“For something to be funny, the audience has to be in a position to sense the truth of it. It has to be primed. Satire can crystallize what’s already in the air, but it can’t really put it there.”--Garry Trudeau
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I'm thinking about only writing about wines from now on. You know, endless reviews of wines I taste with really obscure and annoying descriptions accompanied by a meaningless number. (There was a time in my life when I was involved with mathematics, I nearly graduated with a degree in mathematics, and that's why I'm so offended by numerical scores. A number has meaning to me and is supposed to be arrived at through a rigid formula that gives it credence. Sticking a wine in your nose and mouth and declaring "89!" represents nothing but self-importance.) No more satire, no more lame jokes, no more outrageous opinions. It would sure make sitting down and writing this crap a lot easier. I could write a review in the Gary V. style.
"The Kosta Browne Pinot Noir was amazing! Wow, man, you put your nose in the glass and it's like, hey, you know when you forget to clean your oven for a couple of years and then you have to scrape the charred crap out of there and it smells like roadkill on a Texas blacktop, like an armadillo had an abortion on the road and a semi ran over it and then it was hot for two weeks? Kinda smelled like that but in a good way. And maybe a little bit like the seat cushion after Jancis Robinson left, kinda had a hint of that. Gotta be a 92."
This, of course, is the "future of wine writing." Sort of like Saturn was the future of cars.
It's so damned easy to just review wines and pretend everyone cares about your opinion. I love the Vinography approach. Taste 120 wines and list them in number categories. This is about as helpful as putting phone numbers in numerical order in the phone book. And on a ten-point scale, which actually translates to a four-point scale since wines never get below six. So instead of mining the mysteries of how an 88 point wine differs from an 89 point wine, we behold the marvel of being able to distinguish a 7 point wine from an 8 point wine. Apparently, the 8 point wine went for the 2 point conversion. I wish I'd thought of this system when I was a sommelier. I could have broken down the wine list this simple and effective and informative way.
Pacific Dining Car Wine List Page 1 "Wine Between 7.5 and 8.0 Points" Page 2 "Wine Between 8.0 and 9.0 Points" Page 3 "Wine 9.0 and Above" Page 4 "Wines I Actually Care About"
I love that wine bloggers express their opinions about wines. I don't read them. Nobody reads them. Only wineries with Google Alert read them, and then just for the sheer comedy. I recently read one that said, speaking of some Tandem Pinot Noirs "...tried about a hundred wines, I don't have notes, though I can remember how wonderful they were..." I'm not making that up, friends. (It's from a blog called "Eat It, Atlanta." Don't go there, whatever you do. The blog, or Atlanta.) Makes you want to run out and stock up on Tandem, doesn't it? Probably tastes really good after thirty or forty wines. And, really, notes are highly overrated. That's for, like, journalists and stuff. Real bloggers don't take notes. To begin with, taking notes involves paying attention as well as literacy! Who can be bothered with both?
So maybe I'll just stick to my usual stuff. Writing about wine, the wine biz, bloggers and anything else that annoys me. There is always something to write about in the world of wine and news about wine. For example, I noticed this interesting little news bulletin:
AP--The group Wine Coopers of America announced today that it is officially changing the name of the plug used to seal a filled barrel of wine from the "bung" to the "Beck," after FOX News analyst Glenn Beck. "Hell, no one can tell the difference between Glenn Beck and a bunghole, so we thought we'd just make it official."
Great news, fair and balanced, indeed. Statue of Glenn Beck at the Wine Cooper Hall of Fame in Butte, Montana
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.
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
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
"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
"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."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.