Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mythanthrope

It's time once again to dispel some of the countless myths that surround wine. Creating these myths seems to be part of the game for wine experts, a way to keep ordinary people from understanding and enjoying wine. As HoseMaster, I have taken it upon myself to destroy these myths, reveal them for the hogwash they are. This is the third in my Myth series. You're welcome.

Myth #1 Drinking wine is healthy for you.

The Wine-Industrial Complex has been cooking up fake results for decades now that have convinced most people that drinking moderate amounts of wine is part of a healthy lifestyle. They often site the soothing effects of alcohol, how it relaxes you, relieves stress--sound familiar? The Tobacco-Agricultural Complex used to say the same things about cigarettes in the
50's. The folks who fell for it then, well, they're wishing they'd inhaled asbestos instead. And then there's all this talk about Resveratrol, a supposed antioxidant which was originally devised to add to Chevron's premium grade of gasoline. Whatever Resveratrol's done for mice, it turns out humans are basically unable to absorb it through the stomach. And, really, wine isn't particularly enjoyable as a suppository, though removing a screwtop that way is a wonderful party trick! And then there was the famous "60 Minutes" Wine-Industrial Complex fake segment hosted by Morley Safer (safer than what? Lead poisoning?) about the mythical "French paradox." A bogus study claimed that despite their rich and fatty diet, the French are less prone to heart disease than Americans because they consume more wine with their meals. Yeah, right. So now that the per capita consumption of wine has decreased in France does this mean they will start dying younger? Just more false hope. Drinking wine is not good for your health, friends, we all understand that deep down. Hey, they preserve dead stuff in alcohol--enough said.
High auction bidder with bottle of Screaming Eagle.

Myth #2 Food Wine

How many times have you been at a wine tasting and been told that the wine you were tasting is a "food wine?" Fifty times at least, right? Now how many times have you been in a restaurant and the waiter recommended a dish because it's "wine food?" Never. "Food wine" is a myth. Couldn't be more bogus. Sure, wine accompanies food like stupid accompanies Paula Abdul, but wines aren't MADE to go with food. Someone tells you a wine is a Food Wine, you know it's going to be a lifeless and dull bottle of wine, a wine that can't be sold on its own merits, so they want you to buy it because it will absolutely dazzle you with food! It sucks on its own, like Lionel Ritchie without the Commodores, but pair it with cassoulet and it's brilliant! Has any wine salesperson ever said to you, "You know, I love this wine but it absolutely sucks Sarah-Palin-style with food."? No. So apparently every damn wine is a Food Wine! This is just palin (I mean, plain) stupid. Makes you want to go out and buy a six-pack of Food Beer.

Myth #3 Wines taste better out of the appropriate Riedel glass.

Yeah, right, and I can steal your nose by wiggling my thumb through my fist. How dumb are humans that they believe this? Riedel is the Bernie Madoff of stemware. OK, that's not fair. Bernie Madoff is the Riedel of Wall Street Investors--OK, that's better. Riedel starts from a premise that their specialized glasses feed the wine to the appropriate spot on your tongue for maximum enjoyment of the wine based on the famous tongue map that has sweetness at the tip of your tongue, bitterness on the sides, etc. Only problem is that tongue map was disproven forty years ago. You might as well believe masturbating makes you go blind, which only makes you feel sorry for Guide Dogs. Your tongue doesn't just taste sweetness on the tip, there are no divisions of labor on the tongue, it tastes every one of the six basic tastes everywhere (including tasting umami--which sounds more like a ghetto epithet than a taste, but I digress). The whole Riedel premise is based on bogus science and the results are therefore bogus. But there's nothing like superstition for a license to print money.

Myth #4 Wine judges spit.

OK, they spit, they just don't spit wine. There's no reason to spit wine when one is judging a wine competition. Frankly, it's dirty and disgusting and the Health Department of most major cities won't allow it. Plus, organizers know that a lot more gold medals are awarded when the judges are stinko so they don't even allow spitbuckets. It doesn't take much to see that this is true. Read the results of wine competitions and then compare their results with the scores from major wine publications. There is virtually no correlation between gold medals and scores above 90 points. Why? All the critics and judges are hammered! Wine judges and wine critics are pissed almost all the time. Sure, they want you to believe that they taste the wines blind and sober, but, really, it doesn't matter if they see what the wine is that they're tasting, they're too drunk to read the label anyway. So how do judges stay conscious when tasting 100 wines or more in a day? An awful lot of wine comes out through their noses.


Charlie Olken said...

So, how to score this?

Myth 1: One can only hope that the French die young--I am tired of eating their freeedom fries anyhow. Besides, didn't the Belgians really invent the damn things anyway? Yeh, that's it let the Belgians live longer.

89 of 100. Stop whining just because you did not get a 90.

Myth 2: Food wine. Yowza. The line, "Has a sales person ever said to you that this wine sucks Sarah-Palin style?" is worth the full score by itself. And, yes, every damn wine is a food wine. Bingo.

98 out of 100

Myth 3: Bernie Madoff is the Georg Riedel of Wall Street. Now, on the face of it, I just have to wonder what a nice guy like Mr. Riedel ever did to you? Sweet, happy, inventive, I just love Uncle Georg, er I mean Mr. Riedel. I truth be told, his Overture Red is the glass of choice for us. So what if his old Burgundy glass is not only better for Burgundy but also better for claret. Makes no difference at all. Uncle Georg, I mean Mr. Riedel sets a fine table. Who could not be thrilled that you can look out over a sea of glistening crystal and tell yourself that your Two Buck Chuck tastes just like Screaming Eagle if you have chosen the right glass.?

85 out of 100, for being a misanthrope.

Myth 4: Wine Judges spit. I was laughing right out loud by the time I finished this section just thinking of you actually drinking all 80 of those cheap Chardonnays you had for breakfast not so long ago.

103 of 100 for the image. I will sleep better tonight knowing that you can taste 80 Chardonnays and all that happens is that the stuff runs out your nose. Tastes the same anyway. And besides, the way grade inflation works these days, someone had to be first to crack the 100-point barrier. Congratulations.

How does it all add up? You get 94 points overall, and except for the Wine Spectator where everything gets over 90 points, or Jay Miller's unfortunate contributions to Mr. Parker, 94 is a damn fine rating where I come from. Just be sure to read the words because the number ain't nothin' without the words.

Steven Mirassou said...

The people who drink wine for the health benefits are the same ones who have sex for the aerobic workout.

The deliciousness, the social connections (assuming you aren't drinking alone in a dark room) that are strengthened, the easing of every day burdens, the deliciousness...are all fine justifications for drinking wine.

The health-thing is a sop to the remaining neo-prohibitionists who are dying their pinched, taste-free, un-potent lives and want to take the rest of us down with them.

Samantha Dugan said...

#1- Agreed. Just drink your wine because it tastes good and makes you feel good, stop feeling guilty and making excuses.

#2- Gotta butt heads with you on this one My Love, might even be willing to say that your California wine drinkin underpants are showing. Since your showing yours I'll flip my skirt and show you mine...French wine drinkin underpants. Subtle wines don't compete with food, they frame it...cassoulet and Cahors, lovely...cassoulet and Brochelle Zinfandel, gack! Tannic wines are made softer with fatty, rich food and tannic wines are made even more aggressive with heavily spiced foods...Barolo with curry anyone? Ewe.So while I disagree I am very willing to say, who cares?! If you dig it, drink it.

#3- Agree. People are sheep, sheep that want to look fancy and, in-the-know. Cheers Charlie's uncle, brilliant.

#4- The Orange Country medal winners just made sense. Thanks for clearing that up.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Puff Daddy,

Let's see, is 94 points Two Puffs or Three Puffs? I mean, Two Stars or Three Stars? Or Two Bathtub Non-Slip Flowers or Three Bathtub Non-Slip Flowers? Anyway, I surely don't deserve such high praise.

Hi Steven,

Sex is an aerobic workout? Both minutes?

America is, at heart, still a Puritan nation and it's up to us heathens to show them the way. Drinking and debauchery, our chosen Path.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Some wines are better with some foods, but, as Charlie says, all wines are food wines. You're in the biz, you've had a hundred sales reps try to sell you on the idea that a pedestrian wine is a "food wine." Many years ago I scolded an Australian winemaker who told me his gigantic Shiraz was a food wine--what wine isn't then? I asked him. And just once, I said, I'd love for a winemaker to say, "I love my wine, but it really sucks with food." Hell, I'd buy three cases just for the honesty.

A year later the same winemaker visited me, sat down, poured me his first wine, looked me in the eye and said, "The one problem with this wine is that is sucks with food." After I'd wiped my mustache clean of the Shiraz that had blown out my nose, I bought three cases.

Wanna swap underpants?

I adore you.

Samantha Dugan said...

The guy from Solitude was tasting us on his Chardonnay Randy said, "You know I just cannot imagine this with food to which the guy said, "Fuck the food, just drink it" loved that guy for that. Trade crunders huh....dunno I am rather fond of my white cotton dealies not that into thongs, thanks for the offer though!

Andrew Ross said...

easily the line of the year, from any blog, in 2009, " tastes every one of the six basic tastes everywhere (including tasting umami--which sounds more like a ghetto epithet ..".

Steven Mirassou said...

Both minutes?!

The Neverking said...

I can't say which causes me more trouble at work. Coming back to the office after having a drink at lunch, or reading your blog and laughing so hard that the Diet Coke comes out my nose and all over my calculations sheets(and that's from the comments section, not necessarily the blog itself).