Our first rule of Reverse Wine Snobbery: Buy wine that fits your lifestyle; don't change your lifestyle to fit your wine.
Today we're continuing on with the expansion of our Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery detailing our first rule when it comes to enjoying wine on your own terms: Buy wine that fits your lifestyle; don't change your lifestyle to fit your wine.
For most of us, a "good" wine is one that you can enjoy on any or no occasion, pair with normal food (or no food at all!), drink from basic, inexpensive (even [gasp] dishwasher-safe!) wine glasses, and feel good about it.
Several years ago, I was invited to a large wine tasting with the head of a major wineglass company. The point of the tasting was to show how several varieties of wine taste better in specifically designed glasses. The way this man worked the room with the power of suggestion was simply masterful. It was almost like watching a hypnotist at work as he described exactly what we would (or "should") taste as we tried each wine in a normal glass and then in the "perfect" stemware. I was amazed not by the difference in taste in each glass (which was marginal at best) but by the people's heads bobbing in agreement before they even tasted the wine!
Essentially, though there were differences in each glass, they were very minor - and this was with a $200 bottle of wine, in an isolated environment, solely focused on the wine itself to decipher even the slightest differences — definitely not the way most people drink their wine!
Our number one rule for stemware is that it be dishwasher safe. For us that means stemless glasses from Costco. In fact, I have a whole shelf full of fancy wine glasses designed for every varietal imaginable that I've gotten as freebies and I never use them. What parent of three children wants to spend his or her alone time every night hand-washing wine glasses? Not me.
Another example is pairing food and wine. The best food and wine pairing is always the one YOU like the best. Furthermore, don't fall into the trap of thinking that you need to pair your wine with food at all. The French would be disgusted to hear it, but if you're like most, you do the majority of your wine drinking without food, and that is perfectly fine. That's not to say that that the right combination of wine and food is not a wonderful thing, because it certainly is, but everyone's preferences vary, so don't feel locked into a specific pairing just because they are supposed to go together.
A food and wine pairing is about the pairing, not the individual components. A great example is wine and chocolate. Every Valentine's Day we get the requisite stories on wine and chocolate pairings, but on the other 364 days of the year a recent trend is to heartily expound on why wine and chocolate don't work together. Port and chocolate sure, the wine snobs say, but wine and chocolate — never! "It will ruin the wine!" As much as I love wine, which is a lot, the primary component for me in this pairing is the chocolate. I love chocolate. And if a wine can add another layer of complexity or taste to the chocolate, well then that's awesome. Who cares if the wine itself is not primary; it's the combination I’m after.
Some wine and chocolate favorites for me include Syrah with spicy dark chocolate — the little spicy kick goes wonderfully with a smoky, peppery Syrah. Pinot Noir with white chocolate is delicious. (Yes, white chocolate is actually good for something!) And try Petite Sirah with any type of chocolate. Just ask my oldest daughter how much I like this pairing and she'll tell you about the time her Easter bunnies were the only chocolate to be found in the house...
Read Next...Tenet #2: Drink What You Like.
Find our complete Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery in summary form here.