Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pinotage, Poodles and Poetry

I usually like to post pieces about one subject. I have this regulator in my brain that tells me how long a post should be, how far to take the tastelessness, when to quit. It doesn't work, but I have one. But I thought this time I'd just improvise a bit, give you poor suckers a glimpse into my twisted mind, let you see what runs through my head when I'm driving, or sitting on my redwood deck flipping off bluejays. Herewith, some very random thoughts...

Every four years the World Cup comes around and I am forced to talk football with strangers. I hate soccer. It has to be the stupidest game in the world, unless you count wild turkeys. After
all, what sets us apart from our animal brethren is our ability to think and the use of our remarkable and dexterous hands--so I know, let's play a sport that doesn't allow the use of either! Let's use our head not for our highly evolved brain, but for whacking a ball into a net. What other sport doesn't allow you to use your hands? Sado-Masochism? The guys lining up to defend a penalty kick need a "safe" word. "CHOCK FULL O' NUTS!" might work. And what is with the penalty cards? How stupid is that? The officials pull out a flash card, yellow or red, after one guy kicks another guy in the shins. Two yellow cards or one red card and you're expelled. Sounds like those home pregnancy tests. And do we have to drink South African Pinotage while we watch? Pinotage is a hybrid grape created by crossing Pinot Noir with Garbage. Wake me when it's over.

Why haven't more famous poets written about wine?

Men always
Seem asses
When they bring
Riedel glasses.

--Dorothy Parker

"Oak" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the wine--
And squirts its waste and woody doo--
Upon this head of mine.

I've heard it in the chillest Chard--
And on the strangest Zin--
Yet, never, will it ever end--
You just can't fuckin' win.

--Emily Dickinson

I sing the blog electric,
The armies of me I love engirth me, and I engirth them
They will not let me off until till I speak in third person, accept free samples,
Embrace corrupt, and charge them full what my blog is worth.

--Walt Whitman

I'm sure you're all interested in my predictions for the 3rd Annual Poodles. These are tight, hotly contested categories. Like the Wiener Nationals.

Best Wine Blog Graphics, Other Crap, and More Look At Me I Know How to Work Photo Shop

Swirl Smell Slurp
--A blog by a married couple you really don't want to know

Best Industry/Business or Business/Industry or MYOBid'ness Blog

New York Cork Report
--We're a third rate region with a second rate blog!

Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog That Still Don't Sell Wine

Bigger Than Your Head
--Where Adjectives Go to Die

Best Single Subject/Broken Record Wine Blog

--If only Iberia Had an "S" in front of it

Best Winery Blog Considering How Much They Have to Lie

Tablas Creek
--If We Were In Napa We'd Be Really Important

Best Writing on a Wine Blog Unless You Don't Skim

Steve Heimoff
--You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Best New Wine Blog That Won't Ever Make It

Drink Nectar
--It Just Seems Like I've Been Around Forever

Best Overall Wine Blog That Makes the OWC Look Good, Which Ain't Easy

--Because I Can Do This In Your Sleep


Soccer Daddy said...


Thomas said...

Re, Best Industry, et al: You got the third rate where it should be second and the second rate where it should be third. Later on you redeemed yourself with S-iberia, which I'd give a yellow card to and call beautifoul!

The verification is: emics. For some reason, it made me think of Fleet Enema. I have no idea why.

Soccer Daddy said...

How did you manage to get all the Poodles to pose nekkid.

1WineDude said...

I'd like to thank the Academy. And the nation of Cameroon.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh I like it. Is there more floating around up there....makes me wanna climb in that head of yours and spend hours looking around.

Ron Washam said...

Hey Gang,

I know you coached football for many years, Puff Daddy, but, really, isn't it just glorified kickball crossed with hacky-sack? And USA has about as much chance as Chronic Negress (I just love to type Chronic Negress).

And, Thomas, I debated that very point in my own head, but in comedic principle, it flows better my way. But, in real terms, you're absolutely right.

1WineDoody, I'll buy you a drink if you mention me in your acceptance speech. I'll buy you dinner if you don't.

My Gorgeous Samantha, you don't want to spend much time inside my head. It's full of very scary stuff and you'd need a map to avoid all the stuff that looks like what's in your drains.

Soccer Daddy aka Hacky Sack Pappy said...

I preferred the World Cup when it was played in France. No Pinotage there. We stayed out in the country in a rented farmhouse halfway between Bordeaux and Toulouse and went to games in both. Afterwards, we went into Spain and visited Rioja.

That's why I love soccer and Bordeaux. They go together like Poodles and puddles.

Thomas said...


"comedic principle?"

Next thing you know, you'll be claiming to have principles, too. I knew that fame online would go to your head.


If it would get me free passage through the Pyrenees, I'd sign up both my left feet for soccer.

Soccer Daddy said...


It was not exactly "free passage", but it was great fun. It was on our nickel, and lasted two weeks. France ultimately won this World Cup and the excitement in the little villages was palpable.

Ron has no idea what he is missing. And the producers there do use hoses so he would have been right at home.

Ron Washam said...


I meant comedic principals. I don't have principles. But comedic principals are fantastic, like Gail Gordon on "Our Miss Brooks." (Now there is a solid gold, stupidly obscure comedic reference.)


If they didn't play soccer at the World Cup, it would be perfect! I remember when it was in LA. The town was rockin', people from all over the world partying all night. That was cool. I can't remember at all who won. Brazil? Was that the year a bunch of the Columbian players got murdered for losing on an own goal? Though I heard the killers didn't use their hands.

Soccer Daddy said...

No, Ron, they did not use their hands. They used a gun. Very unsporting of them and definitely worth a red card--sort of like Pastis.

Oops. Low blow, that. Sam, I take it back. Really. I take it back.

I was going to say that I would not serve Pastis to the Poodles, but, on second thought, I think I would.

Samantha Dugan said...

Pastis Daddy,
That would have hurt but seeing as I am safely basking in the glow of a Lakers NBA Championship....against the Celtics I am impervious to your anti Pastis ways. Take your medicine Charlie Baby....

Ron Washam said...


I think serving Pastis is a felony in Walla Walla under the Cruelty to Animals Statute.

I confess little affection for Pastis and none for Rombauer Chardonnay, though I am able to tell them apart in a blind tasting. Only by color.

Thomas said...


Just to prove I'm with you all the way, wasn't the principal named Mr. Conklin?

I met Eve Arden in an elevator back in the late 70s. We were both on our way to honor choreographer Gower Champion (this was during my brief stint in show biz). It was my first and last few minutes with Ms. Arden, but in that time I heard first-hand that usual, cynical, sarcastic humor that made her well known. I often wondered if she was that way or if her performance persona made her that way.

Gail Gordon, on the other hand, I heard was a sweetie pie--he must have had principles.

Ron Washam said...


Yeah, wasn't it OSGOOD Conklin? And Richard Crenna got his start on that show too.

I loved Eve Arden, more in the movies than on TV. The early 50's had so many women comedy stars--Lucy, Eve Arden, Gale Storm... One night I was working at Pacific Dining Car, this was about 1997, and there at a table was Gale Storm! I walked up to the table and said to her, "Well, you must be Gale Storm." She said, "You know who I am? I haven't been recognized in fifteen years." She was with her new husband, and she and I had a long chat about the early days of TV, how huge a star she was, behind maybe Lucy and Milton Berle, and Zasu Pitts (which is not where they dig up fossils, though she was one at the time). Gale Storm was lovely, and still had that same bright energy. Not one other person I worked with knew who she was. Fame, now you see it, now you don't.

John M. Kelly said...

Off in another direction... Ron nobody does it like you but this post started something scratching the inside of me head. I submit:
I have seen the best palates of my generation destroyed by Pinotage, raving lunatical corrupted,
raking their tougues through the inky dregs at dawn looking for anything but Zinfandel,
pointyheaded hipsters burning for the poodle-like adulation of the online masses in the pajama-clad monitor light...

Thomas said...


"My Little Margie" will be the name of my new blog, which will be about the Golden Age of Television.

Let's see if Tom Wark's bloggers can top that!

Oh, that was in another post. My badly.

Ron Washam said...


Excellent work. I Howl'ed. Maybe next year they'll give a Poodle for Poetry. And some nitwit who matches wine with haiku will win.


Do bloggers have the equivalent of Lucy, Uncle Miltie, the Honeymooners, Sid Caesar, Steve Allen and all the others of the Golden Age of Television?

Stupid question.

Thomas said...


I'll know the world is safe when an Ernie Kovaks hits the wine blogging scene.

John M. Kelly said...

I angling to be int he running:

Rombauer Chard cuts
so much harder than the worst
Pastis - hey Charlie!

Pastis Punished said...

John--have you actually tasted Rombauer Chardonnay?

I have not recently, but most of editions have been clean, fruity, medium dry (to use the Riesling scale), pretty well-balanced.

I guess I need to know what is wrong with that scenario other than that the grape is Chardonnay. Do we not drink Riesling with those characteristics? Or Gruner?

Anonymous said...

It is "Colombian." And Rombauer is just too much of whatever it is.

a-nun-ee-mouse said...

I Would agree the Rombauer is "clean, fruity" but it is more than "medium dry"
But so is TBC Chard - at 6% to 8% of the price.
It is not awful, but it is pretty silly (especially at the price point).
Rombauer needs a product placement deal alongside products like these:

Ron Washam said...


I stand, well, I sit, really, corrected. I thought the team was from Columbia University. But, no, it's Colombia and they are Colombian. However, since I don't have a coffee or drug addiction, I should get some slack.


For me, it's not about the r.s., that's unimportant, but it's hard to argue that Rombauer has the acidity that a fine Riesling or even, aargh, Gruner has. There's the rub. A Riesling with 1% residual sugar is downright austere most of the time. Rombauer is flabby, like me, and very unappealing with food, also like me. Though I might be willing to try it under controlled circumstances, say, if you're paying.

Meanwhile, John was just being funny. He has a very high haiqu.

John M. Kelly said...

Charlie - I have tasted Rombauer Chard. I have bought it and served it once upon a time. I also worked for years at SCV - mention Russian River Ranches Chard and see how some folks will go off on it these days.

Back in the day I worked at a winery where Joan Rombauer was marketing director - Koerner would buzz the place with his plane every now and then, just to get her attention I guess. I'd like to think that they know I respect the brand they have built.

My personal taste has changed over the years so that now when I reach for a chardonnay it's usually a Chablis. I just think you and Sam's bet was funny, so I wrote a little poem about it.

Bad Haiku Daddy said...

John--very cool response.

As for liking Chablis, I prefer not to think of it as Chardonnay anymore than I think of "musque" clones as the real thing.

They are what they are, but if the US made Chablis here and it did not exist in France, then half the wine geeks in the world would treat it as an aberrant and abhorrent bastard child.

I do like Chablis. I also like Chasseur, DuMol, Hobbs, Ramey and Pahlmeyer Chardonnays--all of which are juicy, full-bodied, generously oaked, deeply flavored, and yes, balanced.

Chablis--eat your heart
out in Sonoma town
Its in the juice.
It does not make me

Thomas said...

Palates unique
words the same
minds never change anyway

Ron Washam said...

Well, you guys put the bad in bad haiku.

Yet it's nice to hear people defending Chardonnay for a change. I'm with you, Charlie, I love the austerity of Chablis and the flamboyance of the best California Chardonnays.

However, balance is not a tag I would apply to Rombauer. Stylish, consistent, successful, yes. Balanced? Hmm. And let's not just pick on Rombauer, there are plenty of others too. Rombauer just ended up the whipping boy, perhaps because of its success.

pgrant8258 said...

Ummmmm...I'm no Einstein here, but by definition aren't Haikus always only 17 syllables...three metrical lines of specifically 5-7-5 syllables?

something like this....

Poor chap Escobar
just because he got confused
no more life...for him.

(written shortly after the 1994 World Cup)

also, you would know it true you should swirl a South African Pinotage clockwise in your glass, but something from Walla Walla or the Finger Lakes maybe, should be swirled counterclockwise?

Just wondering...thanks.

Thomas said...

Agent 8258, yours surely is a high coup.

Left to right--always, unless you are Middle Eastern.

Kathy said...

What I liked best about the '98 World Cup was that nobody was on the autoroute from Paris to Bordeaux that day. Nobody but me.

Bad Haiku Daddy said...


I worry all day
Haiku must be 5-7-5.
Not mine. Go figure

Joe said...

I don't remember those poems in my literature classes. maybe I shouldn't have roasted that J with Spicoli under the bleachers beforehand.

Agreed on soccer. I take issue with any sport where 2-1 is considered a "barn burner".

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Yes, you are right about haiku, as well as that you're no Einstein. As for swirling South African Pinotage, the proper way is down the drain, from left to right.


How was OOPS? I saw the list of winners and was amazed. I'm sure the conference was fun and interesting, but the Poodles were a scandal. Catavino? Crap. Let's see, they're hosting the European Bloggers Conference (Oodles of EuroPoodles), they were a major sponsor of the Walla Walla OOPS, they have a marketing business for wine, and, SOMEHOW, they beat out professional writers like Paul and Steve. And no one says anything. Catavino is just one slick advertising brochure disguised as a blog. Very sad.

I just don't get the World Cup. Or soccer. But I want Ghana to win.