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.