WINE SPECTATOR: It’s the much-anticipated Top 100 Wines issue for 2012. And for the first time ever, all 100 wines are from the 2009 Bordeaux vintage. “Hey, the 2012’s will suck from there so, God knows, they could use the help,” writes the magazine’s publisher, Marvin Shanken. James Laube has a rebuttal post, which had to hurt going in, and he also spends his column offering up the 10 Best Things he put in his mouth this year. Write your own joke. Matt Kramer reflects on the meaning of being the smartest wine writer to ever live, and decides it’s his humility that sets him apart. That, and the array of solar panels installed above his eyebrows. And don’t miss Talia Baiocchi’s new blog post in which she realizes old, fat, rich white guys can, in fact, buy young white women and make them do what they want. Tim Fish wonders where fruit flies live.
THE FEIRING LINE: The premiere issue of Ms. Feiring’s independent newsletter, subtitled “The Real Wine Newsletter” (using “real” in the exact same sense as “Real Housewives of New Jersey”), specializes in “honest viticulture and minimal intervention wines.” As it turns out, “minimal intervention wines” are not what you drink while watching Kitty Genovese get murdered. Nope, Ms. Feiring explains, “minimal intervention wines are wines the winemaker manipulates as little as possible,” preferring, instead, to spend his time manipulating admiring, starry-eyed wine writers. No one knows what “honest viticulture” means.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Lettie Teague has a fascinating column about South Africa and all the innovations in winemaking coming from that country. “California wineries could learn a valuable lesson from their South African counterparts and begin harvest in February,” she notes. “It’s also a lot easier to find seasonal help that time of year. And the lions aren’t as active.” Jay McInerney finds that tasting white wines makes him think of female breasts. “Is it just me, or does everyone think that California Chardonnays have humongous hooters? Whereas, say, a good German Riesling has those little girl perky tits that will age nicely and are just a touch sweet. Champagne has perfect breasts, though Dom’s are fake.” When it comes to red wine, McInerney writes, “I think of testicles. And, when it comes right down to it, most of us would rather have balls in our mouths.”
PALATE PRESS: Discerning readers have discovered that Palate Press isn’t just a place for industrial wines to be reviewed by simpletons. A quick visit yields an informative article on pruning shears, tracing them back to their roots in the bris ceremony. (Note to PP: don’t use “root” and “bris” in the same sentence.) There’s also an opinion piece by Meg Housonfirst Maker about Wine Spectator. “I don’t understand why they hired that Talia Be-ach and left me in this Godforsaken virtual hellhole.” She makes a good point. “Talia may be the voice of her generation, but I’m the snore.” W. Blinky Gray wonders why wines that are lower in alcohol aren’t cheaper than other wines, “We buy wine to get drunk, so less alcohol should be less expensive. It just makes sense. Wineries should get on the bandwagon and lower both.” Refreshing to read someone with years of experience who doesn’t actually seem like it.
WINE JULIA: Julia won Best New Wine Blog at this year’s Wine Blog Awards, and a visit shows why. There’s an in-depth report on Oregon’s 2012 Harvest, a spirited discussion of Oregon terroir, and fantastic tasting notes on hundreds of Oregon new releases. OK, no there’s not. There’s notes about free wines she received, free junkets she participated in, and free tastings she got invited to. So, yeah, they got it right, she’s a wine blogger.
WINE ENTHUSIAST: Don’t miss Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 lists of Top 100 Cellar Selections, Top 50 Spirits, Top 25 Beers, Top 10 Cheapass Moscatos, Top 7 Cocktails for Pukeathons, Top 5 Sommeliers with Harelips, and Top 3 Wine Magazines with Inflated Scores. Steve Heimoff pays a visit to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation only to discover, to his dismay, that Sta. Rita isn’t short for Strawberry Margarita. Paul Gregutt walks in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and finds that even then tasting room employees were surly. “They even carded Sacajawea.” Roger Voss on the back roads of the Languedoc, “Look at all the trees…!”
ON THE WINE TRAIL IN ITALY: Alfonso Cevola with a haunting piece about how much in common Texas and Italy have. “My native Italy, land of my ancestors, the womb I gwew up in, is, after all, shaped like the iconic footwear of my adopted home Texas—a boot. As I worship my beloved Italy, am I not just another Texas bootlicker?” Alfonso makes an interesting observation about the two cuisines as well. “Where Italy has garlic, Texas has iced tea.” As usual, Alfonso leaves you wondering if there’s a plate in his head that sets off airport security alarms On the Wine Trail in Italy.
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."