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Berger: How to be a wine snob

On one level, wine is a simple beverage. It's fermented grape juice.

On another, there is an entire sub-culture that revolves around knowing wine well, appreciating the best, and being prepared, at the drop of a clich? to say the right thing. It's a game some people play, and an art that you too can cultivate.

With the right air of disdain and haughtiness, you too can gain a reputation for knowing wine like a geek, even if you don't. Sure, you run the risk of being called a snob, but it's a lot better than people assume you only drink Moscato.

Deciding to become a snob is easier than you think. Just learn the following rules and follow them in public.

Always take price stickers off bottles that cost under $50 when serving them to friends, but leave the stickers on when serving expensive wines.

You're in an Italian restaurant and someone suggests you order a Chianti. Look disdainfully at the wine list and snort, "Pathetic. No 1978 Barolos. Not even a decent Barbaresco."

The best place to exhibit snobbism is at a snooty restaurant, preferably one with a sommelier who you can bring to his knees with some well-timed insults.

Be certain to do this only when dining with people who are sure to take note of your expertise and will be prepared to pass it along to others, so you get the maximum snob points.

When handed the wine list, no matter how large it is, always ask, "Do you have a captain's list?"

Very few restaurants have such "limited selection" lists any more, but it indicates your willingness to consider really expensive wines.


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