I know quite a few coffee snobs, but over the recent holiday period, I had a run in with somebody I would refer to as a wine snob.
A wine snob is a particular breed of person who lives, breathes and studies wine like a geologist studies rocks. As soon as they open their mouths to talk, they send people into an instant, boredom induced coma, the only difference is that the wine snob has worse breath.
I’m not going to lie… I know nothing about wine. Beyond knowing that wine comes in red, white, or pink if you mix them together, the only other thing I know is that it makes you drunk. When I’m at a store, I’ll pick a bottle because the label looks good or the bottle is slightly different to the others (winemakers please note that animals doing funny things on wine labels are a winner).
It isn’t about the wine you drink but how you drink it and how you talk about it. Class is drinking wine from a glass in a bathtub surrounded by candles, alcoholic is drinking wine from a bottle in the shower whilst yelling obscenities.
How to pick wine in a restaurant
Eventually you will be faced with a situation where you will need to pick a wine in a restaurant. Whether it is to impress friends, to impress a girl, or just not look like a complete idiot; a basic knowledge of wine is essential.
Apparently different wine compliments different food. All I know is that the more you drink, the better the food will taste. That is only true up to the point where you drink to much and it comes back up the other way though.
Ignore the names and descriptions on the menu because, if you are brutally honest, all wine of the same variety tastes the same. So just pick one that sounds fancy and isn’t too high up in the price list. Nothing foreign though because you will sound like a douchebag when you are trying to pronounce the name.
Don’t be swayed by the price. Sure, the cheapest stuff tastes like a mixture of grapes and petrol, and would be better suited as a jet fuel than as a drink, but once you hit a certain minimum price level, there isn’t much difference between different wines. I have tried terrible tasting wine that was expensive, and brilliant wine that was cheap. There is absolutely zero logic associated with the price of a bottle of wine. If you have ever paid more than $20 for a bottle you are an idiot, and that is on the high end of the scale.
If you want evidence about why wine tasting and pricing is complete and utter bullshit, check out this post on moreinterestingthings.
How to deal with a wine snob
There is nothing in this world more terrifying than the thought of Tori Spelling without makeup, except for knowing that you will be spending the next couple of hours of your life in the company of a wine snob.
It is hard to shut down a wine snob unless you can pretend that you know how to taste wine properly to back up your bullshit.
Wine can make even the dullest person a master of the witty comeback. Except for the wine snob. No matter how much they drink, the wine snob will continue to bore everybody by talking down their nose about things such as the correct way to pronounce things, how to store wine, how to correctly drink wine and how to hold the glass. They will drone on about a wine’s musky taste, with whispy notes of rose and an oaky aftertaste that bears the essence of a fruity mid-palette with mild aromas of nobody cares.
To the wine snob, everybody else in the room is uneducated scum, to everybody else, the wine snob is a pretentious, self-important tosser. There is no common ground so they must be dealt with quickly and efficiently. If you give them even a little bit of leeway, verbal vomit will flow from their mouths until they pass out in a drunken pile on the floor.
Remember, a wine snob can sniff out your intimidation due to a lack of knowledge like a dog sniffing out another dog on heat. Then will then pounce on your inferiority like… um… a dog pouncing on another dog on heat.
To avoid this unfortunate situation, you need to pretend that you know and care about what the wine snob is saying but without being awkward and like many things in life, it all comes down to confidence. The occasional nod and grunt of agreement should suffice. Use words that don’t add anything to the conversation such as “very interesting” and “wonderful” to show that you really do understand what they are saying but don’t stray from simple responses otherwise you will be outed as a fake.
How to taste wine
It is hard to shut down a wine snob unless you can pretend that you know how to taste wine properly to back up your bullshit. I went on a winery tour once and they taught me how to do this properly so I can share with you what I learnt.
To taste wine properly, take a second to look at it, swirl it around the glass, sniff it, taste it, then regardless of whether it tastes like wine or like cat piss say “ho, hummmm” a couple of times and nod enthusiastically like you have had some profound awakening to how great it is. This will give the impression that you know what you’re doing when in all honesty you haven’t got a clue.
Whatever you do, don’t knock it back like a shot of tequila. I have been told that this technique is frowned upon.
What I know about wine
I lied earlier… I actually know 3 things about wine.
- You cannot judge how good wine is based on price.
- If somebody’s glass is empty, refill it.
- Wine is cheaper by the box.