The Very Snobby Caterpillar

(Today I introduce you to Loie of CheapWineCurious with a guest post about the high-brow attitude of wine snobbery for us low-brow types. Loie will be back in August and September to continue our wine wisdom-ology. Hope you enjoy. — BD)

This guest blog is dedicated to my loving spouse who believes I did not appreciate how much he cooked, cleaned and fathered today while I toiled over this post – seriously – I just endured a 40 minute drunken rant about his martyrdom and how I’m now on the hook to clean the litterbox. The truth is I did completely ignore him while laughing at my own jokes but he’ll get over it when we’re rich and famous and the kid gets into Andover.  All my love & gratitude to you Darling forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and….


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In the light of an Aires moon, a little egg lay on a leaf fearful its mucosal shell would not dissolve in time to take full biodynamic advantage of the occasion. You see, it was the advent of a fruit day in the lunar cycle which any plebeian knows is the most optimal of wine tasting days. One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – pop! – the very snobby caterpillar was able to saber his egg like a bottle of Krug Private Cuvée with ceremonial grace.  He exclaimed “liberté, égalité, fraternité” and inched off on his tour gastronomique.


He started to look for some food to pair with his 1990 Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes blend – a good vintage. On Monday the only food to be found was an heirloom apple tarte (Gravenstein he presumed?) Although he yearned to quaff the Sauternes, he was immediately uncertain if it would mirror the flavor of the apples harmoniously. A couple of hours of deliberation and one warm tarte Tatin later, he was ready to make a decision. Then came a momentous revelation at the edge of his leaf. Apples were invented for the express purpose of being served alongside a Royal Tokaji. Mon dieu! A match made by the hand of Bacchanalian divinity. As he ruminated over the pure, visceral, orange liqueur, passion fruit, marmalade, quince jus and apricots, then in the background a warm gingerbread –  he marveled at the culinary harmony and the genius of his palate. Soon his thoughts wandered to the contemplation of the early impressionist oeuvre of Maurice Ravel, he lazily drifted into full repose, only to awaken on Tuesday to another culinary delight worthy of intellectual cogitation.

{Dear readers, those interested in food and wine with the requisite endurance for Tolstoy, please continue. For those in the audience who prefer to get on with your lives, I will take no offense if you skip the next three paragraphs. Honestly, nobody really reads, they just look at the pictures.}


Before him was a pair of pears and a crumbling deciduous mass of Blue Stilton. Shrieking with delight, the Very Snobby Caterpillar was certain these gifts were the perfect complement to his Ruby Port – a wine Snobby had been pining for while “en ovum” and the perfect opportunity to pull the cork – Aussitôt dit, aussitôt fait!  He engorged to the point of delirium as the port effortlessly cut the sharpness of the Stilton like a Korin Gyutou while delicately enhancing the pear on his palate which soon became entangled with the blessed aromatics of casis, dark cherry, tobacco. The full body and well integrated tannins ended in a long rich fruity finish exceeding all prior expectations.  After a double espresso, a biscuit of no significant origin, and a cigarette (his preference over a hookah – too cumbersome,) he retired to the terroir just a pebble out of reach of some foraging nuthatches – what pests. So inconsiderate of my oncoming metamorphosis he ruminated. With a toss of his stubby, a spark flew startling the avifauna causing them to flutter away, “witless fowl” Snobby groused.


On Wednesday the Very Snobby Caterpillar had a breakfast of three Imperial Epineuse plums, most likely from Clairac. Although it was quite early, he deducted that he had little time left within the lunar cycle so he was entitled to a snort. Considering the origin of these plums, a regional wine style was in order, and only the best of Aquitània would do, but the moon phase was indeed shifting and his cocooning would soon begin. No time to rummage through the cellar. He found a perfectly appointed Bordeaux, not a premieres cru, but it would suffice. He selected a 1966 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, and was pleased with it’s mature complexity, well-integrated earthy clay, nice texture with some manura concentrated with notes of chocolate and a pleasing finish. His delight sent him into a an astral dream state of lucid equanimity.

On Thursday he ate through four Fragaria alpina (aka Alpine strawberries for those uninformed on the taxonomy) but was perplexed upon the perfect accompaniment. The classic Wimbledon pairing of champagne was just too trite. But if served with a little crème fraîche the perfect foil would be a Sauternes. Finally! A timely opportunity for the 1990 Chateau d’Yquem! Needless to say, the pairing was divinity incarnate. With that Snobby leaves all rarefied description to your feral imaginations.alpina

{Dear readers, for those who enjoyed the prior platitudes, I sincerely appreciate your commitment. For those of equal character but who chose truncation over obscure food and wine references, congratulations, the end is near.}


As the day turned to evening, a waning gibbous moon predetermined that his culinary indulgences must taper or be consumed inopportunely – “quel domage.”  Albeit, Snobby was not entirely certain as he had left his Antipodean Astro Calendar back at the tree trunk. But he concluded that he better not risk sacrificing the full potential of a fine vintage. Soon misfortune became opportunity as he stumbled upon some Spanish Priorat Ribera del Duero, Rioja Garnacha and a very enchanting Levante Albariño. As fate would intercede, that Friday would also present five naranjas de Valencia ready to be sliced, drizzled with freshly procured honey and peppered with bee pollen – “Exquisito!” A gallant swig of each Spanish red and el fin! But wait, faster than you can say “olé” there was more to be eaten – tapas! All types one after the other, jamon, bacalao, boquerones, croquette, papas con mojo, tortilla, zamburiñas (renowned Galician scallop of course), compressed watermelon and on and on to the point of dyspepsia.

That next day was Sunday and the Very Snobby Caterpillar was quite bilious as a result of his excess but after nursing a Luxardo Amaro Abano bitter with 3 cubes of ice, Snobby started to feel much, much better.

He wasn’t hungry and he wasn’t little, he was quite Rubinesque to put it plainly. No time to lament his larvae physique, it was time to build himself an adequate house where he could slip into restorative solitude. And so he did just that.


After two weeks of meditation and enzymatic fasting, Snobby was ready to nibble his way out of his pupa, emerging from the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. In full glory before ascending into the sky he recited Shakespeare as if offering benediction:

“The wine-cup is the little silver well, Where truth, if truth there be, doth dwell.”

Off he soared in all his regalia with the sheer joy of the Eucharist.

Soon thereafter, in the peaceful silence one could over hear a triumphant  nuthatch proclaim to another:

“Tastes like chicken.”


nuthatch, white-breasted red admiral cape may point nj oct 8 2012 dpf-4764


30 thoughts on “The Very Snobby Caterpillar”

  1. Very Peter Mayle. Loved the idea of a caterpillar as a wine snob…he inches his way to greatness (or so he thinks.)

    I’ll have to purchase a special Moleskin notebook so I can take notes about all these lovely selections. My palate is panting in thirst.

    Thanks for guest posting, Loie. See you next month!

    1. My pleasure! If you’re really thirsty, my only warning is that the Cheval Blanc 1947 is terribly overrated although it’s a bargain if you can find a 750ml at $34,000. Try Costco.

  2. It’s very sad when a caterpillar knows more about wine than I do. Wine is just not my thing. Over the years people have brought me wine as a gift and I either regift it or it is in a cupboard somewhere “aging”. Seriously, any one who knows me would show up with a bottle of Scotch. If your caterpillar ever discovers scotch I’ll give him a run for his money.

  3. I was obviously destined to read this since my post today also includes a picture of blooming milkweed. What are the odds? Is it a sign of some kind? And a sign of what? That I should have a glass of wine even at this early hour? Or perhaps a warning that I have chosen the wrong cheese?

  4. I have found Monday bliss! I think I love this woman.

    Now I must find a normal caterpillar to explain the virtues of chugging proletariat, white wines (New Age with lemon and crushed ice) to make me feel like I know anything about wine.

    Does white wine count?

    1. White wine is the nectar of the Gods – and in my church – God does not judge those who throw a few cubes in with the juice. Some may argue viscerally, but Robert M. Parker Jr. is not God. But His Holiness is the Wine Pope.

      Thx for the luv! Back at you. Mwah xo

            1. Tell me about it, all this ranting and I have 3 followers who did so because they favorited my post about crafting with spent corks for Father’s Day. Although disappointed they did not get the irony, I will forever lavish them with adoration because after all they are my parents and granny.

    1. I’m pleased we have something in common – I Googled everything as well. Bless this digital age and my propensity to overcompensate for my average vernacular by using the thesaurus function in Microsoft Word.


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