How would you handle this situation?

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Re: How would you handle this situation?

Postby wrcstl » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:53 pm

In my wine world there are three catagories of wine. Moving from top to bottom it is great wine, then value wine that I tend to drink on a daily basis, then crap which is never to be purchased, drank or served. What you put in each of these catagories is up to you. When confronted with the situation you describe, which is often with neighborhood functions and with my Dad, I pour from the value group. I like to drink it, after all it is my daily quaff, I don't go broke and I don't have to drink crap. Who wouldn't enjoy a $10-15 Cdr, Spanish grenache, Malbec or $10 Picpoul, Muscadet et al.

It is frustrating to see people go to the grocery store and spend $10 for crap. Go the a good wine store and find out about nice drinking wines for the same price range. Furthermore, in our town, the grocery store is the most expensive place to buy everyday wine plus they never have the great QPRs that can be found in a good wine store.

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Re: How would you handle this situation?

Postby Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:54 pm

I usually side-step the issue by serving wine appropriate to the group and foregoing anything better for myself.

Once in awhile you get someone that wants to mix it up. I had one dinner where a guest wanted Scotch, not wine. He drinks it with ginger ale. He was quite put out when I refused to serve him any of my single malts (I was out of blended) with the ginger ale.

An allied question is what do you do when you go to a BYOB event. Maybe I am an exception, but I would rather not drink uninteresting wine and would go for water or pop over 2BC or Little Penguin or wines of that ilk. For that reason, I tend to bring something that interests me to BYOBs and I don't just stick it on the table with the other offerings - it tends to get hijacked pretty quickly. I keep it in the bag at my feet. This is taken as antisocial by some. I don't care. What would you do?

As for that old tale about Nixon, while I am definitely not a Nixon fan (I rarely dabble in the politics of foreign countries :wink: I think that the president of the U.S. ought to get some special consideration. I could see myself doing excatly the same thing in his position, except that if I were in a second term I wouldn't even bother concealing the bottle.... :twisted:
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Re: How would you handle this situation?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:34 pm

Max Friedersdorf was a special assistant to President Nixon. His oral history interview sets the scene for the dinners President Nixon hosted on the Sequoia.

In All The President's Men, Woodward and Bernstein's book about the Watergate cover-up, the Washington Post reporters refer to Nixon's practice of serving wine aboard the Presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia. When he was entertaining senators from the South he instructed his wait staff in how the wine was to be served. Since the senators' predilection was for Bourbon, which they drank liberally before dinner, Nixon had the servers pour Mouton Cadet during the meal, since the senators' palates were already anesthetised by Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and Juleps. He was served from a bottle of Margaux 1966, which retailed for about $30.00; Mouton Cadet went for around $5.00 a bottle at the time.

Unfortunately, Friedersdorf wasn't asked how often Nixon served a lower value wine to his guest. But the events sound really special; guests were apparently thrilled to be invited and by the evening itself, and it's hard to imagine them carping about the difference in wines served to them and to the President. The interview makes clear that there were many of these dinners, and since Nixon would have paid for them either out of his entertainment budget, or his own pocket, it has always seemed to me he acted appropriately.

Ronald Reagan Oral History Project, Final Edited Transcript, Interview with Max Friedersdorf, October 24-25, 2002, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Furssell L. Riley, University of Virginia: Tell us about an evening on the Sequoia with Nixon, please.

Max Friedersdorf: Get into the war stories?

Riley: That's what we're here for. Tell us about a night on the presidential yacht with Nixon.

Friedersdorf: Well, we were trying to use every advantage we could. Things you do socially pay you back sometimes, and one of the assets we had was the presidential yacht. And President Nixon did not have any objection – he used it when he first came in, he would take foreign dignitaries. You go down, get on it south of Georgetown. You go down the river to Mt. Vernon. The White House stewards served a lovely dinner, candlelight, white table cloth, lobster tail, filet mignon, champagne, vodka tonic, all you want.

Riley: How many people were on –

Friedersdorf: It was a table – we called it the state dining room – I'd say you could sit probably twenty-two, twenty-four. You could walk around the back of the fantail, stewards were bringing out drinks and everything. Nice crisp evening. You go down to Mt. Vernon and stand there and look at old Mt. Vernon, have a few drinks, go in and have a candlelight dinner, bring your wife if you want to –

Riley: At Mt. Vernon? You get off?

Friedersdorf: No, on the boat. Then leisurely go back up the Potomac and dock at the pier up there, have White House limousines waiting to take them all home. Very impressive evening.

Riley: Music?

Friedersdorf: We'd bring the strolling strings along. There were four of them and they'd play whatever the Congressman or Senator – we did that, I can't tell you how many times, and it staved it off. You know, in retrospect those were all Band-Aids, but at the time, they were big deals. It probably was a foregone conclusion what happened, but members just really were very, very excited about being invited out there. Some of them were on the boat a number of times, and we'd go right down through the membership.

If they wanted to bring their wives, we'd get five or ten and the spouses. If we didn't get the wives, we'd go for a group that we knew their families weren't there with them. We'd keep the House members separate -- one night we'd do the Senate and then we would do the House. And the President didn't always go along, but sometimes we would get other Cabinet members to come along. Just an informal evening, very nice dinner, luxurious setting on the presidential yacht. Give them cufflinks when they got off, or a presidential pin. ... rf_max.pdf
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