Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Few Minutes Decomposing with Andy Rooney




I spend a lot of time communing with the dead—and I don’t mean wine tasting in the Finger Lakes. Some of my best friends are dead. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking wine with Andy Rooney, joined by his other dead friends, Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, and Charlie Rose. Rooney, at least, has the courtesy to admit he’s deceased. Andy has interesting opinions about wine and the wine business, and he asked me to share a few more with HoseMaster of Wine readers. Remember, the opinions expressed are those of a dead guy. They certainly smell like it.

ON THE THREE-TIER SYSTEM

I hear a lot of people grousing about the three-tier system, mostly malcontents who don’t have a piece of that lucrative pie. I wish they’d just shut up. It’s the three-tier system that makes this country great. I mean aside from baseball, and those really tiny vibrators that attach to your finger. I love those things. I found one in Leslie Stahl’s dressing room one time. They’re great for stirring your martini and trimming your nose hair. I don’t know why God gave us hair in our nose, do you? Maybe because toenails wouldn’t fit there. I’d hate to think about a nostricure, wouldn’t you? I think the polish would give me a headache.

Our great country runs on the three branches of government--the judicial, the executive, and the whores. Those are three tiers. And think about wine itself. It relies on grapes, winemakers, and marketing. “Marketing” is just a marketing word for lying. I like to call lying lying. Marketing is when you push a cart around in a store. So even wine has three tiers. Everything runs better with three tiers. Think about insurance. It’s a three tier system, and everyone loves it. You pay a premium, the doctor sees you, and the insurance company pays the doctor most of the bill. I don’t hear anyone complaining about insurance. Except the people that don’t have it. It’s the same with wine. It’s the little wineries, the ones who think they’re better than the big wineries, that complain about the three-tier system because they don’t have it and they think the fact that it exists gets in their way somehow. I think they should stop trying to end the three-tier system, and, more importantly, stop whining about it.

I hope we never lose the three-tier system. If we do, the terrorists will have won.


ON CORKAGE FEES

I went to my favorite restaurant here in Hell the other night, it’s a really cozy little joint that serves only Prosecco and Gold Medal Reds from the California State Fair competition. It is Hell, after all. I don’t understand why people like Prosecco. It smells like the bathwater at the “Biggest Losers.” I brought my own bottle of wine to the restaurant. When the bill came there was a charge for Corkage. It was $35. Corkage is a funny word, don’t you think? If you brought your own eating utensils would they charge a Forkage fee? Or if you brought Harvey Steiman to dinner would they charge you a Dorkage AND a Porkage fee? OK, Harvey’s not here in Hell yet, but he will be. It’s no coincidence he’s blind to the smell of sulfur.

$35 is a lot of money, but I understand why restaurants have to charge Corkage fees. You don’t go to JiffyLube with four quarts of Pennzoil and ask them how much it costs if you bring your own lubricant. They need to make money. The best restaurants employ sommeliers, and they don’t work for free. You know who the sommelier is, don’t you? The sommelier is the person whose job it is to sell wine to people he’s never heard of, from wineries they’ve never heard of, at unheard of prices. Sommeliers are like pitchmen for infomercials. Fast-talkers selling drunks stuff they don’t really need. You also don’t take your own rubber gloves to your proctologist. I tried that once. He left them where he put them.

Next time you go to dinner, don’t complain about corkage fees. Just be grateful the sommelier isn’t trying to sell you Ginzu knives.


ON TASTING ROOMS

I don’t understand why wineries call the place where they serve wines to the public “tasting rooms.” No one there is tasting. They’re drinking. When you taste something you only put a little tiny bit in your mouth in case it doesn’t taste good, like when you taste some exotic food you’re not too sure about, something made from a tarantula or served at Olive Garden. Olives don’t grow in gardens, by the way, they grow in orchards. You’d think they'd know that.

My uncle went to his local bar three times a week from 11 AM until 5 PM. He was a drunk. If he’d gone wine tasting, he’d have been a connoisseur.

Why don’t they just call them what they are? Bars. The Bar at Robert Mondavi Winery. I think that has a nice ring to it. It’s not wine tasting, it’s bar hopping. They even have a “tasting room” at Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley. A guy in Napa Valley built a gigantic Italian castle and makes wine there. At least he’s more honest about his tasting room. He calls it the Torture Chamber. 


19 comments:

Thomas said...

You certainly got that voice down tight.

Incidentally, if I may be serious: your analogies regarding bringing wine to a restaurant are perfect. I've always said that if I was ever crazy enough to own a restaurant, I would throw people out who brought in their own drinks.

Of course, that's because I would hire a perfect sommelier and stock perfect wines.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Thanks. It's an interesting voice, really, and serves as a grab bag for random, meaningless, thoughtless, odd opinions that perhaps don't merit an entire post.

And, by the way, "perfect sommelier" is a semantic pleonasm. OOH, look at me getting all grammatical. "Sommelier" would have communicated the same message--ask any M.S.

Samantha Dugan said...

Now I'm going to be picturing toenails in nostrils all damn day, thanks for that....

Thomas said...

It seems that I've been brightly enlightened.

Make Me A Somm Daddy said...

In my next life, I am going to be a sommelier. It is so much easier than being a writer. I mean, we both engage in fiction, but I had to study before I could produce my fictions.

I went to a restaurant in San Francisco the other day and tried to order a CA sparkling wine. The sommelier, who will one day know enough to study for the MW, so she tells me, put none on the list despite having some 30 or 40 French wines (and no, Sam, I am not talking about you).

When I asked her why she said they are all sweet and low in acid despite the fact the even Jon Bonne, no fan of CA anything except those wines we have never heard of, has now accepted.

So, I asked her if she ever tasted them blind against comparably priced French wines and she said she was planning to do so next week.

Andy Rooney was right.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

As a supposedly veteran sommelier, now a retired veteran (you may be seated), I like making fun of my former profession. It is a very strange job, and one populated with more pretenders than mediums, psychics and FOX news anchors.

It's always struck me as funny that wine experts will often say that comparing Champagne to CA sparkling wine is like comparing apples to oranges. In the next breath they declare that apples are superior to oranges. Stupid.

Ah well, we all still have so much to learn about wine. Especially me.

Mockingbird said...

What you need is more interviews with other writers and critics. A five hundred part series with !STEVE would be good....

PaulG said...

I had a semantic pleonasm once. I was en vacances in the south of France. She was young and beautiful, I was drunk and enchanted. Those were the days! I actually could have more than one pleonasm in the same evening.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Mockingbird,

I prefer to channel dead guys. So maybe Parker...

Paul,

OK, now you're bragging. I recently had a simultaneous semantic pleonasm, which was odd because I was alone.

Thomas said...

Pleonasm: isn't that a reference to red blood?

Hemotology Daddy said...

Mr. P--

I believe you are confusing the term with protogasm.

Mockingbird said...

What's Hemotology, Ducktor Daddy?

I'll be here drinking my malk awaiting your reply...

Thomas said...

Hemotology Daddy,

You are mistaken, of course. Protogasm has two meanings:

adj.; your first orgasm

adjstupidive; your first orgasm achieved from playing a game rather than from having sex.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

All I know is that "The Lord of the Rings" gave me a Frodogasm. My Gandalf staff was very happy.

Thomas said...

Aha! leave it to the H'master to come up with oozing hot, black humor...

Wikipedia Daddy said...

Hemotology--having to do with the study of blood. See Mr. P.'s early definition of pleonasm.

Of course, he was mistaken as I pointed out.

And now he has attributed certain powers to the Hosemaster that even the mighty Jose does not possess.

Namely, the power to ooze black when he experiences a Frodogasm.

By the way, there is no truth the rumor that Proctologists experience protogasms.

Mockingbird said...

Presbyopic Daddy:

It's Hem*A*tology.

Thomas said...

Hematology baby...

You flabbergasm me in your didactagasmistic way.

D J R-S said...

Careful, now! From Hematology to Hemotology to Homotology is only one Hosemaster Proctology step away by the MCS PDR-- GEFY?