The holiday season is prime time for parties, social gatherings and family dinners-- not to mention guests flaunting their wine knowledge.
This time of year you’re bound to encounter the holiday wine snob, that person who seems to know it all about vino.
So how can you avoid becoming an unwitting target? Here are five helpful tips:
Tip 1: “What do you think of this wine?”
If you’re drinking the same wine as the wine snob, they'll often pose this question, to which you should immediately respond, “Hmm, I don’t know, what do YOU think?” By throwing it back on them you avert almost certain ridicule plus, they only wanted to tell you their opinion of the wine anyway.
Tip 2: “The wine has to breathe!”
The snob is almost always a huge proponent of letting a wine “breathe” before drinking it, however, many people don’t realize that simply removing the cork from the bottle does nothing to aerate the wine. If the subject comes up, simply ask when they intend to decant the wine and if they only plan on removing the cork…well, you can take it from there.
Tip 3: “I do NOT like wine from x, y or z region!”
He or she loves to talk about all the wine regions they don’t like, which can understandably make fans of these wines feel uncomfortable. Respond to this statement by only commenting on wines you like, because while everybody’s palate is different, nobody’s palate is wrong!
Tip 4: “Wow, look at the legs on this wine!”
The HWS loves to opine on a wine’s “legs,” the streaks of liquid that can sometimes be seen running down the inside of the wine glass after taking a sip. Visible, viscous “legs” are sometimes mistaken as an indicator of quality, but the only thing they reflect is a wine’s high alcohol content and have no bearing at all on the quality or price of a wine.
Tip 5: If you can’t beat ‘em…drink with ‘em:
In addition to volumes of wine knowledge, the snob will likely be accompanied by bottles of their best wines this holiday season. So if you don’t mind suffering through a barrage of boring wine speak you might just get to sample some exceptional bottles of wine and maybe even learn a little something in the process.
Stephanie Miskew is a certified sommelier, wine educator and proprietor of The Wine Atelier, an online wine boutique. She also runs the The Glamorous Gourmet, a website dedicated to wine and entertaining.