When I first saw Fred Arimsen do this sketch on Portlandia last year, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. His impression of this person is soooooooooooooooo dead-on it makes my skin itch. The idea of wine appreciation has always been linked to pedantry and snobbery (stuffy, high-browed elitists who stick their pinky out as they hold their stem), but Armisen's impression isn't that of an old, crusty intellectual in a suit. It's a much more modern phenomenon he's tackling. The new American wine snob isn't so much haughty as he is just plain naive. He's inwardly-focused, ignorant of what's happening around him, certain that his experiences are unique and outweigh the others he's in contact with, and—most importantly—he believes that his minimal travels have enlightened him in a way that most mere mortals have not been touched. It's an impression so spot on it gives me chills.
Here's a checklist for you in case you're unfamiliar with this person:
1) Mentions something cheesily traditional about Italy or Italian culture he's learned (that Americans are lacking).
2) Pauses as if he's going to let you talk, but then interrupts you when you try to speak.
3) Speaks of something revelatory that is actually rather hackneyed or trite.
4) Tells a story about the time he travelled somewhere to reinforce his expertise.
5) Is actually boring the shit out of everyone in the room, but believes he's on a roll.
Fred Armisen must have worked in the wine business at some point recently because again this is a rather new phenomenon (but, of course, the incredible Christian Lander touched on these points (#19 and #20) seven years ago in his ingenious satirical blog). Funny stuff. Hilarious. And so very true.