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The Wine ‘Snob’ Next Door

Rural Intelligence Food David Kamp, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and author of The United States of Arugula, will be signing his latest book, The Wine Snob’s Dictionary at Little Gates & Co in Millerton on Saturday, November 29, from 2 to 5 PM. It’s the fourth in the series of Snob guides (the others are devoted to Film, Rock, and Food)  that are intelligent yet ironic, educational but entertaining.
 
RI: How long have you been a weekender in northwestern Connecticut?
We (my wife and two children) have been Lakeville people for eleven years. Before that, we rented/mooched in the Berkshires, but this beautiful little town always beckoned us as we passed through it. And we’re too shabby for Millbrook or Kent.
 
 
Rural Intelligence FoodRI: Does a wine snob ever order the house red?
It is the way of the Wine Snob to lament that people are too status-obsessed, and that not enough of them have come to enjoy the simple pleasure of a rustic bistro’s vin du table. Having articulated this lament, the Wine Snob will then order the $200 Rauzan-Ségla Margaux.
 
RI: What local restaurants have a great wine list?
Robert Peters’s list at the Woodland in Lakeville is huge and shockingly adventurous. He has things on there that you seldom see on the East Coast, like the cabernet sauvignon and merlot from A. Rafanelli Winery of Sonoma County. This winery doesn’t distribute to stores—if you want its wines, you usually have to drive up Mr. Rafanelli’s driveway in California’s Dry Creek Valley and buy them straight from the man. Or you can order a bottle at the Woodland.
 
RI: Have you ever found a local restaurant with a sommelier?
Like I said, we’re too shabby for Kent; I think we live north of Connecticut’s sommelier belt.
 
RI: When does a wine snob drink beer?
Even Hugh Johnson, the venerable English oeno-expert who writes those pocket wine guides, will tell you that beer complements spicy foods (e.g., Mexican, Szechuan) better than any wine ever will. That said, Beer Snobbery is a whole separate pathology quite apart from Wine Snobbery, and I can’t profess to understand it. A while back, I was listening to some home-brewing show on public radio while driving through Sullivan County, and they were talking impenetrably about “porters,” “doppelbocks,” and “dunkel weiss.” Whaaat?
 
RI: Why should people buy your book?
Its a recession-friendly stocking stuffer, priced at $12.95. And if I may shed the Snob persona for a moment, let me state that Little Gates’s staff is expert at recommending really good affordable wines, meaning bottles that are priced at under twenty bucks. We’re all getting slammed by the economic downturn, but now more than ever, it’s important, when we do spend, to patronize the local businesses.
 
RI: We’ll drink to that.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 11/24/08 at 12:04 PM • Permalink