Month: July 2016

On wine snobs

Image: Caricature of a Snob in The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray Excerpted from:  Drinking with Proust Snobbishness is like Death in a quotation from Horace, which I hope you never have heard, ‘beating with equal foot at poor men’s doors, and kicking at the gates of Emperors.63 Who or what is a wine-snob? I imagine a smug-looking man, a Silicon Valley hotshot, twirling his glass of Napa Cabernet, pausing to harvest its aromas into a hawkish sense organ before pronouncing upon the wine’s provenance and quality. “It’s a bargain at 220$!” he murmurs indistinctly and twitches disdainfully as we venture to give our opinion to the contrary. The word snob became popular in the nineteenth century when William Makepeace Thackeray published a series of articles in Punch magazine, the so-called snob papers. These papers read like tasting notes, not on wine, but on Victorian society. In one of these papers, Thackeray provides the first authoritative account of the wine snob. He introduces us to a snob called Waggle and describes the activities and attitudes that are a snob’s …