Mike B. wrote:How do you deal with situations like this?
Mike, just as a reference point, one of the famous vignettes in Woodward and Bernstein's <i>The Final Days</i>, their account of the last year of the Nixon administration, they painted a painful picture of RMN (who was, for all his faults, perhaps the most serious wine geek to occupy the White House after Thomas Jefferson), entertaining guests on the presidential yacht Sequoyah during dinner cruises on the Potomac. Basically, he'd pour his guests a decent but not at all memorable Bordeaux; his steward would discreetly pour <i>him</i> Chateau Margaux out of a napkin-wrapped bottle.
Woodstein portrayed this as boorish, cheapskate behavior on his part, and I'm afraid they were probably right. Fooling your guests and giving them cheap stuff while you enjoy the better just doesn't feel right to me, <I>even if they really can't tell the difference</i>.
When we entertain or visit non-geek guests I give everybody the same wine, and I handle it in either of two ways: (1) I'll take decent but not ethereal QPR wines, often wines that were in my tasting queue but that for one reason or another I know I'm not going to get around to reviewing for publication; or (2) I'll cut loose and take some damn nice wines, and I'll make sure that the revelers - not in a snob way but in a hey, let's have fun way - <i>know</i> that it's damn good wine. The psychological factor almost always comes to bear, and they'll drink merrily away, excited about getting to taste a special wine, and maybe learn something from the experience.
We're going out to dinner with some of my wife's old college friends this weekend. They aren't wine geeks, but they like to drink. I'll probably take a trio of really high-end Zins (a recent box from California Wine Club's Connoisseurs' Series) and see what they think.
With all respect to Paul B., though, and to old Tricky Dick's memory, I just can't see fooling my guests and holding back the good stuff from them <i>while I'm drinking it myself</i>. That just doesn't feel right to me, but then, remember that I'm a card-carrying liberal.