not. It just never hurts to be prepared. In any case, I expect the boxes of party wine to be wheeled in this afternoon. Full tasting report and impressions to follow! [Update: Weingolb shocked to report here that in fact very nice bottles arrived -- not cellarcasks or jug wine!]

For those who are finding it not too late to successfully organize a quality wine for this year's departmental get-togethers, Mas de Forton is name you might want to remember. I took it to a small office party several Christmases ago. It is full of fruit and jammy while still maintaining a nice balance. What's more is that it comes off so festive. It reminds me a bit of Christmas with its ripened red berries and rich deep colour reminiscent of cranberry sauce. The label pictures such a quaint little compound it could practically be Whoville; you can almost hear the carols. And it's inexpensive, which doesn't remind me of Christmas, but I'll make an exception for that.

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