I hope you can help me with my recent dilemma. It all started innocently.
We got a new neighbor. A really nice guy. In the summer, he came from work every night, took out his motorbike and went for the ride. At first, my husband was a little aggravated, because our neighbor always took out the bike, turned on the engine and went back to garage for something, while the engine was running. It would take him forever to leave.
It didn’t bother me that much. I kind of understand that bike owners like to show off. Yes, we all noticed that you got a really cool bike! Since we were usually outside, having a dinner on our patio, this guy never forgot to turn around and wave at us. A nice gesture at the large development, where we hardly know anybody.
So one day I decided that we should get to know each other better. I walked over, introduced myself and invited him for a glass of wine. Jason, how he introduced himself, was thrilled. We made arrangements that he would join us next evening for a grilling on the patio.
He didn’t show up. We noticed that he came home late that night. I also didn’t think of giving him our phone number to call, if needed. So I wasn’t really upset or anything. But the very next day somebody knocked on the door and it was Jason, giving me two bottles of wine, and an apology. “I am so sorry, I got held up at work and it was too late to come over to your house and explain. I bought you some wine.”
He went on: “I went to a wine store to get an advice, since you told me you were a wine person. I didn’t want to buy something bad. I don’t know much about wine, so I hope this is good,” he said, handing me a wine bag.
It took me by the surprise: “Oh, you shouldn’t have! You know what? I will chill this and we will drink it together, when you come over.” It was such a nice gesture from him, totally unnecessary. Another surprise came, when I asked him what his business was, and he replied that he runs a funeral home. Wow! You don’t meet young men in this field everyday! Excellent business, I have to say. There is always enough work….
But back to the wine. Poor Jason definitely didn’t read my dear friend Kris Chislett’s blog where he listed Wine gift ideas for a wine lover to avoid! Kris, an experienced sommelier from Jacksonville, speaks from his own sad experiences, when he advised people what NOT to give to a wine lover: “Wine in General. This may come as a surprise, but unless you really know the person you’re buying for, and are planning on spending a little-bit of money on a bottle (over $25), I recommend you avoid buying wine altogether. That is, if you want to avoid it being re-gifted/used as mulled wine.”
I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful brat here. Jason didn’t know much about wine, so he went to seek an advice. He went through so much trouble just to apologize. At the wine store they sold him a Pinot Grigio and a Merlot. Safe choice, right? Everybody drinks that! Well, almost everybody. Considering that he told them he is buying for a wine person, I would expect a little more adventurous choices from an expert adviser. But that’s fine.
Here is what made me the most upset: Days later I decided to use that Pinot Grigio in my favorite eggplant recipe. Obviously, I would then finish the bottle with the meal. Maybe. I think. So I am opening this bottle with a synthetic cork, and the fact that I couldn’t pull the cork out, should have warned me. But it didn’t. Even though I almost broke my wine key.
Mistake # 1: I didn’t pay attention.
I finally opened the wine, and poured some into the food.
Mistake # 2 – I didn’t taste it first.
I tasted the eggplant and it tasted awful. It wasn’t the fresh eggplant, garlic, olive oil, crushed peppers, salt and pepper – it must have been the wine! Don’t trust anybody, who says: ‘it doesn’t matter what wine you cook with, it will disappear in the cooking process anyway’. It totally matters! My dish was ruined.
I turned my attention back to the Pinot Grigio and noticed – it was darker than I would expect Pinot Grigio to be.
Mistake # 3 and 4: I should have paid more attention!!!
I checked the label and found out it was 2005 vintage! How disgraceful! To take advantage of somebody, who came to wine store in a good faith for an honest advice, and give him a bottle of cheap, old Pinot Grigio, slowly turning into brown. All that after he told them that he is buying a gift for a wine person. Notice here, I am not talking about a package store. I am talking about a wine store!
Now I think you guessed my dilemma already. Should I tell him? No, I wouldn’t be so rude to point out to a friend that he gave me a bad bottle of wine just to ruin his day. If Jason didn’t tell me that he went specially to a wine store to get an advice, I would probably just laugh it off and never mention anything. But I hate when somebody takes advantage of an innocent person, who did the right thing, and sought an advice from experts, before he bought the wine.
Honest mistake? I don’t think so! To sell somebody 2005 Pinot Grigio in the summer of 2011, is not an accident! They did it on purpose! They knew very well that this wine had its best behind it. Shouldn’t Jason know that they were dishonest with him, so he would never go shop there again? So he can tell his friends to avoid that store, because they deceived him? I think I should tell him. Or is it too insensitive?
I feel terrible. After all, it was a really nice gesture from a really nice guy. So, what do you think? What should I do?