Wine snobs are often the loudest in professing their love for wine, but the true wine lover loves it quietly, says Ch’ng Poh Tiong. In India too, just as everywhere in the world, we must be wary of the wine snobs who take themselves too seriously through wine. This article first appeared in the July/August issue of Sommelier India. Subscribe to Sommelier India to read more articles by some of the best wine writers in the world.
This column is dedicated to wine professionals, members of the wine loving public and wine connoisseurs. There is, very often, a crossover between all three groups. So, for example, a wine shop manager in Shanghai who goes to a wine bar after work is both a professional and a wine lover. Then there is the newcomer to wine in Delhi, who is at the moment merely acquainted with wine rather than passionately endeared to it. Like a bottle that needs time, the coming weeks, months and years will change all that.
There is, however, an ocean of difference between someone who loves wine and someone who wants people to think he loves wine. The first is someone with a genuine interest and passion for wine while the second is a struck-up, and stuckup poseur. If you love wine, good for you, but don’t make a big deal about it because there really is nothing very special about the whole thing. Go ask the Greek, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Romanian farmer who also loves wine and enjoys it around the table with his family, friends and occasional visiting stranger.
Wine is meant to be enjoyed, even discussed, certainly to be served, but not used as a crude instrument to measure or determine social status or ‘class’. Drinking expensive wine and talking loudly about it doesn’t make you classy. And certainly not when you bring your own bottles, even magnums, to a wedding because you feel the host is serving wines beneath your ‘class’. I have actually seen this done in Singapore. Class?!? You’ve got to be joking. Anyone who does that displays vulgar behaviour and minus-zero upbringing.
Just as there is a wide gulf between someone who loves wine and someone who wants people to think he loves wine, there is a universe of difference between someone who takes wine seriously and another who takes himself seriously through wine. In the second situation, wine becomes a victim. But pity the social misfit who feels he has to take himself so seriously. Wine was never meant to be so grave that you could not raise a glass to wish someone, anyone, “Good Health, Long Life and Abundant Happiness”. Seriously.
This article first appeared in the July/August issue of Sommelier India. Subscribe today to receive your copy in the mail.