Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What We're Reading

Compiled by the editors of HoseMaster of Wine

WINE SPECTATOR:  Matt Kramer insightfully equates what he does for Wine Spectator with blogging in a column entitled, “Phoning It In.” “I, basically, rehash thoughts I’ve expressed over the years, make sure and format it for a lot of paragraphs to fill my allotted space, and, BANG, hit Publish. Only I get paid! And I have the next four years of columns already recycled. Truth be known, I invented blogging.”  James Laube writes a touching confessional about his secret addiction to sulfites. “I knew I was in trouble,” he writes, “when I snorted them from Helen Turley’s navel.” Tim Fish ponders how twelve bottles became a case.

JAMIE GOODE:  On being notified that his blog had won the essentially worthless Wine Blog Award for Best Overall Wine Blog, Jamie’s reaction is clear. “I’m not a bloody blogger.” Goode asserts that he is, in fact, an “authentic” wine blogger. “The only bloggers worth reading are authentic bloggers. Too many people waste their time on bloggers who are clearly manipulated and unnatural, and many of whom seem to be at the keyboard manipulating themselves.” Now there’s an idea.

WALL STREET JOURNAL:  A fascinating article by Jay McInerney about the current fad among very wealthy people to compete for who has the biggest collection of fraudulent wines. “Ever since the Dr. Conti scandal revealed that many very wealthy collectors had cellars full of counterfeit bottles, there’s been a competition to see who has the most. You have to remember, these are people who celebrate hair plugs and fake tits.” At a recent vertical tasting of every vintage of Chateau Petrus at Warren Buffett’s house, McInerney tastes the “greatest wine of my life”—the ’47 Petrus, which turns out to be ’78 Silver Oak blended with Red Bull. “It embarrassed the ’37 La Landonne.” Lettie Teague waxes poetic about whole cluster press. “They published my first book.”

FERMENTATION:  Tom Wark writes a long, improvised, vaguely factual post about what the wine industry needs to turn itself around in a sluggish economy. “1. Don’t look back, look forward. Or, at the very least, walk backwards and look over your shoulder. 2. Be a visionary. The greatest names in wine were visionaries You should be one. Where are the new visionaries coming from? I’d say the new visionaries are already here, but we can’t see them. Unless you focus just to the right of one and then you can see one, like he’s a star, or something dead on your windshield. 3. Mount a campaign against the Three Tier System and then sell wine by advertising on my blog. It’s only by implementing these three points that the wine business will recover.”  

WINE ENTHUSIAST: Steve Heimoff has a long piece about “Where Winemakers Get Their Haircuts.” “At least in St. Helena,” he writes, “it’s all about Jim Barbour.” He also observes, “If you swept up all the clippings from a single month from the Sonoma barbers most often patronized by our finest winemakers, why, you could have a shirt just like the one I’m wearing now.” Paul Gregutt interviews Washington winemakers about the latest craze—winery ferrets. One winemaker remarks, “They’re small and furry, like Jon Bonné.” Paul wanders out of his territory to visit the furry critter at Buehler Vineyards in Napa Valley, only, as it turns out, it’s Buehler’s Ferret’s Day Off. Roger Voss travels to the Jura and forgets why he went there.

ON THE WINE TRAIL IN ITALY:  Alfonso Cevola chides young sommeliers who “only buy wines that will sell, a shortsighted strategy that foolishly leaves out most of my portfolio.” He remembers a time, early in his career, when he was asked if he wanted Vietti. “Only alla Bolognese,” he responds. And somehow Dante is involved, it’s pretty hard to figure out how.

BON APPETIT: The annual Thanksgiving issue focuses on the wines of Turkey. “What could be more engaging than serving a bottle of vintage Öküzgözü? Though, in a pinch, you could substitute Robitussin. We’re pretty sure the Pilgrims drank Musket-det.” Also, a stunning seven-page pictorial on how to open a wine bottle with simple household objects—a plunger, a spatula or your grandparent with dementia. Finally, a Q and A with Angela Lansbury, as hip as Bon Appetit gets, on how to win a Tony award pissed on Cribari.

CONNOISSEURS’ GUIDE:  Charlie Olken writes about how much he likes Steve Heimoff’s new winemaker hair shirt. “Do they make one where the sleeves have Puffs?” Stephen Eliot explains blind tasting and why they use Connoisseurs’ Guide Dogs.


Marcia Macomber said...


Marcia Macomber said...

"Öküzgözü" I'm impressed merely by the plethora of umlauts involved here. It's incredibly intimidating, which means it must sell like crazy since that report awhile back said wines sell more when you can't pronounce the name or know what the name means.

Nice going with the hair shirt. No photo?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Wow, Marcia, you're never first! Nice going. You might also be the last, the way things go these days.

"Where Winemakers Get Their Haircuts" really does sound like an actual article from Wine Enthusiast, which is what made me laugh. And I rarely make me laugh. No photos, though I think you can find one in the J. Crew catalog. Their new "Crew Cut" shirt. Or something like that.

PaulG said...

Hey, I made "What We're Reading!" Honored and proud. Now back to working on my wine ferret graphic – the Ferret Wheel.

Samantha Dugan said...

"A fascinating article by Jay McInerney"?! I think you might be pulling our leg on that one there mister. Did make me laugh, seeing the words fascinating and Jay McInerney in the same sentence. You make me giggle and I adore you for it!

amy cleary said...

Paul- Perhaps a ferret song?

Dean Tudor said...

How do you get time to read all this stuff, Ron...Never mind just making it up..

PaulG said...

Amy - tough to rhyme with ferret... unless you cheat of course. But I'll work on it!

Tom Wark said...

I didn't think I hit the "publish"button on that one. Shit! There was also a 4th point. But I forgot what it is.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Yes, fascinating and Jay Mac are put together for irony. And I live for your giggle.


Let's see, ferret rhymes with Heidi Barrett. Take it from there.


I don't have the time to read them all, which is why I have a crack team of editors--that is, they're all on crack.


I know, I always get "Delete" and "Publish" mixed up too! I guess that's pretty obvious.

Double Blind Daddy said...

We use the dogs because we are blindfolded and led into the tasting room. With two of us tasting, that is why we call it double blind.

When you join us, it is triple blind.

The real problem is that we have no leader.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puffed and Blind Daddy,

Of course you have no leader. You taste from 750's.

Bob said...


As always this bit is laugh out loud funny (a bad thing in the office)! When you were nominated for a Poodle, I did a tribute bit on my blog and took a stab at doing one of these. Going in I thought it would be fairly easy but soon discovered how difficult it is to write something funny and biting but without crossing the line.

All the more reason you deserve huge kudos for doing the voodoo that you do so well.

BTW: what would a knockout Spice Girl name for Tim Fish be?

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Oh, for Tim Fish it would probably be Old Spice.

Thanks for the "tribute." It's always hard to write in someone else's style, and comedy is just damned hard anyway. Which is why I only occasionally get it right.

Good luck with your blog, Bob. It's a strange world.

Bob said...


No luck needed just talent which I'm afraid I have precious little of when it comes to wine blogging. Still, I am having fun with it but rest assured I'll be leaving the comedy up to you and the insightful articles in the capable hands of STEVE!

Blaise said...

I have to take exception to the haircuts, Ron. I've been researching this very subject for my M.W. and it is obvious that men in the wine biz over age 50 do not go to a Barbour. Their wives do the deed (and in the case of Mittites, second-person plural present active imperative wives take turns).
Of course, this does not apply to all men over 50, only the ones with hair.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Blaise Baby,

You remind me of why I won't be voting Republican. Mitt's hair offends me, and Ryan has that Eddie Munster thing. Creepy. I always vote hair in every election.

Matthew Thomas said...

Charlie's dogs have often confused the people at CGCW, when blind tasting Sauvignon Blanc, that is...

"Buehler’s Ferret’s Day Off" G-R-O-A-N. But you made up for it with the Robitussin crack (God, I miss that stuff!!!).

Finally, I want to clear up that none of my writers "phone in" their columns. They either email them or they make use of our telepathy software, the same one that we use for our so-called blind taatings.