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'Wine Snob’s Dictionary'

April 10, 2009 |  8:30 am

Wine snob's dict0001The other day I picked up the book “The Wine Snob’s Dictionary, An Essential Lexicon of Oenological Knowledge” and found myself laughing out loud at some of the preposterous and witty definitions authors David Kamp and David Lynch have come up with for this tidy little book.

They know their stuff — Kamp writes for Vanity Fair and is author of "The United States of Arugula" while Lynch is a sommelier and former wine director of Babbo Ristorante in New York.

But they also know how to have some fun with what they know, too.

Some sample entries:

Leather: Tasting term applied to complex red wines, usually flatteringly.For Wine Snobs, a belated justification for childhood oral fixations that involved book-bag straps and/or fringed cowboy vests.

Colgin, Ann. Texas-born Socialite and former art and antiques dealer whose Colgin Cellars Cabernets, produced in the Napa Valley, epitomize cult wine fanaticism at its most acute. Since 1992, Colgin has produced hobby-sized quantities of wines that have sent the likes of Robert Parker into rapture, promoting lunatic bidding wars at auction and desperate attempts by status seekers to get on her (closed) mailing list. The only way a civilian can sample a Colgin Cellars wine is to pay in the mid-to-upper three figures at a handful of expense account restaurants — a grave affront to Wine Snobbery’s socialist wing, which might also have a problem with Colgin’s dog being named Corton-Charlemagne.

Attack: Marital term deployed by machismo-minded Snobs to describe the first impression a wine makes as its storms the sensory beach that is one’s palate. Used especially in reference to the sweetness that is naturally picked up by receptors on the tip of the tongue.

“The Wine Snob’s Dictionary, An Essential Lexicon of Oenological Knowledge” by David Kamp and David Lynch (Broadway Books, 2008, paper, $12.95).

 — S. Irene Virbila


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Scan of "The Wine Snob’s Dictionary" cover by S. Irene Virbila