I don't like basketball. But that's probably because I'm short and tattoo-free. Like Ricardo Montalban after Herve Villechaize committed suicide. I love girls with a little tattoo! That's a young Judge Sotomayor on the right. But I occasionally watch the NBA during the playoffs because, well, who can resist a good freak show? It's always fun to watch the Los Angeles Lakers just to see what celebrities will turn up in the crowd. You know Jack Nicholson will be in attendance. (Someone pointed out to me that Jack is the only actor who has played the Joker who is still living. Turns out Heath Ledger is dead! Who knew?! I never saw anything about it in the papers. And Cesar Romero! Who cares?! So how do we get William Shatner cast in the next Batman movie?) Watching Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals I also spotted Denzel Washington, Penny Marshall, Hugh Hefner, Monica Lewinsky, Octomom, that old guy from Six Flags, and Son of Sam (you know how the NBA loves its gangster image!). Laker games are a lot like the Oscars--the celebs are in the best seats, the fans are in the rafters and everyone's waiting for the end of the show so they can go home.
I don't really appreciate the fine points of basketball, but that's because there aren't any. It's sort of like looking for plot points in pornography. The point is to get to the money shot. But it is riveting to watch. Basketball, I mean. Gigantic men running full-speed up and down the court dribbling. (Reminds me of the Roberts Supreme Court.) Their athleticism is breathtaking, particularly in such a meaningless pursuit. And then there are all the little guys in stripes blowing whistles when the big guys get out of control. NBA officials, I think, have the toughest refereeing job of any professional sport, and the reason for that is simple. There apparently aren't any rules in basketball. Well, there are rules, but no one is supposed to obey them. So the referees blow their whistles and point every now and then so that the game stops and other players get to play, and so that TNT can run Cialis commercials for the vast and impotent NBA audience.
So what wine does one pair with the NBA playoffs? I think that contrast is an interesting way to pair wines with food, or events, so what better contrast to the NBA than a white wine? I opened a bottle of Yorkville Cellars 2006 Eleanor of Aquitaine Yorkville Highlands, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Mendocino County. Their winemaker is Greg Graziano (I've always wondered if he is related to Rocky. Not the boxer, the Flying Squirrel), a guy who has worked most of his life with Mendocino fruit. Here he takes Yorkville Cellars' certified organic fruit, barrel ferments both the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and meticulously blends them into a wine that seems consciously modeled after a white Graves. It takes a winemaker with skill and a light touch to successfully integrate oak into Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon without the oak dominating like Marv Albert's leather-clad mistress, and Graziano has that kind of talent and touch. Nice minerality, pretty grapefruit and melon flavors, a subtly powerful texture, and a juicy finish made this a mouthwatering bottle of white wine. It was so delicious I was called for a double dribble.
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."