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The Wine Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Oenological Knowledgeby David Kamp
Synopses & Reviews
The Wine Snob's
A symbol indicates a Wine Snob Vanguard item, denoting a person, an entity, or a concept held inparticular esteem by Wine Snobs.
Aaron, Sam. Revered New York wine merchant (1912-1996) who was the chief evangelist behind Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits, the landmark Upper East Side shop owned by his family. In partnership with his older brother Jack, who purchased the shop shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, Sam, a trained psychologist and protege of FRANK SCHOONMAKER, shepherded in the era of upper-middle-class American wine connoisseurship, writing florid, proto-J. Petermanesque copy for Sherry-Lehmann's catalog and enlisting American-food guru James Beard as a fellow copywriter and sometime in-store greeter. If it weren't for ol' Sam Aaron, bless him, we'd all still be drinking rum toddies and backyard moonshine.
Acidity. Crucial, fairly self-explanatory component of STRUCTURE in wine; the cause of the palate-puckering tartness that either excites or repels the Snob taster, depending on whether said Snob is a devotee of more measured, traditional wine styles or a hedonistic guzzler of FRUIT BOMBS.
Aerator. Unnecessary status gadget, often fashioned of crystal, that hastens the process of getting a wine to open up, obviating the arriviste Snob's need for patience or traditional decanting. Most aerators require the user to awkwardly and cumbersomely hold them over a glass while wine is poured through them. Many aerators pass themselves off as objets d'art to justify their steep prices, though they generally resemble the sort of whimsical folk art sold by rich men's wives in resort-town gift shops.
Ah So. Generic term for a two-pronged wine-bottle opener that, given that it isn't technically a screw-pull device, is better described as a cork extractor than a corkscrew. The Ah So's user slips one prong between the cork and the bottle, and then the other, rocking the opener back and forth until it shimmies down the length of the cork. Classicist Snobs prefer the Ah So to such devices as Metrokane's chic, expensive Rabbit corkscrew because it grips the cork from its sides rather than the middle, an especially valuable trait with old, wet, quick-to-crumble stoppers that cling stubbornly to the interiors of aged trophy bottles.
Appellation d'Origine Controllee (AOe. Strict, government-regulated classification system used in France since the 1930s to delimit the geographical origins of the country's more prestigious wines (as well as certain Franco-exalted foods, such as cheese). Despite the phrase's literal translation as controlled appellation, the rules determining which wines qualify for AOC status have been assembled with all the clarity and consistency of tax code--a circumstance exploited by Snobs and Frenchmen, who count on the system's impenetrability to retain mystique and keep novitiates out of the Snob club. AOC appellations extend beyond mere geography, functioning as prescriptions for all facets of production: the types of grapes used, the allowable grape yields, and even winemaking and aging techniques.
Asher, Gerald. Authentically writerly wine writer, British-born but spiritually and physically based in the Bay Area, where, like ROBERT FINIGAN, he served as a firsthand witness to the Napa-Sonoma grapequake. A refugee fr
A whimsical but informative oenological guide to the world of wine provides an alphabetically arranged compilation of trivia, little-known facts, terminology, jargon, and hidden information about all aspects of wine, covering everything from "claret" and "Michael Broadbent" to "malolactic fermentation." Original. 25,000 first printing.
A nicely structured, lightly acidic addition to the handy Snob’s Dictionary series, decoding the baffling world of winespeak from A to Z.
Wine Snob. The very phrase seems redundant, doesn't it? When faced with this snobbiest of snobberies, the civilian wine enthusiast needs the help of savvy translators like David Kamp and David Lynch. Their Wine Snob’s Dictionary delivers witty explication of both old-school oeno-obsessions (What's claret? Who's Michael Broadbent?) and such new-wave terms as "malolactic fermentation" and "fruit bomb." Among the other things Kamp and Lynch demystify:
Finish: the Snob code-term for "aftertaste." (Robert Parker includes the stopwatch-measured length of a wine's finish in his ratings.)
Meritage: an American wine classification that rhymes with "heritage," and should NEVER be pronounced "meri-TAHJ."
Terroir: that elusive quality of vineyard soil that has sommeliers talking of "gunflint," "leather," and "candied fruits"
Featuring ripe, luscious, full-bodied illustrations by Snob's Dictionary stalwart Ross MacDonald, The Wine Snob’s Dictionary is as heady and sparkling as a vintage Taittinger, only much less expensive... and much more giggle-inducing. Cheers!
About the Author
DAVID KAMP is a writer and editor for Vanity Fair and the author of The United States of Arugula, The Food Snob’s Dictionary, The Film Snob’s Dictionary, and The Rock Snob’s Dictionary. DAVID LYNCH is a James Beard Award–winning writer, sommelier, and restaurant manager, having served as wine director and general manager of Babbo Ristorante for seven years. Both authors live in New York City. ROSS MACDONALD’s illustrations have appeared in many magazines, from The New Yorker to The Wall Street Journal.
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