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Dave McIntyre's WineLine
August 14, 2000
Matt Kramer has done it again. That is, he's justified the subscription price to Wine Spectator. Sure, I like to look at the pictures of winemakers leading the good life, and I browse the ratings to see how my favorite wines are scoring. But any news in the mag is stale by months, especially with the up-to-the-minute reporting on Web sites such as Winespectator.com and my personal favorite, WineToday.com (disclosure: I sometimes write for WineToday, and I tend to be fiercely loyal to anyone who will pay me to do this.)
No, I read Spectator for the columns. Especially Kramer's. He goes out of his way to be controversial, and I have taken issue with some of his points in the past. But he's always entertaining.
Case in point: The August 31, 2000, issue. Kramer's subject is the not-so-original, "You Know You're a Wine Snob When
" I say "not so original" because it's an obvious riff on Jeff Foxworthy's "you know you're a redneck when
" and also because I've ripped it off myself in the past.
So thanks, Matt, for giving me a chance to do it again.
Kramer offered only a few indicators of wine snobbery, padded with his usual pontifications. According to him, you're a wine snob when
(That last one is another indicator that Wine Spectator does not consider you or me in their target market.)
You Notice that the Glass Isn't Riedel.
You Won't Buy a Wine Without a Vineyard Designation.
You Buy Only "Unfiltered" Wines.
You Buy Only 90-point Wines.
You Look for Wines Designated "Reserve", and
You Conclude that Any Wine Selling for Less than $20 Can't be Good.
Anyway, we can do better. So here are just a few of my own indicators, and I ask everyone to send in some more. E-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You Know You're a Wine Geek When
"Good Wine Praises Itself"
- ... Someone asks "How'd you guys meet?" and you say, "At a wine store."
- ... You curse the Founding Fathers for not including "direct shipping" in the Bill of Rights.
- ... You swirl your water glass and sniff a plastic cork.
- ... Your pinup poster is Helen Turley.
- ... You believe a wine's first duty is to be red.
- ... You put your recycling out late at night so the neighbors won't see how many bottles you have, then snoop in their bins to see what they've been drinking.
- ... You put your recycling out a day early so all the neighbors can see what expensive wines you opened last weekend.
- ...You have 200 or more bottles in your cellar, but keep complaining "There's nothing to drink!"
- Arab Proverb
Well, here are some things to drink, which I will praise despite their ability to speak for themselves:
Alois Lageder 1998 Pinot Bianco ($12) from the Alto Aldige is crisp and refreshing with good depth and body. Beautiful by itself, but perfect for fish and shellfish.
Hogue 1999 Vineyard Selection Viognier ($16) from the Columbia Valley could just about seal this winery's candidacy for "winery of the year." I've already raved about the 1999 Chenin Blanc and their Pinot Gris (DC readers, the latter is available at Grape Finds for $12). The Viognier avoids the flabbiness that often strikes this varietal in California, where the grapes can get overripe and the oak treatment overdone. The Hogue does see oak, but not enough to strip away the peach blossoms and nectar that characterize a good Viognier.
I Feudi di Romans, Alfiere Rosso 1997 ($11) offers Bordeaux varietals from Friuli. An excellent balance of smoke, earth and fruit with good length. A great value and perfect for grilled meats.
Chateau Carbonel 1998 C๔tes du Rh๔ne, ($13). What self-respecting wine geek isn't out there buying up all the 1998s available from the southern Rhone? This is a delightful CdR, perfumed with Grenache but laced with the smoky notes of Syrah. At a recent tasting for up-and-coming 20-somethings, I pushed this heavily upon anyone sticking to the safe comfort of Merlot, with great success.
Domaine des Amouriers Vacqueyras 1998, ($20). Deep, brooding, full of contradictions - seemingly approachable, yet holding back its inner essence until you're forced to stop and pay attention. Like a good marriage, this one's never boring, yet its best years are still to come.Copyright 2000 by Dave McIntyre
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