"Irreverence is easy--what's hard is wit."--Tom Lehrer
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Lo Hai Qu at a Wine Auction
I’m not sure this is a good idea, but I’m turning over HoseMaster of Wine™ again to my intern, Lo Hai Qu. She wouldn’t let me read her piece first, so I’m nervous. Like a lot of Millennials, she’s a pretty angry person. I tell her, it wasn’t me who screwed things up, it was my parents. But she doesn’t believe me. So, to placate her, I give her the chance to blow off some steam, talk about whatever is on her mind. I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
OK, so me and my girlfriends were kinda drunk the other night, we were so wasted we were twerking the corks out of bottles of Korbel, firin’ Blancs up our booties, and we started talking about what we’d do when we had a lot of money. My friend Loqueesha said she was going to buy the Lakers and make them all wear frilly panties instead of shorts like the girlies they really are. That’s pretty awesome. But it might work better in the NFL where most of the players don’t really know what’s going on anyway from all the brainal injuries they have. Be like the Oakland Panty Raiders. Bang! The Raiders been Lo-botomized! Shizzangela said that when she had a lot of money she was going to buy Burgundy. Not bottles of Burgundy, the whole goddam appellation of Burgundy! She wants to own all the Côtes—D’Or, de Nuits, and Clive. Yup, you own the first two, you own the last. Lisa (what a stupid name) said she would buy the French Laundry so she could clean all the Laker panties. Lisa’s kinda dim sum. She doesn’t even know the French Laundry isn’t really a laundry—it only feels like you’ve been taken to the cleaners.
So I said, when I have tons of money, I’m going to go to the Napa Valley Wine Auction and buy every fucking lot! And then, after I buy all that wine, and all those dinners and trips and hip happy endings, I’m going to just throw them all away. Like right there, in front of all those self-important clowns. Pick up that salamineo of 2007 MyShitDontStink Cabernet and break it in the Meadowood parking lot so some of those losers get flat tires on their Teslas. Or maybe give away some of those fancyass winemaker dinners for thirty of my closest friends to a bunch of homeless crackheads living under the Napa River bridge. Some of whom passed the first level WSET, so they’d enjoy it. That’s what I’d do if I had bookoo bucks. That, and get killer tits.
See, I’d be like the richest person there, so I’d get to act like it, like they do at those wine auctions. Get drunk and spend obscene amounts of money, hobnob with other really rich folks in that way they do, learn the secret One Percent handshake, you know, the one where you shake the middle class guy’s hand while, with your left hand, you’re stealing his wallet, and acting all like the queen of America, the fucking aristocracy, but it’s all for charity, dammit, so it’s cool. Spending money on wasteful shit you really want and acting all superior when it’s not for charity? That’s not cool. That’s an episode of “Real Housewives of Dante’s Inferno.” But for charity, it’s all cool like polar bear stool.
I’d be drunker than a Vatican sommelier the whole time. There are all these events and dinners and tastings and buttlicking seminars, and I’d be Lo-quacious and Lo-tacular everywhere I went. First, I’d rent out the whole Auberge du Soleil cuz I love all the acrobats and contortionists that are in the show. The Auberge would be my home base for the whole auction. I know one year Wine Spectator rented the whole place. And, just to show they were players too, Wine and Spirits took over the Calistoga Motel 6. “We’ll leave the lightweight on for you.” Mutineer Magazine had a trailer at the Old Grist Mill.
When my girlfriends and me read about those bigshot wine auctions, we want to gag. We start to dry heave reading about all the parties. Like the magnum party that dirigible Marvin Shanken throws every year. Everybody is supposed to bring a 1.5 to the party. I’m thinking, yeah, 1.5, that’s what most of those guys are carrying in their pants. Sure, I’m here just to help out the Napa Valley Hospital, donate to charity, not to flaunt my wealth and bad taste. See, I brought a magnum of Dunn Howell Mountain, and it’s signed by Thurston Howell himself! Aren’t I fucking awesome!
I’m hoping that Millennials don’t keep that shit up. How stupid are Baby Boomers? So you go to Napa Valley, California, or Sonoma Valley, California, or Naples, Old Fuck Florida, and you rub elbows with rich people who own wineries. Wineries? That’s why you want to hang out with them? Because they own wineries? Idiots. They want to hang out with you because you’re the kind of fool whose money helps dig even bigger caves, builds even fancier wineries, finances and glorifies immodesty and decadence. They want to meet you worse than you could ever want to meet them. They got a lot of $150, 91-Point wine to sell you.
OK, here's the thing. One day, like three thousand years from now, if there even are humans and it’s not cockroaches running the world, some archaeologists are going to dig up Napa Valley and you know what they’re going to think? It’s the Egyptian Pharaohs all over again! Rich kings and queens who built shrines to themselves on hilltops, dug huge decorated caves filled with priceless knickknacks, the walls filled with glowing praise and indecipherable numbers, lived in enormous castles where they received the tributes of the little people--the tourists, the sychophants, the athletes in frilly panties, the marginally talented wine buyers and sommeliers who kissed their bungs and wore kneepads to beg for allocations. These kings of the 21st Century, who viewed themselves as artists and poets, as translators of God’s soil, the Chosen Cru! These titans once ruled the Land, and, once a year, they gave until it hurt. An auction. For good, to do good. It was the least they could do.
People from all over the world, three thousand years from now, will have themselves transported to the Napa Valley of the Kings to view the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Wine World. The Sterling tram, the molecular transporter of its day! One minute you were in the parking lot, the next you were magically levitated to a magnificent Moorish castle. Oh, how grand it must have been. And even today, September 5013, they still have 2009 Merlot to sell. And, look, there’s the rail bed of the Napa Valley Wine Train, rumored to have once hit six miles per hour, triple the average driving speed through St. Helena. And can that be the Temple of Darioush? Built entirely of expensive oak. Not the Temple, the reputation. Oh, Napa Valley, what a magical place this once must have been.
So that’s my plan. Just go every year to the Napa Valley Auction and buy all the shit. Wouldn’t that just ruin everybody’s fun? And isn’t that what money is for? Taking everything cool in life and making it all about money. The best stuff? You can’t afford it. Sorry. Fuck you, hey, we support the hospital. Without us, you’d wouldn’t have that job changing the bedpans.
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.
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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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--San Francisco Chronicle
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