The boys at legal have teed up for a “steak out” tonight. We’re rolling out to the Squire’s Loft at South Yarra for some decent red meat. I’m wavering a bit actually – the thought of all that red meat, even if it is to be just a 200g, is a bit challenging. I am just not presently up to such lofty aspirations.

Maybe a really good red will help. A few nights ago Tress, Kiddo and I went to the ThaiGarden on High Street in Glen Waverley. It’s an okay place – kiddo loves the green curry there. We’ve been there a number of times before, especially in summer when a nice chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc is often a fantastic company for Thai food. I was home just in time to nick into the house, leave my gym gear in the laundry and grabbed a bottle of red. Since I didn’t have time to choose, I just grabbed whatever comes out when I reached my hand towards the dark corner of the bottom shelf in the pantry. It turned out to be a 2002 Cabernet Shiraz by Jamieson’s Run. It wasn’t a Grange but neither was it a nasty teeth staining plonk either. I would not have taken it to a neighbourhood Thai joint like the ThaiGarden, no disrespect to the nice restaurant which we quite like.

At the restaurant, I should have perked up when the waitress had a “trainee” badge on her, but I didn’t see it – Tress did. She tool the 2002 JR and from the moment she handled it I was a bit apprehensive. When she returned my worst fears were realised as she gave me the bottle with the corkscrew standing up through the opening with the cork no where to be seen (it had gone through down the neck about a couple of inches). “Bottle too old” was the reason she proffered for not pouring any wine into my glass. I looked at the cork half resigned. It had been bored through with nothing left for any meaningful rescue attempt.

A more experienced lady came around, offered half an apology and took the bottle away. I said maybe a decanter can help, but wasn’t sure if either of them knew what I was saying. When she came back the main part of the cork has now been removed. The problem was she left hundreds of those little bastards swimming around and when I poured a little bit into my glass, they all seemed to be happily floating around doing backstrokes in a pool of what I was expecting would be very nice Cabernet Shiraz. My heart sank and the meal lost its appeal.

Half way through the meal I decided not to let that spoil the evening. Kiddo obviously enjoyed the food. On the way back we sort of chatted and tried to soften the experience. At home that night I tried to pour the stuff through some paper towel. It took the bits of cork out but I don’t know if this has affected the wine in any other way. I still have about half a bottle of it at home, and will no doubt sharpen my skills at pouring wine through paper towel.