“…any food product that feels compelled to tell you it’s natural in all likelihood is not.”—-Michael Pollan
Thursday, September 19, 2013
The Next Winemaker Dinner at Restaurant Gougé
Restaurant Gougé is pleased to announce our upcoming winemaker dinner with Splooge Estate on Tuesday, October 29th. Chef Ptomaine will create a special menu to pair with the Natural, Authentic and Certified Sensitive® wines of Splooge Estate, one of California’s many wineries. Joining us to talk about the wines will be owners Richard and Lotta Splooge, as well as Splooge Estate’s winemaker Seaman Samples.
At Restaurant Gougé, winemaker dinners are not just a way to fill empty seats on a Tuesday night. Don’t be cynical. We have empty seats damn near every night. But that’s because it’s so hard to get reservations. Yes, our phone number is unlisted, and if you try to make a reservation on Open Table, you get a message saying, “There are no reservations available within five hours of your requested time—not the way you dress.” That’s the way we like it. So, no, unlike so many restaurants who have “special” winemaker dinners every two weeks, which makes them about as “special” as One Day Only sales at Macy’s, Restaurant Gougé will only create winemaker dinners when a winery comes along that produces wines that rise to the level of our food. And regular guests of Gougé know that our cuisine is nothing if not risible.
Upon arrival, guests of the Splooge Estate winemaker dinner will be greeted by proprietors Dick and Lotta Splooge with a celebratory glass of their very special The Linoleum Project™ Sparkling Blue Hungarian. Blue Hungarian is a very rare hybrid grape, a cross between Green Hungarian and Zsa Zsa Gabor (so shouldn’t it be “Blew Hungarians?”). Only 29 bottles of Sparkling Blue Hungarian were produced before the rest were confiscated by Homeland Security. Be forewarned, the wines of Splooge Estate, and its sister label The Linoleum Project™, are Natural. There may be some bottle variation, and, with Sparkling Blue Hungarian, there may even be shrapnel. Authentic Sparkling Blue Hungarian is fermented in the bottle, using an ancient, nearly forgotten, process where a small mushroom is placed inside each bottle, and the bacteria and yeast present on the mushroom create the bubbles. This process was known by 17th Century monks as Méthode Champignon. Seaman Samples tells us that he uses very special mushrooms for the process, so, don’t worry, those monkeys flying out of his butt aren’t likely to be real.
Like most winemaker dinners the world over, the Splooge Estate dinner isn’t the least bit about pairing wines with food. Food and wine pairing, it is generally recognized, is a fairly stupid pursuit, like jogging, or how they caught O.J. Food is only necessary at a winemaker dinner so that you can drink more. And at home, it’s just an incredible waste of time to try and match that slop you call dinner with a fine wine. In the case of Splooge Estate, their wines are Certified Sensitive®. Let’s say you tried to pair the 2010 Splooge Estate Tempradillo (a very rare variety, much prized by chefs because it brings its own plates) with hamburgers. Are you kidding me? Hamburgers? With a Certified Sensitive® wine?! Do you even have feelings, for Christ’s sake? Do you know what they put in hamburger these days? Cows, and parts of cows that dangle. Meat fucking byproducts. I don’t even know what that is. Really. What are human byproducts? Bougars and pus? You can’t drink a Natural wine with that. That defeats the whole goddam purpose. Splooge Estate does its best to be carbon neutral, and you’re accompanying their wine with food from animals whose burps have turned the planet into Death Valley? Jesus. What a bunch of idiots. And you wonder why we prefer empty seats here at Restaurant Gougé.
So Chef Ptomaine will be serving food with the wines of Splooge Estate without particularly caring if it tastes good with them. It’s a winemaker dinner, that’s how they work. What would be the point of spending countless hours trying to find the perfect match for each wine when we can simply use up the stuff we haven’t been able to sell off the menu? After the first two courses, no one cares anyway. It’s a drunkfest, face it. That’s why you come, isn’t it? Sure seems like it. So what do you want? Wines you haven’t tasted before AND food you haven’t had from us before, too? No, of course not. That makes no sense. Good. Glad we agree.
Don’t worry, we won’t let the Splooges talk very much, and we certainly won’t allow Seaman Samples to drone on and on like he usually does. First of all, he’ll probably show up drunk. Which is fine because at least he’s an Authentic drunk. But, then, if we let him, he’d babble incoherently for hours about all the Natural and Orgasmic and Holistic and Spiritual ways Splooge Estate farms its vineyards. We’ve heard this speech, believe us, it’s out there. Do you really want to hear how they use the cadavers of wine club members who leave them their remains in their wills as insectories while you’re eating your tournedos of beef? Didn’t think so. And, really, who doesn’t sucker their vines in the spring with trained beavers? Who gives a dam? At Restaurant Gougé, we understand that you have dozens of winemaker dinners to choose from all over the city on any given slow week day. We strive to make ours appear exclusive, and to assure you that you won’t have to listen to a boring winemaker who’s eating up your valuable drinking time.
It’s hard to imagine a more magical evening that the Splooge Estate winemaker dinner at romantic Restaurant Gougé. We’ve rented special glassware just for the occasion, so you’ll want to get here early to find the ones with the fewest hard water stains. The evening begins promptly at 6 PM, but if you’d like to come a little early and beef up on our Happy Hour buffet, that might be a good idea. Don’t tell Splooge Estate, but Sparkling Blue Hungarian is great with Buffalo wings. Put some in your purse, our service tends to be especially slow during winemaker dinners, and you may get hungry between courses, because, well, a microwave is only so big.
Seating is limited, so be sure and grab a chair when the music stops. The Splooge Estate winemaker dinner is a rare chance to taste the wines our sommelier calls, “Heart-pounding, like CPR.” Remember, it’s a winemaker dinner. Please leave your critical faculties at home, where they belong.
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
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
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"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
"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
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--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."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.