Tag Archives: wine snobs

Winebits 391: Wine snobs edition


wine snobsBecause, sadly, wine snobs have been dominating the wine news lately:

Defending wine: Alder Yarrow, one of the most respected wine writers in the U.S., writes forcefully about the recent spate of anti-wine sentiment on the Internet, lamenting the fact that so many are so hateful about wine. He seems surprised by the venom, unable to understand why people write things like “Americans who drink wine do so because they think they are living in a BBC adaptation of a Jane Austen novel.” In this, Yarrow doesn’t see the forest for the trees, despite his skill, influence, and popularity. People hate wine because too many wine drinkers and too many people who write about wine want wine to be that way. Remind me to tell the story sometime about the editor who said I couldn’t write for her because wine drinkers weren’t interested in what I wrote about. Or, as a student in my wine class asked me: “Will I be successful in the restaurant industry if all I drink is sweet wine? Won’t they hold it against me?” And I didn’t have an answer for her, other than to say people like me were trying to change that.

You can always count on the Wine Spectator: Matt Kramer, writing about local wine, asks “Should restaurant wine lists feature local wines?” Could it be? Was one of the high priests of the Winestream Media advocating local wine? Would the Wine Curmudgeon have to welcome the Spectator into the regional wine movement? Of course not. This is the Spectator. In 819 words, Kramer comes to this conclusion: “Should restaurant wine lists showcase and champion local wines? Do restaurants have any such obligation? Is it even desirable? I leave it to you to decide.” Which, I suppose, is how you get to be a high priest of the Winestream Media.

Money, money, money: I wonder if Yarrow saw this study, which says rich people are buying wine not to drink, but “as a wealth store – providing a hedge against inflation, protection against low interest rates and currency fluctuations.” How wonderful it must be to be rich, to buy wine instead of gold or real estate. “Wine, Katie Scarlett. Why wine is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” The Wine Curmudgeon, whose lack of business acumen is legendary, has never been able to appreciate this. I buy wine to drink, because drinking wine gives me pleasure. Who knew the rich got as much pleasure from just looking at it?

Are you a wine snob?


wine snobThe cyber-ether has been abuzz with accusations of wine snobbery, and even Blake Gray — who recently shared a bottle of $10 South African chenin blanc with me — has been accused of snobbery. Trust me: People who drink cheap wine with the Wine Curmudgeon aren’t wine snobs. 

All of this back and forth means it’s time to set the record straight. Note that wine snobbery doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with winespeak, scores or high alcohol. It’s much more nefarious than that. Hence, the Wine Curmudgeon’s eight questions to tell whether you’re a wine snob. 

• Do you tell other people what to drink?

• Do you criticize other people when they drink wine that you’ve told them not to drink?

• Do you think wine quality is a function of price, and that all expensive wine is inherently better than cheap wine?

• Do you only drink certain varietals, like cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay, because other varietals aren’t good enough for you?

• Do you only drink wine from certain regions of the world, because other regions aren’t good enough for you?

• Do you know everything there is to know about wine, and aren’t shy about telling others how smart you are?

• Do you gladly share wine knowledge with others, or are you glad you know more than they do?

• Do you remember the last time you tried a wine you didn’t think you would like?

Answer yes to more than one of the first six questions, or a yes plus a no to the seventh or eighth, and there’s no doubt: You’re a wine snob.

Winebits 338: Wine snobs edition


wine snobs“I don’t drink that”: Radio host, wine judge, and raconteur Tim McNally addresses those of you, who, for no particular reason, refuse to drink certain wines. McNally takes on everyone who has ever turned up their nose at white, rose, riesling, imports, and most of what’s in between, calling it “something which is encapsulated in the ‘Don’t screw me up with the facts lifestyle.”  Plus, being a New Orleanian, he works in a football reference, which is nicely done.

Enough with the tasting notes already: Someone, no doubt heir to the English comedic tradition that is so admired here, stuck fake tasting notes over the real notes on wines at a London grocery store. “Agile clam flavours with a suspicion of red kryptonite,” anyone? Or, as, Jake Wallis Simons writes in The Telegraph: “I doubt I’m alone in suspecting that it’s all just a case of the Emperor’s new clothes.” Not that that sentiment has ever appeared anywhere on the blog, of course. The good news is that the world is changing, and the traditional tasting note — what the headline to this story calls “a load of old drivel” — seems to mean less than it used to. 

The truth about wine: This infographic from the Wine Folly website called “Being a Wine Connoisseur” pretty much says everything that needs to be said about too many wine drinkers (though it is a bit harsh on supermarket wine). My favorite: The “Wine over time” bit, describing how we feel about a crappy wine two hours after we drink it. Which, of course, is that it tastes much better. Wine Folly, which is part wine education site and part wine-related gifts retailer, does a very nice job, and makes me wish I had done some some of the things that it does.

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