Every blog and every wine rag at one time or another has done an article about wine myths. These articles are written for wine novices and usually contain the same four or five myths. These are the familiar, and frequently debunked, myths of breathing, and legs, and serving temperature and crap that only pinheads and Master Sommeliers don't know. Do a Google search, or maybe break your Bing cherry, of "wine myths" and you'll find hundreds of "original" columns that purport to enlighten your feeble wine mind, but which all say the same thing. When it comes down to it, the one gigantic wine myth is that there are any wine myths left at all.
However, there are a few myths that are rarely spoken about and may be unfamiliar to even the most rabid wine fanatic. These are the myths, the taboos, that HoseMaster of Wine is brave enough to expose.
Myth #1Riesling is one of the greatest white wine grapes.
This is hooey on the face of it. No one really believes this. This is one of those things wine "experts" say to those less educated about wine, but that they say with a sidelong wink to other "experts." Kind of like setting up someone on a blind date with an ugly guy but swearing he's really attractive to most people. English wine writers beat this subject into the ground, apparently as an apology for defeating Germany in WWII. No one really pays much attention to Riesling. When's the last time a bottle of Riesling was in the Wine Spectator Top 10 Wines? When's the last time Robert Parker, and not one of his on-the-take flunkies, reviewed German Riesling? When's the last time you went into a great wine shop and the Rieslings were in a cabinet (OK, Kabinett) under lock and key? Myth exploded!!!
Myth #2 Robert Mondavi is dead.
Come on, the head of a large Italian family vanishes right after his winery goes belly up, his white elephant wine museum goes bankrupt, and some wiseguys are looking for money, and you think he's dead?Right about now he's starting up a new winery in Argentina with his new business partner Julia Child. They plan on specializing in Malbec, but are calling it Fume Rouge.
Myth #3Wine ages better in magnums.
Where did this idea come from? I will admit it's great marketing. You sell two bottles at a time instead of one by convincing the suckers that over the long haul the wine will age better in a magnum. Sure. Just like all the guys over seven feet tall live to be a hundred. Hell, no. Those giants drop dead way before us normal size folks. Wine is the same way. Large formats are a death sentence. And, no, you can't go so far as to say that by that logic a .375ml should last even longer than a regular bottle. There ain't no old midgets either.
Vanessa Wong checking a puncheon of syrah at Peay Vineyards Myth #4 Oak barrels are made from trees.
OK, they used to be made from oak trees twenty years ago. Now they're made from recycled tires. Every now and then, more often than you like certainly, you can stick your nose in a glass and get a great big whiff of a Goodyear or a vintage Firestone--think that's an accident or poor winemaking? Sure, the fancy wineries use old Pirelli or Michelin tires, but the effect is the same. I'm not complaining, mind you, I think recycling is a great idea, and most of the organic and Biodynamic wineries are proud of their recycled tire barrels. Just stop saying wines smell oaky. A lot of them really smell like skid marks...
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"...that guy Hosemaster has real talent...if you ask me sign him up for Comedy Central...he's the funniest guy since Adam Carolla's hilarious book...IN 50 YEARS WE WILL ALL BE CHICKS..."
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."