Monday, October 14, 2013
The HoseMaster's Wine Genius Grants
There’s a lot of hoopla surrounding the annual announcement of the MacArthur “Genius” Grants. This year, I was passed up once again. I know, hard to believe. I’m the Philip Roth of MacArthur Genius Grants, the Pete Rose, the Harold Stassen, the other Pope who’s still alive but no one gives a Ratzinger’s ass. What does it fucking take to get that MacArthur? I’m damned near out of genius. But for $125,000/year for five years, I can keep cranking out this brilliant stuff . Hell, that’s Lettie Teague money.
Frankly, I need the money. What stinks is that there isn’t any way to actually apply for a MacArthur Grant. You have to be recommended by one of an anonymous group of experts to an anonymous panel of judges. So it’s just like “America’s Got Talent.” Sadly, in that case, it seems as though my genius is doomed to go unnoticed.
However, in looking through the list of MacArthur geniuses, I noticed that not a single one had anything to do with wine. Not really a surprise. After all, wine and genius go together like monkeys and table manners. But, I wondered, why do we have to aim so high? Attaining genius is rarefied air, attained only by the likes of the greatest composers, the finest writers, and those guys at Apple stores. Why can’t we have grants for people in the wine business who aren’t necessarily geniuses, but who think they are? I could win that. And I can nominate a bunch of others. (Finally, the premise arrives…)
WINE GENIUS Greg Lambrecht!
Greg Lambrecht invented the Coravin, a device which allows you to drink from any bottle of wine sealed with a cork without having to remove the capsule or the cork itself. This is the stuff of pure wine genius. Reputedly, Lambrecht began thinking about this problem no one else has when his wife was pregnant, gave up drinking wine regularly, and, like most geniuses, he didn’t have a single goddam friend to drink wine with. Now, using a specialized medical needle he’d patented, a needle previously used only for delicate surgeries and making really nice popcorn strings for Christmas, Lambrecht found a way to penetrate the cork, remove a glass of wine, and fill the remainder of the bottle with argon gas (harvested, I believe, from flatulent Argonauts). In the great tradition of wine, the hallowed tradition of Riedel stemware, Vinturis, and wine magnets, Lambrecht created a whole new category of useless wine toy—a $300 gizmo, of limited production, of course, because every wine dweeb knows that everything valuable in wine is of limited production, that is the equivalent of a sterling silver caviar spoon. “Really? You actually opened your bottle of ’61 La Chapelle last night? Was it the servants’ day off?” The Coravin seems to be indicative of this era’s incessant need to pierce our most precious things—nipples, check; clitoris, check; old Burgundy corks, check. “Hey, Baby, want to see my piercings? Come down into my wine cellar and I’ll show you what I put my needle through.” As with all men’s toys, it’s overtly sexual, all about secret penetration. Using a Coravin is essentially wine frottage.
And, honestly, what good is a Coravin unless you have a Drilaporker® to use along with it? The Drilaporker®, which uses a high-tech, titanium fork to take one bite at a time out of a live pig so that you can savor your favorite pig for years to come!
Of course, the good news is there will be a lot fewer assholes complaining about corks as a closure from now on. Assholes with Coravins! Thank you, Wine Genius Greg Lambrecht!
WINE GENIUS Eric LeVine!
Genius is often found in the creative juxtaposition of the simplest insights. What do wine people like to do more than anything else? Not drink wine, though that would seem to be the right answer. No, wine people like to give their stupid opinions about wines to anyone who will listen. Now, what, when you get right down to it, is the Internet? The Internet is an infinite receptacle for stupid opinions, half-truths, misinformation and photographs of kitties. Why not combine those two insights? What if there were a place where wine people could go and share their wine opinions? Voila! CellarTracker was born. Originally a personal creation, Eric LeVine opened it up for anyone to use to track their personal wine cellars and post public notes on the wines they’ve consumed. Now you no longer have to hang around your local wine shop to hear someone say something worthless about a wine, you can go online to CellarTracker and hear thousands of people contributing to the white noise of wine criticism. Experts are so last millennium. Do the math. Why pay to read a wine critic with 50 years of experience when, with the click of a mouse, you can see the unbiased opinions of 50 people with at least a year of experience?! Or ten people with five years of experience? And, best of all, they’re all men! But, remember, it’s just like Twitter. If you expect people to follow you, you have to follow them, too. Thus, if you review wines on CellarTracker, defend its value to the death! This is how the virtual world works. You pretend you’re a hero on Dungeons and Dragons, and pretend you’re a wine expert on CellarTracker.
Eric LeVine had the brilliant insight that the Internet ultimately devalues everything. That humans will gladly take lousy advice for free over quality advice they have to pay for. He is clearly worthy of the title, Wine Genius! Though he forgot to include a place for the photos of kitties.
WINE GENIUS Wilfred Wong!
The wine buyer for BevMo, Wilfred Wong is also their most important wine reviewer. OK, this is genius. That 80 case floor stack in all 140 BevMo locations of The Incredible Bulk 2012 Sauvignon Blanc? Look at the review! 92 Points, and it’s only $6.99. Wow. That’s an amazing value. Who gave it 92 Points? Wilfred Wong! Well, he must know, he bought it. Plus, why would he exaggerate? Give me a case. I can tell my friends it got 92 Points from a famous reviewer. My friends are at least as stupid as I am.
You know, it’s a damned shame the rest of the world doesn’t get to do this. “Maison Pichette is clearly worthy of three Michelin stars!”—Chef Pichette. And, hey, I’ve had sex with myself, and I can truthfully say, no one is better, but women never believe me. But, then, I’m no Wilfred Wong. Though, yes, I can give you a case.
And let’s not forget the legendary BevMo 5¢ Sale. More genius. People actually believe they’re getting a deal. “Hey, that wine was horrible, but for a nickel, hell, I’ll take another.” Last time I went to the 5¢ Sale I decided to give the second bottle to an old wino hanging around the parking lot.
“Fucking cheapskate,” he thanked me.
Thank you, Wilfred, you’re a Wine Genius.