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Wine Snobbery

This is a thing. But not as big a thing as you might think.

Firstly, wine people are really into it! We don’t think we are better than Gin and Tonic or JD’s and Coke drinkers. Personally, gin makes me cry, beer is bloating, and early forages into drinking Rum and Coke completely lacked moderation, ditto tequila. Hmmm not that early wine sipping was always moderate.

Each to their own, I say, but it’s wine for me. I love how it looks in the glass, how it smells, exploring what that is I can taste right at the back and then as I exhale…..ahhhh yes a sensory joy! So, yup that makes me a bit of a nut and a kind of crazy wine evangelist; desperately trying to share this passion with anyone who will listen or even sit there for two minutes. I have very tolerant friends and whanau. But it doesn’t make me a snob.

When observing a wine nut in their natural habitat, (anywhere where they can hold a glass of the stuff up to the light), it may seem they are performing some kind of secret ritual to which only the initiated or ordained may participate. Often the case is more, “ooh crikey look how pretty that is in the sunlight, I wonder if it tastes as gorgeous, wow what is that smell…it reminds me of…”, here my husband very often says “petrol” or “ethanol” – he works with cars, it’s a tragedy.

Next of course, your wine nut might then cast around for suggestions to what the taste is, “um I’m getting citrus on the front, ooh white peach? a little mineral at the end? you?”. Of course the secret club feeling is enhanced by them recognising flavours. But remember, smell is very often a memory thing…I struggle with vanilla as a tasting note because my brain has vanilla as ice cream. I’m re-educating myself by smelling and tasting things like vanilla pods.

Finally the snob thing may be attached to some elitist stuff around “Good Wine”. I have struggled with my understanding of this and it is probably what lead me to seek some formal wine education. How do we know a good wine? If it’s really expensive? If it has lots of stickers and awards on it? If a renowned reviewer has their name on it? If it is from a French Cru?

Well, kind of, yes and the snobby feel again might be that sense of “I know something you don’t know”. People really in the know have done their homework and most of them are willing to share their thoughts. But be aware that we drink good wine in NZ. Price is not always an indicator. It is helpful to know how the season went, the grapes abundant and/or of good quality? What was involved in the winemaking?, some wines are quickly into the bottle and on the shelves and some need care and attention, and aging, so all those factors are costs to the producer.

Where the grapes are grown is another factor which is interesting in terms “cru” wines, (definition: a vineyard or group of vineyards, especially one of recognized superior quality). The plot of land right next door might have had better light or weather or the winemakers was awesome, it doesn’t have the label but it is “good”. Good is also what you think it is…”Yum, that’s delicious, pour me another and let’s solve the problems of the universe”.

If you like it, enjoy it and share it. Wine is best with friends, whanau and food. There’s nothing snobby about that!