Wine Snobbery – a fascinating phenomenon!

wine snobberyHi guys! Today’s topic of discussion is about wine snobbery. Our take on the “complexity” of the wine industry, along with “pairings,” and other aspects of what amounts to just opinions about wine.

As a note, we are absolutely not wine snobs. In fact, we often water our red wine down over ice and drink out of a straw. That’s not to say we don’t ever drink wine straight up in the “proper” glass at the perfect temperature – just that we do not need to.

We suspect there is a bit of psychological trickery involved in the whole wine industry.

Vernacular like “notes” and “finishes,” along with all sorts of other sophisticated terminology for what something tastes like. Is it more a mind game than it is important to your experience?

Does wine drinking even need to be an experience at all?

An entire industry exists about the nuances of wine. Countless “experts” telling you what is good and what you should be emotionally experiencing when you consume wine. Marketing. Reviews. Numerical ratings.

Are wine-tasters statistically full of BS?

An interesting article talked about “BS Professions.” Wine tasters were listed in the same company as stock-pickers, meteorologists, and art critics.

Here is what they had to say:

“One thing we all can be sure about is that people that make their living writing about wine must be able to sniff out differences between wines much better than us plain ordinary folk.

Only civilians couldn’t.

Sure, Joe Consumer actually likes cheaper wines better, but that’s because Joe Consumer is a stupid Philistine. The experts can tell the difference between a 2006 and 2007 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon in their sleep because everyone knows 2006 was a pedestrian year for Napa Valley reds.

Hell, they are so good they can tell the difference between two bottles of the same wine. In one experiment, wine experts were given two bottles of the same wine, only one was labeled a “vin de table” (France’s version of “Night Train”) and one was labeled a “grand cru” (top-rated vineyard since 1855). Want to guess what happened?

According to the article: “Whereas the tasters found the wine from the first bottle ‘simple,’ ‘unbalanced,’ and ‘weak,’ they found the wine from the second ‘complex,’ ‘balanced,’ and ‘full.'”

Not only were their tasting skills put to shame, it didn’t even occur to them that nobody buys a $40-plus bottle of wine for a university experiment.

“…this tastes like vodka and grape soda.”

Not only can professional wine tasters be convinced that the same bottle of wine was both award-winning and hobo juice, but they could even be convinced that the same bottle was both red and white with the cunning use of food coloring.

That’s not to say the whole idea of wine tasting is a crock- it just seems like a field where judging with one’s eyes is a temptation too easy to fall into.

For example, in the 1976 Judgment of Paris, French experts picked American wines as superior to their own, recoiling in horror when they found out.”

Hey – not here to knock – but just to ask questions!

Honestly – if you enjoy the whole “experience” of the wine industry, and it makes you happy, we’re not here to knock you about it. Carry on, and enjoy!

But we do enjoy asking questions and peeling back layers here at NJroute22.com.

So some of the questions that naturally come to mind are:

  • What about the marketing that goes into wine? Would you dare buy a bottle of wine without knowing what it’s about beforehand? Can you even fathom consuming a wine with no label or knowledge of it?
  • Do you ever wonder what all those words assigned to the bottle or winery mean? Ever think that it might alter your expectations? Or perceptions?
  • What about the reviews? Do you read wine journals or magazines? Have you ever noticed the sophistry in their wording?
  • At what point does the price play a role in how you enjoy the wine? As you saw in that excerpt above, wine critics automatically had negative feelings about wine because someone simply told them it was something different. Does that make you think a bit about how strange the mind works?

Is wine enjoyable for the taste or buzz?

If you want to know our frank opinion about wine, it is as such:

We drink it because we generally enjoy the taste. But primarily to catch a buzz. It also helps with our creativity as well as getting to sleep faster. We don’t really get a kick out of beer, and hard spirits are a bit too hardcore for us.

Can’t be more straightforward than that, right?

I can say, however, that there are times that I’ve liked the taste of some wines more than others.

But we’ve never truly had that “OH WOW, AMAZING” feeling. Especially since the taste pretty much numbs out after the first glass. And never have we liked a wine so much that we’d be willing to spend $40 a bottle, let alone $100 or more.

If you want to dive deep into the industry – they’re waiting for you

Again, we’re not knocking anyone. The entire industry exists because there are marketers as well as willing consumers. Free market capitalism 101.

In the end, polishing down a bottle of wine typically has the same end result.

It’s just that some folks truly enjoy thinking about the notes, the finish and the whole imbibing experience. They put a lot of thought into their bottles of wine. Primarily to tell other people, but that’s a story for another day (i.e., social sophistication, perhaps even snobbery… but to each their own).

As far as we’re concerned, we shed that entire facade a long time ago. We personally don’t believe that layers of complexity or delicate tasting of wine is our prerogative. We deliberately choose to ignore it entirely. Perhaps some might feel we’re “missing out,” and maybe we are – but we choose to invest the limited time and energy we have to other things.

Our wine review system is as simple as it gets.

How much does it cost? Does it taste okay? How do we feel the next day?

If it’s affordable, and we don’t gag drinking it – and we’re not feeling like death in the morning – we give those wines a “96” rating.

(PS – we truly enjoy Rex Goliath Free Range Red. A 1.5L bottle is about $11 at ShopRite Wines & Spirits. A bit more at Wegmans and Bourbon Street.)

About the author

NJroute22

NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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