I’m one of those who subscribe to the notion that it’s not a good thing to be a wine snob, or to be a snob about anything, really. In our post-Can’t We All Just Get Along world, snobbery has grown from harmless, amusing affectations to character flaws that separate us by class and political affiliation. Nobody likes a wine snob, and who doesn’t want to be liked? No one is looking for the most “Meh’s” on their Facebook post.
But there are a handful of situations where I kind of get unhinged. If a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, then I’m the Jason Bourne of wine snobbery. Believe me, I don’t want to be That Guy. I know when I’m about to do something or say something that smacks of snobbery, and I know there will be fallout in the form of eye-rolling and date-bailing and loogie-hawking-in-the-wine-glass from the bar back. So I should really just mellow out.
But there are four situations when I just. Can’t. Help. It.
A glass pour that’s less than six ounces.
When I lay down my $20 for a glass of premium Cabernet and I receive a four-ounce pour, I get the wine equivalent of Road Rage. If said wine is poured into a tiny glass to make it seem like a normal pour, I literally want to flip the table over. And a four-ounce pour for $10 for a wine that costs $10 at Safeway = Instant Arsonist. Memo to anyone who wants to help me keep my sanity: A bottle of wine contains four glasses of wine. Just thinking about this right now makes my hands shake.
Three-day-old wine in my by-the-glass pour
I’ve worked in restaurants and wine bars and I know the ugly truth: You pour that bottle until it’s empty, so if no one’s ordered a glass of the Gruner Veltliner you opened last Thursday, you pour it anyway. When this happens to me, I instantly become Send It Back Guy, and the problem is nobody likes Send It Back Guy, because even though he’s right, he’s a prick, because he’s Send It Back Guy.
Hey, look – if you drink White Zinfandel, that’s awesome. Go get you some and rock on with your bad self. But let’s just put a couple of things on the table. First off, there’s no such thing as a White Zinfandel grape, ok? So, just let that hang in the air for a moment. Secondly, Rosé is not White Zinfandel, so when you give me that look when I order Rosé, it makes me want to tear my face off and eat your head with it. I discuss this on the podcast a lot.
“Would you like to smell the cork, sir?”
“Why, yes, I would. Hey! How about that? It smells like freaking cork.” Back in the day, the major Chateaus of Bordeaux battled a counterfeit wine problem by placing a code on the cork that corresponded with their wine. That’s why you were shown the cork – to know you were getting the real deal. Sometimes, you can look at a cork for wine streaks that run top to bottom to help confirm your suspicion that the wine suffered seepage. But if you smell the cork, let’s just say that your chances of getting on Jeopardy are in serious danger.
Ugh. I hate myself right now and I want to take a Xanax. Look, I promise, if you take me out for a glass of wine, I (probably maybe for the most part) won’t be a snob. OH! But can we also talk about wine prices for a sec? What really gets me…
Stopping Yourself From Being A Wine Snob Pairs With: Fogelson Vineyard 2020 Chardonnay, Napa Valley
I could easily say that the 5th quirk that makes me a wine snob is that I know you don’t have to cash out your IRA just to afford a great bottle of wine. Even a Napa-appellated, limited-availability wine. The folks at Pairs With Life Cellars know this as well. Their 2020 Fogelson Vineyard Chardonnay from Napa Valley is bright, fresh, and features a vineyard pedigree that typically skyrockets the bottle price over $50. But this bad boy is only $23 bucks. Hell yes.
Napa Chardonnay, when done right, is a magical thing. Sourced from one of my favorite valley-floor vineyards, this Chardonnay expresses the subtleties of the varietal, and doesn’t beat you over the head with oak and butter. In the waning days of summer, it’s my current go-to white. And I always pour myself at least six ounces…