Text João Barbosa | Translation Bruno Ferreira
Boring people are boring! People Who want to be boring can manage to be boring. Being boring is probably one of the few things that does not require having a proper education, family or genes. The talent in being boring does not imply having talent.
Now, being a snob is something different! If a boring person is an expert, the snob is boring person with a PhD. A snob can go for hours talking about the nuances of fishes’ livers, the evolution of the aesthetics of the Maserati’s rims or the green’s importance in the Islamic culture. For a snob, the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould are mundane.
Above all … or below all … a snob is an arrogant. No gentleman belittles or brags. So, a snob is someone without nobility – sine nobilitate, the Latin phrase from which came the English word.
This is because in wine there are boring persons and snobs … the boring ones are fun in the taverns and the snobs are unbearable in the lounges. In the taverns it’s no big deal to change places or flee, in more formal environments it’s not quite the same.
It sounds simple, but I’ll complicate it. I believe no one has the right to impose their tastes and concepts. However, differences between individuals can be large and the breakdown is inevitable. Other people don’t have to see the Touriga Franca as the world’s best, as I am not obliged to like the Antão Vaz.
A few days ago I tasted wines with people of different nationalities and I realized that besides the banalities that set quality standards, nothing was converging the noses and mouths. The problem wasn’t in recognizing the quality or the lack of it, but in the difference of the attributes that separate a well-made wine from a good or excellent wine.
A rosé should be sweet? A rosé should be sweet and have no acidity? A rosé must have, above all, acidity? They may seem silly questions, but it was a present subject. I am not the owner of reason and the opponents weren’t foolish or ignorant. They were people used to tasting and justified their statements.
We, the Portuguese, have the craze to praise our wines because they accompany well the food and have acidity. Is this an advantage? We say it is … and if we just want to chat the night away, will we insist on the obligation of acidity? However, is a syrup happy in softening a dialogue?
We, the Portuguese, have the craze to praise a lot the fruity character of our wines … but … is it an advantage? Honestly, the fruit often tires me and if it’s to taste like fruit, then I’ll drink juice – makes me want to scream.
This said debate did not end with the rosés. This episode was just the best illustration of translation of crib, latitude, longitude and culture (ethnic sense). But I can add information from another conversation.
When we value or penalize a wine by its color, are we being fair or accurate? I’ll get around reds and whites … Is a rosé better or worse if it’s pink, salmon or orange? Is the color important or not? Or does the wine give pleasure through the senses of smell and taste and we just like to add things that are not connected?
I have even heard, more than once, that the wine is fantastic, because it appeals to all the senses. Smell? Right! Palate? Right! Tact? Yes, in the mouth it shows roughness and softness … Eyesight? It has color, so you can see it looks good. Hearing? … We can hear the cork pop out.
I swear! I’ve heard this feat more than once. I have to say that I don’t hold myself of happiness and joy when I hear the sound of a cork popping… It’s me with the cork and Pavlov’s dog with the bell! Quite frankly! And the color? Honestly, I only care for it while serving, to indicate the health of the wine. Debating color tones is as useful as knowing Pantone color references.
Ah! The color of the Pinot Noirs… which ones? From Burgundy or Tejo? Wine is for the nose and the mouth! I think debating the color of the wine – excluding the visual assessment that lets you know the wine’s sanity – is like discussing skin tones.
I don’t have knowledge or time to discuss the differences or variations of the grape varieties according to their location. Neither for certainties about the immutability of the characteristics of the wines of each region. The boring person knows everything, including the things that doesn’t know. The snob knows and thinks he knows everything, or at least more than others.
In the end only one outcome is enough for me: pleasure. Either I had it or not. Fortunately, the mentioned conversations weren’t with boring people or snobs. What could have been a nightmare was a learning experience. The truth does not change, but because the points of view vary, the knowledge is diverse.
I still do not like sweet rosés without acidity. But now I know that compared with a sweetened soda this wine can be fantastic.
PS: I was a Snob before, now I’m just boring!