PALATE PRESS: The big news over at Palate Press is that editor David Honig, in tribute to the wooden prose of its contributors, has rechristened the online wine publication, “Pallet Press.” Hell, he can do what he likes, he’s Chairman of the Bored. Among the current features is one exposing the inadequacies of wine competitions. You can’t miss it, it’s right above the vacuous Pallet Press wine review of a Merlot that was awarded 92 points by somebody or other. Dorothy Gaiter, who once wrote the wine column for Wall Street Journal with her husband Wally, contributes an interesting piece on the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux. “While most of the famous Bordeaux went to the Chinese market, I found a few bottles in a Korean liquor store you might like.”
STEVE HEIMOFF: It’s “Out of Ideas” Week over at STEVE!, and you won’t want to miss a single day of it. Monday begins the week with a post on what you do when you run out of ideas, “Post about wine bloggers.” Tuesday, STEVE! makes the case that “my post yesterday should be nominated for next year’s Wine Blog Awards.” Wednesday, it’s a personal reflection on how Wednesday’s piece “strongly affected the way I want to live.” Thursday, a fun-loving return to Monday’s topic, “And I’m the only critic who will even talk about how he’s completely out of ideas, though they all are.” Friday’s post is a return to his usual cry for help.
WINE SPECTATOR: Foodies rejoice! It’s the Grand Awards Issue! Wine Spectator honors restaurants that have wine lists that weigh more than 100 pounds--restaurants that set their tables with a knife and forklift. This year’s new recipients include Thomas Keller’s newest restaurant, Per Rina, where the cuisine is made entirely of dog and cat food. “We like to think,” Keller has said, “that Grandma needs a special restaurant too.” The wine list at Per Rina has more than 1500 selections, including a large selection of Burgundy, as well as a large cuisine-appropriate selection of bottled waters from European toilet bowls. And, something of a surprise, Paula Deen’s new establishment, Minstrel Show, wins an Award of Excellence for its extensive selection of Malbecs. “Somebody tol’ me it’s the black wine of Cahors,” Deen says in the magazine, “so I wanted to have plenty for my darkie friends.” Côt with her gigantic panties down again. Tim Fish writes about tipping sommeliers, “You sneak up on ‘em just like you do with cows and shove really hard.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Jay McInerney takes us on an exclusive tour of billionaire Bill Koch’s wine cellar. “Now that you’re here,” Koch tells him, “my collection of wine frauds is complete.” Koch offers McInerney the chance to try any bottle in his legendary cellar. “Tens of thousands of bottles, the history of wine in a single room, the ghosts of every legendary winemaker from Andre Tschelistcheff to Leroy hovering over us, an open invitation to open bottled history; I didn’t want so see the expression on Koch’s face when I chose the one wine I can never resist. ‘Wow, you have Turley Zin?!’” Lettie Teague opines on concrete eggs, “It saves you a lot of money on birth control.”
Fermentation has another post on the American Wine Consumer Coalition that compares it to Lincoln freeing the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. “Wine consumers are the 21st Century version of slaves; and if I’m exaggerating, well, someone can shoot me in the balcony.” Might be more appropriate to plug him in the lobby.
Charlie Olken over at Connoisseurs’ Guide reflects on his involvement with the AWCC, “Every new member receives a free 1-year subscription to our online publication, or a tostada. One will give you gas, the other is a nice meal.”
Terroirist’s David White reflects on his participation in AWCC. “Consumers need a voice, and, as a former speech writer for George W. Bush, I can tell you, that voice doesn’t have to be smart or honest, it just has to say it with a straight face.”
1WineDoody weighs in on the AWCC, “If you people aren’t willing to stand up to the big distributors and your state legislatures, if you won’t put your money where your winehole is, then you’re just going to end up like Supertramp—no one will give a s**t about you.” Yeah, we don’t know what that means either. I guess he wants us to Give a Little Bit.
Alice Feiring has opened her own branch, “I’ve decided to found the American Natural Wine Consumers Coalition. It’s just like the AWCC, only we try to intervene as minimally as possible. We’re the Authentic voice, though we’re almost always alone.”
The New York Cork Report isn’t convinced, “ We’re skeptical of the AWCC. The last ‘great’ idea Wark had was the Wine Blog Awards. Look at the idiots who win those. The HoseMaster? He writes jokes and insults people. Wine writing is serious business and we won’t tolerate it being any other way.” New York Cork Report is the Taliban of wine blogging, only without the native charm and cool hats.
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."