Wine snobs are annoying. Blame them for making wine fraught with pretense and intimidation. From a sommelier at a restaurant dissing your choice of the least expensive bottle on the list, to the friend who announces "darhling this is a $150 Cabernet," they are the ones who make wine scary to those of us who just want to enjoy it.
Knowing a lot about wine doesn't mean you're a wine snob. But just in case you suspect you're crossing the line from wine lover to wine snob, doing any of these five things will ensure that you'll never be labeled a snob.
1. You put ice cubes in your wine. It's summer, it's hot outside and you plunk an ice cube into your glass. A wine snob would rather die than be caught doing this. We're not talking about a glassful of ice, just one or two cubes. The cubes may dilute the wine, but which would you rather have: a glass of wine that's too warm, or a glass of wine that to you is just right? Most wines are served way too warm to begin with, especially reds. So go ahead, drop a cube in that Pinot Noir.
2. You put a bottle of wine in the freezer to chill it. I do this all the time. I know you're supposed to chill wine in an ice bucket. Who wants to go through the trouble of filling the bucket with ice cubes and water? Not me. I'm lazy. Putting a bottle in the freezer is super easy and is ready to drink in about 20 minutes.
On occasion I forget a bottle is in the freezer until I discover it the next day. If this happens to you, put the bottle on the counter to thaw out. You may discover, as one of my friends did, that the wine seems to tastes a little bit better.
3. You drink wine out of a tumbler or a plastic cup. Wine snobs insist on "proper" glasses with stems. The über-snobs insist on a varietal specific glass. Seeing someone grab the bowl instead of the stem freaks them out. The heat of your hand will warm up the wine, but not so much as to make it undrinkable. I love serving and drinking wine from tumblers or stemless wine glasses. What I do is hold the glass by the rim to swirl it which keeps my hand from warming the wine.
Plastic cups are especially practical in the summer for picnics or backyard grilling. There's a line of stemless plastic wine glasses from GoVino that look just like Riedel O stemless glasses. GoVino just introduced stemless plastic Champagne flutes. Not worrying about breakage trumps fancy wine glasses any day.
4. You use a butterfly corkscrew, or worse, a rabbit. For wine snobs, only one tool will do, and that's a waiter's corkscrew. It takes practice to uncork a wine using this type of corkscrew. What's wrong with using something that makes pulling the cork out easy?
5. You put that bargain wine bottle on the dining room table so everyone can see it. A wine snob would probably put the wine in a decanter so that you can't see the label. But if you've got an inexpensive wine you are proud to serve, go ahead and flaunt it.
It's just wine people, so to all wine snobs out there, lighten up and enjoy.