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—William Blake, Proverbs of Hell.
Winemakers poured their best bottles; fancy hors d’oeuvres circulated on silver trays held by attractive, high-breasted servers; and guests tasted as may wines as they pleased, all of which were quite compelling.
Now let it be said that, as a wine writer, I know my limit and play within it. I don’t like to gamble with the prospect of a hangover. The last one I had was more than a decade ago, and it was fierce.
Trouble was, this particular party was stacked against my will to not get inebriated. Here’s why: Each time I was about to flit away from a fellow wine-loving soul after a brief but riveting bit of small talk, she or he would end with, “Oh, and did you taste the…” ending that sentence with whatever joy juice they were drinking at the time. And off I’d go to taste it.
But because this was a party and not a work event per se, I did not have my handheld spittoon with me. I was drinking.
The wines were marvelous. But being a woman who favours Champagne, I found myself cleansing my palate between tastes of this or that with the very lovely Laurent-Perrier Vintage 2006 being poured. It was just showing so beautifully; 2006 was a very good year.
I began to see these refills of Laurent-Perrier ’06 as commas in the night.
Talk, taste, comma, repeat.
A few hours later, when I felt well enough to climb out from under the duvet, I went to my friends’ place. They made me peppermint tea, fed me a banana, and just puttered while I rested. On their sofa, beside the fire, I took the only true remedy for a hangover: time.