Bad Acid Trips and Spitting
I was in Vino 100 (a local wine shop over by Sports LTD) the other night and overheard someone say, "sauvignon blanc, that's a sweet wine, right?" The wine snob in me sneered viciously and thought, "wrong you stupid cretin, sauvignon blanc is a dry light white wine with virtually no flavor at all!" I'm pretty sure that I didn't actually say that out loud, but he did seem to avoid me after that.
Here are some useful tips for avoiding looking like that guy.
1. Avoid white wines. Wine snobs almost always prefer heavy duty, mouth puckering reds. For some reason, white wines aren't taken as seriously as red wines by wine snobs. That’s unfortunate because white wines are often the most approachable wines for the new wine drinker. Maybe that's the reason; white wines are often seen as "newbie" wines. However, there is nothing wrong with white wine. Though I'm not much of a fan of the sort of generic chardonnay you see everywhere, there are plenty of great white wines, including chardonnay (see the Wine of the Week).
2. Pick a really obscure wine, learn a little about it, and talk about it to the exclusion of all else. It’s impossible to know everything about all wines – there are just too many. That makes it relatively easy to put one over on most wannabe wine snobs. Some recommendations: Chinon, a red wine made from cabernet franc grapes in the Loire Valley in France. Trust me, you now know more about Chinon than most wine snobs. German Riesling. Riesling is so complex (there are about 50 dozen classifications, with bad-LSD-drug-trip-hallucination-inspired names like “Trockenbeerenauslese”) that only real wine experts understand it, and even some of them are faking it.
3. Don’t say stupid things like that guy in Vino 100. When tasting wine in public, keep your mouth shut unless you’ve mastered the Wine Snob’s “Wine Words of Wisdom”™. I’ll cover these words and phrases in a future column, but they are guaranteed* to make you look like a "Master of Wine" (such things do actually exist). In the mean time, don’t let your ignorance show. Just look serious, frown a lot, and look sternly into the glass as you taste the wine. If you want to look really, really serious about wine, spit. That’s right, don’t swallow the wine (yeah, I know that’s the whole point of drinking wine) – spit it out. I’ve never seen anybody do it at a tasting. Ever. That’s why you’ll look serious. People will fear you. You won’t have to say a single word. All the wannabe wine snobs will cower before you, knowing that only real wine experts spit. Effective at fending off the wine snobs, but let's face it, it's probably not a whole lot of fun.
Of course, the best strategy for dealing with your lack of knowledge about wine is to fess up right up front. "I don't know much about wine, but I'm learning as I go along." Any real wine enthusiast will be more than happy to share what they know about wine with you without making you feel two feet tall. Only a wine snob would use your confession of ignorance as an opportunity to rip your fragile ego to shreds and then grind it into the dust with the heel of their shoe.
So, the next time you’re wine tasting, relax and enjoy yourself. Just make sure to look around for me before you open your mouth.
*(Guarantee void any place with laws against fraud and false advertising)
Wine of the Week2004 Leveroni Chardonnay
This wine was part of an evening tasting at Vino 100. Though I'm not a fan of grassy, oaky chardonnays, I was very impressed with this wine. This is a really good starter wine for new wine drinker, but also a great wine for serious wine drinkers. It's very smooth and creamy, without a lot of acidity, and that makes it easy to drink. However, it's got a solid structure and good flavors throughout. It's dry (as opposed to sweet), but with hints of butter and cream soda, and a touch of caramel on the finish. It would be really great with shrimp or light Thai food. Four stars. Available at Vino 100.