Last night was spent doing one (or I suppose it's two) of my favourite things. Stuffing my face, in the best possible company, with cheese and salami and fruit and pretty much anything that's yum to eat - and drinking truly exceptionally good wine.
I make no excuses for liking booze. Because I do. A well-made martini can make me smile like a Cheshire Cat, and feel as though I am at one of Jay Gatsby's soirées and I am just about to glimpse the host himself. A good wine is a joy. A great wine - that's just bliss in a glass. And my penchant for champagne is no secret to either anyone who knows me or in fact most of the Western world.
In other words, if you are ever at a loss for a present with me, stick a bottle of Veuve in front of my nose (or a nice Pouilly-Fumé, I'm a reasonable girl) and I will pretty much be your friend if not for life, at least until I need another bottle of vino.
Feel free to add a gift voucher for shoes. I'm a simple girl. Bribery works.
But there is the flip side of the cork.
Alcohol is a depressant. It makes people do incredibly craptacular things to other people. Just like any other addiction, if you don't have a kill switch when it comes to consuming it, it can take over your life and cause untold misery.
I don't say this to be an equally big depressant. I am just acknowledging that not only is alcohol hours of fun for the (in theory) 18+ members of the family, it's an issue for a hell of a lot of people and I don't discount that.
Back however to my personal obsession with the grapeful dead.
I have spoken before about why champagne is just so amazing. (Answer: it's champagne. QED.) But what makes wine tick? Why is it such an important part of the dinner ritual? The choosing, the matching... what is it about that glass of sauv blanc at the end of a really, really yuck day?
This is what it is for me at least.
With dinner, it's all a part of enjoying the process. It's part of the fun! I personally don't care about matching reds with red meat, blah blah blah - if you are not committing the atrocity of drinking botrytis semillon with a steak then fill your boots, drink whatever the hell you like. If you are with someone who enjoys wine, then the discussion adds to the enjoyment of the meal... you can be wine wankers together safe in the knowledge you are not judging each other.
As for that glug at dusk?
It's an 'AAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHHHH!!!' in a glass.