My sister is a wine snob.
Before you take me to task for saying such an uncharitable thing in this season of love and peace, that’s her characterization, not mine. She revealed this to me only yesterday, at this “advanced” stage of our relationship, as we discussed my recent experience with the beverage. Up to this point I knew that she enjoyed wine (as do I, on occasion), but I had no clue of the depth of her knowledge of (and passion for) a beverage that, at one time, was made by stomping barefoot on a bunch of grapes!
You see, not only does my sister enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but she knows which type of glass to use for red, which type to use for white, and which for the sparkling variety. (Meanwhile, poor fool I had no clue that there were special glasses for anything but champagne!) Naturally she’s also familiar with which type of wine to serve with what meal or event. Isn’t everyone?
Uh…no. Apparently not I at least! The episode which prompted this revelation was my first speaking engagement (well…it was more of a chat really) last week with a truly wonderful group of men and women who wanted to know about the life of a writer. That’s certainly a non-threatening event, but if you’ve read my first post on this blog, you know public speaking sparks terror in my heart. So when I was invited to meet with these folks, I decided I’d fortify myself with a rare glass of wine before speaking. And I did.
You should know that my drinking wine is a rarity not for any moral or ethical reasons. No, usually I just don’t want to spend the calories on a drink! But when I do drink wine, I like it sweet. My usual selection, in fact, is a spritzer, usually home-made by my good friend in New Jersey with diet 7-Up and any old white wine. I like it. It’s sweet and fizzy and takes more than a half a glass to get me feeling stupid. But this was “my first speaking engagement” I was facing, and when my host graciously offered me a drink, I decided to order something a real grown-up would drink.
Still, when he asked what he could get me, my brain clutched for a moment while I searched its recesses for a brand…a name…a type…anything that would give the appearance that I (a typical teetotaler) had some level of sophistication. Then something flashed in my memory banks, undoubtedly from some long-ago conversation with my sister, and I ordered a pinot grigio. And the several ounces I consumed before my “talk” did indeed help to relax me…to the point where I referred to my beloved romance novels as “crap” and one series I’m working on as “The Sex Series.”
Luckily for me, that was the worst of it.
In any event, when I described this event to my wise older sister, who is well aware that I rarely drink, she asked what my favorite white wine is. Somehow in the back of my mind I knew she wouldn’t consider the “spritzer” as wine, so I said, “Zinfandel.” And it was at that point that she exposed to me the true nature of her snobbery.
“Oh, Leah,” she said in that no-nonsense tone she reserves for her husband when he’s trying to hurry her out the door, “Zinfandel isn’t a wine.”
I said (in complete ignorance), “It’s not?”
“No!” Our conversation paused while we both digested her statement. Then she said, “Well, it IS a wine, just not one you want to admit to drinking.”
I can’t remember the full extent of her explanation, but she did say, “If you want a sweet white wine, drink a Riesling.”
Not only did I not know that Riesling was sweet, I didn’t even know it was a white wine. In fact, I’m not even certain I knew it was wine at all. When I heard the word, my first thought wasn’t wine at all, it was cheese!
Anyway, it was at that point, while I pondered in the back of my mind whether Riesling was spelled with an I-E or an E-I, that I began to understand the depth of her wine snobbery. It shocked me, truly, not only because my sister is one of the most UN-snobby people ever born, but because of the uncharacteristic level of disdain I heard in her voice. Over wine of all things!
It’s not something I can relate to…being a teetotaler. I mean, I do admit to spending most of my time at the grocery store perusing the latest in tea flavors and blends. I do have a special tea for breakfast, several at my desk at work (I drink three or four flavored selections during the day), and then a separate brand at night. And please don’t even show me a box of that horrid decaf swill. And I won’t even touch on the proper method for making a cup of tea. (Hint: It has nothing to do with a pouch of petrified tea leaves suspended on a string.)
No, I can’t hold my sister’s wine snobbery against her. After all, there but for the grace of God go I.