WINE AND SPIRITS: Joshua Greene pens an editorial about the new tasting policy at Wine and Spirits. “We don’t just intend to give our readers the most accurate scores, we intend to give them the highest scores as well. We’re the #1 publication when it comes to shelf talkers! Suck it, Connoisseurs’ Guide.” As for tasting blind, “It’s an enormous waste of precious natural resources to put each wine into a bag—and, besides, we’ve found that is usually soaks through the bag and leaks like a bastard.” Wine and Spirits is currently ranked 15th in wine magazine newsstand sales, right behind Yeast Infection Weekly. Also, check out the interesting piece about Patrick Comiskey’s tongue map. Turns out it’s not exclusively located between his own cheeks.
1WINEDUDE: Golly, there’s just so much to read over at 1WineDude. There’s the Weekly Wine Quiz—this week’s puzzler is “What’s the difference between Appellation and Appalachian?” Easy, Joe, one’s in wine, the other’s inbred. And you won’t want to go shopping for wine without Joe’s brief and essentially useless Tweets about wines he’s recently tasted. My pick this week is Joe’s review of 2010 Coppola “Director’s Cut” Zinfandel, “Berried in cement shoes, I just love the smell of olive--nay, palm--in the morning. B+” Yeah, we don't get it either. Finally, follow the link to Joe’s latest, oh-so-hip post for Playboy.com, “Riedel’s new Bodily Orifice™ Tasting Glasses.”
WINE SPECTATOR: James Laube writes about his seven favorite ways to taste wine, and why Zin is best rectally. “For one thing, they just usually don’t have those damned wax seals like expensive Cabernet often does. Those things chap.” Bruce Sanderson on the newest winegrowing region in Italy, Ciro! “I didn’t even know they made wine down there. I thought Gaglioppo was one of the Marx Brothers. Hey, it’s new to me!” And don’t miss Tim Fish’s touching post about how petting winery doggies helps him sleep.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: What’s the biggest problem for our wealthiest wine connoisseurs? No, it’s not finding Chinese coolies to dig an authentic wine cave, you can find them on any local college campus. Rather, Jay McInerney writes, “it’s how lousy your First Growth Bordeaux taste at 25,000 feet.” It’s the heartbreak of owning your own luxury jet and not being able to drink your best wines in flight. “Cabin pressure can make ’59 Margaux taste like 59-year-old Margaux Hemingway—tough and leathery.” It’s the story of an unheralded American tragedy, “Sober at the Mile High Club.” McInerney interviews a Wall Street tycoon who tried to have his jet pressurized to sea level readings only to have his hair plugs launched to the Space Shuttle. Lettie Teague on the romance of wines wrapped in tissue.
DECANTER: Michael Broadbent opines that 80% of the wines in the auction market are frauds, “Which is considerably lower than the percentage of MS’s who are.” Broadbent goes on to offer tips on how to spot fraudulent offerings. “Genuine cases of 1982 Bordeaux did not come with free gum.” Andrew Jeffords bemoans the lack of civility on the Internet in a piece entitled, “Assholes with Computers.” Tom Stevenson takes a look at the disastrous 2012 vintage in Champagne, noting that, “the vineyards were devastated by hailstones the size of the bubbles in Mumm’s Cordon Rouge.”
FERMENTATION: Amazon is about to begin selling wine, and Tom Wark has a few thoughts. “First of all,” he notes, “it’s against federal law to have a smiley logo on a box with alcohol in it. So I’m guessing they’ll ship the wine boxes upside down.” Wark also reflects on whether Amazon will have Customer Reviews of wines. “Am I ever going to buy a bottle of wine based on the opinion of someone I don’t know and who has no background or knowledge about wine? That’s stupid. We have bloggers for that.” And he asks the provocative question, “Will Amazon do for wine what phones did for Angry Birds?” Hard to find this kind of insight outside of “Parade” magazine.
WINE ENTHUSIAST: You won’t want to miss the surprising winners of Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Pancho Campo who “graciously and unceremoniously managed to wring Dr. Jay Miller’s neck, though no one had seen it for several years, while simultaneously disgracing M.W.’s everywhere. Damn, if only he’d gone to Penn State too.” The new category Sommelier of the Year ended without a winner. “We just couldn’t find them.” And in a major upset, over the objections of critic Virginie Boone, who denied there was a loophole in the category’s rules, Wine Region of the Year went to Sta. Rita Hills. Sorry, but, Yes, Virginie, there is a Sta. clause.
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."