Saturday was Andy's annual wine tasting party, at his eternally in-progress house. We picked up a French blend that I hadn't tried before and headed over at about 19:30, and found the place pretty packed already. By the end of the night, his house was positively jam-packed with people -- at least on the first floor. The second floor never got particularly busy, even though it had plenty of room, some seating, and a nice warm fire.
There was a fire downstairs, too, and both were vital: it was frigid out, and Andy's place has no heat or insulation. It was up to the booze and the fire to keep us warm. Both did a good job. I tried five different reds, and three of them were quite enjoyable. The bottle we brought was a 2001 Paillet-Quancard from Bordeau, and was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. I expected a nice flavor, but I didn't get much flavor at all. John said that he's learned over and over that blends don't deliver, and I think I'm willing to just take his word on it, rather than be so let down again. It wasn't a bad wine, it just wasn't a very good wine.
The three wines I liked were: Marques de Discal 2000, which was a very dry Spanish wine. I really like a very dry wine, and I think I could've just stuck to that for the rest of the evening; Seven Oaks "J. Lohr" Cabernet Sauvignon 2003; and a Fish Eye Merlot, the vintage of which I don't recall. Both the Seven Oaks and the Fish Eye were fairly straightforward, but tasty. I like wine, and maybe I should try to drink more wine -- and less soda!
The last few times that I was in Wales for business, I'd pick up a bottle of Merlot at the Tesco's and have a glass with dinner in my hotel room, some nights. It worked out alright, even with the mediocre wine I seem to recall getting.
So, the wine was good. There were hors d'oeuvres, which were also good. The best part of the evening, though, was probably the other people -- and that's probably as it should be. Andy and I worked at IQE together, so there were a number of other IQE employees (or ex-employees) there. I talked with a few of them, individually, and had some good conversation. It was a little amusing, to me, that I probably conversed more with them at Andy's than I had while we worked together. C'est la vie!
Among these IQEans was Dmitri, who laughed and shook my hand when I told him that I now have the same job title that he had when I was there: "Research and Development." We're having business cards printed up, and we had to put something down under our names. I'd been fairly unsure what I wanted, but John suggested R&D, and I decided it was better than anything I was likely to come up with. If you see me at either of the big Perl conferences this year, you can try to demand my hot new business card.
I'll be stopping in at IQE this week, and I'm hoping to at least say hello to a few more people whom I haven't seen in some time. Even a wave is better than nothing; today, crossing the Fahy to the bus, I saw Joe coming out of the plant's rear door and waved across the lot.
Andy's parties are among the very few that I tend to really enjoy. I'm looking forward to the next one.