Wine snobs lack true appeal

By Al Vuona
 |  Telegram & Gazette

Central to the very premise of wine appreciation is the notion that somehow it requires a special set of skills or unique talent. That in order to most fully understand and enjoy the experience of sniffing and sipping fermented grape juice, one must have a cache of knowledge that mere mortals do not possess. This, of course, is total bunk.

Case in point, I, your humble correspondent, had no prior skill, knowledge or divine intervention when bitten by the wine bug some 35 years ago. In fact it was quite the opposite. I had to study and learn as I went along. That is how one becomes proficient in wine. Unfortunately, for some people something known as snob appeal has manifested itself along the way.

You never know when or where you’re going to encounter a so called wine snob.  Then, before you know it, you’re being bombarded by a host of terms like malolactic fermentation, carbonic maceration or chaptalization. In the end, you feel bewildered, humiliated, excluded, and inclined to drink nothing but Kool-Aid.

And the notion that a wine snob is wealthy, well-educated and well-bred is mere conjecture. Snobs come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps you know a few of them yourself. If so, avoid them at all cost.

Wine snobs are people who have taken their love of wine to irrational extremes. Moved beyond the realm of reality and have a distorted sense of being. That’s not what true wine lovers aspire to, nor should they.

When you love wine you enjoy the simple pleasure of the product. You bask in the joy it brings and the way it indulges the palate. Anything more may cause you to embark on a path of unreasonable behavior. That in turn can easily elevate the perception of self-importance, like being overly judgmental when presented with a fine bottle of wine.

Here’s an example of how it happens. A few years ago I was perusing the aisles of a Cape Cod wine shop. I ended up in a section that was designated “weekly specials,” which consisted of about 30 discounted wines from around the world. I happened to pick up a bottle from the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. All of a sudden a man came up from behind and whispered, “why waste your money on that crap.” As I turned to face this person, he uttered “good Italian wine only comes from the mainland.” Without blinking an eye I asked him, “oh, are you an expert on Italian wines?” To which he responded, “as a matter of fact I have been to Italy many times and know all the good Italian wines.”

Without causing a scene, I politely thanked the man for his insights and quickly moved to another section of the store. By the way, the Island of Sardinia produces some very nice wines including the Sella & Mosca Cannonau Di Sardena Riserva. I’ve purchased this wine many times and find it enjoyable to drink and very food friendly. It normally…

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