New Year's Greetings to All of Our Wine Family Friends!
Oh, friends, the years march on, and the older you get, the faster they pass—as if years were Mexican food. And there we were at the end of last year’s big enchilada wishing we hadn’t eaten it so quickly. My cheeks are squeezed tighter than Nat MacLean’s smile trying not to let too much news slip out. So much has happened to our wine family in 2014. I’ll try to be brief.
Most of you will have heard that Uncle Antonio got so drunk one night that he bought Cousin Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Oh, we’ve all been there. The story goes that Uncle Antonio was up really late drinking and watching reruns of Gary Vaynerchuk on Wine Library TV. He gets nostalgic when he drinks, and it was by watching the original episodes that Uncle Antonio taught himself to speak English, so he was brushing up on his hyperbole and shitty grammar. Plus, who doesn’t love to watch a talking chimp? Well, between episodes, Uncle Antonio fell prey to those late night infomercials and bought a Flowbee, a Jancis Robinson Chia Pet© (simply add water and it sprouts a lifelike moustache!), and Cousin Steve’s wine magazine. Cousin Steve had been wanting to sell IWC for a while, even tried to get Acker Merrall to auction it, but they couldn’t be certain it was fake, so they passed. Now Uncle Antonio owns it. Cousin Steve was so happy with the deal he threw in Josh Raynolds for nothing! Uncle Antonio just had to pay Shipping and Handling. The whole family is excited for Uncle Antonio. He really needed that Flowbee.
It’s kind of a family secret, but Uncle Antonio wants to replace Uncle Bob as Emperor. He thinks reaching Cousin Steve’s audience will help him achieve that ambitious goal, which is like believing buying a ton of roofies will make you Bill Cosby. Though it’s hard to say which is more effective at putting women to sleep—roofies or Cousin Steve’s magazine. Anyhow, Uncle Bob’s life hasn’t been without its usual controversies either. Uncle Bob has a new magazine, too, called “100 Points.” I think it’s about Wilt Chamberlain, but I’m not sure, I don’t know anyone who’s actually read it. But that’s what happens. It’s no different than when he reviews wines—people only read the number and nothing else. So sort of stupid to name the magazine that. Uncle Bob is still reviewing wines, though everyone is expecting him to retire soon. All the pundits say that Uncle Bob has lost most of his influence, which is what they say about climate change. Keep saying it and eventually it will be the truth.
The wine family has noticed, however, that Uncle Bob, as he gets a little older, is starting to give away his stuff for no reason. In the old days, he would almost never give away his perfect scores. He really hoarded them, kept them locked in a closet, right next to his Wine Spectator voodoo doll (oh, yes, that Wine Spectator is full of pricks). Now, suddenly, in the past few years, Uncle Bob has started handing out his perfect scores willy-nilly. Sure, they’re his, and he can give them to whomever he pleases, but the wine family is worried he’ll give them all away before they get some. And a lot of people think the old guy has lost his marbles, that he’s in the first stages of Score Dementia. But I can tell you, we had him checked. Doctors gave him a thorough brain scan. Nothing there.
On a sad note, Score Dementia has been ravaging our wine family, especially the older generation. The causes are unknown, though most believe it has to do with retail, and we’re told there is no cure. Score Dementia shows itself differently in every person. Uncle Suckling rants and hurls big scores around in a comic nonsensical way, often mistaking luggage for a wine bottle, or confusing fame with influence. Morose Uncle Laube doesn’t even recognize 89 points any more—and it was once his favorite. Now 89 walks in and he screams, “93!” It’s sad for 89. In the wine family, it’s like nothing under 90 even exists. 89 often talks of suicide. Uncle Fish has Score Dementia and is often seen floating near the top of his bowl, bloated with big scores. It’s just a shame when you overfeed them. Uncle Neal Martin would seem to be too young for Score Dementia, but this ravaging mental illness knows no boundaries. Uncle Neal is too often spotted cavorting amid brand new barrels of Bordeaux mimicking Uncle Bob in an endless loop of echolalia. It’s an insidious form of Score Dementia to parrot, “100 Points, 100 Points, 100 Points.” Psychologists think it’s a form of One-Aught-Aughtism. In this blessed New Year, we’d ask that you say a small prayer for our elders suffering from Score Dementia. And, remember, don’t be angry with them, the scores are simply their illness speaking.
And while you’re at it, try to say a little prayer for our California family members currently suffering through an historic drought. Many didn’t have enough water to add to their Cabernet Sauvignon ferment this year. Zinfandel producers were forced to pick grapes and not their usual raisins. Remember them in your prayers. They are among the more unfortunate among our wine family, and may be forced to raise prices. And yet, God Bless Them, they are the most supportive of our family to those suffering from Score Dementia. What would we do without family?
Oh, there’s lots of other news from 2014. Cousin Eric Asimov started a wine class in his little newspaper. It’s so cute. Sort of a “Goodbye Mr. Oak Chips.” Cousin Eric schools his readers and encourages them to develop his taste in wine. It’s the same technique ISIS uses to recruit suicide bombers, only slightly less subtle. Check it out! You might find yourself actually learning something about wine instead of reading this drivel.
Last year, all the gadget talk was about the Coravin. Piercing is so 2014. This year, it’s about the Durand. The Durand is a corkscrew designed to efficiently remove corks from very old bottles of wine, a hybrid that crosses the traditional sommelier’s wine key with an ah-so. Just what the world needs. Another ah-so sommelier.
From our wine family to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
HoseMaster of Wine™