Friday, May 31, 2013

I'll Take Your Snob & Raise You A Twat





Yesterday morning I was scrolling through the lines of babble over on Facebook and I came across a quote from Wine Journalist Eric Asimov that had been posted by a friend with a line attached, “This quote by Asimov really resonated with me” so being the good Facebook friend I am I clicked the linky thing and checked it out. The quote was, "But much of it is mundane. Why should anybody who cares about what they eat and drink settle for familiar and icy rather than something full of character? The wine industry has no problem with that sort of unconscious drinking. It feeds sales and increases profits. Hence it promotes the notion of “starter wines,” mediocre bottles that help ease newcomers past the shock of transition until they are ready to try the better stuff. Nonsense. The idea is merely a rationalization for selling millions of bottles of mass-market junk wines. Skip the insipid wines. Go right to good bottles. Discriminate!" I found myself nodding with Eric’s assessment, and mini rant, about insipid Pinot Grigio being foisted on the masses as if we were doing them some sort of favor by dumbing it down when my eyes happened upon the first comment or response to the quote, “Snob”. 





Never ceases to floor me how often people cover up their own insecurities or lack of…not sure which it is, interest or taste, by calling anyone the least bit discriminating a snob. I know my idiot of a drunk and living in a shack brother calls me a snob simply because I am a French wine specialist….as if I ever said, “Domestic wines are shit and I shall only allow French wines to pass between my lips”. And I’ve been seated across the table from my in-laws at brunch when the nice man comes around, screwtop bottle of “Champagne” wrapped in a white towel only to hear my mother in-law, in her New England tone and volume, blurt out, “Oh! Sam will never drink that!” always with an emphasis on the never and always with a slightly embarrassed and slightly mocking ring to it, followed quickly by a, “Oh like we could tell the difference” as if simply because I can in fact tell the difference, and would rather partake of a Bloody Mary at brunch than that bubbly junk, well that makes me a snob? Kinda thinking if you can just name call like that, you might just be more of a snob than the rest of us…..





Have seen the same thing in the world of wine/booze media as of late. Not sure if it was just on blogs that I was sent links to or if they were from actual publications, like where these wankers are paid to be blowhards but after reading a whiskey lover rant against Robert Parker scoring Bourbon, and how now all the wine “snobs” he encountered on his last trip to Napa, the ones he described as such“the sheer douchebag factor of guys in their 60s tooling around in Porsches with chinos and checked oxfords dangerously unbuttoned at the collar, made safe by the addition of a blazer. Perhaps a cable-knit pastel sweater was draped over their shoulders with an artfully-tied knot designed to look careless and casual, while saying all the while “I sweated the hell out of this knot” would be gobbling up all the precious Bourbon he and his, I don’t know…regular not snobby Bourbon sluggers, have been tasting, reading about and studying for years? Finishing his “Not snobby guy” rant with, “For the average consumer, it’s yet another crowding out at the hands of shameless trend-hoppers who saw this on TV, will make no attempt to understand the culture or the spirit, but instead will blindly make pronouncements in the absence of knowledge” Wow, sort of like name calling and bashing of whole groups of people that just happen to be into something different, just as geeky mind you, but different than you are? Hmmmm, just wondering Mr. Pot, what color is your kettle? Top that with reading some stupid article saying tasting notes are pretty much full of shit, one that ended with, “You’re better off drinking beer, its better anyway” and I’ve had it up to my pickle green irises. Sick and goddamn tired of everyone and their holier than thou horseshit, finger pointing, eye rolling, chest huffing and….oh but wait, in all fairness let’s give the other side, the everyman his chance to un-stuffy this fancy and snobby world of wine. Give the icy cold Pinot Grigio huffers their whack at it as it were….





A quick 15 minutes on the internet and I can say with all honesty, I’ll take your Snob and raise you a Twat.  Counted no fewer than 10 chocolate and wine tastings happening in the next 2 weeks, not one but 2 salsa and wine pairing tasting events, countless cupcake or Girl Scout cookie wine events and my latest favorite, a reenactment of the wine world’s most adored Jersey Boy, Crank Yanker, that Gary VanderwhoZit goodfella, another whole article on breakfast cereal and wine, this time taken up a notch. Where Gary V paired Riesling with Cap’n Crunch, (“The single greatest product ever made” according to the Yanker while burying his nose in the glass of Spatlese and telling us all to take a, “Sniffy sniff”….fuck me) and milk, no this new article….wine in place of milk in your breakfast cereal. Fan-freaking-tastic. Nothing says everyday wine lover like a snort of Bordeaux in your Cinnamon Toast Crunch, that or raging alcoholic, take your pick.  I browsed the rest of the blog/site, my eyes blinking wildly as I tried to figure out if this was some joke when I saw a link to a previous piece called, “Six Tricks to Sound Like You Know How to Pair Wine With Food” and before I could even finish processing that I said, “Not one of them is telling anyone to pair wine with cereal you wad!” So if being picky about what I put in my mouth and not trying to shove wine in places where it has no business makes me a snob, dude I’ll take that over fake-ass-wine-yanker trying to pretend to be sophisticated by having wine be so non-fancy that it can and should be poured over your Corn Pops, I’ll proudly display my snootery if you concede your twatitude.  Deal?





Look, I think many tasting notes are over-the-top and full of descriptions that the majority of people imbibing in a glass will never pick up. Not all of them but some which is why I tend to write notes more focused on weight, structure and texture, often with emotion, than to rattle off shit like, “tomato water and pickle skin” when describing wine for our customers. I just turned in about 25 shelf talkers for 2012 Roses, any idea how hard it is to do that? For one article? I would love, just once, to list the wines with their prices and in the notes section write, “Everything you want in a dry Rose” but being that it is my job to find the subtle differences, I can assure you, they are there and those regular folks, least the ones that shop at The Wine Country, they want to read about them. Are they going to get watermelon rind and lemon oil when they taste their Rose, dunno but it sounded like something they wanted and they bought the bottle so we tools that write those notes, we see them as the tools they really are….and most of us aren’t going around calling you all names because you don’t agree. You cookie and cereal folks on the other hand….I might have a name for you.

Sigh.

25 comments:

John M. Kelly said...

Don't think, for a New York minute, that it doesn't serve the interests of the producers of insipid mass-market plonk to CULTIVATE that "snob" idea.

I'd bet money that the "snob" comment came from an ad agency flunky with a 6-figure salary who would never drink the stuff he/she shills for.

Thomas said...

One thing you can count on in American culture is anti-intllectualism or, to put it another way, anti-snobbism. The next thing you can't count on in American culture is a marketing scheme to capitalize on anti-snobbism.

I once tried to persuade a customer that instead of the four cases of Santa Margorilla Pinto Grigio that she ordered, and that we refused to carry in our shop, I could provide four cases of a stellar Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige at 2/3 the cost. Her response was that she didn't want a better Pinot Grigio; she wanted the one that everybody was drinking. She was invested in the concept that those who drink the shit and pay high prices for it are smarter than us intellectual snobs...and they have more sex, too.

Thomas said...

Oops, The next thing you CAN count on--not can't count on.

webb said...

Using that logic, one would be a snob if she prefers filet mignon to hanburger, or cordon bleu to fried chicken, or dark chocolate to milk, or even fresh veggies to canned. Since when is having a preferwnce for something that tastes better being a snob?

With wine it might take longer to learn one's preferences - because there are like a million choices - but it's the same thing. And, yes those with a bit more money do have a bit more access. But good wine sellers can usually point one to good wines at many price points.

Oh, and people who use "one" in their comments are definitely snobs, too.

Samantha Dugan said...

John My Brudda,
How does a New York minute differ from say, an Los Angeles or Sonoma one? Always wondered that...oh and I agree with you once again. Always the guys with the ad dollars, the ones making them I mean, that set the tone and making fun of smart, (As Thomas pointed out) learned, traveled, experienced and up to date has been all the rage the past, what 15 years? Ugh. Hipsters and youth valued over knowledge and comprehension...I just don't get it. You however, you I get and adore. Thanks for popping in.

Thomas,
I've had the same situation with what I'm guessing is nearly the same woman. Hell, my dealing in Champagne has to let you know how often I am face to face with label lovers that can't think or taste outside the package...or won't is maybe closer to the truth. Clearly not the customer that is ever going to be moved by the likes of you and me kid...but I'm guessing we have way more, and better sex...better when you dig beneath the label or package, all the good stuff is inside.

webb,
You get it lady and let me just say, I'm not shocked at all. So easy to wave the wand of snobbery, kind of like when those delusional people say shit like, "You're just jealous" all the time...you can find them on Maury Povich, oh and the Wine Bloggers Conference. I just hate that kind of slinging and self inflated masogany. The kind that would have you tossing reason and actual taste aside to prove some misguided point or as some sad attempt to diminish other people's talent or job because you can't do what they do...so therefore it isn't real or important. Drives me crazy. Well not as crazy as goofy ass, bad "pairings" which do nothing for the food or the wine but still. Drink what you like, how you like and own it...just don't try and package it as innovative and anti-snobbery. Yeah, I'm just ranting now...long night full of rich and wonderful Red Burgundies that are dug tightly into my neck and making me utter gibberish. What a way to go though!

Thomas said...

Webb:

"Oh, and people who use "one" in their comments are definitely snobs, too."

That's because it's much easier to mix singular with plural ans say "they" when you mean "one person."

Sam:

Example of a NY Minute is that space between when the light turns green and the guy behind beeps his horn for you to move on--usually takes a nanosecond for it to happen in NY.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thomas,
So the New York minutes is a close cousin to the Chicago minute. Thanks for clearing that up!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
Well, there are snobs in wine, and even in the wine business, but it's not guys like Eric Asimov. I waited on a lot of them when I was a sommelier, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. The guys who bragged of their verticals of Silver Oak. The guys (and they're 99% men--it's the rare woman who is a wine snob) who managed to get every vineyard bottling of the new Turley releases. The guys who never drink Chardonnay. Those snobs are actually annoying and deserving of disdain and mockery.

The market for insipid plonk that Eric talks about will always be with us. So what? Working at Pacific Dining Car, I wasn't worried about the proliferation of Sizzler franchises. It's a completely different market. And Eric is preaching to his choir. Anyone reading his wine column is, most likely, already savvy enough not to be drinking stuff stacked up in Trader Joe's. That one guy calls him a snob, well, he's the guy who just happened to walk into the wrong bar and doesn't know it yet.

But your rant, as always, is fantastic. Sadly, the people it's aimed at won't read it. They're over on their blogs raving about chocolate and wine tastings. And if you went there and posted this kind of rant, you'd be the woman in the wrong bar.

And I'll meet you there and we'll get a hotel room.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Why is it I can here Taylor Swift and her, "I knew you were trouble when you walked in" song?! Great, that's going to be with me all day...wish it were you instead honey, the one with me all day.

I know the kind of cats you're talking about here babe and as you know, being in retail I get far more than my fair share of those wads too...though fewer then we used to as we don't play the allocation game and have never supported cherry pickers, preferring instead a more organic relationship with suppliers and customers. But you are right, those folks weren't built for me or I for them, which is why you will NEVER find me on those chat boards or even joining those, "I just received my shipment of Imma Rich Fuck Cellars Cabernet" groups on Facebook. Nor will I join the granola wine drinkers and their silly pages. I just wish there were less snoot and over-reaching. Wine has no business with cookies and anyone, anyone that tries to pass themselves off as being in the wine business, a wine writer or even claims to be passionate about wine, that pairs cookies with wine is simply a crank yanker. Period. You want to eat them together, fuck I don't give a rats ass, but do not pretend that they are a "pairing"...seriously, breakfast cereal and wine?! Stop it....

Now, back to that bar....gonna buy me a drink? I love you too!

gabriel jagle said...

that was fucking hillarious

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
Thanks sweetheart. You should read the rant I went on when I went after Food & Wine...that was a good one, this was tame I assure you. Might have been biting my tongue a little...

I know links never work here but you can cut and paste. Here is the F&W rant, have to say it's one of my personal favorites.
http://sansdosage.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

gabriel jagle said...

i'll check it out. as for my one serious contribution to this comment thread, i will say that i am as big of a wine snob as anyone, and i still drink trader joe's wine sometimes. i believe it was kermit lynch who said that if you drink special wines every night, those wines cease to be special. when you drink $5 tj's wine twice a week, you learn to really appreciate a nice bottle

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
Kinda reminds me of how everyone always checks out the woman that the star/politician/athlete has an affair with and always say shit like, "His wife is way hotter, why would he do that?" as if just being hot is enough. I'm with you and Kermie, keep special special, but never put it in your cereal!

Do Bianchi said...

Reading this post made me think a lot about what Eric writes in his book about how _we're the generation that moved past the snobbery_. When we were kids (and Samantha, you and I both grew up in So. Cal), only the fancy rich folks drank the wine. Now we all do. I wonder what our children will say: they'll grow up without a lot of the racist and other discriminatory attitudes of our childhood... and hopefully they'll grow up without the snobbery, too. Great post!

Samantha Dugan said...

Jeremy,
We can only hope right? I mean, before working at The Wine Country I had no idea there was even such a thing a whole store devoted to wine, now my son has been raised in that store so he, and all of his friends are wiser about wine than I was at their age. Your girls will do the same I'm sure. Nice hearing from you darlin'!

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gabriel jagle said...

Hey Samantha,

I was just reading the Wine Spectator (I know, I'm sorry), and there was an article by Harvey Steinman where he talks about being in his twenties an drinking jug wines with his friends. It reminded me of our conversation on this thread. That is all.

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
How you doing tonight kid? I don't have a problem with box/jug/cheap wine, not in the least. I just think people that do cookie pairings and try so hard to un-fancy wine, that they would pour it over their cereal, well they are kind of a joke and show how little they actually know. Least jug wine drinkers are just drinking wine, people trying to be cool by bro-ing it down to the dumbest possible level...well they are not wine lovers, they are actually doing far more harm than good.

gabriel jagle said...

Well, I can't argue with you about that. Blog posts about pairing wines with girl scout cookies are so dumb that i feel dumber for just reading the headlines. But they probably get published on the people magazine wine blog for ten grand, while respectable wine writers like you toil in obscurity.

In somewhat related news, whats up with the blog awards? terroirist gets an award for linking to other people's writings, while people like steve heimhoff and tyler coleman get snubbed. i'm starting to think that those awards are voted on by other bloggers in some sort of sick popularity contest. wait a minute...

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
You want the honest truth? One of the finalists for best writing last year...maybe this one too, I never saw who was nominated for what, one of them did a Girl Scout cookie and wine pairing thing. No lie. And people wonder why I don't consider myself a wine blogger. Ugh.

gabriel jagle said...

Sam,

Since becoming active in the wine blog world, I've had to reconsider a lot of my opinions about wine scores. I feel like the wine blog awards bring out some of those same thoughts and emotions from bloggers. Some of my favorite blogs get snubbed every year; and some blogs that I think are lame get nominated every year. But every once in a while, a blog I really like gets the recognition it deserves, and I think that is a good thing.

It's a bit too nuanced of a view to say that all wine scores or blog awards "suck" or "are totes awesome". And, to be honest, my opinions are still evolving. But I would say that we're better off being happy that blogs/wines we like are getting recognition, instead of complaining about lame blogs getting nominated because they have pretty pictures or funny titles (or wineries getting high scores for polishing all the character out of their wine).

All that said, I can't believe they gave an aggregate site the award for "best blog". That just doesn't make any sense.

Samantha Dugan said...

Gabe,
Yup. Had to do more thinking about and talking about the wine blog awards over the past few days than I ever wanted to. If you noticed I stay way the hell away from that cluster fuck. I don't make fun nor do I praise, that would more effort and caring than I have for them. Period.

There was a time when I wanted to win, was so fuzzy-headed and honored with the praise I got for my writing that the nomination was a huge deal for me...then essentially being judged and told your work is less good, (and reading the work that was chosen over yours, fuck some of it was so awful, like i was embarrassed for them kind of awful) and your less talented according to....? Well it was crushing to me, for like 2 years but then I started paying attention to the kind of stuff that was winning, "winning" and found that I was way more honored to be with the other, far more talented writers that had also be skipped. From there I took on more of a, "I'd be insulted now" approach and now, now I just ignore it. If I have no talent, so be it, least I show up, am honest and willing to share myself and big dumb heart. Opting to stay out of the chicken coop, smells too much like shit if you get my drift. I mean fuck, an aggregated site that "publishes" or posts other people's work wins and STEVE!, who posts every damn day, is always...or mostly insightful and actually writes, (and well) his own stuff loses, again? But then they finally gave Ron some way-fucking-belated praise and I'm sure that had to feel good for him.

I like to look at blogs the way I look at the wines I sell, I don't need or want to compare them or say this is better than that when in fact that could be better than this for the right person/situation. Got me? Um, me either...
Thanks for adding your two cents kiddo.

gabriel jagle said...

the funny thing is that i do actually get what you're saying. i don't know if you'll ever got a wine blog award nomination. If Dr. Vino never gets nominated, than nobody is garaunteed. But your writing is excellent, so I do hope you get some recognition for that. If only there were professional "blog critics" that you could submit your blog to. lol.

Samantha Dugan said...

You just gave me my award or recognition. You find something here, in my words worth reading and coming back to, that's all I need to be assured that I'm good enough for someone. Thanks for that!

Sara Louise said...

I love wine and I love Girl Scout cookies but I definitely do not think I would love them together. NO NO NO.