In the New World we label our wines with the name of the grape, and if we don't know the name of the grape we put stupid names on the label--Rubicon or Bitch or Colgin. The Old World, and how is it that Europe is the Old World when really it should just be the Has-Been World, just like it is with people, puts the name of the place where the grapes were grown on the label because this makes it a lot easier to remember that the grapes don't really matter. It's the same reason the Yankees don't put names on the uniforms of the players--all that matters is the Yankees, not the interchangeable prima donnas that wear the uniforms. But by not putting the names of grapes on their labels, the Europeans have created endless confusion for novice wine drinkers. Only experienced wine professionals realize that Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape, that Vouvray is Chenin Blanc, and that Chablis is mostly French Colombard, but really minerally French Colombard (though some people claim Chablis is Chardonnay, damned wine Yankees mostly, don't believe them--taste it, just taste it, it can't be Chardonnay). Slowly, but surely, the HoseMaster is helping all of you to understand the different grape varieties. Today's lesson--more of that reddish stuff.
Everyone loves Syrah and nobody buys it. Syrah makes great wines all over the world, from the Barossa Valley in Australia to the great wines of Cote-Rotie in the Northern Rhone, from South Africa to the great Pinot Noirs of Santa Barbara County. But nobody buys it. It's like an OJ Simpson alibi, a Mark McGwire excuse, Sarah Palin's integrity. Nobody buys it. Syrah goes by the name of Shiraz in Australia and South Africa. An apocryphal story goes that the grape originated near the Persian city of Shiraz and that's how its alternative name came about. I find this explanation rather Iranic. Actually, no one knows how Syrah came to be known as Shiraz, though I believe that Shiraz is Syrah's rap name. Fershizzle.
Not so many years ago, many pundits believed that Syrah would be the next Merlot. And now it is. No one buys Merlot either. Syrah was widely planted all over California with the expectation that it would soon be the consumers' choice for every day drinking and by the glass in restaurants. It was often planted where it didn't belong, which is to say everywhere. Now much of it has been torn out and replaced with poverty. Syrah is the David Hasselhoff of grapes--known all over the world and universally mocked.
Interesting facts about Syrah:
Syrah is still called "Sereine" in some parts of France, and "Venus" near Wimbledon.
Syrah can make unpopular wines in both hot and cool climates.
Whereas there are endless annoying puns related to Zin, assholes have for years made "Que Syrah Syrah" the single breathtakingly obvious pun for Syrah.
Other names for Syrah:
Shiraz Shaboom Shaboom Shamu Shazam
Petite Sirah is a hybrid grape that was created by Dr. Durif in the late 19th Century in France. Dr. Durif crossed Syrah (see above--apparently they couldn't sell Syrah then either) with a Folies Bergere midget, creating a bold red wine with very long legs. Dr. Durif named the grape he'd hybridized after himself, calling it "Doc." The name didn't stick, though you still see it used occasionally on Southern French wines called Langue Doc. (I got this fact from Wikipedia, the Most Trusted Name in Misinformation). Because Petite Sirah is 50% Syrah (and 50% Ooh-La-La), and its clusters are smaller than those of Syrah (see photo for genetic reasons why), growers began calling it Petite Sirah, "petite" being the French word for flat-chested.
Petite Sirah is what's technically known as a "Tasting Room grape." These are grapes that only sell in tasting rooms and only to highly intoxicated people. They never appear on restaurant wine lists because they go with food like skiers go with avalanches. There is a society of Petite Sirah lovers called "P.S. I Love You" but both of them refuse to appear in public because their teeth, all six of them, have turned the color of a Whitney Houston bruise. Some producers label their Petite Sirahs as "Durif" simply to taunt the old dead French guy.
Interesting facts about Petite Sirah:
It is often blended with Zinfandel in an effort to get rid of it.
Wineries who want to charge more money for it label it Petite Syrah hoping it will fool the public into thinking it's Syrah they're not buying.
It was used to paint the Stealth Bomber.
Other names for Petite Sirah:
Tongue Depressor Teeth Ink Food Kevorkian
Many people mistakenly believe "Grenache" was a 60's sitcom with Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. It's actually a grape. Some authorities believe it originated in Sardinia where it is known as Cannonau, named for its effect on your lower intestine after you drink it. These authorities are mostly Italian, and you know what that means. In Spain, Grenache is called Garnacha, and often covered in melted cheese. But Grenache's best known expression is in the majestic wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (translated as New Home of the Pedophiles). These are wines that can live for decades, but are usually consumed very young, and mostly orally, in honor of the Pope.
Grenache is usually put in the category of "Rhone Varieties" because French wines are the only wines that matter. Of the Rhone varieties it is second in importance only to Syrah, which is like being beneath Jean-Claude Van Damme on a movie billboard. Grenache can be a very prolific grape in the vineyard and has long been the backbone of many of the best cheap wines in the world including Cotes-du-Rhone, Gallo Hearty Burgundy, and nearly every damn wine in Spain. There is also a Grenache Blanc, but, frankly, it can't dance worth a crap.
Interesting facts about Grenache:
It is well-suited for roast Arnold.
In Australia, it's the "G" in "GSM" blends along with Sado and Masochism. GSM's go great with Miracle Whip.
Grenache is best grown in hot climates but stays the hell out of Lodi.
Other names for Grenache:
Che Guevara Grenache Whole Kiss my Grenache Whole Garnacha Ole
We'll get right back to HoseMaster of Wine, but, as you may know, it is time for our annual Spring Pledge Drive for Wine Blogs. Wine blogs depend on contributions from people like you, the people who read these brilliant works for absolutely nothing. We don't charge you exorbitant subscription rates like Wine Spectator. Can't they just print that useless rag on normal size, recyclable paper? Christ, the Large Print Edition is the size of a toilet stall door, and, coincidentally, conceals the same activity. But when you dial up your favorite wine blog, be it the HoseMaster or Dr. Vino or, God forbid, Vornography (where wine journalism goes to fester and die), it doesn't cost you one thin dime. No, unlike print publications like Wine Enthusiast, with wine blogs you get exactly what you paid for, and without the tiresome ads (and, at Wine Enthusiast, those are the wine reviews). This is the great American way, friends, you put nothing in, you get nothing out. Why, it's exactly how God created Man to procreate. It's why wine blogs are God's work and mimic our very existence--you put nothing in, you get nothing out. We are here during Pledge Week to ask you as contributors to put something into every wine blogger you can think of. God knows they'll enjoy it.
Just try and imagine your day without Wine Blogs. OK, stop smiling. Seriously, where else can you find this kind of quality for free? Other than a dumpster? Look at the quality of programming you can find each and every day on Wine Blogs. Where else can you find reviews of wines written from a completely unschooled perspective? Yes, you can turn to professional critics with decades of experience and trained palates, but they don't enjoy wines the same way you do at home. They're know-it-alls, a bunch of old white guys, and women who basically resemble old white guys (I'm talking to you, Jancis baby), who talk down to you, try to educate you, when all you really want is to get drunk as cheaply as possible. So you come here. To Wine Blogs. Where people just like you, unskilled people with too much time on their hands and the ability to type, talk about wine endlessly and inarticulately, mistaking profanity for wit and opinion for meaning. This is where you find the wines you want to rush out and buy. Here you can find the scoring system and information you really seek. We're all tired of the 100 point scale, it's meaningless and intellectually dishonest. It's barely a 20 point scale! No one rates below 80. How is that a 100 point scale?! When's the last time you went to a track meet and the runners only ran the last 20 meters of the 100 meter race? How would that be legitimate? You know what it's like? It's like these old white guys, and the women who look like old white guys (I'm talking to you, Andrea), telling you, "I swear, I'm just going to stick it in a little bit, baby, I'm not going to put it all the way in." Well, friends, you know and I know that for absolutely nothing Wine Bloggers are going to stick it in you ALL THE WAY! As God intended.
Don't worry, we'll get back to HoseMaster of Wine momentarily. But I want you to think about what your life would be like without Wine Blogs, and I want you to think about what your contributions mean. Imagine your next dinner party, you've chosen the wine you want to serve with your meticulously prepared meal, but you don't know what music to play with the wine! Oh my God (OMG, for you cretins in the room)! What are you going to do? Now imagine you don't have a Wine Blog to turn to for that information. Think about the embarrassment you'll feel when you serve the wine and you have the wrong music playing! Yes, I know, the shame might kill you. But this won't happen because you can turn to Wine Blogs. You can do a search of Wine Blogs and you'll be able to find another idiot, an idiot just like you, who knows what song to play with the wine. You can't find this information in Hugh Johnson, the guy's a gardener, for cryin' out loud, he wouldn't know a blogger from a pansy (easy now), and he sure as hell doesn't know what music to play with your ten dollar Chardonnay. You won't find any help with music selections from the "Oxford Companion to Wine;" I know, I looked under "Music" and all it said was "WTF?," which I thought was the author's initials but turned out to actually mean WTF. So, no, you have to turn here, to Wine Blogs, to the expert opinions of folks just like you, who not only have impeccable taste in wine samples, but also impeccable taste in their own favorite music. Where else could you possibly find people like that? And without your contributions during Pledge Week those folks just might not be here the next time you log on. Wouldn't that be a shame?
And, aside from information and wine knowledge gathered from total amateurs, what about the sheer entertainment value? What about the laughs? Here's an absolute classic from a recent post at Vornography. The post begins, "Fellow wine writer Eric Asimov..." Priceless! Alder ingeniously takes a harmless four word phrase, adds the word "fellow" to the front of it, and provides us with the biggest belly laugh since Wine Bloggers nominated themselves for Wine Blog Awards! "Fellow wine writer Eric Asimov!" Hilarious! You can't make this stuff up! It's like starring in your third grade play and saying, "Fellow actor Peter O'Toole once said..." How does he think of this stuff? It doesn't matter. Where else can you be as highly amused for free? And not get in trouble when your wife walks in the room and you're doing it?
So we're asking for your contributions. Corporate sponsorship, like Rodney Strong's, or Huckleberry Jackson's ownership of Steve Heimoff, doesn't support Wine Blogs 100%. Wine Blogs depend on the contributions of Viewers Like You. Without your contributions, Wine Blogs would cease to exist. Imagine that world. A world without Wine Blogs. Then decide what you want to do about it.
An operator is standing by. We now return to HoseMaster of Wine.
In skipping around the wine blogosphere reading other wine blogs, something I was forced to do recently when I inadvertently swallowed some rat poison sent to me as a winery sample and the bottle said to induce vomiting, I noticed that many of our "top" wine bloggers, and by "top" I mean most self-absorbed, fill posts with announcements of wine events. This is a public service to no one, but when you only have one thing to say and four posts a week wherein to say it, it's a necessity. Whether you're Alder going on and on about, well, Vinography and how it's the most valuable wine blog in America, certainly worth more than the amount of talent put into it, which is pocket change, or Dr. Vino, the Reader's Digest of wine blogs, the kind of wine blog you might read in a doctor's office, ironically, right after you finished the latest edition of "Highlights for Children" and wanted something easier to read, a Calendar of Events is the best filler since Styrofoam peanuts, and just as satisfying. But, hey, I get it, I've got nothing to say. I was going to write a post about Robert Parker in order to attract lots of comments, but then my email was flooded with upcoming wine events that I thought my loyal HoseMaster readers should know about. I think these are events you won't want to miss.
All-Star Tribute to HR Bill 5034, May 1st
Here is an event everyone will want to attend. As you may know, HR 5034 is an attempt by the Beer and Wine Wholesalers of America to destroy every winery in America; it's a totally unnecessary bill since this is something wineries themselves manage to do just fine. It has created outrage in many quarters of the wine business, particularly those quarters who have been trying to do the same thing for many years--winery marketing people, critics using the 100 point scale and other predatory insects. The highlight of this gathering on May 1st will be Fermentation's Tom Wark reading aloud the story of "Chicken Little" accompanied by a chorus of wine bloggers portraying Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey, and all the other domesticated animals (a classic example of typecasting) who will run around the stage at Tom's command and yell, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling..." Don't forget the date. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
The First Annual Wines That All Taste The Same Expo, May 15th
Here is an idea whose time has come. Gathered under one roof are representatives of major wine regions whose wines all taste the same. It's a chance for critics and enthusiasts alike to taste hundreds of examples of wines and write only one tasting note. In the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Pavilion, sixty producers will serve the same wine from sixty different bottles. Can you spot the differences? Yes, that's a kiwi on that label, and, absolutely correct, that's a kea on the other! Most people think a kea is a Korean car! You're good at this! Don't forget to wander over to the Austrian Gruner Veltliner Tent where you'll be able to taste Gruners from more than forty producers, all with incomprehensible labels. This is a rare treat to taste dozens of wines that all deserve 83 point scores and a single tasting note--"Dippity Doo!" When you're finished with the whites, stroll over to the Lodi Holiday's Zin Hotel (oh, those Lodi punsters!) for dozens of fresh baked brownies in a glass. Don't forget to spit! Somehow, I don't think that will be a problem. Also featured, the Wines of Maremma ("We're oh so Maremmarable!") and Australia's Most Expensive Shirazes ("From Dead Arms to Dead Palates").
Germany's Wine Exposition, May 29th
Modeled after the wildly successful Vinitaly, you won't want to miss this gathering of the best German Riesling producers--VinDiesel!
Wine Bloggers Benefit Auction, June 24th
Oh, you won't want to miss this! As part of the Wine Bloggers Conference (or, as its more commonly known, Oodles of Poodles) there will be an auction of valuable items from world famous bloggers. The proceeds will be donated to their favorite charity, the Wine Bloggers Conference. Auction attendees will be able to bid on remarkable collectibles such as an autographed copy of Alice Feiring's latest book, "The Battle for Wine and Puffs, or How I Saved the World from Charlie Parkerization," the clothes 1WineDude was wearing when he first met Steve Heimoff (should fit your son's GI Joe), signed photos from Alfonso Cevola of On the Wine Trail in Italy (of him and all the Trail Micks), a complete set of seven hundred commas from one post of Samantha Sans Dosage, Tom Wark has several wedding cakes you can bid on (all of them with three tiers) and, my contribution, a self-portrait of the HoseMaster--video from my recent colonoscopy.
Translated from the Portugese by Ronaldo Jose Maestro
The following day, every wine tasted the same. That is, every red wine tasted the same as every other red wine, as if they'd all been made by Siduri, and every white wine wine tasted the same as every other white wine, and sadly that white wine was Rombauer, and this fact, a fact that it took everyone a long time to acknowledge, no surprise given that so many people's livelihoods depended upon wines tasting different, just as if every baseball game had the exact same score every day and you only had to wait and see which number your team scored because the box scores were exactly the same every day and all the sports writers and morons on ESPN would be out of work and Peter Gammons would go back to being the janitor he should be, this fact that every wine tasted the same began to worry everyone in the wine business. It worried the winemakers, who swore that every vineyard designated wine they made, all 23 Pinot Noirs and all 15 Syrahs, had to taste different from each other, they came from different terroirs after all, though, when asked, they couldn't actually define terroir, speaking about terroir as if it were indefinable like God or Love or Biodynamics, which was created by God, and each wine was made differently, but even they had to admit when tasting wines that they did all taste the same, something even the pundits had to finally confess after looking at their carefully composed notes, notes that contained eerily similar phrases, dull and lifeless writing, as though tasting notes were by definition written by the thunderstruck and mentally unbalanced, notes that led to the mysterious, mystical, God and Rudolf Steiner, for they are the Same Being, inspired number 89, a number that was created for wine and only for wine and was no longer allowed to be used in any other context for it now meant the quality of every wine on the planet, red or white, still or sparkling, fortified or late harvest, and had no meaning to people outside of wine, and even BevMo, the very Cathedral of wine blandness ruled by its titular Pope, Pope Wong II, the Pope Wong as Wong can be, changed it's name to 89 Wines and everyone understood that to mean the score of every wine and not the actual count of wines available for sale there. And after the winemakers and pundits were forced to admit that all red wines tasted like all other red wines, and all white wines tasted like all other white wines, something they were loathe to acknowledge for it surely meant that their services were no longer necessary or needed, that a winery could hire any fool, degree or no degree from UC Davis, an agricultural school in California known for its viticultural program and its veterinary program, ensuring its graduates treated animals all the same or made wines that all tasted the same, and the fool would produce a wine that was awarded 89 points from all the wine pundits who used the 100 point scale but who had now become obsolete because all the wine publications did was list wines that were released, red and white, and then print a large number 89 and awarded it to all of them, leaving its critics to look for actual jobs, something they were completely unqualified to do, so many of them went to UC Davis and became veterinarians and began to rate dogs and cats on 100 point scales, as in, Your dog is cute, has a nice wet nose, smells strongly of sulfur problems, and his tail is a bit crooked so I'd say he's an 85 point dog, which is good, not great, but nothing to be ashamed of, I rarely award dogs points over 95, that will be 100 dollars. Most pundits became homeless, ironically forced to forever drink 89 point wines, wines they had always contended were perfectly fine wines but which secretly they abhorred and had only given those scores to because it gave them pleasure to score them just below 90, a number most desired by wineries, especially for wineries that had not had the common courtesy to flatter them, send them walnuts every Christmas or buy them lavish dinners or fly them to foreign places and praise them ceaselessly, their palates, their noses, their gift for language, though these traits were clearly absent and all they really possessed was a business card and a reputation for loving sycophants, but being homeless now meant that no one praised them, no one cared what their opinions were about wines because all wines tasted the same, all wines scored 89 points, they were completely worthless as pundits, something they'd always known, but had hoped no one would discover.
Soon the public wondered why, if all the red wines tasted the same, which they had suspected was the case all along and that the whole rating system was some kind of inside industry joke, not particularly funny, but lucrative, and if all white wines tasted the same, which they knew from experience, all you had to do was serve them all cold from the refrigerator and no one could tell if it was actual white wine or Santa Margharita, a famous wine substitute, which now tasted exactly like Rombauer anyway, why do we pay different prices for them? Well, I only made 90 cases of this wine, a winemaker might say, even though he'd actually made 89 cases but knew that 89 was no longer a recognized number so he had to say 90, And it's from the very best part of my property and thus it's the finest wine I produce and worth every penny, though in this economy if you want to buy six bottles I can give you thirty percent off, not that I need to bargain with my hundred dollar wine, I don't, I just like you and you've been a loyal customer and I want to reward you by only charging you seventy dollars for my 89 point wine that tastes like every other red wine. But if it tastes just like every other wine you produce, if indeed it tastes like every wine produced everywhere, consumers started to say, Why should I pay one hundred dollars for your bottle when I can get exactly the same flavors and aromas, as described by famous pundits who awarded you 89 points, pundits who are now deservedly homeless and scorned, from a bottle that costs three dollars? Because those bottles, the winemaker replied, Do not have my label on them, and my label is famous, recognized the world over as desirable and rare and special, and that three dollar bottle has a cheap label that will say to your guests that you are cheap, you don't care much about them or their happiness, and, furthermore, that you know nothing about wine or you would have nicer labels in your collection, not just a bunch of cheap labels, which may taste the same but are not the same because when your guests see my label they are going to think, oh, this is great wine, surely this isn't an 89 point wine, surely this is one of the greatest wines ever made, I can see that by the label, and so it must be me, must be my inability to understand wine, to list the aromas I'm smelling, to enjoy wine without knowing what the label looks like, and that will be worth the ninety-seven extra dollars you spent, dollars you will have spent on self-esteem and imaginary prestige. This argument worked for a while.
Welcome to HoseMaster of Wine! Make yourselves comfortable. Would you like a drink? Sure, I've got wine. I'll open any of those free samples I have stacked up over there. You know, those samples remind me of my wine blog--they're both an endless parade of crap. No, no, it's no bother. I know, there are way better samples at Heimoff's house, but I won't make you tell me how much you admire me. Oh, wait, just a second, I need to find the right wine glass for your selection. Hmm, you mean Riedel doesn't make a Wines We Can't Sell Glass? They ought to.
So, while I have all eleven of you here (why, it's like you're a football team, only with far worse head trauma) let me show you around. You can get kind of lost in here, I know I have. Now, over there on your left you have my brief autobiography. Sure, it's impressive, but hardly comprehensive. I know that you want to award the Best Writing on a Wine Blog trophy to someone with prestige, someone with talent, someone who will make you look like you actually know what you're talking about even though you were selected based on how you look in an evening gown (I told you to wear that plunging neckline, Tom Wark, aren't you glad now?), so let me add to my autobiography that I recently was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Blogging. I know, I know, it doesn't carry the prestige of the Wine Blog Awards, but what does? I mean, I haven't wanted a prize this much since my last box of Cracker Jack. And when you think about it, Cracker Jack and the Wine Blog Awards have a lot in common. Both prizes are buried in corn and nuts. You can bet on the corn to win. (That was for you, Tommy Boy.)
And aside from the Pulitzer Prize, I've also won the James Beard Award for Blogger Who Most Closely Resembles James Beard (though I just edged out one of the BrixChicks) and a MacArthur Genius Grant, which I had to return when they found out I had borrowed my IQ points from Jay McInerney and they were forgeries. I should have known, I always get stupider after I read his wine pieces. Anyhow, I would make a most distinguished recipient of the Best Writing on a Wine Blog Award. And, so you know, I have a stunning Valentino to wear to the awards banquet.
Now, right below my overly humble autobiography, you'll find the quotes about my wine blog from major publications and critics. I refer to this as the "rest room." And, here, once again, I've modestly left out some other notable quotes:
"If HoseMaster of Wine were a wine, it would be discarded for having too much volatile acidity and being overly bitter."--Robert Parker (1947-2009)
"Washam is so funny I forgot to laugh."--Alder Yarrow, Vornography
"There's only one blog I would never miss. I just wish Washam would go away so I could prove it."--Eric Asimov, The Poor
So making me a finalist, with an asterisk, maybe, to note that you think I'm the best choice, would seem to be a popular concept.
How about a refill of those drinks? Yeah, I know, the wines suck, but, hey, they're free and I'll be praising them in an upcoming post, just to show I'm a regular kind of blogger.
Just a little way down the hall from the rest room is where I list other blogs that I think worthy of my eight readers' attention. OK, in fact, these are my eight readers. They probably deserve some kind of nomination too, but, I wouldn't know, I never read them. Recommended blog lists don't actually imply that you read these other blogs. Hell, no, what would be the point of that? No, recommended blog lists are the vestigial organ of a wine blog. They serve no actual purpose and get no use. They are an appendix in every sense of the word. They're coccyx and tonsils for suckers (oh, you know who you are, coccyx suckers). No one ever clicks on them, except for very lonely, very scary people. But having them removed is painful and unpleasant, so we just leave them there forever. But you knew that.
Just beyond the library of blogs is where all my Followers congregate. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NEVER GO IN THERE! It's my little Abu Ghraib, and, well, you probably don't want to know those people or know what goes on in there. Let's just say I have a legal opinion in my possession that says Hoseboarding is not torture under the Geneva convention.
So there you have it, my little slice of Heaven. Kind of cozy, ain't it? I hope you had a nice time here. Feel free to wander around in the archives, or as I like to call them, the septic tank. I think when you're finished here you're going to want to make me a finalist for the Best Writing on a Wine Blog Award.
To help seal the deal, just sit tight, I'll be right back. I want to slip into something a little more comfortable. If I'm not back in ten minutes, meet me in the bedroom. I've got some Boner in a Can I'd like to show you.
When he was just a teenager breaking into homes and surreptitiously licking the labels of rare Napa Valley Cabernets--oh, that first lick of Far Niente, the embossed label, the way it aroused his tongue and spoke of money, its intimations of grand wine country homes, trophy wives and ultimate disappointment--Bowie (Boo) Teak dreamed of one day charging $200 for a bottle of wine with his name on it. Boo and I sat down recently at his spectacular winery on Pritchard Hill to talk about his journey, his life, his love for wine, and the breathtaking vanity it takes to pursue such a dream. (I guess it's here I should briefly confess that Mr. Teak bought me lunch, provided me with samples of his wine and kissed me on the lips without my permission, which made it all the sweeter.)
If you're a man with Erectile Dysfunction, or maybe it runs in your family (usually on the mother's side), you owe a tip of your, well, hat to Boo Teak. Mr. Teak made his fortune curing men with E.D. with an invention he came up with after reading about Michel Rolland. Here's Boo's brief explanation from his famous website, Limpipedia, "It occurred to me that the cure for E.D. was a simple combination of Rolland's micro-oxygenation techniques and those pressurized aerosol cans they use to inflate flat tires. That's how my famous 'Boner in a Can' was born." Boner in a Can has gone on to sell millions and millions of units. "I always say business is tough," Teak told me, "but not when you make it hard."
As Teak's fortune grew, he was really able to pursue his passion for fine wine. "I'd licked the labels of the finest wines in the world, but I wanted more. I knew there was more to wine than just flashy labels, I just didn't know what it was. Then a friend of mine introduced me to a corkscrew. At first I thought it was just another way to cure E.D., but, frankly, I'd had better luck with an ah-so. In fact, I was often called an ah-so, but that's another story. When my friend showed me how to remove the cork and taste the stuff inside, I was mortified. What was in the bottle tasted so much better than what was on the bottle. Except for the Far Niente."
On a trip to Napa Valley, Boo visited some of the fanciest estates and was smitten. "Here were all of these wealthy people, people like me, people who had made their fortunes making sure people got screwed, living in showplace homes, living in shrines they had built to themselves, like the Pharaohs, and making wine. I knew I had to do the same. Only I wanted to make the absolute best Cabernet Sauvignon in California, and money was no object--especially when it came to pricing." Wineries along Hwy 29 in Napa Valley I took a quick break from my interview with Boo to see how his crew was doing detailing my car, which wasn't really a big deal seeing as how no one had ever been in the passenger seat, unless you count my girlfriend, who's inflatable and stain-resistant. The view from Teak's mansion atop Pritchard Hill is astonishing. He looks down on Bryant Family (but then, who doesn't?), Colgin, Ovid and David Arthur (the widower of the late Bea Arthur--at least I think she's dead, she may just be on cable). His home has 38 bedrooms, one for every degree of Brix he picks his Cabernet Sauvignon at. It also boasts a state-of-the-art movie theater, an indoor ski jump, and a microwave oven that seats eight comfortably. But it's the wine that's the focus at Boo Teak Winery, and nothing has been spared in the quest to make Napa's finest red.
Teak purchased 350 acres on Pritchard Hill, 20 of which he planted to the classic Bordeaux varieties--Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Glennbec. The Glennbec adds acid and bitterness to the blend, but left to stand on its own it's absolute crap. David Aboo, Napa's most famous vineyard consultant, was brought in to plant the vineyard and wreak ecological havoc. ("There was some creepy little endangered salamander on the property," Teak told me, "but once we got rid of all the ground water the slimy little things disappeared--kind of like how the print media wine critics are vanishing.") Then Teak convinced famed Napa winemaker Helen Whirlybird to take on the task of nearly bankrupting him building a winery. Michel Rolland was the final piece of the Boo Teak Winery puzzle. "I felt I owed Michel something for his inspiration for Boner in a Can. Plus he's super-expensive and that adds to the price of each bottle, something I think all of us in Napa aspire to." In 2007, the fifty unemployed Master Sommeliers Teak had employed finished hand-digging his cave. "First time these pinheads had ever done an honest day's work." And, now, the first vintage of Boo Teak Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon has been released. A tribute to his E.D. business, it's called "Privates Reserve."
In my capacity as the acknowledged finest wine blogger alive, I sat down with Mr. Teak and tasted his 2007 Privates Reserve alongside many of Napa Valley's finest Cabernets, among them Harlan Estate, Spottswoode and Tudal (perhaps more widely know for its sheep, the ubiquitous Tudal ewe). By the end of the tasting it was clear that the Boo Teak Privates Reserve was the finest red wine I had ever tasted in my life for free. Mr. Teak has achieved what he set out to achieve as a young boy with severe emotional issues. He has a wine with his name on it that sells for $200 a bottle. Dreams do come true.
It's One Wine Doody time, It's One Wine Doody time. If you are new to wine, You'll like my blog just fine.
It's One Wine Doody time, It's One Wine Doody time. I'm just a wine cut-up, You wish would just shut up.
Hi Boys and Girls! I'm 1WineDoody! You've probably heard of my brother Howdy. Some people have a hard time telling us apart. One of us is small, with a happy grin plastered on his face, a big clown for a sidekick and everything he does is because someone is pulling his strings! The other one used to have a TV show with Buffalo Bob. Welcome to my blog! I'm here to teach all you kids about wine. So many of you think wine is intimidating, that it takes years to understand. Why that's foolish! Look at me! Please, look at me. Down here!
It doesn't take an expert to teach you about wine. Look, I've got a CSW after my name! That's a lot longer than an MS or an MW, a full third longer! And I wrote it on big letters at the top of my blog. I learned this from Safeway. "Certified" is a word that is powerful despite the lack of meaning. You put "Certified" in front of some words and, well, that makes it better. "Certified Angus!" "Certified Public Accountant!" "Certified Wine Specialist!" What do all those things have in common? If I give you the first four letters, kids, can you finish the word? OK, what they have in common starts with B-U-L-L****!
You're going to like it here at 1WineDoody. Everyone does! Certified! 1WineDoody is nice to everybody. If I'm not here praising every wine blogger I meet, well, I'm on other blogs contributing brief little word essays that pay tribute to their wisdom. And I believe in brevity, boys and girls. Everything you need to know about wine is on the surface, just like people. Right there on the surface, like a little layer of scum. And that's what I will teach you about wine, boys and girls, just the stuff you skim off the surface.
OK, here are today's Twitter notes about wines I've received from all my clown friends, all the Clarabeaus and Clarabelles that run winery marketing departments. Notice how at the end I've given every wine a grade! This is so you know what I actually think about the wine because the words probably won't tell you. Other wine bloggers, who are certified talented and really nice people, use the 100 point scale, which you my fans know from being at the lower end of it. Points are too complicated, you have to kind of think hard about them, and I don't want to give just a few points--that's not how 1WineDoody is! So I give grades! You know grades, right, boys and girls? They're like 100 point scores only nicer. I don't know about you, but a "C" was always pretty good as far as I was concerned. "C" is average! And 1WineDoody is nothing if not Certified Average. I'm just a Certified Average Joe. Now on to the notes!
08 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County): If my dog smelled this he'd be looking for a leaky pussy. $12 C+
07 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): I played in a band like this once, a lot of noise and drunk girls. $75 B
08 Trimbach Pinot Gris (Alsace, Baby, that's right, I drink Alsace): Brought to mind Christopher Cross' "Sailing," only didn't make me seasick. $20 A-
05 Jean Milan "Terres des Noel" (Champagne): Can I get you some antibiotics for that yeast infection, Baby? $75 A
06 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley): If ABBA were a wine, this would be their Dancing Queen. Rare, but easy to find. $60 B-
Isn't it amazing how I can just keep cranking these reviews out? And like I told you, just the surface, kids, just the certified surface. Oh, I know more than I'm showing, I'm humble. I hardly ever mention my musical talents, my gorgeous wife,1WineJudyDoody, or all the letters after my name. And you never hear me talking about how my wine blog friends are really influential--Steve Heimoff and that GoodGrape guy (Good Grape was my favorite flavor of Funny Face drink, along with Loudmouth Lime) and Dr. Vino, who has even more letters after his name than I do! 1WineDoody isn't here to waste your time with information! Oh no, not unless I'm killing a post recycling some publicist's wine event information. Then I go on and on about details.
Nope, boys and girls, 1WineDoody is all about making wine fun! That's why I'm the #1 wine blog around. I'm nice, I write in short sentences and I always assume my boys and girls are just Certified Average and listen to puppets.
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."
"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."