I know a little bit about wine — more than some, less than others. But I try (honestly, I do) not to vomit everything I know, every time I drink a glass of wine. Because I also know that for every one thing I know about wine, there are ten more I don’t know.
Recently, I had a run-in with the world’s most insufferable wine snob (think Alan Rickman’s Steven Spurrier in Bottle Shock, only more arrogant and less endearing). You’ve probably met him. He’s the smartest wine guy in the room. You can offer an opinion, but you’ll be wrong. Because wine has revealed itself to him and only him. He knows everything. And he
wants needs everyone to know it.
He’s also a gigantic ass.
A few weekends ago, I had dinner at a friend’s house. Her grandmother had given her a decades old bottle of first-growth Bordeaux, and she was excited to share it with friends. Little did I know, one of the friends she invited was Spongebob-Ass-Pants. The tasting went something like this. My inside-voice thoughts are in purple italics. I have never done so much eye-rolling in my life.
Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Snnooorrrrttt. Sllluuurrrrpp. Aaaaahhh, this wine is at least 40 years old.
Right. Wine labels are informative that way.
This wine is really throwing sediment. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
I said something about the wine having a beautiful rust color (indicative of an older wine). He quickly corrected me. This wine is the color of a copper chrysanthemum.
Who are you, the Pottery Barn paint color naming guy?
[This is the best part, so read in an exceptionally condescending tone.]
This wine isn’t for ewe, e-w-e not y-o-u. (Yes, he spelled it for me.)
What in the wide world of fuck?!? Did he just call me a sheep??
This wine tastes of fossilized tobacco and stewed Mediterranean prunes. Ewe probably don’t have enough experience with older wines to detect it.
You, y-o-u are a jackass. I will not stab your hand with this corkscrew. I will not stab your hand with this corkscrew.
This wine will improve with air. You need to swirl it in the glass. Not like that. More vigorously. And counter-clockwise. Like this.
I’m going to stab your hand with this corkscrew.
Seriously. Who is this asshat?
The tannic structure is still intact if you tune your palate for it.
OMG. Stop talking. Seriously. Shuuuuut. Up.
By the time he finished with his wine oration he was sweating. Profusely. Nobody had been able to get more than four words in edgewise. And then he glanced around the table as if he was expecting applause. So, I obliged him with my own take on a standing ovation — I stood up, thanked my friend for sharing her grandmother’s bottle with us, and left to go find myself a large shot of brown liquor.
Did the wine taste good? Meh. It was past its moment. And not an especially good vintage in Bordeaux. But my friend cared enough to share an old treasure with friends. And in my wine book, that makes the wine better than good.
Insufferable wine snobs are, well, insufferable. Sometimes it’s best to just shut up and enjoy the wine.