It is entirely possible to refuse to drink bad wine and, simultaneously, not be a wine snob.
This is because wine itself is subjective. Everyone’s palette is different. This is why I hate pineapple but my sister loves it. I will happily cure a hangover with toast slathered in butter and Vegemite while my husband looks on in horror, unable to come to terms with the salty, dark paste.
It is possible, therefore, that you could be handed a glass of a multi-award winning wine, a tipple lauded by wine experts the world over, and you recoil after taking a sip. The tasting notes might talk of warm, oaky flavours but all you might experience is a taste sensation akin to biting the floorboards. This is entirely OK.
Equally, the wine judge may sooner amble through Leicester Square naked than consider a bottle of plonk from the bottom shelf in the supermarket. But if said plonk gets along with your nose and tastebuds, drink up and be merry – and enjoy the money you’ll save by not grabbing the bottle that needs its security tag removed before you can leave the store.
I always say that if you wouldn’t drink a particular wine, don’t cook with it, but this is not an exhortation to spend a fortune every time you want to slosh some vino in the pot. Instead, it’s about wine remaining one of life’s pleasures, instead of being a chore. As well as adding a flavour you like to a dish, using a wine that you’ll happily drink means you’ll enjoy the whole bottle. It won’t sit there for weeks at the back of the fridge or on the kitchen counter, cork forlornly shoved back in, mocking you for making a poor choice.
And if the wine you like happens to be the cheap bottle that was overlooked by the wine judge, then more power to you. After all, you don’t have to invite the judge over for dinner – and if you do, serve the wine in a decanter, wait for them to sock back numerous glasses, all the while praising the complex notes, and show them the receipt from the supermarket as you help them into a taxi home.