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Fake wine connoisseurs get my goat. You know the ones who claim they’re able to sniff out a good merlot or a bad pinotage just by smelling the cork.
My irritation with these bods started years ago at a wine auction for merchants during which wine tastings were part of the macabre proceedings.
The idea was to flog wine to wholesalers who in turn flogged it to retail outlets who in turn flogged it to the public and restaurants. Whether they end up good or bad, the prices were hiked all down the line.
I was forced to cover the event for a trade journal paying my wages that put food on the table without the luxury of wine, naturally.
So my heart wasn’t in it for starters, and the goings-on during the tasting added to the chagrin.
I mean, the oke conducting the sessions sported a Santa Claus beard that muffled his lecture on how to treat the bottles lined up in front of us.
Lifting a poured glass of the first vintage he said: “The first thing is to give it some air”. With that he swiveled the glass around a few times. Air? Why? Then it dawned on me, the vrot grapes had been entrapped in barrels for so long that it needed to release the stink. Okay, so far, so good.
Then he said something about “giving it nose”.
With that he stuck his avian nose deep into the glass. “Ah,” he said, after coming out of the glass, “too young”. That will suit me, I thought preferring young to old.
Then, lifting his glass, he took a gulp. Then proceeded to spit the contents into a spittoon provided. Not surprisng.
There’s no way you’d want to swallow the stuff out of a glass in which a nose had been. I mean, say the man had a bad cold and left some mucous secretion stuck on the sides?
The worst was to come. Looking around, my stomach turned when witnessing all the assembled sippers following suit.
Air, nose, gulp, spit.
Now you tell me, what was the upshot of the session? Had the tasters learnt something? Had they spotted the wine they’d later buy on auction? Can they now call themselves connoisseurs?
The article I submitted was spiked.
The publisher was a connoisseur.
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