Thursday, October 4, 2018

Our Vanishing Master Sommeliers


Researchers say there are no more than 273 of them left in the world. Many of the males are old, long past a desirable reproductive age. They’re nocturnal for the most part, using the darkness of the night to hide their neurotic fear of meaningful human contact. Scientists believe the entire species will be extinct by 2075, though this may be optimistic. Not the year, the hope that they’ll be extinct. The most bewildering and inexplicable fact of all about this vanishing species? There are almost no females.   

The recent christening of new Master Sommeliers consists of 24 newly-minted insufferable wine experts, four of whom are women. Last year, one woman was anointed out of thirteen. Can a separate bloodline from normal humans, and, believe me, Master Sommeliers view themselves as apart from normal humans, survive with so few females? Didn't work so well with rhinoceros, and they have much thicker skins. I thought I'd investigate.

However, you'll have to take the ark over to Tim Atkin's site to read the rest. Feel free to leave your comments there, if so moved, or go to Twitter #MSToo. Of course, you can always leave your little bundles of joy here, if that's more your style.

TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, September 3, 2018

Freddie Perjury, Director of Greenwashing


Prick Family Vineyards owner Rich Prick has announced the hiring of Freddie Perjury as Director of Greenwashing. “I’ve given Freddie the assignment of communicating to the wine buying public our commitment to the environment, to the health and welfare of our employees, and to the Almighty… Dollar.”

“There was a Golden Age of wine,” Rich Prick reminisces, “when a new vineyard and winery owner could simply bulldoze a bunch of land, plant a vineyard, spray it with every herbicide, pesticide and fungicide known to man, hire and exploit illegal immigrants, and people would buy his wines and speak his name in admiring tones. Those days are dwindling down to a precious few. It will be Freddie Perjury’s job as Director of Greenwashing to extend those glorious days into the foreseeable future.”



It's heartening to see the concern for the environment expressed by consumers as they head to the Natural Wine aisle to purchase cases of wine to load into their Ford F-150's and SUVs. Naturally, then, marketing departments at wineries have turned their focus to greenwashing, the art of applying Estee Lauder lipstick to a pasture-raised porker. It's a fulltime job. And no one is better at showing contempt for the public than Rich Prick of Prick Family Vineyards. His hiring of Freddie Perjury as Director of Greenwashing is all the buzz in the biz right now, and you can read about it over at Tim Atkin's award-winning site.

As always, feel free to leave your witticisms and recyclables at Tim's place, or return here for our usual compost festival.

TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, August 6, 2018

Natural Disaster Wines


Natural Wines are so last year. Oh, there’s the usual set of One Trick Phonies out there who will never stop evangelizing for Natural Wines. What else do they have? Natural Wine is their only identity. There’s an enormous world of wine out there, but they’ve chosen to live in Neverland like the Poor Lost Boys. Never add sulfites. Never fine. Never filter. Never call anything a fault. Never grow up. Neverland is a beautiful place, a wonderful make-believe place, a place where you can fly if only you have enough pixie dust and blind faith (the basic definition of biodynamics).


The next logical step in wine trends would seem to me to be Natural Disaster Wines. It all began with the hilariously un-self-aware In Pursuit of Balance movement, which begat Natural Wines, which will, I predict, begat (beget? begot? bebopaloola?) Natural Disaster Wines. You can be sure these wines will be the darlings of sommeliers everywhere. Read all about the first of them, from the pioneers at Climate Change Cellars, over at Tim Atkin's site. As always, your comments there are welcome. Or feel free to leave your thoughtful carbon emissions here. We're all in this together.


TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, July 2, 2018

The HoseMaster of Wine™ Sits for the Master of Wine Exam


I recently sat for the Master of Wine exam. I was in my own apartment, alone, and I was wearing only a bath robe and a Donald Trump merkin, which is how I imagined an insane person would take the test. I aced it. Insane people always do.

I’m not sure why people imagine it to be a difficult exam. Have you met any MWs? How hard could it be? I found it rather simple. Wine isn’t particularly challenging to understand. It’s made from grapes, rather like steaks are made from cows. Both are meant to be delicious. And, coincidentally, recent studies have shown that a large contributor to climate change is the methane produced by the belching of WSET candidates. It’s neat when things start to add up.



I remain the World's Only HMW, but I thought it might be interesting to take the Theory portion of the Master of Wine exam and see how I'd do. Luckily, the Court always publishes the questions from the exam every year. They're often quite whimsical. One of the questions this year asked which two grape varieties, one white and one red, would you rescue from a pernicious global wine disease. I love science fiction. The whole business of tasting and reviewing wines is based on science fiction. I couldn't decide which two varieties to save. Instead, I wondered which two MWs I would save, one man and one woman, if there were a disease that only killed MWs. I decided it might be best to let them all go. The two I saved might mate.

For the questions and answers, you'll have to go to the site of that most prestigious of MWs, Tim Atkin. I was surprised at how easy the test was, but you can judge for yourself. Though it's no longer in vogue, feel free to leave your comments, or alternative answers, at Tim's place. Or, if you must, check in here with your various witticisms and thoughts. Which two varieties would you save? 


TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Visit to the Napa Valley Old Wine Critics Home


“You want to know what really drives me nuts?” Sam Euthanasia, World’s Oldest Wine Critic, tells me, “The whole place smells like pee. It’s like spending the day judging goddam supermarket New Zealand sauvignon blanc. And if I wanted to smell Band-Aid, I’d buy wines Neal Martin recommended. I’m old, but I can still smell, for Christ’s sake. I can’t remember what it is I’m smelling, but I can smell it. I’m turning into Laube.”


A peek into the future, and a visit to the Napa Valley Old Wine Critics Home. My old friend Sam Euthanasia gives me some insight into what it's like at the rest home for iconic wine critics. As ever, use the link to read the rest of the piece over at Tim Atkin's site. And, as ever, please feel free to leave a response, a comment, a fond wish that I'd finally really retire. Every little bit helps. Or, of course, your comments are welcome here. Perhaps one day you'll be eligible for the Sonoma County Old Common Taters Home.

TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, May 7, 2018

Erotica for the Natural Wine Lover


He was the most handsome man in the bar. I knew he was the one when he walked over to the jukebox and selected my favorite song—The Police’s “Qvevri Little Thing She Does is Magic.”

He caught my eye and then casually took the bar stool next to mine and introduced himself.

“Hello,” he said, “I’m Nat. I’m hoping you want me to be your Pet.”



We've all got our kinks. I've long been a fan of erotica, whether written by Anaïs Nin or Steve Bannon, so I thought I'd try my hand at arousing the partisans of natural wine. God knows, they seem so joyless, it might help. You can read the dirty stuff at Tim Atkin's site, the home of wine erotica. Feel free to leave your breathless and satisfied comments at Tim's site, or, if it makes you hot, return here, have a satisfying smoke, and lay your thoughts on me. I need a cold shower. Or any shower, for that matter.

TIM ATKIN MW 

Monday, April 2, 2018

The NRA Wine Club--Locked and Loaded!


Hello, I’m Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association inviting you to become a member of the NRA Wine Club. At the NRA, we believe that nothing goes better with live ammunition than several glasses of specially-selected NRA Wine Club wines. Let’s face it, friends, if your weapon is loaded, you’re better off being loaded, too.

There really is a NRA Wine Club. It seems like the worst idea since the Edward Scissorhands Vasectomy Clinic. I didn't have it in me to actually join the NRA Wine Club and taste the wines. I think I'd rather put a loaded gun in my mouth. But I thought it might be fun to share the introductory letter I received from the NRA's Sociopath in Chief, Wayne LaPierre. It's set to ambush you over on Tim Atkin's site. Please leave your comments there, or, if you must, take your potshots at me here.

TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, March 5, 2018

The A.I. of Wine Spectator


The two words that come to mind when one thinks of the “Wine Spectator’s” lineup of wine critics—James Laube, Matt Kramer, Tim Fish, James Molesworth, Harvey Steiman, et al.—is Artificial Intelligence. And, in fact, the entire publication is written by software developed by the entrepreneur Elon Muscadet. I suspect that the news that “Wine Spectator” is written by a machine will not come as a shock to anyone who reads it, but, nonetheless, it’s an astonishing achievement.


Artificial Intelligence is slowly taking over our world. By the way, why are they always portrayed as women? Siri and Alexa and Ivanka... Anyhow, I recently uncovered the uncomfortable truth that "Wine Spectator" is entirely computer generated. Seen in that light, the magazine starts to make sense. You can read the full report only at TimAtkin.com. You might be surprised to learn that my jokes are also entirely written by a computer app. Not that surprised, I'm sure. Feel free to leave your randomly generated thoughts there, or wander on back over here where Artificial Intelligence was invented.


TIM ATKIN MW

Monday, February 5, 2018

So You Wanna Be a Wine Judge.Com!


Hello! And welcome to So You Wanna Be a Wine Judge.Com!, your online wine judge certification program. Once you complete this simple online course, you’ll be completely qualified to judge in any wine competition in the world! You may even be overqualified. It’s a little-known fact that proven wine knowledge is not required to be a wine judge at many major wine competitions. Believe it or not, it’s actually frowned upon! Expert opinions are overrated, tiresome, and unwelcome where real people judge wine. What is required? You’re about to find out! Let’s begin.


There are hundreds of wine competitions held every year. Many, if not most, are for profit. There's no money in being a judge--most competitions pay travel expenses and a few hundred dollars for a couple of days work. Others, notably the "prestigious" SF Chronicle Wine Competition, pay nothing. Zero. Nada. So I thought it was time for an online course that would qualify anyone to judge, anyone to make absolutely nothing judging wines for wine competition promoters and wine country newspapers. Just hop on over to Tim Atkin's blog and you can become a wine judge TODAY! You're welcome!

TIM ATKIN MW

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Future of Wine (1988)


When I first began blogging about wine back in 1988, there wasn’t even an internet. The whole world was like North Korea, except with dogs. That didn’t stop me from writing a weekly blog about wine. (I’m actually the person who came up with the word “blog,” which was based on the noise my stomach made when I sat down to write. I also coined “tweet,” which had to do with flatulence, and, given the 45th President, has never been more appropriate.) Without the internet, my blog (I was then the “HoseApprentice of Wine™”) wasn’t widely read. So nothing has changed.


I must say, my predictions for 30 years in the future are astonishingly accurate. Maybe I should take a whack at 2048. What do I care about 2048? I'll be either dead, or 96, or both. To read my prescient 20th Century remarks, you'll have to head to Tim Atkin's site. It's a New Year, friends! Let's celebrate with lots of clever remarks and witty banter over on Tim's. Or, if you're shy about appearing in front of a live audience, leave your thoughts here. I promise not to read them!

TIM ATKIN MW