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Help with post re wine aficionado take on bringing wine to someone's home

Midlife Dec 1, 2009 01:24 PM

I started a topic, on the Not About Food Board, after reading an article in the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine. The writer seemed to be seriously pushing the idea that wines brought to someones home SHOULD be opened by the host for the enjoyment of all. As this is not what I've ever thought was the proper etiquette, or what I believe has been the consensus here on this subject, I wanted to know if people thought the writer was kidding, or if the rules were different for wine aficionados.

Most of the responses I got were a re-hash of the general discussion about opening or not opening a a wine gift. What I was looking for was something more specific to the magazine article itself and the expectations of a wine-centric group.

Please go to this post, if you will, as the Chowhound Team has told me etiquette discussion is for the Not About Food Board. Thanks.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/670087

  1. Scott M Dec 1, 2009 02:58 PM

    Without having read the article it's hard to discuss more specific to the article itself. Is there a link?

    That said, if I was going to an event where there would be an wine-centric group I would like my wine opened and shared at the event. Much of the pleasure of wine is sharing it with other people that "get it" or are likely to appreciate a wine.

    If I brought a nice wine to a party where most people were going to be drinking hard liquor and the drinking was merely to get intoxicated and have a good time then I would not want the wine opened and I would let the host know they should enjoy the wine on another occassion.

    1. Midlife Dec 1, 2009 04:06 PM

      Here's the link: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

      I have some recollection that Lettie Teague is the subject of some mixed feelings, but I can't recall any specifics. She appears to be making the case that this protocol is appropriate for ANY party. I was just asking if she sees it that way because she's a wine writer.

      I'll post the Iink on the NAF board too as this topic was requested by the Chowteam as a way to get Wine board help there.

      1. JAB Dec 1, 2009 08:18 PM

        It would be the height of audacity to expect it to be poured without a previous conversation with the host as to what was being served and an agreement with the host as to what to bring in order to accompany what was being served.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JAB
          Midlife Dec 2, 2009 03:14 PM

          SO.................. take a minute to read the article. Then tell me if you think she's out of line or this is a tongue-in-cheek piece about how wine geeks strategize to be able to be able to drink the wine they bring to parties.

          http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

          1. re: Midlife
            JAB Dec 3, 2009 05:55 AM

            I don't think that the article is tongue - in - cheek. It seems to relate a gamut of experiences in regard to bringing wine to a party. However, I do believe that conventional manners / etiquette rains supreme. It's a gift to do with as the host so desires.

            Of cource you would gift a wine that you enjoy in hope that the host(s) will enjoy it as well whether that evening or at their liesure. To ensure that you'll be able to taste the gifted wine, buy two. Gift one and keep the other. As a guest, manners / etiquette dictate that you "suck it up" and put on your best face in regard to what the host(s) serve.

            1. re: JAB
              Midlife Dec 3, 2009 09:42 AM

              As I said below, I really now think the article is primarily about how wine geeks will figure a strategy to be sure the wine the bring gets opened. Not that they are necessarily ignoring or disagreeing with the etiquette, more like working the angles around it where they can. Or..................... not bringing something too precious if they don't feel comfortable leaving it for the host. I totally get that.

        2. 5
          53latour Dec 2, 2009 02:57 PM

          I think JAB is spot on. I also like what Scott M says, but I would still find out ahead of time if the host was planning to open the wine I was bringing, even at a wine-centric gathering. When going to a wine tasting party where all wines brought will be opened, and you don't know the knowledge/appreciation level of the other guests, I always say bring a wine you like. Then you know at least one person at the party will like the wine. :-)

          1. Chinon00 Dec 2, 2009 04:21 PM

            I read the article and I think it's about the desire to have one's wine opened so it might possibly turn someone else on to what you've discovered and enjoy and understanding that it doesn't always work out that way for a variety of reasons both understandable and not so.

            1. Bill Hunt Dec 2, 2009 07:28 PM

              Midlife,

              Here's my take on this situation. The guest has offered a gift. The host is under no obligation to open it that evening, though they might. Much depends on the dinner, and the wines, that the host has chosen for the event.

              I've had all sorts of situations rise up, regarding the gifted wines.

              One guest insisted that his wine be served. I agreed to it, though I had already planned the full meal, with wines. His wine was a domestic Merlot, and that course had a nice Pomerol. I grabbed additional glasses, and did as requested. That course had two glasses of wine. It was painfully obvious which of the two went better, but I was the host, and he the guest. As he left, he whispered, "they said that you were into wine, but I had no idea how deeply." Still, the wine was served.

              Not THAT long ago, we were guests at a dinner. The host had planned the wines for it, but had missed a wine for the passed appetizers. I had brought a 1er Cru Chabils as a gift. The appetizers were scallops in a light treatment. He ran to me and dragged me to his cellar, asking what to serve with this dish. He had only big reds, and I mentioned that my "gift wine" should work perfectly. He served it, and it did. I spent the early part of the evening talking about Chabils and lighter seafood. On this board, I was derided for having even mentioning it. Most said that any gift wine should go to the cellar and NOT be served. The likened me unto a Visigoth, for having even mentioning my wine. Still, it worked perfectly for the host, and for his guests. Now, had he possessed a great Chablis, or similar, that would have been my choice. A Rosé would have worked well too.

              Now, that's two instances on "gifted wines." Each had a different outcome.

              For me, if I receive a gifted wine, I expect to stick it in the cellar, and maybe share another meal with the gifter, featuring their wine. When I gift a wine, I expect that it will go into the cellar, unless there are mitigating circumstances, as above.

              Just my take,

              Hunt

              PS - I feel that your post belongs here, FWIW.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt
                Midlife Dec 2, 2009 10:39 PM

                Bill,

                I think the mods believe the topic is etiquette when it really isn't.

                As this has progressed I'm coming around to see what I believe to be the real essence of the The Food & Wine article................... that real wine nuts love nothing more than to taste each others' selections and share their wines at every opportunity. So............. the proper etiquette is really counter-productive in that regard. I don't know if the point was to ignore the standard etiquette, to argue against it, or to poke fun at it......... but I'll settle for any of those.

                The author, Lettie Teague, is a well-known wine writer and I can now see how her circle of friends probably works every angle they can to be sure that all the good wine brought to a party is opened and tasted. I don't know that I would go to the lengths of some she describes, but I'm sure I'd do exactly what you did with your Chablis. I don't recall that topic, but I'd argue vigorously that the etiquette makes it the host's option, and a little help with that is not out of line. I've never ever heard that the gifted wine MUST go to the cellar.....................sheesh! What fun is there in that?

                1. re: Bill Hunt
                  maria lorraine Dec 3, 2009 03:34 PM

                  <<Not THAT long ago, we were guests at a dinner. The host had planned the wines for it, but had missed a wine for the passed appetizers. I had brought a 1er Cru Chabils as a gift. The appetizers were scallops in a light treatment. He ran to me and dragged me to his cellar, asking what to serve with this dish. He had only big reds, and I mentioned that my "gift wine" should work perfectly. He served it, and it did. I spent the early part of the evening talking about Chabils and lighter seafood. On this board, I was derided for having even mentioning it. Most said that any gift wine should go to the cellar and NOT be served. The likened me unto a Visigoth, for having even mentioning my wine. Still, it worked perfectly for the host, and for his guests. Now, had he possessed a great Chablis, or similar, that would have been my choice. A Rosé would have worked well too.>>

                  Here is that thread to which Bill is referring, from the "Not About Food" board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5919...

                  BTW, Bill, I respectfully disagree with your statement about being derided and likened to a Visigoth [who in the world would ever describe you as a Visigoth?]. When you brought up your particular situation in that larger thread about bringing wine to a host, only one person disagreed with you, and SIX people (including moi) thought you did the perfect thing.

                  Why your situation is different has to do with CONTEXT -- the nature of the situation and the nature of the friendship. In your case, the host self-described himself as being ill-prepared to serve a wine with a course when your wine filled the bill. The host asked you for a solution and you offered one. The context of the situation made your offer appropriate.

                  Likewise, between friends who regularly taste wine together, context again dictates the appropriate response. If there has been a regularity in a guest bringing wine to friends so all enjoy the wine together, then there is an established protocol that the wine is to be opened and enjoyed. Among less than very close friends, it's best the wine-bringer checks in with the host, saying, "I have a special 1992 Burgundy I'd love to drink with you Friday night, would it be all right if I brought it?"

                  The context that trumps all (in my mind) is a dinner party in which the host has planned the wines specifically for each course. In that case, any wine brought is a gift to be consumed later. If a guest wishes to contribute to the wine-pairings, then s/he need ask the host, "Is there a wine I can bring that would pair with one of your courses?" The host's answer will dictate the guest's action.

                  Back to Midlife's OP...context again provides the answer. In the article in "Food & Wine," Lettie Teague, the author, had *never met* the host before and brings a frickin' *magnum* of Chateauneuf du Pape and expects it be opened. She has no idea of the host, no prior relationship, no idea of what kind of party it is, and yet expects her magnum to be opened. Lots of things wrong with the author's expectation.

                  All these should-the-wine-be-opened-or-not situations -- especially if the wine-bringer wants to consume the wine with the host -- could be solved with communication before the party. It's a simple phone call to check in with the host. That's what the author of the article neglected to do before the party, and her being miffed *several times* because her wine wasn't opened could have easily been avoided had she merely communicated with the host.

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    d
                    dinwiddie Dec 4, 2009 05:47 AM

                    I couldn't have said it better than maria lorraine. Like many on this particular forum, I am "into" wine. I often bring a bottle as a gift to my host. I never expect that it will be consumed at the party, I brought it as a gift for heaven's sake.
                    But context is all important. Often friends or family will invite me to a party and knowing me well, know that I will probably bring a bottle with me as a gift to the host. Sometimes they say what they are serving and tell me that they would love for me to bring something that would go well with it, other times they don't say anything at all. In any case, it is my host's perogative to decide when to open the bottle. Personally, unless asked to bring something specific to go with the meal, I chose something that I think my host will like and when giving it to them say something like "I hope you and your husband enjoy this sometime when you have time to enjoy it over a romantic meal."

                2. w
                  whiner Dec 3, 2009 02:19 AM

                  As posted on the other thread... It depends. If you are bringing wine to a wine tasting, where food also is being served, then yes, it is to be opened. If you are bringing wine to a dinner party where wine is to be opened, then it is a gift.

                  1. njfoodies Dec 4, 2009 06:00 AM

                    I have had many intersting experiences like this, and have a few ways of dealing with this. What I usually do, is bring a bottle to gift, as well as one to drink that night depending on the type of event that we are going to.

                    If we are going to a tasting at a "wine geeks" house who is providing all of the wine, then I will bring something for them to put in their cellar, and appreciate at another time. For a person like this, it will usually be something nice as I know that they are going to appreciate it down the road.

                    If we're going to a party that say a "non wine geek" is hosting, or if it is someone who I know has a terrible palate, I will bring them a bottle of wine as a host gift, and then hand them another bottle saying "and this one is for us to drink tonight." I've never had that backfire, however, I have on a few ocassions had them take both bottles, hide them in a closet, and not seen them opened that night. In a few cases, I have even asked them where the wine I brought to drink tonight was, and they have gotten them out and opened them. Call me rude, but if I bring 2 bottles, telling you that we are going to drink one tonight, then well, WE ARE GOING to drink that bottle tonight. LOL!

                    That said, the two bottle policy is usually successful! The nice bottle gifts go to those who I know will appreciate them! -mJ

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