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My friends and I went out to a BYOB and we agreed beforehand to split the cost of the wine. I know wine so they put me in charge and I decided to bring one of my favorite bottles that happens to be on the expensive side. They said they would have been just as happy with a cheap bottle, so they didn’t think they should have to pay for the wine I chose. Were they right? Or is it ok for me to be a bit pissed, since they shouldn’t have put me in charge if they felt like being cheap?

Choosing wine when there is a group of people with varying tastes and price thresholds can be incredibly difficult, even when you’re looking at a restaurant wine list. Throw into this challenge choosing wine alone prior to a dinner and you have a truly difficult situation. In these instances, I always try to spend $20 to $30 on the bottle because these are the wines that are usually in the $50 to $60 range on a list, a price I have found most people are willing to stomach, especially when they’re splitting the cost.

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Going higher than this range is fine if you want, but if you do, you should either know how much each of your friends is comfortable spending, or be willing to treat them to the bottle. In the above case, it sounds to me like you knew the bottle was expensive before you bought it, so you shouldn’t have been surprised they were a little upset. Next time, simply treat them to the nice bottle and they might be willing to split it with you in the future!

Why does Burgundy have so few blends but Bordeaux is full of them?

While Burgundy and Bordeaux may both be famous wine regions in France, and perhaps they’re the most famous two regions in the world, they have very different winemaking traditions. In Burgundy, the tradition is to make single-variety wines, mostly out of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which the winemakers feel most authentically reflects the region’s terroir. In Bordeaux, on the other hand, the tradition has always been to make blends, using either Cabernet or Merlot as the dominant grape and then adding in grapes such as Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carménère. Whether to blend or not to blend does not make one wine or region superior to the other. Instead, this is simply the time-tested way each region has discovered to showcase its regional character best.

What’s rye whiskey and is it better in cocktails than Scotch?

Rye and Scotch are very different because Scotch is made from 100 percent malted barley while rye must be made of at least 51 percent rye. But this doesn’t make one better than the other, or one more superior for use in cocktails. Rye tends to be used in cocktails where sugar is going to be added; thanks to its rye component, the whiskey tends to be more savory, unlike bourbon that has a corn base that makes it incredibly sweet. Utilizing rye in a sweetened drink, therefore, won’t create as cloying of a taste. The Old Fashioned is a classic rye cocktail that is a perfect example here, as is a Manhattan.

Scotch can be used similarly, as it, too, isn’t sweet, and I’ve found it to be an excellent substitute for classic rye cocktails. But its also great for adding a bit of that smokey characteristic it’s become famous for, which makes it wonderful in so many classics such as the Penicillin and the Rob Roy.