I had a discussion this weekend with an intelligent young man who said he wanted to open a high-end wine bar. But he said he doesn’t want to attract any wanna-be wine experts, the type of middle-brow averages who spout a bunch of catchphrases they learned from Sideways. Although I prefer wine bars that serve Malbec in jam jars, accompanied by plain old stinky cheese and cured meat, I agreed with his dislike of middle-class wine snobbery. But then he said this: He doesn’t want the kind of people who say things along the lines of, “I don’t like sweet wine.”
Hold up! If it’s sweet, what the hell else are you gonna say? My friend Kelly, who writes about food and wine in Oregon, says it’s perfectly fine to say you don’t like sweet wine. She just wrote me, “If it’s an ice wine or Gewertzaminer, what else would you say?” My friend Emily, who’s poured wine in some of Portland’s best restaurants, said you could be more specific, trying words like “honey” or “maple” but the “the Court of Master Sommeliers definitely have a category called sweet wines.” Adds Kat: If bona fide “wine snobs” can describe wine as tasting of cat pee (I’ve seriously seen this), skunk, wood and diesel, I think you can call pretty much call it whatever the eff you want.
Sorry I got a little bent out of shape on this one. It’s just that the anti-snobs’ snobbery is out snobbing the snobs. I’m gonna go home tonight and have a glass of Two Buck Chuck in a rocks glass.