A HoseMaster of Wine Pulp Fiction Classic Chapter 2An Expensive Place to Die
Veronica had walked out of my office in her K-J shoes (very big heels) and left me her phone number, a wad of cash for expenses, mostly a big stack of Fred Franzias (two dollar bills), and a bulge in my pants that made it look like I was packing a Rabbit corkscrew. She was certainly a woman who'd make your hare stand on end. Now, like Alice in Wonderland, I was looking for the nearest Rabbit hole.
I decided to wander into Healdsburg proper and troll for some tourist tang of the poon variety. It was early October and the town was crawling with out-of-towners, folks from all over the United States here to taste the local fare. They wander from tasting room to tasting room, girls in sheer cotton dresses that leave nothing to the imagination when the sun shines through and reveals their terroir--their plush hillside vineyards, their volcanic soils, the extent of their pruning. Most of them were ripe and needed to be harvested. The wines they tasted made them feel sexy, the sheer sensual joy of sipping a Sonoma County Pinot Noir leaves them yearning for the touch of a man's hands on their free run juice, the feel of his lips on their gross lees, the tug of his desire bringing them to a long, sensual finish. It was almost too easy to pluck one. Like finding a crappy bottle of wine at Trader Joe's; it's easy, just reach out and grab the nearest one.
It was a lovely fall day and I was feeling flush with the cash Veronica has bestowed on me for "Expenses." If Meaningless Sex isn't filed under Expenses, what is? I figured all I'd need to harvest a tourist was half dozen oysters at Willi's washed down with whatever their cheapest Sauvignon Blanc by-the-glass was and then my lucky foot of Rabbit was going to be very happy. Though I'd rather have Muscadet with my oysters. Nothing like really ripe Melon.
I had fallen into a rather relaxed and contemplative mood, thinking about what Veronica had said in our meeting, wondering just who she'd meant by "my friends," I'd have to look into that, when a rather comely brunette stumbled into the spot next to me on the bench in Healdsburg Square. She was clutching a wine glass that had more lipstick around its rim than David Letterman's Late Night schtick. This was almost too good to be true.
"Hi," she said. She was. Her breath smelled like a Harvest Fair judge.
"Hello," I said. "Nice day. Are you enjoying your wine country visit?"
She didn't seem to hear me. Seems like she'd tasted a lot of wine and hadn't bothered to put anything in that flat stomach of hers. She was just sitting there, staring off into the distance with the kind of blank look on her face I hadn't seen since the last Wine Bloggers Conference. It gave me a chance to look her over. She was really quite beautiful, late 20's I'd guess, long flowing brunette hair that wouldn't be out of place on a male wrestler, and a body that was tight like a recently bottled Syrah. I could feel my Rabbit coming out of its lair.
"I think I'm going to be sick," she said, the words rather slurred but the meaning crystal clear.
"No one told you not to go into the Ferrari-Carano tasting room?" Not much of a wisecrack, but neither was she.
"Can you help me get back to my hotel?" OK, this really was too good to be true.
"Sure. Where are you staying? Is your boyfriend there?"
"Boyfriend? Do I look like I have a boyfriend? No, I'm staying by myself at Les Mars." Les Mars was the priciest hotel in Healdsburg, the damn wallpaper was hundred dollar bills, what was a young woman doing staying there all by herself? There were some alarms going off in my head but I was thinking with my Rabbit and ignored them. Not a good idea. Like ignoring frost warnings in April, you can quickly find yourself deflowered.
"OK, I'll walk you there." It was just one long block to Les Mars and the whole way I was sure she was going to puke tasting room crackers all over my gumshoes, but she managed to keep everything down, but my Rabbit, and in a few minutes I found myself helping her unlock the door of her Les Mars room, one hand inserting the key into the door, the other hand lodged securely under her generous left breast to hold her up. I'd gotten my Melon for the day after all.
The door swung open and I led her in. That's the last thing I remember. Someone clobbered my Melon with a blunt object. As I fell to the floor I remember thinking, "I hope I don't pee myself." And, "Urine big trouble."
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."