"One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts."--Samuel Johnson
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Lots I Wish I'd Purchased at Auction Napa Valley
This year’s Auction Napa Valley was an overwhelming success, the various decadent lots bringing in a cool $18.7 million, the equivalent of what auction participants earn every thirty-five seconds. The lot with the highest bid included attendance at an exclusive party after the 2015 Oscars, and the chance to be personally assaulted by Nick Nolte. For the majority of the lots with the highest bids, wine was an afterthought—a fitting reflection of the Valley itself. Glamour, fame, cars, trips, and, oh, yeah, we make wine here.
It hasn’t been talked about much, but there were several auction lots that did rather poorly. In fact, these lots had no bidders. Auction Napa Valley has tried to keep these unwanted lots from the press in an effort to spare the sponsors of the lots embarrassment, but some intrepid reporting has uncovered the details. Frankly, it’s hard to believe the lots didn’t sell. Many blame auctioneer Fritz Hatton, who insisted on dressing as Jerry Lewis, referring to the vintners as “Jerry’s kids,” and performing “You’ll Never Wok Alone” in a bad Korean accent.
Lot 52 Sponsored by Sterling Vineyards
The winning bidder(s) receives six season tickets to Donald Sterling’s private box for the 2014-15 NBA season (no black people need bid). Mr. Sterling will lead guests on a private tour of Staples Center, including a pre-game visit to the Clippers locker room where he’ll repeatedly say, “Look at the size of that one!” Lot includes a private jet to Los Angeles International Airport, a private ride to Staples Center in OJ’s newly-restored white Bronco, accommodations with mixed race hookers in one of Mr. Sterling’s slumlord apartments, and lots and lots of Purell. In the event that the Los Angeles Clippers are sold, or that Mr. Sterling dies, winning bidders get front row seats at the citywide celebration.
Lot 68Sponsored by Apothic
Here’s the chance to make your dream come true! The winner of this exclusive lot gets to be “Embalmer for a Day!” Wonder what it’s like to fill a human’s bloodstream with a mixture of formaldehyde and methanol, just like the makers of Apothic Red? Spend a day at the Napa Valley Mortuary and Wine Bar (the former COPIA), grab a couple of stiff ones, and find out! Who knows, maybe you’ll be embalming somebody rich and famous. Look around you at the other auction tables—how long can it be for most of these rich old farts? Don’t tell anyone, but it turns out if you huff the embalming fluid, it’s just like drinking Colgin from a hot vintage! And, hey, you’ll be in a room full of stiffs—why, it’s like you’re at an editorial meeting at Wine Spectator! This would be fun for the whole family.
Lot 87 Sponsored by Raymond du Soleil Vineyards
Ever wondered what it’s like to be at a private dinner for 60 people at the French Laundry? The winner of this lot will find out when he and five guests are busboys for an evening! The 60 people dining will be there to celebrate Jean-Charles Boisset’s 60th birthday, sponsored by Closet World. Chef Thomas Keller will prepare a special feast for the party guests while managing to find time to personally insult the competence of his auction-winning busboys. Haven’t you always wanted to be treated like insolent children by some of Napa Valley’s most famous cult Cabernet producers? Well, you can either take the time to visit them at their wineries, or you can experience the same treatment as a busboy at America’s greatest restaurant! And if you’re lucky, you might just get a tip. “Hey, kid, buy Scarecrow futures.”
Lot 49Sponsored by Charles Shaw
Dinner with Thomas Pynchon. Chances are he won’t show.
Lot 99Sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners Association
Ten people will travel First Class to France to visit lesser wine regions. Begin in Burgundy, where the minor variety Pinot Noir grows like a weed and smells like a barnyard, whatever that is. We’re from Napa, barns are tasting rooms, right? After that, a trip to the beautiful Loire Valley, where the scenery more than makes up for them making mostly white wine, with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon’s village idiot father, Cabernet Franc, producing wimpy reds. Our trip to lesser regions wouldn’t be complete without stopping in the Northern Rhône, where man first discovered Syrah doesn’t sell unless you call it a fake name, like Hermitage (rhymes with “heritage”). Then it’s Bordeaux to taste some Napa blends, and, finally Champagne, because by then you’ll be tired of wine. As it turns out, there are other regions in the world that produce wine. I know, hard to believe.
Lot 73 Sponsored by the Courts of Masters with Johnsons
The high bidder for this lot will be welcomed as a newly minted Master Sommelier AND official Master of Wine. No need to take any tests or write any dissertations, the titles are both yours to keep. You’ll get the coveted lapel pins, as well as the traditional inflatable Jancis Robinson for your personal enjoyment. Be careful, she’s hard to tell from the real thing! There are only a handful of people in the world who have earned both degrees, though feel free to sell the M.S. for face value and buy yourself a couple bottles of wine. The initials after your name entitle you to unlimited blowhard opinions, free tastings at the world’s finest estates that accept Visa Signature, and the limitless respect of all the Masters of Wine you haven’t heard of. Void where prohibited by humility.
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.
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.