I wanted to write a heartwarming tribute to my Father in honor of Father's Day, but he's been dead for 30 years and knew absolutely nothing about wine. So, while he's qualified to be a wine blogger, he doesn't make a good subject for HoseMaster of Wine. (No, I am not a second generation HoseMaster, though I am descended through my Mother from my Father's hose. Now there's a heartwarming tribute!) But the wine business is filled with Fathers who deserve a bit of tribute this weekend, so a here's a tip of the HoseMaster's helmet to a few of those deserving men.
Saintsbury, Hemingway or Turley? Not sure myself.
George Saintsbury, Father of Wine Writers
"When tasting through the four First Growths of Bordeaux, Latour, Lafite, Haut-Brion and a Planter's Wart, it struck me that I was at a loss to express their differences in mere words. They are all majestic and compelling wines, and to merely say that the Latour is pure power where the Lafite is closest to Planter's warts does not give much illumination. So I have assigned them numbers. The numbers are 91, 94, 93, and 80. I believe this is a brilliant way of communicating their ethereal beauty."
Mortimer Hemingway, Father of the Back Label
There is little in wine literature to compare with the pithy prose of the back label. Decades before Twitter, which is today's pathetic version of the back label, it was brilliant wordsmiths like Mortimer Hemingway (no relation to Ernest, or Julio) who defined the quality of the wines within with striking and precise descriptions printed on the limited space of a back label. There are echoes of Hemingway's work on back labels even to this day. Here are a few Hemingway classics:
Mortimer Hemingway died in 2002 in a horrific bottling line accident that left him so filled with corks he could float down the Russian River without a kayak. He is buried in Grant's Tomb.
When Robert Parker began awarding huge scores to everything Helen Turley touched and then anointed her with Goddess status, the cult of the winemaker was born. Huge consulting fees followed, wineries paying lofty fees to put Turley's name on their fact sheets and bragging that she stopped by twice a year to bless the barrels, and the cult of the winemaker began. Now its ranks include Mark Aubert, Michel Rolland, Heidi Barrett and Miley Cyrus. The recent economic turndown has resulted in some cult winemaker layoffs, however, with more on the horizon. There is talk in the Obama administration of nationalizing Phillipe Melka so that the Napa Valley Cabernet industry doesn't crumble leaving hundreds of overpaid marketing directors jobless.
Happy Father's Day, Helen!