Last week, I won the opportunity to attend the Texas Sommelier Conference, so this past Sunday, I grabbed my blazer and my bow tie, and headed to the Four Seasons in Las Colinas to drink wine all day and learn about different types and regions. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through the entire day. You see, Dictionary.com sort of failed me when it said that sommelier is a restaurant or bar’s designated wine person. Maybe I just glazed over definition number two, but it seems a sommelier is also defined as a douche who only acknowledges other sommeliers.
If you didn’t already know, I’m not a sommelier.
In fact, I’m not really into wine at all. Sure, I’ll drink it without grimacing, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between Franzia and Carlo Rossi. I would usually prefer beer or whiskey. Plus, a wine hangover is one bitch that nobody wants to wake up with. Still, I absolutely refuse to spit good alcohol in a bucket after analyzing the flavors–and that’s the kind of people I hung out with Sunday.
After arriving way too early (due to my chronic punctuality), I was met with a few competitors, all sporting sharp, solid black suits, and mean mugging my frayed blue jeans. Now, I’m still not sure what these people were competing for, but they all had bags and note cards like they were about to give presentations, and some older guy who obviously found himself amusing pointed me toward the bathroom in case I needed to throw up. Multiple times, one of them would come up to me, look me up and down, and ask if I was competing. I mostly told them no, but decided to say yes once. That guy just walked away, obviously confident in his impending win over me. What a dick. Lucky for me, I went to a private college and then moved to North Dallas, so I’m more than willing to reciprocate.
After finally registering about an hour before the festivities started, I wandered around the building where conference attendees, some hung over from the opening parties the night before, began trickling in. At registration, I received a useless, plastic messenger bag and a plastic cup (my most exciting takeaway), along with a program that was completely useless to me.
Now, I’m way into people watching. It’s one of my favorite things to do, especially when there’s alcohol involved. And I’m here to tell you that there wasn’t a single person at this conference that I enjoyed stalking. They were all dressed in their dry-cleaned three-pieces and had that look on their face like they just beat up the fat kid on the playground and they want everyone but the teacher to know it. One lone man was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and that’s as interesting as it got.
Of course, the venue was pretty awesome. I’ve never been to a Four Seasons, but the stemware was great and I’m sure the wines were fantastic, so I had plenty of chandeliers and things to look at. The sessions I made it through weren’t terrible either. Plus, in just two sessions, I got 16 different wines to taste.
The first one focused on wines of Spain. This encompassed information on the geography and history as well as geology and biology of the country, and I was fortunate enough to have background in all of these areas, so I found it interesting. Pete, the dude next to me who was one of those spit-the-wine-in-the-provided-bucket people and was completely unintelligible when speaking, got schooled by me in this session. It turns out, that’s the only way to get one of these robots to act like you’re there–make them feel dumb by answering questions with an I-can’t-believe-you-didn’t-already-know-that tone and eyebrow raise.
I wasn’t so lucky in the second session, as it was about South African wines. I don’t know anybody who knows that much about South Africa, apart from what was learned in that one Disney Channel Original movie…racism. Most of it was about geology, so I understood some of it. The most important part, it turns out, is that South Africa contains a much larger number of plant species than your average country, which makes its wines extremely aromatic. If you know what that means, run with it. If not, you’re gonna have to go buy a book or something because I’m not your guy.
I can’t say I didn’t learn anything, because that wouldn’t be true. So here it is.
- Wine snobs suck. Prove me wrong.
- I still don’t know anything about wine.
- Swishing it around in the glass really does make it taste better.