I offered to bring some wine, and to choose the wines to bring I decided to ask for advice at the nice little wine store near my work, which is actually owned by the Byerly's grocery store next door. As it turns out, their wine-cheese guy consults with the Byerly's as well, for cheese issues. This promised to be an adventure.
And sure enough it was an adventure. I just reported to Douglas on my lunchtime escapades. This is what I wrote:
The wine/cheese guy loved being consulted about a wine-cheese pairing, and said that he often has wine-cheese tastings for his friends and the goal is to have a bit of cheese and a bit of wine and to think, "Yes!". Or something like that. He got very excited about good Gouda, and started to describe the characteristics of good Gouda (sharpness and creaminess). Then he went off on a sidebar about good Edam, and a dish he makes with Edam and apples and bacon. ("That sounds very rich" I said. "Oh yeah!" he replied.) All this seemed a good sign to me. You want an epicure to help choose your wines.
He recommended a Kunde Estate 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I bought, and as a second bottle he recommended a nice Shiraz without me even telling him that that's what I would have gone with on my own (simply because that's what I know). He pointed me to a (relatively) inexpensive Australian Shiraz (Wyndham Estate Bin 555, 2003, from the Hunter Valley wine region in New South Wales), saying I would be surprised at how good it was for the price. So I bought two bottles of the Shiraz -- one for the Braggarts and one for me, but I'll bring both tonight in case we need to open a third bottle.
See, an adventure! And a really good excuse for me to try two new wines. Actually three, because for buying 4 bottles I got a discount so I let the guy recommend anything in the shop he wanted for under $20. "Do you drink whites?" "In the summer," I said. So he pointed me to a New Zealand 2005 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (a Drylands Estate wine). This is definitely something I probably wouldn't have known to try on my own but I look forward to it.
"Come back and let me know how you liked the Shiraz," were his parting words.