We noticed each other in the first minutes of the tasting and immediately both knew it was on. I held my sample by the glass stem and with my little finger held slightly out, swirled the wine while simultaneously pretending to concentrate on the tasting notes. It was the text-book double-task swirl maneuver of nonchalance—not recommended for beginners. I wanted to finish this guy off fast. The other tasters noticed and murmured their approval.
Casually he countered by placing his glass on the bar and while holding its base, quickly ran it in small circles to perform a tidy counter-clockwise, table-top swirl, silently telling me he would not go down so easily. He even stopped half way through, lifting the glass to check the wine’s color against the white table cloth before replacing it and continuing the well executed maneuver. Well played, Sir. Well played.
So it seems we’re evenly matched in the skills discipline. It will come down to knowledge. Like me, I sensed he knew only enough to be dangerous so a strong showing here would end this quickly and place me firmly on top the snob mountain where I keep my throne. I prepared my strategy, briefly reviewing in my head some answers to a wine trivia game my wife gave me for Christmas. Then just as I was about to drop the term “Veraison” on him, he executed a breech of etiquette by playing his hand first, a move normally reserved for the home-court snob.
“Hmmm. This one has acescence,” he said after tasting his sample. The crowd squirmed, sensing the challenge. The ball was in my court now. I didn’t even know what “acescence” meant but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about snobbery, it’s that no snob wants to get caught drawing a complete blank. I had to incorporate the one thing that’s saved me time and again–BS. I pulled a word out of thin air and confidently lobbed it back toward his end of the table.
“Oh, I disagree. Wines from this region often develop phlatoids that contrast any acescence.”
Like Scrabble, calling me on the word would risk being wrong and going down in flames. No, safer to play along. He held the glass up, looked at it thoughtfully,tasted again, and replied, “Yes, yes I’m tasting phlatoids now too.”
Game over. Nobody outsnobs the master.
This week’s recommendation:
Sokol Blosser, Evolution ($15.00): You don’t have to be a wine snob—or even a fake one—to appreciate the deliciousness of this wine. It sports tropical fruits, a clean finish and because it’s made with nine different grapes it’s easy to make stuff up about all of them. A perfect wine with grilled meats and salads.