Place: London, UK
Two questions for a couple of different stories set in the same fandom. I've tried to research them to the extent one can online, but I think these really call for personal opinion/experience:
1. Say you are a middle-class middle-income English male in your late-20s going to someones house and you want to take them a bottle of cheap, and hopefully, bad wine because you are not a very nice person. What is the best wine (grown-up wine, red or white doesn't matter) you could buy to make this point? The quality of the wine isn't an issue at all -- in fact the more horrible it is the better -- but the price is, as my guy refuses to pay more than a certain amount for a bottle meant for someone else. Related to that, do wine bottles (say from Oddbins or the like) have price labels on them?
I've looked up the websites for Oddbins and the Tesco wine page and I'm not sure to what extent the prices online reflect what might be on special in the physical stores or what the quality of the wine is based on the price. From what I can tell, £3.50 seems to be about the cheapest on the websites, but would he know that in the store he could be sure to find *something* for closer to £2.50 (or whatever)? Also, is there any country or region or brand that would, when spied on the label, particularly strike horror into the heart of an oenophile? I'm not a wine drinker at all, so personal experiences or tastes of people who are is more than welcome.
Looked up: websites for Oddbins, and the Tesco wine page
2. This specifically relates to January 2007. After spending all night in his office, my other guy is driving home from Whitehall (SW1A2) to his house in Barnes (SW13) at about 7:30 in the morning. (I know about the congestion charge, and he probably wouldn't normally have his car, but for plot reasons he needs to have driven it to work the day before.) I think I have the right route thanks to Google maps, but how long would it actually take? Google says about 21 minutes, but is that factoring in traffic or should I allow more time for the horribly awkward conversation with his uninvited passenger?