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Articles December, 2004

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My Secret agony....
I'm a wine snob!!! 

I have written on this topic before, the disconnect between the uninitiated drinker and the wine enthusiast,  but after hearing Paul Giamatti of "Sideways" tell us that wine folks are often pretentious jerks, I decided to reexamine myself honestly. I have concluded that I'm definitely a wine snob. I've also concluded that I'm proud of it. I remember this woman I once went out with who had an 1982 Prieure-Lichine that she raved about, about 18 years after it's release. I merely suggested that there were a lot of better wines in the vintage, and if she really liked that, I had some good suggestions of things she could get. Alas, this brought down the "wine snob" phrase upon my head. I was insufficiently enthusiastic about her discovery. That I actually might be able to put her on the road to better wines was evidently irrelevant. Mea culpa.

So---I no longer care. I'm a wine snob. And proud of it.

Top 10 reasons:

10. I actually ask for the name and vintage of a wine if I order a house wine. Red and white aren't good enough.

9. I'm willing to send a corked bottle back, even if the other folks at my table like it. It's corked and the next one will be better if it is not corked. I promise! 

8. I have a wine cellar. Ugly truth: the greatest wines aren't complete wines that are ready to drink on release. To fully enjoy the experience, you need some method to store wines and let them develop, or some very good friends who have a cellar. Sure, you can troll through stores looking for '90 Bordeaux today, but the prices will be hideous (so most won't buy...) and how they were stored will always be a question fraught with menace and a sense of impending doom. Buy wines, put them away, drink them when they mature. It's a different experience.

7. I care about how wine has been stored. I sometimes walk out of stores that seem very hot. I have fond memories of the store in Melbourne with a fine selection of older Pinots that I wanted to try that was way too hot. When I asked them why they didn't have air conditioning, the salesman said they had air conditioning. "Oh," said I, in a Seinfeldian moment (you remember the "rental car reservation" scene?), "you have it--you just don't use it. The important part of having it--is turning it on."

6. I like to use good glasses. Silly me. How could that possibly matter?

5. I like to smell the wine. How pretentious of me. Much better to knock it back like doing shots. After all, how could smelling wine matter?

4. I'm offended by "Gallo Hearty Burgundy." Not because it's plonk. And it's not so much that I mind ripping off French place names, but the implied misrepresentation of what the wine contains is way too much. Amount of pinot noir in Gallo Hearty "Burgundy?" None.

3. I'm willing to sip from a $200 bottle and trash it. Actually, money doesn't buy you happiness. At least not all of the time. Sometimes $200 bottles are mediocre, and certainly, way overpriced. Learn to drink the wine and not the label. Who's the snob now?

2. I actually took a wine trip to Tokaji and got diverted in Eger. I'm sorry--it was a pretty town and I figured that as long as I was there I could go up a wine road just about no one ever visits. P.s. The wines were pretty bad.

1. I care about what I drink.  This, of course, is what ultimately condemns me the most. Oh, well! Snobs uber alles.


Copyright Mark Squires, 2004 all rights reserved.


is a registered trademark of Mark Squires