Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Discriminating Tastelessness

People who get all caught up in the pretense of high end wine are such bores. They're the worst kind of dullards, throwing down heavy cash to make up for missing personality and class. I can't say how many times I've been at a gathering of the supposed 'wine-savvy' and had to endure rediculous displays of posturing over who has had the very best bottle lately, or who has met what vintner from Napa or Italy. Some lay in wait to correct you should you mispronounce 'Corbieres' or mention the wrong blending varietal, and do so with a slimy satisfaction.

Here's a news alert, posers of all levels of society: Y'all full of shit. You have forgotten what ingredients make up a classy, savvy person. Things like social grace, listening and conversation skills, and an adventurous, open-minded approach to the lovely things in the world of food and wine. Having 'discriminating taste' is a matter of exploring wine, appreciating the journey of finding well-crafted bottles, each a fine example of its own category, whether it's a rich but friendly barbera or a two hundred dollar bordeaux with a symphonic palate.

A slender brunette in her early forties came into the wine department a couple of days ago and walked up and down the domestic Cab aisle, looking down her nose at the bottles. I asked her if I could help her with the wine, she said no thanks. After having attended to another customer, I returned to see this woman peering into the locked wine cabinet. Without looking at me she said, "Do you have a list of the contents of your cabinet?" I told her no, but that I'd be glad to open it to let her browse, and asked if she was looking for something in particular. "Well," she said, "I'm just hoping to find something better than the stuff you have out here." I glanced over at the Cabs, particularly the 2001 Caymus Special Select, which is certainly not swill, and wondered which Cabs were so much more exquisite that she could so summarily dismiss our collection as being sub-par.
After pulling out a few bottles with icy contempt, she said, "Do you realize that your North location is far superior? You haven't got a damn thing worth having in here." When my coworker offered to order her anything she was looking for, he got: "Well that does me no good, does it? I can just go to the North location, where they have what I want." She then turned on her heel and flipped open her phone, and started talking to someone about having to make another stop for the David Bruce Cab, because "they don't have a damn thing here."

Our store has over three thousand bottles from all over the world, and roughly two hundred domestic Cabs.

If, in three thousand bottles of wine, two hundred of which are your style of choice (no doubt the only style this woman believed drinkable), you can't find a bottle "good enough" for you, you might want to check yourself.

I find it ironic, that when people finally have the means to live well, they are still not satisfied unless they also have the power to get exactly what they want, exactly when they want it, and if it is not delivered to them, to be shitty about it. It's never enough. And that's especially sad to me when it comes to wine. I mean, has this woman ever drunk anything else but domestic Cab? Is she one of these people that think Cal Cab is the end-all juice in the world? Because that's just sad.


The man before her was quite the opposite. Willing to pay a pretty penny, he and I looked over the Pinot Noir. I was excited, not because his budget was unlimited (it's not like I get a comission) but because he was open-minded and wanted to hear what I thought of this bottle of Woodenhead or that bottle of Siduri. When we came to a bottle I didn't know, he patiently let me look up reviews on it, and never tried to condescend to me or make me feel incompetent. He was a happy man, and he was having fun shopping and talking to me. That's the kind of person I respect. And that's the kind of person who clearly has class and discriminating taste, both in wine and in social life.

And then there's the Cab woman. Demanding, condescending, rude. There was no need for her to be so ostentatiously dissatisfied and insulting, except that it made her feel powerful and important. I wondered if she thinks herself a strong, go-getter woman. Someone who works hard and deserves the finest things. Because I'm pretty sure she's just a twat with too much money.

9 Comments:

Blogger s'kat said...

Well spoken. The Cab woman represents the worst of what you can find prowling 'round the wine world. Maybe she just needed to get laid?

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