Faking It

I’m a wine ignoramus and have no problem admitting it…Whilst I like wine, I have no idea what bouquet, body, balance etc. mean…Let me clarify…I know what they are supposed to mean, but can’t tell the difference in them between different wines and vintages…All I know is that wines are white, red or rose and sparkling or non-sparkling…I never could understand why a wine was called dry when it was clearly a liquid…And what does it mean anyway? I’ve always preferred white wines (non-sparkling) because they are served chilled and are not as heavy as the reds (which idiot made the rule that red wine should be drunk at room temperature only?)…Whilst I lived in New York City, I made friends with some ABCDs and Indian expats who considered themselves wine connoisseurs after drinking the beverage on a regular basis for only 3 – 6 months…It seemed to me that as soon as an Indian landed in America, he/she became a wine expert when the person hadn’t touched the stuff whilst in India…Was it the water? I never could understand this phenomenon but what I could understand was that these people made me feel insecure…

Then one day I had an epiphany – most of these so-called wine connoisseurs were faking it…Nobody knew anything about wine…What an idiot I had been for thinking that these friends knew their wines just because they were tossing around some fancy words they had memorized…And why do I say most people are faking it? Because one day I noticed a friend-cum-wine aficionado turn back a bottle of wine at a restaurant saying he had tasted it before and it had bad bouquet or something when a month ago, we had had the same wine and he had said it was good and worth every penny…I remembered this particular wine because it came in a nice bottle (yes, I admit, I do sometimes buy wine by how cool the bottle looks) and it was then I had my epiphany…

Now I’m no longer intimidated by people who think they know what they are talking about and have no problem saying that I like a $10 bottle of wine…



27 thoughts on “Faking It

  1. Reminds me of Somerset Maugham’s short story Mr. Know-All. Yeah, I met many FOB’s from India suddenly turning into connoisseurs of all sorts.
    (This time, I am commented on the topic!)

    Me: Thank you πŸ™‚


  2. My suspicion is that the same principle holds true for most art. Personally, I never saw what’s so great about the Mona Lisa. I’m willing to bet that if you show it to a “connoisseur” who doesn’t know that Da Vinci painted it (impossible I know, but hear me out!), he wouldn’t glance at it for more than 30 seconds.

    All the “great masters” said that Van Gogh’s paintings were junk while he lived. Now he’s a great artist. Has the definition of great art changed? What’s going on here? Was there ever any such thing as objectively great art? I don’t know…

    Me: I agree with you…When I saw the ‘Mona Lisa’, I was disappointed…It’s obviously a great piece of art but can it be termed as the best piece? Can there be a best in art? It is subjective but most people just go with what others are saying…I anyway dislike ‘experts’ of all sorts esp. the kinds who appear on TV…

    Like the ‘Mona Lisa’, I think champagne is overrated…Frankly speaking, every time I’ve had a glass of this wine, I’ve had acidity…

    So, are you back in Chennai?


  3. I suppose this happens because nobody wants to admit that they know less than others. I guess it’s because drinking wine and being a connoisseur of wine is perceived as upper crust kind of culture and who does want to fake that? πŸ˜€ There’s also this thing about what food goes with which wine that I’ve never really figured out.

    Me: Yeah, even I can’t figure out what goes with what…All I know is what I like and why can’t I drink white wine with lamb? I just learnt something – apparently, new world wines go better with Indian food than French ’cause the latter is so subtle that the spices in Indian food destroy the taste…Anyway, I think French wine is overrated and overpriced…


  4. Indian cities are now bursting with wine experts! They can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. Every dinner party has wine and cheese. When did we turn so European? You can’t throw a party without receiving several bottles of wine. Neither my husband nor I much care for wine, so we end up hoarding them. Wine is opened only if a guest asks for it. And if there’s any remaining, I use it liberally to cook with. There I must admit it makes a phenomenal difference to the taste. Like you, I couldn’t tell a good wine from a bad one. It’s just wine to me. I too prefer white, because it’s served chilled. I guess living in hot and humid weather dictates that preference. And again, like you, I suspect most of these know-it-alls are pure bluster and haven’t the foggiest what they’re talking about.

    Me: The question is, why try to be what you are not? I’m not upper crust, so what?


  5. Yup, I know the breed. I know too many of them, in fact. Painful people.

    But here’s some gyaan from me πŸ™‚ : the red-room-temperature rule is not meant for room temperatures in India. Or Singapore. As a thumb rule, it should be chilled to about 15 degrees C.


    Quirky Indian

    Me: Ah! It makes sense now…15 degrees- that’s the winter temp. in Kolkata…So, is it OK to chill it here?


  6. Wonder what I understood from this… last year was the first time I tasted wine… the glass cost Rs. 300 at Sayaji where I was escorting this Swiss guy who insisted I must learn to drink wine.. I cant take in these drinks… somehow… not made for it…

    while it was a wonderful dinner … just one sip of the red wine… i dont konw what brand it was… made me wonder if I’d puke… the guy comforted me and said no one likes it at the first go.. and you must keep sipping… !!

    I tried to gulp one more… !! and then it dawned upon me… if I take the third… I could be wasting the entire buffet…. and I told that guy… sorry but I cant take one more sip of this… !!!!!

    I say this at the cost of being ridiculed… but it tasted the like the most awful cough syrup !!!!!

    I though still am amazed by people drinking it and still want to drink it… thanks to tons of hollywood movies which have made one thing in my head very clear that drinking and smoking is glamourous… its coooll !!!!!!!! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    as silly as that sounds ! :p

    Me: I’ve puked a few from drinking very sour wine…Some of the Indian ones are more like vinegar than wine…So, what do you like to drink? Let me guess, gin? No, rum – Old Monk…BTW, did the Swiss guy give you his business?


    • I want to get drunk… meaning wanna lose my senses… but i cant drink … I’d rather consume something that doesnt taste like a drink… A screwdriver is something I can drink as I love orange juice… ! but never managed to drink more than one glass… guess its in my mind !

      Old monk Rum bottle was once half flushed on my Honeymoon as I ordered it encouraged by friends on phone.. but I and wife found it tasted awful and also felt sort of kiddish to return the whole bottle… so we flushed half… and then gave the waiter the bottle.. saying he have fun !!!! πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

      Me: The waiter must have envied you! Getting drunk on your honeymoon in your hotel room…

      The swiss guy is a great friend now… his company regularly buys from us… that cannot change coz I drink or not.. lol ! πŸ˜›


  7. I watched with great interest when there was a show in Discovery’s Travel & Living, about the different kinds of wine, how to identify them, how to drink them and what food will go fine what kind of wine !!! It was all too gud to see on TV !!!! But for me, all kinds of red wine, taste the same – only thing is some are slightly sour while some are more towards the sweeter side.

    Anyway, enjoy wine for a healthy heart !!!! πŸ™‚


  8. Ah! It’s been over a decade since a drop of wine made it past my lips. And I am much the happier for it.

    But, coming to faking, is it only about wines that Indian ABCDs fake? Had you realised that it was their insecurity and inferiority complex that was responsible for making them pretend being connoisseurs of wine – and more had you scratched – you would not have had to suffered till that epiphanic moment!

    Me: It is probably insecurity, but why try to be what you are not? I mean, faking it makes us look like idiots amongst the locals, doesn’t it? Makes caricatures of us as a whole…


  9. I have tasted all types of alcoholic drinks , say, about 30 years ago, and not been impressed at all. Like HW, I have also come to the conclusion that most of these drinks (except wine and champagne) taste like medicine, that our GP would give us when we were eight years old, for cough and cold.

    What I have never understood is this sudden expertise that the country-brethern develop , regarding wine, so much so, that if you refuse wine and ask for juice or a 7 Up , they act surprised. (After half your lifetime drinking chhaas with meals), and the fact that you dont drink begets epxert comments.

    And I am willing to give “bouquets” to anyone who can keep “body” and “balance” intact after senseless imbibing

    Strangely, during a years stay in Germany in the nineties, in a country which lives and bathes(almost) in beer and wines, the natives never commented, and always, but always respected my wish to have a boring juice in social functions.

    Me: I also hate it when people insist you have something alcoholic…I gave up the stuff a year ago and even now some friends try to force me to have a drink…Why?


  10. But its not just wine, its way the entire human behavior works…. If we have been to a place, country or even in a situation that someone else hasn’t been to or into, we tend to own that moment, its like its our obligation to behave as if we know all about it.

    And frankly I know crap about wine, I am whiskey man and I know what a singlr malt is, works well for me….

    Me: Ah, you are like my husband and father – they love their single malts…I can tell the difference between a blended whisky and a single malt but not between a Highland, Lowland or an Isle one…My father’s fav. is Laphroaig but it’s too smoky for me…


  11. I know nothing about wines – but I do like wine that is on the sweeter side and I get ribbed big time by wine connoisseurs – but now I wonder if they are faking it too πŸ™‚

    And I always end up picking up wine that come in pretty bottles too πŸ™‚

    And orange juice works for me – if I am not ‘hep’ enough for some people – so be it πŸ™‚


  12. A subj. dear to my heart , dont even get me started! i may have a couple of toons on strawberry fields on this πŸ™‚ funnily enough i’ve just started enjoying the bev. after all these years of liver abuse ! always used to hate wine for their acidity and those hangovers (wine hangovers r something else !) but i enjoy it now. That said though, my feelings for all the associated hoohaah – and the hoohaahers – remain unchanged ! πŸ™‚ Have you read this roald dahl short story “Taste” ? if not , you’ve just GOT TO..its the perfect companion to this post … Cheers (no pun intended :-))

    Me: No, I haven’t read the Dahl story – will try to get my hands on it…I’ve given up alcoholic beverages because of acidity, mostly from wine…I bet you can’t imagine me not drinking :-)…You’re a wine drinker now? All sophisticated…WOW! Never thought THAT would happen πŸ™‚


  13. I hate pretending. Coz then I have to keep track of my own pretenses. And to me, that is very tiring. My safest bet is to keep away from crowds that tend to get me to feel that way!!

    And yes, I like my wine chilled, red white, whatever! And also, though they speak highly of certain wines, I just don’t get it. If is tastes awful, how can u drink it. I like my wine sweet. Period!


  14. I absolutely loved the post, I wish I had written it. I have met so many such people and felt the same way. I have tried red wine a few times and loved it only once, unfortunately don’t remember the name of that particular wine.
    Like Smitha, I am happy with my orange juice πŸ™‚


  15. Hey Sraboney, shall come back to read all that I`ve missed. For now, just wanted to thank you for letting me know about the blogadda pick. And congrats to you too for the tuesday pick!!! :):)

    Me: Thank you!


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