"You can't be satirical and not be offensive to somebody."--Tom Lehrer
Monday, March 17, 2014
How You Can Help With the California Drout
Everywhere you travel in California wine country, people are talking about the Drought. Conserving water is the topic of the day, though really, shouldn’t we also be conserving letters? Why is “draught” beer pronounced “draft,” but “drought” isn’t pronounced “droft?” Fucking English, what a stupid language. So let’s begin by saving letters, which conserves energy after all, and write about the “Drout.” That’s a good start. This very piece on HoseMaster of Wine™ is dedicated to conserving countless “gh”’s. If every citizen did the same, we might save enough energy to have Jim Laube electrocuted at no cost to the public! Tell me that’s not a worthy goal. And even if it’s not quite enough energy for electrocution, we at least get a couple sessions of electro-shock therapy for the guy. Zap his head until he’s a babbling NFL lineman. If you clowns don’t pitch in and conserve, well, we’ll just have to settle for cattle prodding his ass.
This year California is facing its worst drout in hundreds of years. There hasn’t been a drout of this magnitude since I mistakenly put the results of my herpes test on my FaceBook page. (I thought that’s what FaceBook was—a place to talk about stuff on your face. Turns out, for the most part, like the adolescent behavior it represents, it is.) Neither of these drouts is going away any time soon. As a public service, for those of my fourteen readers who live in California (Hi, Dad and Moms! You put the “gamy” in polygamy!), I’m providing some suggestions for how ordinary people, and also wineries, can help during this challenging drout.
For those with a spiritual bent, pray for Jesus to return and convert all that wine Treasury Estates had to dump back into water.
You can bet Treasury Estates wishes He would return and do a backwards, one-and-a-half transubstantiate and eliminate that pool of unsellable wine by turning it into water. Wine turned back into bottled water by Jesus?! Wow, that would be even more expensive than Evian. You could come up with all kinds of cool labels for it, too. "The Father, The Son, and the Holy Water." "H2OMG." I can see the print ads now—“Have a nice cold glass of 'Miracle on Ice.'” This is an idea that not only adds to our dwindling water supply, it saves one of our precious wine conglomerates. And what would be better than a cool glass of Holy Water before The Rapture?
Women who frequent winery tasting rooms should stop wearing goddam lipstick.
It takes an amazing amount of extra water to wash the traces of lipstick off a wine glass. Why are you putting on lipstick to taste wine? You’re already drunk. You don’t look any better drunk because you’re wearing lipstick. Wearing lipstick to taste wine is like piercing your nipples to get better radio reception. What the hell is wrong with you? We’re in the middle of a drout! We’re wasting water trying to get the lipstick smudges off the glassware because you care more about your appearance than you care about other people. I hope you know that when children don’t have clean water to drink, it’s going to be all your fault.
Winemakers making wines over 16.5% alcohol should stop adding water to the must.
We know you’re doing it. There’s a damned shortage of water, and you’re grabbing a hose and adding water back to your fermentations! Why? So you can make ridiculously lousy wine from raisins? Get higher scores by eliminating all the water you can out of the grapes while they’re still on the vine, then adding water in the winery to make the shit palatable? Then call it “long hang time.” Listen, long hang times are for Dr. J or John Holmes, not wine. Pick the grapes to make wine, not trail mix. Take all that water out of the ground and let it evaporate, then take more out of the ground and add it to the must? Just to win Gold Medals at wine competitions judged by people suffering with ageusia? Idiot. This the HoseMaster speaking, “PUT THE HOSE DOWN!” We need that water! Thank you.
If you’re the dimwit that rinses his wine glass between every taste, knock it off.
Who the hell taught you to do that? If you’re going to drink it, fine, stay hydrated, that’s important, it keeps the hangover from being nasty. Know what’s better? SPIT! You think rinsing your glass with water makes you look wine knowledgeable, but you’re wrong. It makes you look like a dick. Rinsing your wine glass between tastes is about as smart as brushing your teeth between every kiss. Not the way to impress the people you’re tonguing. Get over it. You cannot tell the difference between the Pinot Noir you’re tasting, and the same Pinot Noir with a milliliter of Chardonnay in it! You can’t even tell it’s 5% Syrah. Stop wasting our precious water on your profoundly stupid habit you think is professional. It’s tap water! You know what they put in that stuff to make it potable? Chlorine and anti-fish milt. Gallons of anti-fish milt. Trust me, once you taste it, you can’t get the flavor of milt out of your mouth. Ask any sperm whale. There’s nothing in tap water you’d ever put in wine and get away with. However, it can add flavor to an awful lot of white wines referred to euphemistically as “crisp.” So there’s that. But just stop rinsing between tastes! You look stupid.
Buy less wine.
If anything can help the current miserable drout conditions, it would be to lower the demand for wine. There’s even talk that the Chinese demand for California wine is, in fact, an evil, government-sponsored conspiracy to worsen the water supply in California and cause the state’s collapse. Every year, more and more vineyards are planted in order to satisfy the demands of wine drinkers all over the world. California fruit growers tear out their orchards and groves and plant vineyards because they can’t compete pricewise with whom? THE CHINESE! Starting to see the big picture now, genius? So by buying less wine, you not only conserve our most precious resource, you’re screwing the Chinese. Now the question is, where do you stop buying wine? Simple. Don’t ever buy wine at gas stations or 7-11’s. Why do I have to even say this? Who buys “Yosemite Road” wine from 7-11? Have you been on a road in Yosemite? Oh, delicious, I detect the meaty flavor of road kill in my Chardonnay. This will go good with my microwave dog puke I’m having for lunch here. Yes, I know it will be hard to stop buying the wines recommended by the guy in charge of the pumps at the Shell station, but, really, is it that big a deal to swallow your pride, help conserve water during this desperate situation, and follow the reviews of Tim Fish? Hell, he'll soon be a Fish out of water anyway. Yes, it’s a lot to ask. But the future of our industry relies on everyone buying less wine, and on following the advice of perfect strangers.
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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