“You are becoming a real wine snob,” someone said to me not long ago. The remark came on the heels of a lengthy response I had just provided to a wine question I had been asked. The comment has stayed with me since and left me to ponder the question: “Am I a wine snob?”
To discover the answer I went to my trusty laptop and Googled “wine snob” and came up with a whopping 701,000 results. I know there is nothing new that I can come up with that the 701,000 others haven’t already covered. If I did, I am sure that it wouldn’t answer the lingering question: “Is Carl a wine snob?” I decided to continue my research and define the term “wine snob” and then do a little self-comparison…a look in the mirror at myself, if you will.
The Urban Dictionary’s top definition of a wine snob is: A wine enthusiast, particularly one who is pretentious or self-important because of their “immense wine knowledge.” This is a very polite definition in my view.
There are several other categories of wine folks we should take a look at while we are looking at wine snobs.
A Wine Lover is a person who likes and appreciates wine and tries to learn or educate themselves in order to enjoy wine more. This person knows what wines they like and why they do. I believe that a wine lover can also be classified as a connoisseur of wines. These are the folks who I run into at wine tastings and dinners. They know what they like and why but are there to explore new wines and learn more about the wines of the world.
A Wine Aficionado, also referred to as an Oenophile, is a great lover of wine. They are the people who appreciate or collect wine, typically from certain regions and varietal types. According to Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia), while most wine aficionados are hobbyists, some may also be professionals like Vintners, Sommeliers, Wine Merchants, etc.
A Wine Geek is a couple steps beyond wine lover and Wine Aficionado…one who becomes eccentric about wine. A Wine Geek takes wine knowledge to a new level, not in a snobbish way. They have a love for the knowledge of wine, and take it to its furthest reaches.
I read one explanation that described a Wine Geek as a person who not only knows they want a Chardonnay rather than a Riesling, but that they want a French Chardonnay from a particular Chateau and can then describe all of the characteristics of the wine.
Let’s explore some of the traits and signs that might mean you are a wine snob (or about to become one):
- Do you over-swirl your wine? This is an early sign of wine snobbery. You will begin to swirl everything – coffee, water, empty glasses. I am afraid I am guilty of over-swirling. It simply becomes a habit…as you are talking, you swirl.
- Are you a dramatic sniffer? Nose in the glass, eyes closed, sniffing with a subtle but richly gratified smile…like you are doing a TV spot. Not necessary. Swirl to open the wine, sniff and taste.
- Do you call wine glasses “stemware?”
- Do you collect more wine than you can drink? This would be me.
- Cork versus screw cap? If you wouldn’t dream of touching screw-top wine, you might be a wine snob. This would not be me, as I don’t see a thing wrong with screw-top bottles. One of my favorite wines (Three Clicks Petite Sirah) comes in a screw-top bottle.
- How much do you pay for wine? You are likely a wine snob if you will not drink wine under a certain price point. I actually have a friend who once told me he doesn’t drink any wine that is priced less than $75.00 per bottle. I am safe on this one…I bought some nice Bordeaux recently for under $25.00 per bottle.
- Would you eat dirt? There are people who visit a winery and taste the vineyard dirt. Yes, it really has happened.
- Do you get angry when the server gives the wine list to someone else at the table first? It makes me happy when they do that. Sometimes I get tired of being the “wine guy.”
- Do you always have an opinion on wine or wine topics and tend to share even if you aren’t asked?
- Do you call the restaurant ahead of your reservation to ask them to decant a certain bottle of wine you are going to order for your dinner? If you provide specific instructions on when and how to decant the wine, you are likely a wine snob.
- Do you complete or correct the waiter or Sommelier at a restaurant? You may know a lot about wine, but don’t try and one-up the trained professional. It is bad form and makes you look like what you are, a wine snob.
- If you ordered the wine at dinner, do you go around the table and ask everyone how they enjoyed the wine you ordered? You don’t need to interview everyone like you are doing the evening news. If your companions are drinking the wine and enjoying it, they will tell you.
- Are you a “Score Whore?” Do you order wine by mentioning the score that someone gave the wine? “Did you know that this wine scored 96 points?”
Okay now that those points are made, I openly admit to being at little bit of a wine snob. The two traits I confess to: over-swirling my wine glass and I collect more wine than I can drink. Overall I think I fit firmly in the Wine Aficionado classification.
With me the swirling thing is now a habit. I think it frustrates Mrs. Tiedemann. I just do it and don’t think a thing about it. Now the buying wine thing is a different story. If I read tasting notes or someone tells me about a good wine I naturally want to try some, so I end up buying too many wines. My friend, Brent Miller (who is a big collector of memorabilia) said there is help available for compulsive buyers like us.
My question to each of you: What category do you fit into: Wine Lover, Wine Aficionado, Wine Geek or Wine Snob?
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below. Let us know what kind of a wine person you are or think I am.
Until next week,
Wine Dinner This Weekend:
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Uptown Kitchen Valentine’s Wine Dinner featuring Italian Wines
Starts at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $65 per person + tax & gratuity. Wine Club Members: Only $60 + tax & gratuity
Reception. Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore
Antipasto. Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Nero
Pappardelle Pasta, pesto, shaved Parmesan. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Barbera Piemonte DOC
Bacon-Wrapped Scallop with sautéed garlic spinach, white wine beurre.Paired with the Marrone Tartufo Bianco
Shiitake and Wild Mushroom Risotto. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Maestrale Barbera d’Alba DOC
Steak Vesuvio. Paired with the 2014 Manara Valpolicello Classico DOC
Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni, Marinara, Béchamel. Paired with the 2012 Salvano Trabuch DOC
Tiramisu. Paired with the 2012 Cantina Di Casteggio Moscato
Call Uptown Kitchen at 574-968-3030 for Reservations.
Other Upcoming Wine Dinners
February 18, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner featuring White Oak Wines. Get the Dinner Flyer Here.
April 7, 2016 – McCarthy’s Wine Dinner Featuring Three Clicks Wine