Warning: December is a Health Hazard

December 19, 2007 at 5:10 am (Uncategorized)

I am struggling to be productive today – Llew and I did some rather excessive imbibing of the joy juice in town last night with our Singapore-based friends Barney and Carla, Llew’s brother Simon and best mate Dan. I now have the monumental hangover I thoroughly deserve. Was it really necessary to go back to the bar after dinner? Who can remember?

I do remember our rather amusing and sardonic waiter from Young Alfred’s, though. Barney, a man of rather refined tastes, was vexed to find the restaurant had sold out of pinot noir, so he proceeded to order the most expensive wine on the menu instead (go figure that logic). We’d already begun drinking said drop when we noticed the year advertised on the list was not in fact the year marked on our own costly bottle. Our wine was a year younger, which does matter more when you’re paying more for the wine than for the meal. When we brought this matter to our waiter’s attention, he gave a shrug of supreme indifference.

“I really don’t care,” he said cheerfully. “Do you want me to tell the manager? It is nothing to me, it is not my wine.”

Well, you can’t fault that kind of honesty. We were taken aback, then ultimately amused by this pronounced European insouciance – it certainly felt authentically Italian; it was like being instantly transported to Rome. And we obviously didn’t care about it too much ourselves, because when the bottle was empty we promptly waved in another just like it. Our droll little waiter had a little surprise in store for us: when he delivered the fresh bottle of wine to the table, it came with a hand-drawn new label of the advertised vintage. Oh yes, everyone’s a comedian.

And by the way, I just hate screw caps. In its perpetual race to access the plonk in the greatest numbers and with the least resistance possible, Australia has whole-heartedly embraced this charmless cork replacement. I can’t bear it. I hate the lack of ceremony, the death of the wine opening ritual, and I really cannot abide the alarmingly prevalent practice of re-screwing the damn cap onto the bottle after every top up. It sets my nerves on edge in the worst way. Perhaps I’d better have a drink to help me calm down.

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