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You’ve got to be open-minded to embrace most southern Italian wines, though, given the unfamiliar grape varieties and flavours.

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A reader of this newsletter recently sent me a rant a bit about stingy houseguests. "When I visit people I always bring a good bottle (or bottles) of wine," this person wrote. "[But] I have friends who will come for an evening (or even days) and they invariably bring the cheapest plonk they can find."

It's not because they're living on a tight income, this reader says. In fact, the cheap friends in question are highly educated and quite well off. "It completely baffles me," this person writes.

Do you ever roll your eyes at the wine your dinner guests bring? Do you have guidelines on how much to spend on wine as a gift when invited to someone's house? Or is it the thought that counts? Send me your view at rcarrick@globeandmail.com and I'll compile them and report back. For me, $20 is a rough range.

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