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Once upon a time, a short-term boyfriend and I got into a somewhat heated discussion about elitism and appreciation for finer things. His take was that there was something fundamentally wrong with elitism. I, of course, argued vehemently against him.

But as I sit here in Santa Rosa, California, enjoying our hosts’ wine selections (several bottles are opened, decanted, and enjoyed as the evening progresses, appropriately), I realize that some would label this scenario as an evening being enjoyed among the elites–an aristocratic endeavor. But in reality, this is nothing more than an evening of good food, great wine, and even better company.

It’s hard not to be a wine snob here in Santa Rosa. With the Russian River running only a stone’s throw away, and nestled near Sonoma and Napa valleys both, this area is magnificently wine-oriented, generating great food pairings and inspiring bacchanal adventures.

But snobbery comes in other forms, as well. In law school, one of the guys in our group was a devout microbrew beer snob. He was definitely a connoisseur of all things hops, wheat, and what have you. And some people are cheese snobs, vodka snobs, organic food snobs. Snobs come in all forms, and for whatever your palette so desires.

So why is this such a bad thing? It doesn’t necessarily entail being supremely rich or even aristocratic. People can hold an elite view of things that are very dear to them, but really don’t effect the greater world around them. Is it shameful to be a self-proclaimed Cabernet snob? And who’s to say that preferring Bells IPA to Budweiser makes you a self-righteous and superior human being?

As we are nearing the sitting down to a fabulously decadent meal of rosemary potatoes, prime steak with a Cabernet reduction, green beans almondine, and a tricolor salad, paired with a 2004 Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir, and topped off with Henry Mancini playing in the background, I can’t help but think that this is an elite evening. And I’m not complaining.

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