There is an inherent risk for wine lovers to turn into wine snobs. Wine snobbery is a documented, legitimate, and extremely annoying disease. When I say to people that I love wine there is a 37.4% chance they might assume I’m afflicted by this disease. The number might seem high to you, it is also imaginary. While I was at it, I bumped it up a few imaginary levels too because of my being French, since it’s a natural reaction to label French people as snobs. The French thing and the wine thing, I’m really not helping my case, am I?
Oh well, if you ask me, I don’t think I’m a snob, at least not a wine snob. Of course that’s my opinion and I might not be in a position to judge, but still. I’ve seen wine snobbery. Back when I was living in Paris I had a friend who would turn up his nose at every bottle not coming from the two most celebrated wine growing regions in France: Bordeaux and Burgundy. That annoyed the crap out of me because I love wine from “lesser” regions, like the Rhone and Loire Valley wines, that tend to be cheaper, simpler and also extremely easy to enjoy compared to the more classic stuff. For the same price you could get a very boring Bordeaux or a really fun to drink Vouvray. I know which one I’m choosing. In that case being a wine snob gets you inferior wine, counterproductive to say the least.
And that was a debate about two French wines. Imagine what it would have been if I considered a “New World” wine! This being said, it’s true that I do not have a lot of experience with US wines. It’s not a conscious choice on my part, it’s an availability thing. In France finding US wines is hard. You’ll find South American, Australian and South African wine a lot more easily than Californian wines. I think it’s mostly a commercial issue, the Chilean and Australian wine sectors are geared towards exportation, the US one targets a more domestic market. I you also take into account the local production from France, US products will only have a small market share.
That’s why I’ve been mostly drinking US wines in the two years I’ve been living here; it was time to discover a whole world of wine I knew next to nothing about. I really want to plan a trip to the Pacific Northwest to hit some wineries there, and some breweries while I’m at it.
Finally, if starting to take wine classes is teaching me something, it’s that the less you learn, the more you realize you know nothing. Realizing that makes being a wine snob a lot harder.