Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIAL M.W. FOR MURDER--Love is Phylloxera


Chapter 7  Love is Phylloxera

First of all, I need to start locking my office door. The body on the floor began to moan. So she wasn’t dead, I surmised. She didn’t even seem hurt. She seemed drunk. And not just a little drunk, she was bachelorette party drunk. If you’d searched for her with GPS it would show her location as Obliterated. I’ve been there. Nice town, but blurry. I have a second home there. I use it on weekends.

She was lying face down, her spectacular ass in the air sporting a perfect southern exposure. Nice spot for a picnic, I thought. She seemed to be trying to get up, but wasn’t having any luck. I decided to give her a hand. The applause seemed to get her attention. I have to say, a drunk babe on the floor is solid entertainment. Ask any Britney Spears fan. And then she vomited.

I lifted her pretty head off the carpet, got my arms underneath her, and wrestled her into a chair. She was only barely conscious and she reeked of wine, though it was expensive wine, probably aged in French oak and from a cool climate. I was pretty sure it was Syrah, though the smell of new bile could have been influencing me. She was pretty nubile herself. She looked young to me, mid-twenties, and was probably beautiful underneath all that alcoholic haze. What the hell was she doing in my office? She couldn’t have walked up the stairs without some help. Who had helped her up the stairs? And what did the HoseMaster have to do with any of this? Yeah, I like free drunk babe home delivery as much as the next guy, but next time bring me one that isn’t so well done.

It took a couple of hours, but I got enough coffee into her to sober her up enough to speak. To be careful, I’d patted her down. And she had plenty of down. I patted it several times. I wondered if she liked her wines natural too.
Mallory O'Lactic

“Thanks, HoseMaster,” she managed to mumble, “thanks for cleaning me up.”

“So you know who I am. Now who are you, and who brought you here?”

“My name is Mallory. Mallory O’Lactic.” Irish. I should have known. She certainly had the classic red hair. Her hair was the color of Grignolino, which made sense. Seeing her sprawled on my office floor, it was obvious she’d descended from great Heitz.

“Nice to meet you, Mallory. You made quite an entrance. You messed up my carpet.”

“Feels like you messed up mine, too.” She was quick. I was starting to like Mallory.

“Do you live around here?” I asked her, trying to change the subject.

“No. Not at all. I’m from Chicago. I’m here studying for an M.W. test I’m going to be taking next month.”

I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in a lot of things. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or Karen MacNeil—in reality, those are just three empty costumes. I don’t believe in aliens from outer space. If they existed, they’d be here taking jobs from Americans. I don’t believe in love either. Love is like phylloxera. Just another louse that attacks your roots. And then you die.

“You know, Mallory, it seems like you take this studying a little too seriously. You should learn to spit.”

“I wasn’t studying last night. I was out with a bunch of other M.W. candidates and, well, I guess we got carried away. The last thing I remember I was getting in a car with this beautiful blonde woman, Crystal something, I think, and a bunch of other people. And then I don’t remember anything until I wake up and you’re like lousy Chardonnay--going through Mallory O’Lactic. Which is the yeast of my problems.” Yeah, I liked Mallory a lot.

“So you know Crystal Geyser?” I didn’t want to be the one to break the news to her that Crystal was deader than a winery floorstacked at Trader Joe’s. That was some party they’d had last night.

“Sure, everybody studying for an M.W. knows Crystal. She hangs around all the guys. Strange woman, though.”

“Strange? How do you mean?”

“Just strange. She told me last night, I must have been sober still, that she was sure she was going to be murdered. That’s strange, don’t you think?”

“Maybe. But, Mallory,” I told her gently, “she was right.”

And it was only then, when she fainted and I caught her before she hit my floor again, that I noticed she was wearing Avril’s bracelet.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Business of Wine, World of Wine Museum

Hello, and welcome to Business of Wine, World of Wine Museum, located at the former COPIA. We hope you enjoy your visit to BoWWoW. This guide is intended to highlight both our permanent collection as well as our ever-changing special exhibitions, lectures and tastings. BoWWoW is a place where novices and connoisseurs alike can gather to learn about and share everything wine. A portion of your admission is contributed to MADD, just because we like to fuck with them.

Highlights of the Permanent Collection

Here at BoWWoW we have collected some of the best and most famous scores in wine history. Many people have read these scores in various wine publications, but haven’t the slightest idea what they mean or what they look like. Just like being a wine critic! Over the years our curators have managed to obtain many of these scores and they are available for you to view in the exhibit hall to your left. Perhaps the most famous score is 100, a perfect score. It’s here! It may not look like much, but consider the prestige and monetary value that 100 represents. It’s traveled the world, from Bordeaux to Burgundy, from Piedmont to Tuscany, from Spain to Portugal, spreading riches wherever it goes. But notice that if you look at it even the tiniest bit askance, it disappears! All you have to do is walk around it, view it from every angle, and, poof, it no longer exists, it is strictly an illusion. Contributed by Screaming Eagle, which will never see it again, it’s a must-see for every wine lover. And don’t forget to catch a rare glimpse of 89. It’s over by the Wailing Wall. And we also have the 91, once important, but now without any value. History has left 91 behind, sort of like Clive Coates. Finally, make sure and view the antiquated and now-abandoned 20 Point Scale. Once a working scale, it was given to BoWWoW by Decanter Magazine who declared it “old, rundown and useless as Lady Camilla.”

Hall of Aromas
Ever wondered what the great wines of the world smell like? Spend some time in the Hall of Aromas and you’ll discover the olfactory joys of many famous wine varieties. Begin with the brief video introduction by James Laube, which will prepare you for your first olfactory experience, ammonium carbonate. Over there is Riesling (presented by BP), the grape responsible for the great German wines, if there were any. Don’t miss Chardonnay! Ever wonder what Chardonnay smells like naked? Then take your damn clothes off and find out (sponsored by Girls Gone Wild—“Feel like flashin’?, We can cash in!”™). Wander over to Grüner Veltliner, the grape responsible for the wines of Austria, the country that gave us Rudolf Steiner (Austria’s slogan? “Americans will buy the stupidest shit.”), and take a deep breath. What is that? It’s either Grüner, or a vegan farted next to you (sponsored by Hole Foods—no, there is no “W”). When you’re finished with the white varieties (try something new, like Savagnin, it smells like sommeliers), move on to the reds. Start with Pinot Noir. Ever wonder what a great Burgundy smells like? Ha, we tricked you! This is a fake. It’s old Beaujolais mixed with Gallo Hearty Burgundy (sponsored by Acker Merrill). No mistaking the smell of Malbec! Take a deep breath, that’s the smell of MegaPurple, Argentinian marketing and easy money (sponsored by Paul Hobbs). There are lots of nasal adventures waiting for you in our famous Hall of Aromas. And don’t miss the special exhibit running through September, “Brettanomyces!”  You’ll recognize many of the world’s great wines there. It’s not in the Hall of Aromas, it’s located in the Aroma of Hall Closets.

Guest Lectures at BoWWoW in September

James Suckling  “Career Suicide,” A Discussion with Jay Miller and the editorial staff of Zester Daily. Special appearance by the HoseMaster of Wine.

Michel Rolland  “All My Wines Taste the Same: Finding the Kenny G-Spot for Cabernet”

Alice Feiring  “Beating a Dead Horse—Good for Book Sales”

Charles Olken  “They’re not Puffs, Goddamit”

Nicolas Joly  “Just call me Dr. Frank and Steiner: BioD and Brain Theft for Zombies” A discussion with Stu Smith, Mary Ewing-Mulligan and moderator Tawny Kitaen. That’s right, it’s Joly with MulliganTawny Stu.

Angelo Gaja  “Hey, That’s Me Behind Barbaresco, and the Podium”

And don’t miss our upcoming October Special Exhibition, “Great Wine Bloggers of the 21st Century” to be held in the Vineyard Workers Memorial Port-a-Potty, located in the South Parking Lot. Be sure to leave a contribution.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The HoseMaster's Bucket List

I’m getting old. I’m so old I was the sommelier at the Last Supper. Jesus stiffed me, but, then, I had to cut him off, so that might have made him angry. I know later he was cross. Anyway, I thought I’d make myself a bucket list of wine activities I’d like to do before I finally meet my maker, who lives in New York and is named Mark. He’s my Maker Mark Manhattan. Never mind. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to cross all of these off my bucket list in the near future. I can dream, can’t !?

Taste rare old Burgundies with Allen Meadows and Rudy Kurniawan, the Burghound and the Burglar. Which is which? It would be interesting to taste those rare old Ponsots and listen to talk of terroir, history and why the label was done on a computer. I’d learn so much about aged wines even without having aged wines actually present! Do they allow wine tastings in prison?

Drink Drew Barrymore Pinot Grigio from Drew Barrymore. Be her spit bucket of Love. Yeah, I know, sick. But, really, it’s my bucket list, don’t be judgmental.

I want to meet James Suckling just so I can say, “How are Mrs. Suckling and all the little Sucklings?” Well, no, on second thought, I don’t really want to meet the guy. His hair scares me. He looks like a Van de Graaff generator, only stiffer. Though I would want to taste wines with him and beat him to the score. We both taste at the same time, spit, then I’d quickly shout, “94!” The first score always wins, it’s an old Wine Spectator party trick, but then so is he.

If I could afford a pair of every different varietal wine glass made by Riedel, I could crush them with my feet and then place the shards in the driveways of all the pompous shitheads who think Riedel stemware is legit. Alternatively, I could buy them and just wait a few weeks for when they’d all be broken anyway.

Jerk off Jay McInerney with Port tongs.

Rounding up 100 bottles of wine that scored 89 points and tasting them all in the same day would fulfill my lifelong dream of understanding failure. Or I could just read about Crushpad.

Being wine critic for a day at a respected wine publication, or even Wine and Spirits, would be a dream come true. I’d taste just like real wine critics taste—triple-blind. That’s where you don’t know the wine, don’t know the variety and don’t know what you’re doing. I’d assign numerical ratings for at least forty wines that day using the 100 point scale, for which I’d take out a special One-Day Use Permit (it is heavily regulated and only allowed to be used officially by pundits, licensed critics and the criminally insane). My initials would be printed after the score and my succinct, if repetitious, reviews, of which I have two, but I can rearrange the sentences to make it seem like more. Thus:

“Opens with a nose of upfront red and black fruit. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it speaks to its appellation with some authority. Should make for great drinking over the next 5 to 8 years, except in Canada.”

“Except in Canada, it speaks to the appellation with some authority. Opens with a nose of upfront black and red fruit and should make for great drinking over the next 5 to 8 years. Medium to full-bodied on the palate.”

And what day as a wine critic would be complete without a nasty phone call from a winery owner? Jim Clendenen would be perfect. More scary hair and lots of it. Which is amazing considering his hat size is “Puncheon and ¾.”

Win a James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award for Pomposity. Tough category.

Cultivate noble mold in my pants to put the sac back in Barsac, the d’Yq back in Chateau d’Yquem.

Get paid to write this crap.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Wine List at Restaurant Gougé

Welcome to Restaurant Gougé (please, we prefer that you pronounce it Goo-zhay) and our Wine Spectator Finest of Top of Best of Ludicrous Award of Excellence Wine List. We are honored to have been allowed to pay $75 dollars to Wine Spectator so that some junior member of their editorial team who normally places wine bottles in brown bags, being careful to be certain the foil gives the important wines away, would approve of our list, a list that was carefully curated from the most highly overrated and obscure wines on the planet. Our award-winning sommelier, Rajat Anosmia MS, MW, M&M MJB, MP, MFer, guarantees that no matter which wine you select to accompany your meal this evening, it is unlikely you will ever remember what it is, or even want to. This is part of your Gougé experience.

Our sommelier has made every effort to ensure that the wines are complementary to the outstanding cuisine of Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein. However, the deciding factor in choosing the list is, as one would expect from a top sommelier, ego. Rajat Anosmia WSET, WKRP, WTF is widely regarded among the wine elite of the world as having the greatest palate since the late Robert Parker, combined with the nose of a bloodhound. This would explain the ticks. If you have any questions about the wines on the list, please ask our highly trained wait staff; Rajat may be on the trail of a criminal. Our wait staff has tried most of the wines on our wine list, primarily from wine left behind in unfinished bottles. They will be happy to point you in the proper direction when selecting a wine, keeping in mind the ultimate importance of their gratuity.

We understand that most of the wines on our James Beard Award Should Have Been Nominated wine list will be unfamiliar to most of our customers. This is strictly intentional. Our standard wine list markup is much easier to swallow if our guests are unfamiliar with the retail prices of the wines. You will find that each wine is accompanied by a brief description. Here it is:

“From a rare variety and an artisan producer, this is a wine worth nearly half its price.”

We pride ourselves that, unlike the vintages, our prices are always accurate and up-to-date.

Much like our award-winning sommelier on one of his usual junkets, our wine glasses are handblown. Yours may not be, but ours certainly are. We are happy to provide fine crystal stemware upon request, though only for wines with triple-digit prices starting with 5. We feel that our wines are crafted by the finest producers from all over the world who regularly taste them in cheap stemware. If it’s good enough for them, we feel it’s good enough for our guests.

Please expect delays of up to twenty minutes after you order wine. Our Certified Sanctified Sissified sommelier insists that our servers take a few extra minutes to worship each bottle he’s chosen for the list and express their gratitude for his wisdom, guidance, and mere existence. This should give the women in your party the time they need to prepare for the wine by applying lipstick. If you would like your wine decanted, we are happy to do so, but don’t blow out the fucking candle like an asshole.

Our wines are priced completely randomly with markups aimed at making you order a lesser wine you don’t really want, or at moving a wine that is essentially past its prime. This just seems like fun to us. The wines at Restaurant Gougé are also stored throughout the restaurant at completely random and fluctuating temperatures. Temperature-controlled wine cellars contribute significantly to climate change which is ruining many of the great vineyards of the world, none of which is represented on our list, but we care, dammit, we’re Restaurant Gougé! We are honored that Michelin saw fit to ignore their usual Stars and award us their rare and coveted Two Black Holes. Both have dined here.

We do have a generous corkage policy if you wish to bring your own celebratory wine to Restaurant Gougé. For each bottle of wine you bring to the restaurant we simply ask that you buy three extra entrées in order to satisfy the ungrateful pig that you are.

We do have a large list of Wines By-the-Glass. These wines are carefully selected by our Sommelier of the Year (Kazakhstan) from the greatest importers in the world’s closeouts. In addition, we are happy to pour you a glass of anything from our extensive wine list for no more than the price of the bottle.

And, finally, Restaurant Gougé believes that comfort has no place in the dining experience. In pursuit of excellence, our tables are close together, our chairs could give Mike and Molly hemorrhoids, our wooden floors and ceilings magnify the noise level, our menu choices are esoteric and inexplicably described, and our wine list obscure and baffling.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Dullness of Wine Reviews Cured AGAIN!

Is there duller reading material than wine descriptions? Sure, there’s PARADE magazine, and everything on Zester, that goes without saying. But wine descriptions read with all the grace and wit of credit card privacy agreements. Wine writers always claim that they slave over their descriptions, but this rings about as true as insurance company commercials that now always feature geckos with accents, sexualized women who transform into fetish dolls, and lying, out-of-real-work actors. If only the insurance were as simple as the morons who sell the stuff. In an effort to, perhaps, jazz up wine descriptions, I’ll have another go at how I think famous, and actually talented, writers would tackle them.

e. e. cummings on Guigal Côte Rôtie (91 Pts)

plums (your pen-
breasts) the
Côtebottle Blonde
and the Côteheywood
Hail! Brune.
mixedup with
blackness—Seal’ed with
a Klum—Viognier
she’s a dynamite sen-
smooth and
Bedouin, baby--
in tents!

You Côte
my ton-
with your
The Guigally
and my

Tennessee Williams on Kistler Chardonnay (84 Pts)

Warm and hot, like your lover’s breath on a sultry summer evening, the smell of something tropical taking you to a past you can only faintly remember. Perhaps you were with a friend or a kind stranger, your pain tied to that empty bottle of wine on the bedstand, your failure still limp in your hand, reminding you that the wine finished poorly too after that big buildup, the whispered longing followed by the inevitable mendacity of love, and the empty promise of fame. There is no wine here, just a memory of wine, and beyond memory only death. Echoes of a cat on a hot tin roof, and what you wouldn’t give for a hot pussy instead. And if you had wanted a wine to smell of summer and smoke, you’d have bought an 08 Mendocino Pinot.

Rodney Dangerfield on Cameron Hughes Pinot Noir (88 Pts)

My wife wanted to taste this wine after sex. So I opened it as soon as she got home. I had to ask her if she had an ah-so. She wouldn’t stop starin’ at me. But she’s no prize, my wife, she’s ugly. Oh, I’m telling you, she’s ugly. She loves wines from Walla Walla—she thinks they’re named after her eyes. When she watches tennis, her head never moves. If her tongue could reach my fly she’d be an iguana. When she goes to a blind tasting everybody else puts on blindfolds. I asked her how the sex was. She said it was great, except why didn’t I tell her she needed a pedicure? I don’t get no respect, I tell ya. I asked my wife what she thought of this wine. “It’s great,” she tells me, “and tomorrow night after sex I’ll probably get a case.” Yeah, of the clap.

Charles Bukowski on Headbanger Zinfandel (98 Pts)

I loved this wine. I hit a guy over the head with it in a dark bar after he tried to look up the skirt of the woman I was trying to impress. It was in a paper bag, so I fucked him up blind. Turned out to be Headbanger Zin. Yeah, it did. It coldcocked the asshole and there was still some left in the broken bottom half of the bottle. In the punt. I love punts, I sucked this punt like it was the last fucking punt on Earth, and it was good, until I passed out while the woman took me in her mouth seven or eight times. I think I tasted blackberries and cigarette butt. She tasted last night. We both loved the length. When I woke up the punt was gone. So was the bottle. This wine is great, and I give it 98 points. I love its punt.

James Joyce on Alban Syrah (93 Pts)

The bruiseblue fruit sings to the pitfruit, perhaps peach, maybe arm, and the tongue hears the siren call of the daughters of Terpsichore, indeed a Solidchore of darklyblue dances on the lengua with little bite, and just the bitterness of those who have embraced Mistress Alcohol because you only liver once. And what is liver but the opposite of deader? And, I ask you, kind Syrah, that most Sereine of grapes, Shiraz I’m standing here, can you, Francly, call me a Cab?

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Wine Blog Award Acceptance Speech

No, please, be seated…Really, that’s too much…Please, you’re too kind…Thank you, thank you…I’m overwhelmed, thank you so much…Oh, and barking!, that’s perfect, Poodles barking…I feel like Arsenio Hall…Black and overrated…Please, that’s enough…Everyone please be seated, like 1WineDoody, that’s the idea, Joe…Oh, you’re standing, sorry…Thank you, thank you, thank you…

We’ve changed the world, fellow bloggers. Before we came along people had to rely on professional, paid wine critics for wine recommendations and wine knowledge. Accurate and timely reviews that reflected decades of study and experience. Who needs that crap? Those establishment talking heads peddling the same tired old clichés and tasting notes, all recommending the same damn wines with damn near the same scores. What sort of hell was that we lived in? Old, fat, white guys telling us what wine to drink. It’s like we’d died and gone to the Bush White House. Thank God those days are behind us. We don’t need the corrupt mainstream media any longer. We’re wine bloggers. We have corrupt covered.

We have changed the world, fellow bloggers. Before we came along wineries had it easy. They submitted their wines to those old, fat, white guys—Parker and Laube and Jancis—and waited for scores. Winemakers knew what they liked, knew how to deliver that high-scoring combination of intensity, balance and elegance. And we fell for it. We believed that’s what great wine tasted like. Now we know better, thanks to bloggers. We know that, sure, it may be amazing wine, it might be the stuff of dreams, but is it natural? Without bloggers and their endearing high-pitched whine, we’d never have known that what really matters about wine is not how it tastes, but how it’s produced. This is how men think about their semen. But now we know, thanks to the hard work and insight of  dedicated bloggers, that it’s also how we should think about wine. We have wine bloggers to thank for that. And wineries have taken notice, delivering to bloggers wines with very little taste, but beautifully produced. And the bloggers have graced those wines with high praise indeed.

We have changed the world, fellow bloggers. Before we came along wine and wine knowledge were held in high regard, even reverence. One toiled long years to be recognized as an expert in wine. We’ve changed that. Now wine is seen for what it really is—pedestrian on the face of it. It’s basically just like beer, or energy drinks. Wine is thought of as it should be now, thanks to wine bloggers—crap you buy after taking a leak at the ARCO station. Where once wine was as much about its history and influence on the human race as it was about insobriety, now it’s about how it goes with caftans, rap music and your menstrual cycle. We did that. It’s a modern miracle, really. We live in the age of Devaluation. Dollars, houses, privacy, freedom… And bloggers have added wine to that all important list where it belongs.

We have changed the world, fellow bloggers. Now everyone is a wine critic, a virtual wine expert. And look how that has changed the wine world. Now once important critics have wine blogs! Look at them, they’re everywhere. Suckling, Heimoff, Olken, Gregutt, and a hundred others. Stuff they used to get paid for, they’re now giving away for free! They’re like hookers who finally escaped their pimps. It’s the great Yelpification of wine reviewing, and we achieved that. You don’t have to read a professional review of a wine any more, you can go to CellarTracker and see what a hundred yahoos thought of it, people you’d laugh at in so many other circumstances but who now take on the great import of anonymity. They must know more than I do, they’re on CellarTracker, for fuck’s sake! It’s so much better this way. Honestly, wouldn’t you rather take advice on buying Pinot Noir from someone who has never had their judgment tainted by having tasted all the great wines of Burgundy? Some arrogant creep like that? Why should wines be judged in context? That’s just elitism. If there’s one thing wine blogs have taught us, it’s that experience is vastly overrated. That you should join me on my journey to discover wine, even though I seem to have forgotten my tent, compass and matches.

I’m so proud of us, fellow bloggers. I accept this Wine Blog Award for all of us who toil at the keyboard for no pay and, more importantly, no audience. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other five nominees in my category.

Good night.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What We're Reading

Compiled by the editors of HoseMaster of Wine

DECANTER: The magazine’s recent decision to use the 100 Point Scale when reviewing wines is graciously explained in a post entitled, “Taking it Up the Arse From Parker.” In the same issue, Gerald Asher explores the history of orange wines in “We Love the Smell of Arse in the Morning.” Asher explains the role of Cistercian monks in the creation of orange wines, noting that the aromas “reminded them of their early days in the church being buggered, a term that can be applied to those who purchase today’s orange wines.”

STEVE!: Nothing that happens in Oakland escapes Steve Heimoff’s attention, and in a recent post he writes about the resurgence of the Oakland A’s and how it relates to wine. “With wine, as with baseball, it doesn’t matter how big your budget is,” he writes in his signature haven’t-really-thought-it-through style, “we all come to play with our own balls.” The analogy loses some steam, though, when he begins to talk about being successful with men in scoring position.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Jay McInerney writes a compelling and compassionate article “What the Poor People Are Drinking” in which he blind tastes wines under $40. “I felt so dirty,” he writes, “and so grateful that no one could see the labels of what was inside those brown bags; and yet now I understand the shame the average working man feels having to serve these wines to family and friends. I can’t get the taste of failure out of my mouth.” Lettie Teague has an interesting article on coasters.

1WINEDOODY: In his most fascinating video post yet, Joe Roberts uses Rock’em Sock’em Robots to explain the effects of high alcohol in wines, which he seems to be suffering from in the video. The effect is also aptly demonstrated when he drops his trousers, bends over, and reTweets.

WINE SPECTATOR: James Laube writes a fascinating editorial about “Personality in Wine” and how he’s never had any. The editors look at “Ten Virginia Wineries to Watch” and come up with three. Matt Kramer wonders at the recent California foie gras ban and fears that the same lawmakers will ban Wine Spectator for “similarly shoving absolute crap down people’s throats for years.” Tim Fish on the wine industry’s most important discovery--cardboard.

FOODANDWINE: Wine editor Ray Isle on why supermarket wines are best recommended by supermarket magazines. Turns out it’s like owning a pub near the circus—“if you set the bar too high, it offends the midgets.” Cleanup on Isle four, please. And the results of a Reader Survey answered by their subscriber.

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Jon Bonne remarks on the newest trend in San Francisco restaurants, Transgender Sommeliers. “They seem to have a special affinity for orange wines,” he writes. Also, the Chronicle Tasting Panel sorts through the current trend of lower alcohol in wine, finding that, “not only do the wines express their terroir more intensely, you can refill your car battery with the leftovers.”

VORNOGRAPHY:  Alder makes the case for his inclusion in the Vintners Hall of Fame. “Please make sure and cast your ballots for whomever you think deserves the honor, Robert Parker or some damn Mirassou or other, but if you can find it in your heart, I’d appreciate a write-in vote. I’ll be there some day anyway, I’d just like to enjoy the honor sooner rather than later. I’m the greatest living wine blogger, and a gift to the wine industry.” Gerald Asher responds, “AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! My eyes, my eyes, I’m struck blind!”

WINE AND SPIRITS: Joshua Greene uncovers the allure of Greek wines, “although” he writes, “alcohol was banned in my college fraternity.” Patrick Comiskey sees the future of Washington wines, and it is Lemberger. “It’s rough, it’s harsh, it’s graceless, it’s everything I like in wine. A dead ringer for its cousin Danberger.”