Thursday 25 February 2016

Home Alone – Good wine, or cheap wine?

An evening alone. So, do I open a good wine, or a cheap one? There’s an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Trouble is, I can’t tell which one’s which…

Open a good one. What’s that people are always saying? Life’s too short to drink bad wine.

No, no, no. Life’s too long to drink the good stuff now. Save it. There’ll always be some special event when you want a good wine to celebrate. If you’ve drunk the good stuff just because it was a lonely night…

Pah. Open a good one. Let’s face it, you’re the one who most appreciates it. You’re the one who’s gone to all the trouble of sourcing it. You get the most pleasure out of drinking it. Tonight, you can really treat yourself, and take all the time you like in choosing and savouring a wine, with no-one to see and comment on your special tasting glass and your 'funny' tasting face.

What about one of those bottles which are so good, you could only afford one? It’s rare you can ever share a single bottle with just one guest. Why did you buy those really nice single bottles if not for an occasion like this? And you can drink as much of it yourself as you like.

Although ironically, if you do have a good one, you’ll drink less. You’ll savour it, and sip slowly, and you’ll be satisfied with far less than if you drink a cheap one. You might even have enough left for tomorrow night’s supper as well…

Hang on there. Good wine is for sharing. The whole thing about a really nice bottle of wine, like a play or a football match, is enjoying it with someone else. Swapping thoughts about the experience, getting a different perspective, and deciding whether the second half was better than the first.

And good wine is expensive. Can you justify selfishly spending that much on yourself? What’s that L’Oreal catchphrase? “Because you’re worth it”? Well, you’re not.

Ah, that awkward tipping point, when your wine costs more than your meal. Remember that ad showing a woman with half a dozen guests in the background,  hauling half a cow out of her oven, with a slogan something along the lines of “When your meal costs more than your cooker, your cooker had better be AEG”? Well tonight, it’s only you and your terrible cooking, so don’t pick an expensive wine, because your meal doesn’t even cost more than your kettle.

No, this is definitely the time for a cheap one, because no-one else will know. You can get the same relaxing sensation, for a fraction of the price. You can quietly dispose of one of those embarrassing supermarket purchases which confirm, unfortunately, that you can Taste the Difference. You won’t run the risk of having a visitor look scathingly at the label; or have Mrs K ask if she might like it, only to be told that depends on whether she would ‘like’ something which tastes of turpentine and mud.

Or perhaps one of the gifts, then? One of those stray bottles, brought by a guest, and stashed in the rack. You don’t have to worry what they cost, because you didn’t pay for them. And you might not know whether they’re any good or not.

(The trouble is that you do. And, on the whole, they’re not. In fact the ones which sit in the rack you know to be so duff, that you wouldn’t take them to anybody else’s in case they thought you had bought them yourself. So you are no more likely to choose to spend an evening with that £3.99 Merlot than you are to waterboard yourself.)

Think again. If the cooking is basic, then a good wine will lift the meal above the mundane. In fact, if the wine’s good enough, you won’t even care what you’re eating! You may as well have something special about the evening, while you’re sitting there alone like Nobby No-Mates.

Go on, have a good one, you deserve it. All that effort to choose, and find, and afford those nice wines. And what a week you’ve had.

Don’t be daft, have a cheap one! It’s just you and your basic cooking. You’ll regret it if you open a good one alone.

Oh, stuff it. I’ll have a beer.



  1. Life's too short to spend all that time debating the issue; crack open a good bottle. After a few sips you'll know you've done the right thing


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