Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tasting Room Lies

Ladies and Gentlemen, this may come as a shock to you, but the people in tasting rooms are often paid to lie to you. Like Fox News anchors, only not as well-coiffed. (Fox News has more dicks in it than Amy Winehouse on a bender.) So, as a public service, your HoseMaster of Wine is here to reveal common tasting room fibs. I'm like that tubby loser on Fox who reveals the "secrets of magic," only I look way better in a mask. I have a face for Wine Blogging.

Lie #1--"We're basically organic, only we don't want to deal with the paperwork to get certified."

This is basically like saying, "I swear to God, Babe, I basically had a vasectomy, I just didn't want to deal with the surgery." Believe it and you're sure to be screwed. Now, I'm not saying that organically grown grapes are better than grapes grown the old fashioned way, with enough pesticides and herbicides and fungicides to fill the Exxon Valdez, just don't lie about it if your vineyards aren't actually organic. Step up to the plate, tell the truth! "We aren't certified organic because we like our HazMat suits--they're cool, like the astronauts in '2001:A Space Odyssey.' And, hell, those people actually claiming to be organic, they're not so great. They build gigantic goddam mansions on their property, fly around in private jets, exploit illegal immigrants and, worst of all, ignore the plight of polar bears." If a tasting room flunky tells you the "basically certified organic" lie, finish what you're tasting, pour the dump bucket down their shorts, and tell them you love the Pinot stains on their pants.

Lie #2--"This is going to be a great wine in about five years."

So now you're so desperate and confused you're taking the advice of a guy making twelve bucks
an hour pouring crap so tannic Joan Rivers could use it to remove her cadaverous smile. Joan in the early stages of rigor mortis Perfect. I've got a brand new 2010 Chrysler I can sell you for a song. How about a can of Pepsi complete with original singed hairs from Michael Jackson? OK, they're Clarence Thomas' pubes, but they're hard to tell apart. The hairs I mean. Want to buy a New Jersey rabbi? Just how much of a rube are you? This tasting room lie is a classic, and if you stood around the tasting room long enough you'd hear it uttered about every single wine in the place. It's usually a response to a customer who doesn't like the taste of one of their expensive wines, an attempt to convince you you're an idiot when it comes to judging great wines, and, that tasting room lackeys have vast experience with aged wines. The classic response is one I heard 25 years ago from an old man in the old St. Francis tasting room when the cutie pie behind the counter fed him this line about their mediocre Cabernet Sauvignon, "Honey, I'm so old I don't even buy green bananas." If you're not elderly, just borrow a pen and paper, write, "How the fuck would you know?" on the piece of paper, fold it into a tiny square, and then press it into the tasting room dweeb's palm on your way out as though it were a tip.

Lie #3--"This is a special wine from our library."

There are times when this could be true, but if the "special" wine is only a few vintages old, guess what, it's crap they couldn't sell then and they want to sell you now. It's the winery equivalent of the bargain bin at your local store, only the price is higher not marked down. Hmm, that makes sense. It used to be $20/bottle, but now it's $30. It must be good! Well, how many other wineries have aged wines for sale in their tasting rooms? Hell, only all the other ones that make crappy wine. But you know what, it's worth trying a bottle, it will probably be really good in about five years.

Lie #4--"Our winemaker doesn't really like the taste of new oak."

Yeah, God knows most winemakers hate new oak. And, of course, reviewers certainly don't like new oak either. That's why Kistler is so reviled. So you have to wonder why anyone in their right mind would buy new barrels every single year. It's madness, I tell you. Barrels don't wear out. No, it's not that we don't have the money to buy new barrels. I'm telling you we just don't like the taste that new barrels impart to our Pinot Noirs. Really. I mean, some people like their food nice and fresh, we like frozen. Is there a difference in quality? Ours tastes more like fruit, fresh from your moldy basement.


Anonymous said...

Here are a few more Bull Bleep lines and Lies for the list:

** Oh, we just bottled this a week ago and it's bottle shocked...that's why it seems a bit closed.

** It's in a "dumb"'ll recover.

** This really needs to breathe for an hour or so...give it some air.

** Our _________ (fill in the blank) comes from old vines. (Well, the vines are older than our fax machine.)

** We get a really low yield: 2 tons to the acre (we sell the other 4 tons to a neighbor down the road).

** This new release is the best we've ever made.

** If you like our 'regular' bottling of Zinfandel, you ought to buy some of our Winery Owner's Grand Proprietor's Reserve Selection. We made just one barrel of this and it's only $100 a bottle.

** This new release the winemaker says she likes better than last year's, which got a 3 puff rating from Connie Sewer's Guide.

** We blended in 2% Petit Verdot to give the wine additional complexity.

** We make our Pinot Noir in the Burgundian style. (That's why we blend in some Petite Sirah.)

** We make our Chardonnay in the Burgundian style. (That's why we blend in some unfermented Riesling.)

** Our Gewurztraminer is made in the style of an Alsatian wine. (We put it in a tall bottle and add some Muscat.)

** Our Tempranillo is comparable to a good Spanish red (except it costs twice as much and comes from Lodi-grown grapes).

** No, we make wines in a traditional style (with Mega Purple and Inner-Stave).

** A guy who writes a really famous, well-respected wine blog tasted this yesterday and said it's the best ______(fill in the blank) in the state.

** This comes from a vineyard right near Opus One/Caymus/Silver Oak/Bryant (take your pick). (Well, it's within the confines of Napa County.)

** We "hand craft" our wines.

** We use only native yeasts. (And we add some we buy at the winemaking supply store.)

** Our wines are not sold to very many stores (most are too smart to buy this shit).

** All the top San Francisco restaurants sell our wines (right...they bought 6 or 12 bottles two years ago and we're hoping they call back soon to order more).

I'm sure I've forgotten some.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Anon 1,

Well, there go parts 2 and 3 in my "Tasting Room Lies" series...

Samantha Dugan said...

One more for the ladies-
This wine is best served in our cellar with your top off.

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In Burlingame said...

I think this guy has Max-ed out although I don't know Wie.

Anonymous said...

Hosemaster, my good man,

Sorry if I stole some of your blunder.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Sam,

Oh, so that's what the cellar guys mean when they say they're "topping off." Thanks for clearing that up for me. And may I say, you're beautiful, so beautiful, no matter how much you're not wearing.

Anon 1,

Mi bloga es su bloga.

Another Bartender with a Stupid Wine Blog said...

Good grief, I can't stop laughing.