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April 05, 2001


How to be a Wine Snob

Wine Snobbery is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years in Europe, a couple of decades in America and about five years around here…many of you have probably asked: “Gee, this snob thing seems like a lot of fun…How can I get in on the action? Well it’s easy if you just follow the KNPR easy guide to wine snobbery. Pay attention and you too can negotiate a wine list like a pinot pirate, or be a Sauvignon Swashbuckler as you cross swords with a Sommelier.

Rule number one: Learn three pretentious phrases. Ask questions about Malolactic Fermentation, the Brix at harvest, or aging in French Oak, and you’ll sound authoritative even if you have no idea what they mean.

Next, learn to pronounce unpronounceable words in three languages and watch those wine hotties hearts melt faster than a wheel of camembert on a hot summer’s day…tignaello, D’yquem and Trokenbeernauslese may be mouthfuls—in more ways than one—but they make you sound like a pro even if you’ve never been close to a bottle.

Rule number three: say something negative…in a positive way of course—such as : “I think the ‘2000 Vintage will be even better…” when told by some loudmouthed restaurant critic that ’97 was the best Vintage of the decade.

After mastering these, it’s a golden slope slide into mounton majesty. Our fourth tip is the easiest of all…just start hobnobbing with some fellow snobs. Don’t worry; they are very easy to spot. Hint: they won’t be working in a restaurant, but will invariably have initials after their names, like J. D., M.D. or D.D.S…….

See how easy it is? I know –you’re probably a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by all this high falutin’ information…sooooo I’ve left the best for last…. Yes if all else fails in your quest for true wine snobbery…try number five…(Drum roll and Cymbals)

Get an English accent—yup—there’s nothin like sounding like a limey to make people think you know what you’re talking about. It doesn’t even have to be a good one…whatdaya think old Algernon Penning Rosewell and Flo Rogers are doin’ round here??? That’s right…showing off and fooling everybody.

See it’s easy to be a wine snob?? (Applause) Now I’ve spent twenty years and twenty thousand dollars learning these things, but your folks just got them for free. If you listen every week, you’ve been given lots of free advice on where to eat and more importantly, where not to. So take some of that money you’ve saved by not having to actually taste anything…and send a check…and it better be a big one-to KNPR today—just call 258-0505 right now and pledge some of that money KNPR saved you…if you don’t , and I catch any of you-anywhere-expounding on the complexity, balance or finish of some fermented grape juice.. or using phrases like: “I find it redolent of allspice, crabapple and petroleum…with a sassy yet impertinent mouthfuls…I shall expose you as an oenophilic prevaricator and—personally send you a bill—join now and avoid this embarrassment…This is John Curtas.

See discussion rules.


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