Monday, September 14, 2015

Larry Anosmia MS at TexSom--Orange is the New Blech


I don’t know about you, but I think that “Texas” and “Sommelier” are about as natural together as “Utah” and “Jazz.” Or “Craft” and “Beer.” The words together don’t make any sense. There’s no jazz in Utah any more than there are Mormons in New Orleans. If there were, they’d rename the football team the New Orleans Latter Day Saints, and play their games on Lun-Day. Jackasses. And beer is not a craft. Nobody thinks beer is a craft. Basket weaving is a craft. Making furniture is a craft. Coopering barrels is a craft. Beer? Beer is glorified soup. Nobody makes craft soup. Can we just move on from all the “Craft” stupidity before the craft cheese people move in. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant Kraft cheese. You know, there’s Cheese Whiz and there’s beer whiz. Not much craft involved.

I was invited to speak at TexSom, conduct a seminar with another wine expert, and attend the tastings and events. I can understand why I was invited. I’m a Master Sommelier, and there are only 230 of us in the world. That’s not very many. People think there are a lot more of us, just like they think there are a lot more serial killers than there really are. I’m not sure, but I think Fred Dame is both. Just a joke, Fred. Or is it…? Of the 230, it seems like 100 of us were in Dallas for TexSom. It was so hot in Dallas, you could hear our hair gel crackling. Sounded like small arms fire, which they love in Texas. What do you call that many Master Sommeliers in the same building? Timothy McVeigh’s next job.

My seminar was entitled “Natural Wines—Orange is the New Blech.” When my seminar was first announced, I was worried because it didn’t sell out immediately. First of all, you won’t be a Master Sommelier for long if you don’t sell out. We all sell out. But, of course, the stupid Burgundy seminar sold out first. Wine beginners always jump on the Burgundy seminar first. And it’s always the worst seminar in the lineup. Always. Why? Because Burgundy experts are the dullest people alive. It’s true. All they talk about is terroir, and Premier Crus, and the influence of the Thelonius Monks in Burgundy. It’s a bigger snorefest than a Michel Chapoutier lecture—it’s why Chapoutier has to have Braille labels, everyone’s eyes are closed when he’s talking. Always avoid Burgundy seminars! Just forget about them. Otherwise, check your Côtes and drop your Clos, bend over, and let them drive it up the Seine.

My seminar was set for the morning of the second day of TexSom. So I had the first day to get shitfaced and cruise for MS groupies. I don’t think every MS has groupies, but Larry Anosmia MS has groupies! Most of them think the short cut to an MS is through Larry’s deep dark wine cave. I don’t know what the women think. Doesn’t matter, there aren’t a lot of female Master Sommeliers, or, as we like to call them, Sommeliettes. We’re still sort of a boys club—you know, lapel pins, secret handshakes, constant circle jerks. But we have to let a few girls in now and then or there’d be a lot of flack, so we do. We know that most folks don’t take the Sommeliettes seriously, anyway, so it’s OK.

Though I’m the last guy who needs to, I attended a couple of seminars that first day. It was hard to choose which seminars to go to. I really wanted to attend my own seminar most of all. I do love to hear myself speak about wine. Master Sommeliers and Sommeliettes are wine’s ambassadors. Where would the image of wine be without us representing it? Why, people would think wine was easy to understand, that it’s not intimidating. They might think that spending your life accumulating wine knowledge was a complete waste of time—like knowing every character in “Game of Thrones,” or golf. People might buy wines they like rather than wines we tell them to like. Without Master Sommelier and Sommeliettes it would be wine anarchy. You’re welcome.

Like the Burgundy seminar, there’s always a Bordeaux seminar. You must also avoid the Bordeaux seminar. Bordeaux’s nothing special, it’s just Cabernet in lipstick, Merlot in a thong. Don’t choose the Bordeaux seminar! It’s like going to a sushi bar and ordering chicken. Idiot. I passed on the B & B seminars and, instead, attended a seminar on Carignane. Carignane is its French name; in Spain, it’s Cariñena, in South Africa it’s Carinblixen. Whatever you call it, it’s a grape I usually like. But the seminar was a Carign-yawn. Duller than a ten dollar Prosecco. They served six different Carignanes at the seminar, and needed five guys to talk about them. There’s one guy running the Burgundy seminar, and two at the Bordeaux, we need five for Carignane? One guy and a mime would have been enough. I did learn one thing at the Carignane seminar—it’s overrated. It’s the CSW of grapes.

Between seminars there were sponsored luncheons. A winery, or perhaps a regional wine consortium, comes to TexSom and provides a lavish lunch, with plenty of their wine, for the attendees. This is a perfect way to introduce budding sommeliers to their future career as industry freeloaders. I had hoped there might be a seminar about junkets. There wasn’t, but the sponsored luncheons were an adequate replacement. One doesn’t go far in the wine business unless you know how to take advantage of wineries who try to buy your loyalty and affection with food and trips. TexSom wisely showed its attendees how to grab a free lunch and offer nothing in return but an enthusiastic Thank You. This will serve them well in the future.

But you don’t want to hear about other seminars, you want to hear about Larry Anosmia’s seminar, “Natural Wines—Orange is the New Blech.” I was brilliant, though unappreciated by my civilian crowd. I presented ten wines blind and asked the attendees to guess which were “natural,” which were “authentic,” which were “honest,” and which were “the same old crap.” I thought that would be easy. Turns out, without seeing a label, no one could tell. But as soon as I told them which wines were “natural,” everyone decided they liked them better. Wine as boobs. We talked about what makes a wine “natural.” Didn’t take long. The industry standard for what qualifies a wine as “natural” is, “Because I said so.” It’s known as the Riedel Standard, and it’s foolproof. All in all, it was an entertaining and fascinating seminar, and it was clear that all of the attendees learned a lot from me. They both shook my hand afterward, though I think one stole my watch.

No matter what people tell you, TexSom is about wine, wine knowledge, alcohol abuse and exploring your Texan sensuality. Not in that order. I haven’t seen that many wine professionals that drunk since Jon Bonné announced his retirement from the San Francisco Chronicle. It was like a good old fashioned Texas rodeo—only at this one, the clowns far outnumbered the cowboys.

18 comments:

Beth said...

Yet another hilarious week opening salvo to inspire us worker bees. Lun-day's grindstone is a tad more bearable and you've ruined Bateaux Mouches for me for life. You're inSeine.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Beth,
Welcome. Always nice to have a new common tater here on the ol' blog, and one with some wit. I plead InSeineity. Me and that other serial killer MS.

See you next LunDay!

Amy said...

This is a test...

Charlie Olken said...

Welcome back, Larry. Always avoid Burgundy seminars--or PN for that matter. But the one that got me laughing was five panelists for Carignane.

Is LHQ the next to emerge from a long slumber?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Amy!
The Eagle Has Landed!

Charlie,
Well, there were five panelists for Carignane. There's just so much to say about it...And so many experts.

And Lo Hai just might be next in the Qu. Stay tuned.

Neil Shea said...

Hey Ron.
This was all above me, then again everything is above me being from the Great White North. I continued on after your third paragraph right to the end being a dedicated subscriber……….

Amy said...

2 years later - I figured out how to comment - I knew that AOL would be good for something one day. What ever happened to chat rooms? Don't answer that.

And Ron, you know that consumers are not supposed to buy wines they like, they are supposed to buy wines that we need to sell. I hear Syrah is coming a comeback.

Ziggy said...

Larry
What happened to your scheduled seminar on the olfactory system sponsored by Reidel?
BTW, I need to know kind of battery your $5 watch uses.

Looking forward to your next dissertation.

Rocky Volcanics said...

You had me at New Orleans Latter Day Saints.

Aaron said...

Ah, another fine piece spearing those with over-inflated ego's and too much sense of their own importance. And it was even funny! What a great start to the week.

Don Clemens said...

"What do you call that many Master Sommeliers in the same building? Timothy McVeigh’s next job." From that moment, it was another fun ride with the HMW. Loved it! Thanks, Ron.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Neil,
Don't worry, I don't understand half of what I write either. That's the problem now that Tim Atkin has made me an international superstar--the jokes don't travel. Many get stopped at airport security for being weaponized. But I just write what I feel like writing, and if it doesn't make any sense to a few readers, I'm way ahead. It usually makes no sense to anyone.

Amy Baby,
You weren't at TexSom, but you should have been. I think the MS's had you MW's outnumbered. There were Both Masters there, or, as we say in the real world, BM's.

There are still chat rooms, Love. Wineberserkers, for example, or as we call it, eBob Lite. Don't go there! You'll get a virus. Not your computer, YOU will get a virus.

Ziggy,
Riedel wasn't a sponsor of TexSom, much to my delight. I must have heard more than a thousand Riedel references aimed at me when I was there, a tribute to the originality of the TexSom participants.

Larry Anosmia MS is still a work in progress comedically. I can't quite get his voice down, but I'm getting there. He's so annoying. Which you'd think would be easy for me.

Rocky,
Yeah, that one came out of the blue for me. Thanks for being a common tater.

Aaron,
There's always been a wonderful contrast between people saying not to make wine pretentious, but make sure and notice the letters after my name. I've always loved that.

Don,
I wrote the straight line to that joke about five days before I came up with the punchline. I knew there was a joke there somewhere, but it took a lot of false starts and time to find it. It's rather nicely tasteless. Thanks, Don, for being a regular common tater.

Marcia Macomber said...

You had me at "Texas" and "Sommelier." Good thing I wasn't drinking my coffee reading the first sentence. Do they have 10-gallon tastevins?

More Larry A! More LHQ! More fractured wine fairytales!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
10-gallon hats wouldn't hold many of the heads there, but 10-gallon tastevins are a nice touch.

Larry Anosmia needs work. But I thought I'd send him to TexSom rather than Lo Hai Qu. Not sure why. He's ruder, she's more fearless. I thought ruder might work better.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,

Read the hair gel bit and pictured the sound of Pop Rocks in chorus. That and I had a flash of what that melting stache wax might smell like a midst a sea of skinny jeans and ironically scuffed pointy toed shoes. If Larry ever needs an assistant, or bouncer, tell him I'm in....might be just the thing that restarts my blogging, about wine, again!

Now I do take issue with the Burgundy experts are dull comment, that was at one time true and I will concede that a bunch of the folks that sign up for those seminars are stiff tubes of gathered information that love to measure their Gevrey to the next guy's but....those of us that feel Burgundy, the way the aromatics roll our eyes back in our heads, the long taking of deep feral, fleshy breaths, the groaning and standing of hairs on the back of our necks, the noticing after 10 minutes that you've yet to even put that sensual beast between your lips and you still have that to look forward too? We are hardly dull Love, I'd say we are sharp in all the right places. Bordeaux on the other hand, bunch of stuffy rich twats!

Loved this and as always Mr. Washam, I love you!

Bob Henry said...

"Texas" and "sommeliers"?

"Utah" and "jazz"?

"Craft" and "beer"?

As a "proud" (?) Eagle Rock Tiger, YOU know better than most about Occi morons.

(My jokes don't travel well across The Pond either.)

Unknown said...

Just for the record, we pour Chapoutier wines at all our blind-tastings.

ANONYMOUS I

William Stephenson said...

"Wine as Boobs"? Something to consider as I like mine in pairs and in the proper cup size. (I'm sure Georg Josef Riedel would have a snit if I referred to his splendid vessels as "cups", but they are priced the same as a good bra and provide a similar purpose - especially in presentation)