One of the first drinks I ever had was wine and since then I have had a weird fascination with it. Simply put its alcoholic juice but to me has grown as an obsession to find that “new” taste or unique flavor that I have never tasted for. Sometimes it is even finding that insanely familiar flavor that you find in some random food you have every day. Thankfully the excitement hasn’t gotten me into trouble yet to the point of becoming the most grotesque creation of them all…The Wine Snob.
One of the most important advice given to me when I was in a college wine tasting course (Tech school, what a drag) was a simple rule that I still think about and verify as I don’t fall into this abyss of snobbery. It’s simple and obvious. “Don’t be a wine snob.” This is probably the most simple concept but has so much complexity because of how your mind perceives it.
It’s not very difficult to spot a wine snob and most of the time some simple knowledge can knock them straight off their asses and running for the hills. I think the real trap is becoming one of them. I have come up what I think is my own system of what I think would make me a wine snob and I think it should help anyone else who is suffering from the possibility of being one.
I think that the beginning of wine snobbery is the ability not to accept other smells and tastes or sticking with “what you think” is the end all in the wine world. Don’t get me wrong, I believe you should have a favorite wine or two or seven, but you shouldn’t restrict yourself to these theories. Expand you palette, try new wines. Surprise yourself with as much as you can. This will not only help realize these different variations in the same grape varietals but will give you more options when it comes to cozying up a good amount of money on a bottle of wine at a restaurant. Which brings me to my next point.
Blind Taste Test Wines
Like any product, people gain preferences. Look at any aisle at your grocery store for toothpaste, shit that we rub on our teeth to clean them and we spit out each day. It is huge and you gained these preferences for whatever reason. Throw those ideas out the window when it comes to brand or company with wines. Cover the labels during wine tastings and blind taste test your wines. Why? Like any taste test you might be biased. People attach brands to products and can even give a false positive of whether what they are tasting was good or not. The mind is powerful and can foul your palette easily. Snobs will look at the wine labels and quickly already make an assumption about what it tastes like or quality but how will you know until you actually taste it.
Expensive Wine Doesn’t Mean Good Wine
Price and quality are in no way a direct relation in the wine world. $10 wines can blow $200 plus bottles up in one fell swoop. Don’t magnetically go to the expensive wines, look at the smaller wineries, look at the less attractive labels, look for those cheaper wines. When I first started tasting, it was a very rare occasion that a more expensive wine beat a nice $10 bottle of wine when I would shop for wine. The perception is your going to lose the money you spent on a wine if you get the cheap one but this shouldn’t cross your mind, go for it.
If You Don’t Know, Ask
If you don’t understand something about wine, where a certain grape is mostly grown, a specific regions specialty, or even different characteristics of a particular wine, just ask. The best place is usually a reputable wine/liquor store. They are usually more than willing to help you find something you like and the great stores have tried most of the wines themselves. Another great place is the Internet. Search for wine types, look at the regions they are made at and try to educate yourself on what you like. If you have some preferences, see what other regions produce your wine and try them out, ask your local wine store what they suggest. The best part is you can tell them I’m only looking to spend a certain amount on a bottle and they can tailor you a pretty nice decision on a wine. I know personally I have might have caught myself being a wine snob by asking for a wine for cooking and they suggested me one cheaper.
When I walk into a wine store, I have absolutely no idea what I want to get. The best part about shopping for wine is there is no wrong answer. You can go ahead and pick whatever you want. I encourage this and it has almost always awarded me with little gems. You won’t expand your tastes unless you try as much as possible so why not have fun with it. Walk into your store pick a country, maybe a grape, maybe a color, and buy it. Don’t worry about labels and how fancy they are, just randomly pick a wine. I promise you that you will not be upset.
You have any tips for not being a wine snob, hit it up in the comments.