Traveller's tale
Know your wine-tasting etiquette

Watch where you spit ...
27 August, 2008
Page 50 
The PR manual quotes efficiency and education, but as any seasoned journo will tell you, it's chaos, intrigue and tales of the unexpected that produce the most memorable press trips.

The Italians - who make chaos an art form - excelled themselves on a recent trip to Abruzzo when they decanted 40 international journalists straight from the vineyards into the gala dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant at 9.15 pm. The women, many in flip-flops, shorts and T -shirts, were not impressed . The startled Italian waiters soon warmed to the situation.

And then there was the trip "up the Douro". After several pipes of port at dinner, we carried on around the pool. I found my door frame at about three and was awakened around five-ish by one of the women who, not being able to find hers, swayed into my room by mistake. I've often wondered ...

Staying with only three others at an elegant, but very empty, Bordeaux château, after a vintage dinner one of the female guests refused to go upstairs for fear of ghosts. Several hours later, after we'd checked all the rooms and turrets, she agreed - it's official - Pichon-Longueville is a ghost-free zone. I can't vouch for Comtesse of course.

A northern Rh ône winemaker rushed off to bring us one of the last bottles of his best vintage ever. After tasting, I sp at the wine into the ceramic spittoon. The jagged look on his face told me that he'd just decanted his precious vintage into a ceramic jug.

Typically, the manual doesn't even mention embarrassing journos.

By John Downes MW



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