Napa Valley is looking great right now.

Napa Valley is looking great right now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are You A Terminal Geek?

Constellation Wines, in their massive consumer study (see Archives 10/24/11), identified six classes of wine buyers—from the hyper-anxious “Overwhelmed to the self-confident “Wine Enthusiast.” However, I have the feeling that expanded research would have revealed yet another highly committed wine lover category: terminal wine geek. This single minded person—most typically male—is inordinately dedicated to the pursuit of wine nirvana in all its aspects. Further, his obsessive behavior is clearly revealed by his actions and experiences as he explores, samples and indulges in his all but consuming passion. Does the following remind you of anyone?

• When eating out with others he typically ends up with the wine list. There are a couple reasons why this may arise: after years of picking good wines at good prices, they finally respect his judgment; or quite simply, they’re afraid of the unbearable tantrum he might throw if he doesn’t end up with the wine list.

• He owns pricey, “varietal-specific” crystal glasses that demand to be washed and dried by hand. No matter he’s broken four of the original six pack “connoisseur” edition trying to dry them with lush, imported Egyptian cotton towels.

• Rather picky about wine’s proper serving temperatures, he typically asks restaurant food servers to chill that bottle of red wine for just a few minutes. Fellow diners roll their eyes at this request, but to steer clear of their eye rolling, he alternately adds ice cubes to his wine from his water glass. (Eyes are rolled anyway.)

• He frequently takes stemware to NFL tailgate parties or picnic outings with family and friends. However, if the stemware is plastic, this indicates he’s erring on the sign of prudence.  This practice needs to be reevaluated.

• He surfs Internet wine sites before getting out of his pajamas. Life has its priorities and he’s shown his, especially if he’s found a hot news item that he can text-discuss with his fellow geeks.

• He knows the corkage charges of all restaurants he patronizes within the immediate 20 mile range. Wine buddies routinely email him for this information, knowing full well he’s the “go to” guy for that.

• During his morning shower he mulls over wine options for dinner. One’s palate is the sharpest in the morning, so even if he only mulls, this demonstrates great commitment to his hobby.

• He is frequently asked, no matter the circumstances, “Is this wine good?” This is a strong indicator that his palate is respected by his peers. Since simple “yes” or “no” answers, without elaboration, are unthinkable, he will proceed with a lengthy analysis which likely includes inscrutable wine descriptors.

• His Internet I.D. and/or passwords have some reference to wine. Handles like “Wacko4Vino” or”In2Wine” are catchy, and, moreover, they may be easier to remember, and far more interesting, than his unpronounceable given name. (Sidebar: However, though I tried hard, I couldn’t remotely devise any fictional Internet I D’s that could come anywhere near “The Wine Whore,” whose by-line is (and I kid you not!) “I swallow so you don’t have to spit . . .”)

• He knows the first names of all the sales staff no matter how many wine stores he buys from. That many of them, upon his arrival, slink to the back up storage areas shouldn’t concern him. They are certainly checking stock on his favorites.

• He spends more time sniffing the wine in his stemware than drinking it. He knows extended olfactory probing is vital, and the deeper into the stemware the better. Even though his dinner guests are already drinking their second glass, this still may not deter him from pursuing the multiple layers of aromatic pleasure.

• He has at least three or more of each of the following: bottle openers, corkscrews, bottle coasters, BYOB bag totes, crystal decanters, aerator gizmos, wine bottle chillers. All good hobbies require breadth and depth of critical supplies, and his reveal a solid commitment to it.

• Sunday mornings he occasionally enjoys a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Dry French Rosé with his frittata. As such, he is fully aware of the principles of good food and wine pairing, as well as knowing when his palate is the sharpest. Bravo!

• His dinner guests typically bring anything but wine as a dinner gift. This is not all bad, for he can always use the extra virgin olive oil and focaccia dipping sauce that they bring as alternate gifts, even if he occasionally re-gifts them.

And lastly, should you see yourself in any of the above details, I see no reason to be concerned that you may be morphing into an obsessive, terminal wine geek. Such concern would only be worth addressing when and if you decide to try your hand at writing an Internet wine blog.

1 comment:

  1. As always...interesting, cogent, spot on; now where are those Egyptian towels anyway...