Monday, November 10, 2014

A Master Sommelier Gives a Winery Tour


Hello, everyone, my name is Larry Anosmia and I’ll be your tour guide today around our spectacular estate and winery. Before we get started, I’d like to make a few announcements.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I am a Master Sommelier. Have any of you seen the movie, “Somm?” No? Not surprising. It went straight to pay-per-Vieux. Anyway, a Master Sommelier degree is the highest degree one can attain as a wine expert, except for maybe Master of Wine, or Acker Merrall wine fraud consultant. So I’ll thank you not to question my opinions during today’s tour. You may ask me as many wine questions as you desire, but please be aware that I have been professionally trained to knowingly smirk at asinine questions, so my disdain is not aimed specifically at you.

That said, there are a few questions that I am tired of answering, and so, in an effort to save time during the tour of our spectacular estate and winery, I shall briefly address them now.

Please do not ask me what the “legs” mean. The only thing the “legs” reveal is the stupidity of the person asking about the “legs.”

Please do not ask which is better, a screw cap or a cork. A cork is clearly a superior seal. Think about it. If you open a bottle with a screw cap, you can reseal it with a cork if you want. You can’t remove a cork from a bottle and then reseal it with a twist-top.  It just spins around on top like a Bill Cosby female employee. Screw caps are for women. Men like flashy corkscrews and other gizmos. A screw cap is designed for convenience and removing the possibility of having a corked wine. We men scorn that kind of thinking. It takes the adventure out of wine. It’s really like wearing a condom, which all men hate. It’s way more fun to gamble, and it feels better.

Please do not ask the difference between French oak and American oak. This is advanced wine information, and the differences are far too subtle for you to understand. Though it must be fairly obvious that oak from France surrenders its flavors far more readily.

Please don’t mention the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy stomps the grapes. Everyone in the wine business is sick of this reference. You can be certain that you are the thousandth fuckwit to mention it. While you’re at it, be the ten thousandth cretin to use the pun “Que Syrah Syrah.” Do you really think you’re the first to come up that? Or that it’s even the least bit amusing? Lucille Ball and Doris Day references? Really? Next time, instead of visiting wine country, try the Hollywood Wax Museum. Or, better yet, the Wine Wax Museum, otherwise known as Wine Spectator Editorial Offices. James Laube looks almost lifelike! And so does his statue.

Our tour today will take about two hours because, as a Master Sommelier, I love to hear myself talk. While we are walking around our spectacular estate and winery, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow.

When walking through our biodynamic, Certified Sensitive© vineyard, please be certain to speak quietly and refer to each vine’s nameplate and call each vine by its proper name. Do not just say, “Hey, Bud” because they’ll all get confused. When walking through the Chardonnay, keep your stupid opinions to yourself. Chardonnay doesn’t like you much either, but is too Certified Sensitive© to say so.

When in the barrel room, do not make bunghole jokes. Violators will be subject to battonage. This can lead to discomfort, or even a ;

Our wines are carefully bottled unfined, unfiltered, and unexpectedly. If you see a cellar worker sneaking up on a barrel, do not shout, “Look out!” Bottling unexpectedly is the way the finest wines in the world are bottled, and the purpose is to shock the wine now so it doesn’t have bottle shock later. It can also reduce sulfur issues as it literally scares the crap out of the wine. All the great Burgundies are made sur lie and sur pris. Which you’d know if you were a Master Sommelier.

Do not ask what that thing that looks like a big radiator does. It’s some other winery’s filter.

When the tasting begins, do not say that you only drink red wines. We do not sanction wine racism. Didn’t your mother teach you not to judge by color? White wines are every bit the equal of red wines, and we don’t need your ugly discriminatory thoughts expressed near our Certified Sensitive© white wines. You’ll give them a complex. That said, it’s OK to hate Pinot Grigio since complex isn’t its thing.

All your valuables must be locked in your car before the tour of our winery begins. This includes young children. Ask yourself why you brought young children to our winery in the first place. If you can’t afford a babysitter, you sure as hell can’t afford our wine.

If you obey all of these simple rules, I’m certain you will enjoy today’s tour. After all, we never forget that we’re in the hospitality business. And, as a Master Sommelier, I’m in the business of never letting you forget I’m a Master Sommelier.

I’m Larry Anosmia MS, and I invented selfies.



36 comments:

Micah Nasarow said...

Hehe...I like these kind of posts from you. These are the best.

I feel like a patron at a "observation-type" stand up comic show, slapping my thigh laughing saying..."That is soo true...soo true."

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Micah,
Thanks. The post stems from the fact that most of the people who get a Master Sommelier credential end up working not as a sommelier, but for some rich winery or a big winery conglomerate. So I thought I'd let the always annoying Larry Anosmia give a tour of the upscale, boutique, trendy winery where he works.

I've had it in my head for a long time to use Larry as another voice on the blog, a counterpoint to Lo Hai Qu. We'll see. I probably should have killed him when I had the chance.

Long Board said...

Ron, you made me squirt some of my morning Latte through my nose with "or even a ;" line.

You owe me $4.75

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Oded, is that you? Must be.

Sorry about the Latte, but I do have a legal disclaimer on the site for people who drink morning beverages while reading HoseMaster of Wine™. I'm not liable. I am, however, often libel.

You owe me for your free subscription. Wine will work...

Karl Kelsey said...

"Sur Lies" reminds me of the now famous Surley beer, made in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Beer tours are also fun but quite different. Surley will give you a tour, I am sure, but it does not include a confused, uncaring and unsmelling guide; it is also without any sur pris (now that the election is over neither Al Franken or Amy Klobachar will be there). And the only battonage you will find is that used by Princess Kay of the Milky Way (the winner of a fun filled contest now running 61 years at the MN state Fair) for her talent event.

Great stuff!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Karl,
The only beer tours I've ever taken were the kind that end up in the Porcelain Room.

Princess Kay of the Milky Way sounds delightful. Who doesn't love a good twirler?

Rob Romano said...

Love the Certified Sensitive!

On the other had, I only buy wines that are labeled, "Guaranteed 100% Non-Biodynamic"

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Rob,
Certified Sensitive wines were trademarked at Splooge Estate a few years ago. They're now all the rage in the industry. Certified Sensitive wines are not just Natural and Authentic, they're also very emotional. One mustn't disparage a Certified Sensitive wine in the glass--it's right there, jackass, it can hear you! Keep your stupid opinions to yourself! (the same mantra as Natural Wine proponents).

Wow, a bunch of rare common taters this morning! Cool. Thanks so much. Always fun to see different faces around these parts.

Georgios Hadjistylianou said...

That I never understood...... Why became a MS and stop working as a Sommelier in a restaurant or a wine store?

Keep it up great posts.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Georgios,
Man, I haven't seen that many vowels since I undressed Vanna White. I was looking for the Prize Puzzle.

I've often wondered where the "Master Sommelier" term originated. Obviously, Master of Wine was taken. As was Master of the Universe. But "Master Sommelier" just sounds stupid when you think about it. You're a Sommelier, or you're not. No "master" about it. There's not an Apprentice Sommelier, or a Junior Sommelier.

Most seem to start as a sommelier, then study for the MS exam, maybe pass, then they immediately quit being a sommelier.

I preferred to be called "Mister Sommelier." Said in my best Sidney Poitier impression.

Lori said...

Guaranteed to borrow the line "we do not sanction wine racism here"! Thank you for the morning laughter.

pam strayer said...

Love the line about "Pay per Vieux"!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Lori,
Only in the wine business can you say, "I don't like whites" and not get a cross burned in your lawn.

When someone says that to me, I know instantly that they know almost nothing about wine. "Oh," they say, "but I know what I like." Which is what pyromaniacs and child molesters say.

Pam,
Thanks. I love the stupidest puns the best, too.

Thanks for chiming in! It's fun being a common tater!

Thomas said...

I was going to say something, but all the new taters beat me to everything I was going to say. Obviously, they have nothing else to do but sit at their screens all day...

Oh, wait: no one mentioned that Master Sommelier and Morris Szyslak have the same initials.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,
Great line! You made me laugh out loud, though nothing came out my nose.

See common taters, that's how it's done.

Thomas said...

Where do I send the bill?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,
Send it to Long Board.

Charlie Olken said...

I can't imagine why Larry Anosmia would want to die. He is the hero of so much good work. But, correct me if I am wrong. Did he not kill off April Cadaver?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,
Well, no, Larry Anosmia didn't kill Avril (not April) Cadavril (not Cadaver). Avril disappeared and was presumed kidnapped. No body was found. I think Tiny might have done it. But we'll never know.

I did kill Larry Anosmia in the first book, but, well, then I pretended I hadn't. So Larry lives! Though if his voice doesn't get out of my head I may have to kill him again.

I kinda miss those old HoseMaster Pulp Fiction Classics.

Bob Henry (Los Angeles wine industry professional) said...

Does Vincent Price lead the tours at the Wine Wax Museum?

Does scaring the crap out of wine replace fining and filtering?

Does orange wine cross the racial divide?

Will only members of the Friars Club get this "inside baseball" allusion?:

"It just spins around on top like a Bill Cosby female employee."

Bob Henry (Los Angeles wine industry professional) said...

For those with short memories -- or no memories:

http://www.amazon.com/Treasury-Great-Recipes-Vincent-Price/dp/1568495404

http://www.amazon.com/Vincent-Kitchen-collectors-treasury-Americas/dp/0873960203

Don Carter said...

I'm guilty of recycling the old Que Syrah pun. My wife let me know she wouldn't tolerate anymore displays of laziness in my writing even if it's midnight and I just want to finish and go to bed. Damn, I didn't know she read my stuff (or anyone else for that matter). I felt like a real ;

Don Carter said...

and by ; I mean half-assed.

Marcia Macomber said...

Laugh lines from punctuation now, eh? What next¿ That was fabulous!

Can we start adding < or > to wine scoring points?

Can't wait to take a tour with Larry. The snarkiness alone is worth it!

Maureen Downey said...

The Acker line is priceless! Thank you for not forgetting!!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Bob,
Orange wine is white wine trying to pass as red. You be the judge. Maybe it's the Vanilla Ice of wine.

I write lots of inside jokes just for my own amusement. I'm not sure I understand most of them.

Don,
I pay so little attention to wine blogs that I was unaware you have a blog, www.winesnark.com (free plug, my friend--the HoseMaster cares), and that you were nominated for a Poodle for Best New Wine Blog. OK, so now I know who you are. Not the bowler Don Carter. Thanks for gracing my little crazy corner of the Internet.

And what a lovely coincidence that your latest post is entitled, "Que Syrah Syrah." I guess Larry Anosmia has your number. Oh well, anyone else out there trying to make wine actually funny, and who has talent, is more than welcome here. There aren't many of us.

Maureen,
Welcome! I'm always honored when a wine celebrity stops by. And amazed you read my stupid blog.

As an expert on wine frauds, you must be the busiest woman in the wine business. I am amazed that the Feds didn't go after the Acker Merrall "experts." Rudy was a much easier, and much guiltier, conviction, but those auction houses certainly could us a lot more scrutiny.

No matter. Thanks for chiming in!

Marcia Love,
Yes, it's my tribute to Victor Borge column--Getting Laughs with Punctuation. Glad you enjoyed it.

Don Carter said...

Thanks for the plug Ron! To paraphrase Mario Puzo, if I had known you were going to send me readers, I would have written a better blog. (BTW, growing up I could go into any bowling alley and buy anything I needed with my name already engraved.)

LeoFerrando said...

Can't find another writer that makes me laugh that loud. Thanks for your witty comments on 'sacred' wine issues : Larry is awesome !

Eric V. Orange said...

Drive by....
EVO

Thomas said...

The bowler Don Carter! Ron, you are a fountain of trivia.

Remember Carter's crouch? I could never figure out how he managed to bowl so well after seemingly crawling up to the alley.

I'll bet you even know who Spider Webb was.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Don,
I doubt you'll get many hits from my plug, but you're welcome.

When I was a teenager I had a bowling ball with my name engraved on it! Yeah, the girls really go for that. But the bowling ball had the only holes I was fingering, so I didn't care.

Leo,
Thanks for the kind words. I may have to revisit Larry--he's been a hit. But, to my ear, he sounds a bit too much like the HoseMaster. His voice needs some work.

EVO,
You should just go to about fifty blogs and post that same comment today. I like that idea.

Thomas,
I'm always ashamed at how much useless crap I know--though it did earn me a bunch of cash on game shows.

Spider Webb? Didn't he catch flies for the Dodgers? Or do you mean Spud Webb? He was a common tater, I think. Or are you referring to Jack Webb? He has a great website, drag.net.

I'm confused.

Thomas said...

Ellsworth (Spider) Webb was a middleweight boxer in the 50s, and a good one.

gabriel jagle said...

I have a question for Mr. Ansomnia: why is there liquid leaking out of the bunghole?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gabe,
Oh, those late night common taters...

It's Anosmia, not Ansomnia. He's not a sleeping aid. OK, my whole blog is a sleeping aid, but that's a different argument.

As for what's leaking out of that bunghole, well, it could be scores...

Martin Cody said...

Terrific read all around and very funny. I'm continually amazed at the journey of the MS whereby it seems the message is all about "inclusion", "hospitality" and making wine more approachable to greater numbers of people UNTIL they pass the MS and then it's an SDC (swinging dick club) to see who can convey the most worthless data on DRC.
Great piece and conveyance of appreciation for your writing is long overdue.
Cheers,
Martin

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Martin,
Thank you. I'm amazed at the response to this piece. It seems to have struck a nerve. Maybe the anti-"Somm" thing. There's nothing wrong with attaining an MS, though there's nothing especially awe-inspiring about it either.

And, honestly, I just like being a jerk.