“…any food product that feels compelled to tell you it’s natural in all likelihood is not.”—-Michael Pollan
Monday, December 9, 2013
Lo Hai Qu is A Wine Judge!
Lo Hai Qu seems to have my overflowing wine cellar under control, wineries are killing themselves to get the HoseMaster of Wine™ to review their wines, can you blame them, so, as a reward, I’ve once again turned the blog over to her. She’s sort of a loose cannon, “loose” being the key word, but, hey, everybody loves Lo Hai Qu.
OK, so I’m sitting at this big table, it’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, there’s twelve wine glasses in front of me filled with Nebbiolo, like I know what the fuck Nebbiolo is, I thought it was the company that makes, like Nilla Wafers (which is gonna be my stripper name, which, the way the wine business pays, will be any day now—I already got a Chilean for the job—which is like a Brazilian except the water always flows west), and I’m kinda drunk. Not like waking up with 1WineDoody drunk, there’s not enough Moscato in Detroit for that to happen, more like I think my nipples are asleep drunk. But the thing is, I have to taste all these Benniolos and give ‘em medals. I’m a fuckin’ wine judge, Baby, it’s how we roll!
I’m one famous blogbitch, you know. And blogbitches rule, blogdicks drool. So one day I’m sitting at home playing the Home Version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” with the UPS guy, and can that guy deliver OverNight, and I get an email asking Lo Hai Qu if she wants to be a wine judge for this wine competition I never heard of, “The International Gaia Wine Competition.” Hey, I’m thinking, I’m not Gaia. Me and my girlfriends make out now and then when we’re all buzzy, but that’s just to get free drinks. But then I keep reading, and it’s a wine competition where all the judges are women. So it seems like they’re having a hard time getting women to judge, which is news to me. Judge is what we do. Anyway, they heard of Lo Hai Qu, read my Wine Blog Award winning piece here on Blogdick of Wine™, and they be wantin’ me to judge. I am all over that like white on MW’s.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, sometimes it’s like my brain goes all dead like I’m the mayor of Crackville, Canada, but I asked the HoseMaster about what it’s like being a wine judge. Eight hours later he finally stops talking. Man, he is so old. He’s got like hair growing out of his tongue. He’s telling me horror stories about judging. Of course, he’s always the fucking hero, he’s the guy who knows everything about wine, and how to judge. He makes it sound like he’s some sort of Solomon Rushdie or something, like wisdom oozes from him, which would explain why you stick to his couch. Anyway, he’s judged like a billion wine competitions, and he’s telling me about all the worst judges he’s seen. All the know-it-alls and crackpots. Like some woman at a competition who only did two things wrong. She wore perfume and she didn’t spit. Fuck, that’s what I put on my OKCupid profile. I just tuned him out and sat there wishing I was having my teeth pulled out without anesthetic instead. Same thing I do when I’m watching Guy Fieri. You ever notice, Guy’s hair looks like guano, like fucking seagulls nest on that numbskull.
I have to admit, I was really nervous the first time I sat down to judge. My pits were wetter than 2013 in Bordeaux. I was with two other lady judges, and I guess I thought they knew more about wine than me. They were kind of eyeballing me funny, like checking me out, and then they get all pissy that I’m having a cigarette before we start. OK, I smoke, so fucking sue me. Lots of people who smoke buy wine, maybe I’m representing those people. Sure, the Gaia Competition has winemakers, sommeliers, journalists…what about real people? I get nervous, I light up. Don’t judge me. Drinking and smoking go together, like drinking and driving. I’m just the only one who admits it. Unlike these two hippo-crits I’m judging with. But I’m a newbie with a doobie, so I put my butt out and get to work, like I’m Nilla Wafers, Wine Stripper.
So not once did anybody tell me that we have to judge 120 wines the first day. After the first flight, I grab my purse and I’m almost outta there when the hippo-crits ask me where I’m going. Where I’m going is the hotel bar, like any good wine judge, where I’m gonna get a cocktail to wash the taste of these cheap goddam Chardonnays outta my mouth, that’s where I’m going. But it turns out we got like ten more flights to judge! Crap.
I was all worried about the judging part, but it turns out it’s easysleazy. You smell every wine, which, really, doesn’t tell you shit. Sure, every other moron tells you that taste is 70% smell. So what. Foreplay is 70% of sex and no one does that. Taste is 70% smell. That’s like saying basketball is 70% hockey. Stupid. Anyway, you smell the wines, like those Chardonnays Under $15 (what kind of fucked up competition is this? Like there’s Chardonnays Over $15…), and then you taste them one at a time. And, yes, I spit. The only thing the HoseMaster told me that made any sense was that judges wait to get drunk until after the judging part, with people they actually like, not the clowns on their panel.
So then comes the weird part. You have to give a medal to every wine. Unless you give it no medal. It’s kinda hard at first because what’s a bronze wine? Sometimes it’s easy, like I had a Chardonnay that smelled like Coppertone, so I gave it a Bronze! See, that’s easy. But then what’s a Silver? Like a Bronze with a nice booty? Gold medals are easy. I like giving Gold Medals, it’s like when you’re a little kid and your teacher gives you all those Gold Stars. Come to think of it, if wine is so fucking sophisticated, why are all the rating systems like what we had when we’re in elementary school? Gold, Stars, and 100 Points! It’s like the wine experts think of us as those special ed kids, the ones who wear helmets all the time, like football players. We’re just so many dumb kids in the class to them. But we must be, I guess, cuz we keep listening to those old white guys.
The two hippo-crits and me tasted like 250 wines in two days. They were kind of stingy with the medals, all picky and up in my face when I gave like 14 Gold Medals in a row. Hey, I fucking needed a butt right then, OK? Maybe I tasted a little fast, but there were judges a lot faster. One panel was done by 11 AM. Three old white women. They haven’t moved that fast since before they had their leg bags installed. We got the job done, my homely girls and me. I hope they invite me back to judge next year! I had a really good time, and, you know what I learned? 70% of wine judging is giving medals!
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
"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
"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."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.