It’s week twelve of our Wednesday Whine so you’d hardly be surprised if I announced that this week’s whine is ‘wine snobbery’. You’d be forgiven for thinking that wine snobbery would be the domain of the professional vintner or sommelier. Quite the opposite. Most wine snobs are, at best, enthusiastic amateurs but can also be, at their very worst, hideous grape trolls.
Wine snobs. There tend to be three distinct types: Type one, the total amateur, who’s read a few books, been to France, visited some wineries and knows that anything the south side of three pounds is absolute drain cleaner. There are exceptions – you can pick up great plonk in France that’s fairly drinkable (out of a tap) at some French vineyards. They are few and far between and, if you find a good one, you’ll tell no one.
Type two. Sounds like diabetes and is about as welcome. They’re generally like type one but have drilled down. They can reel off the regions, they’ve stayed there and will recant tales of superb Sauvignon Blancs and mysterious Merlots. They’re drunk on life, and themselves. They are basically pissheads with passion and probably my favourite of the three.
The third type are knowledgeable, sophisticated, stylish, cultured and sickeningly spiteful. Whatever year, whatever wine, whatever region, whatever price (usually high) they’ve tasted it and dismissed it. They disagree at every opportunity and revel at any opportunity to outwit you – they are, in a word, unbearable.
If you’re unfortunate enough, you’ll get invited to ‘wine tastings’. If you’re a slightly neurotic, working mother of three, or a anxiety riddled middle manager for a top-four supermarket that shall remain nameless, the thought of spending an afternoon ‘tasting’ (in your mind it’s drinking), would be akin to an alcoholic lottery win. I can assure you, it is anything but.
Most of the time, even if the wine is good, you don’t get to actually consume it, and, after two hours of sniffing, gargling, robbling (as I call it – because that’s the kind of sound it makes), and ultimately spitting it down the drain, your whole mouth feels like someone’s anaesthetised it ready for a tonsil op.
One of the wines that will always expose snobbery is cava. Real snobs will always argue that it’s poor person’s champagne. It isn’t. It can be stonishingly good. One of my personal favourites is the Freixenet Negro Brut (yes the black bottle). It’s price fluctuates a lot and you’ll see it from anywhere between £6 and £11. When it’s at £6, buy a case. It’s that good.
Cava is a sparkling wine mainly produced in northern Spain. Cava means cave or cellar so you can imagine where they used to store it. It’s similar to champagne but can’t be called Spanish champagne because the French get really uptight (the French are already uptight enough so giving them more reasons isn’t wise). It may be white or rosé. The Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava and only wines produced in the traditional method may be labelled ‘cava’. Anything else would be described as ‘sparkling wine’. That’s not me being a snob, it just is. Don’t shoot the sommelier.
Anyway, here we are again. I must thank Elizabeth Kemp for her suggestion for this weeks wine. We asked for suggestions. and you delivered Elizabeth. Gracias! I’ve actually had this cava before so Elizabeth’s recommendation is spot on.
Arestel Cava Brut
£5.29 (seriously, for £5.29 this is pretty good)
Cava is one of the most underrated sparkling wines, and this Arestel Cava Brut is no exception. For the price it’s an absolute steal. I bought six. Hats off to Lidl – they are consistently bringing great wines to the shelves. This, like the Freixenet mentioned earlier, is what I’d describe as a dangerously drinkable wine. If you do partake, make sure you have plenty of what I’d loosely describe as savoury tapas to hand (perhaps some chocolates too). This is going to be a good night in. And make sure you’re not working the following day – best to be cautious. This dry, citrussy, creamy and finely balanced bottle of Spanish happiness is going to do things to your palate and your brain that, ordinarily and allegedly, only a class B drug could achieve.
Rod Stewart once said “I’ll tell you what I love. Sending back bottles of wine that aren’t right in restaurants in France! Whoa! I love the French, but I do find their wine snobbery something unbearable.”
You’re in my heart Rod, you’re in my soul. You’ll be my breath, should I grow old.
PS. If you want a full list of the The Wednesday W(h)ines and wines, please click here.
And if you’d love to watch wine snobs really having their backsides handed to them, search for Sour Grapes (2016) on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Snobbery and wine fraud collide in the most intriguing and satisfying way.
Suggest a wine… please, we’d love your ideas.
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