BOTH THE FOLLOWING STORIES CAME IN FROM THE WINE DILEMMA.
BOTH TRUE, BUT THE WRITER ASKED TO BE SHIELDED...
I once gallantly stood aside and allowed a woman to enter a charity wine-tasting ahead of me. As a result, she drew the lucky door prize and won a top-table tasting of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, Mouton, Margaux, Haut Brion and other illustrious wines, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
She did offer me the ticket, but I politely declined. I encouraged her to enjoy her win.
I asked her afterwards what the wines were like, and she said, "They were alright".
So I went outside and let her tyres down.
THIS ONE SHOWS AMAZING GALANTRY...
I recall one such incident.
I took a rare bottle of old and irreplaceable vintage port to a dinner party at a winemaker's house. Call him "A". The bottle got lost in the bonhomie and wasn't opened. That wasn't intentional. "A" hadn't looked at the label and I wasn't going to make a fuss. It went to a good cause.
Some time later, I showed a different vintage port to a wine writer. He declared it was pretty good, but nowhere near as sublime as one that "A" had recently poured him. "It was a ..." and he named the wine I had given to "A". Again I bit my tongue, gently, kept my own counsel. Expressing petulance also comes at a price.
Was I upset, the adding of insult to injury? Not in the slightest, just bemused at the irony.
By then it was A's wine, as you accurately said, the moment it entered his door. He could do with it as he liked and probably couldn't even remember where it came from.
He wined and dined me that night as he’d done before and since, and we have a long, close friendship far more rare and valuable than any rare and valuable bottle of wine. Had I taken along a bottle of wine that I would not have missed, that would have devalued the friendship, and me.
And it was only a bottle of wine after all. There are always others.