Wednesday, August 12, 2009

There She Is, Myth America

Time for another mythbusting edition of HoseMaster of Wine! In this occasional series (see "You're Mything the Point" from the June 15th edition) I debunk myths about wine and the wine business for your edification. No need to thank me. Just doing my job.

Myth #1
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes.

This is a common assumption with no basis in fact. Most of the world insists that "wine" be
produced 100% from grapes, except in Austria where you're allowed to use petroleum byproducts. But New Zealand's climate is lousy for wine grapes, so their Sauvignon Blancs are actually fermented Tasmanian devil urine (which is also used for most Australian Chardonnay). Oh sure, there are vineyards in New Zealand, but they're just a front, sort of like how MacDonald's pretends their hamburgers are made from actual meat. The grapes never ripen in those vineyards, they're just for show. And, as it turns out, there are only two producers of "Sauvignon Blanc" in New Zealand and they produce all of the Taz Blanc for the couple hundred labels you see in wine shops. This is easy to confirm. Conduct a blind tasting of fifteen "different" New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and try to tell them apart! You can't. Because they're all from the same marsupials!! New Zealand "Pinot Noir" is a different story--it's made from sheep dung.

Myth #2 Wine Tasting is Subjective.

I love this one. This is what wine experts say to people who don't know shit about wine in order to avoid making them feel like their opinions are stupid. But nothing could be further from the truth. Most people's opinions about wine are, in fact, stupid, and only made worse by the fact that they think they are entitled to their opinions. There aren't three correct answers to a question on your driving test, there aren't six answers to a geometry problem, and, really, there aren't any real disagreements about wines. We wine experts just say wine preference is personal taste all the time because it's way too much work to teach you ignoramuses about the fundamentals of wine. We know what wines are actually perfect, fantastic, amazing, and when some imbecile says something like "It's too bitey" we just say, "Well, everyone's different. Just drink what you like." Which is essentially our way of telling you, "You're stupider than a Tim Fish 'Wine Spectator' feature." Don't believe it for a minute. Every wine has an objective and iron-clad rating. You're just not privy to it.

Myth #3 Robert Parker is still alive.

Just as Scientologists, who just lost their great champion in Eunice Kennedy Shriver, still profess that L. Ron Hubbard is alive, Parkerbots claim that Robert Parker is still alive. It's not true. RP died in 2004 when a 100 pound scale fell on him. But his death was covered up, mainly by the French and Australians who knew their sales and prices would plummet without his inflated ratings to sell them. A Parker impersonator was hired, a man equally skilled in butchering the language, who attends charity tastings where he is provided with a script ghostwritten for him by Rod McKuen. Many in the business who are aware of Parker's demise worry what will
become of the wine industry when consumers become aware that the great man is dead. Where will they turn for advice? How will wine shops sell wine without the "RP" POS signs? Will they have to resort to actually knowing the wines they sell? And how far will the price of Bordeaux fall without the Wine Pope's blessings? Will they become as unsellable as high-end Australian Shiraz, which even with Parker's wholehearted endorsement people recognize as Bardahl? Who will decide the next California cult wine? Steve Heimoff? James Laube? Alder Yarrow? A different undiscovered industry suckup? It's going to be scary.
The late Mr. Parker getting a snootful of a TCA.

Myth #4
Corked wines are faulty.

There are a couple of myths rolled up in this one. First of all, the idea that a "corked" wine is caused by contamination from the cork. This is a lie cooked up by the folks who make and advocate screwtops, and has no basis in fact. The off-aroma that is defined as "corked" is caused by a chemical compound known as TCA, which is short for Tightly Clenched Anus. It's a result of the bottle of wine having been stored too close to a septic tank. Aside from that, there are actually many wine connoisseurs who prefer corked wines and actively seek them out. They love the specific quality of a corked wine, that alluring aroma of wet blogger, and feel that the corked bottle is superior to the noncorked bottle. Most of the time it is hard to disagree with them.


Charlie Olken said...

1. "You're stupider than a Tim Fish 'Wine Spectator' feature."

Now I know why Marvin fired you.

2. "RP died in 2004 when a 100 pound scale fell on him "

Now, I know why Parker fired you.

3. ""corked" wine is ... a lie cooked up by the folks who make and advocate screwtops"

Now, I know why Mr. Stelvin did not invite you to dinner.

4. "Who will decide the next California cult wine?"

All eight of us who read this blog have already decided. Of course, there is a reason why there are only eight of us. And, Ron, look out, because Tom Wark now does videos and he could be catching up.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Puff Daddy,

Tom Wark does videos? Holy crap. Who is he, Gary the Pinhead Vaynerchuk? I think Nostradamus indicates that is a sign that the Apocalypse is near. What next? CD's of Dan Berger slurping and spitting? These are like the nightmares I go to a therapist to get out of my head.

If I want to watch Tom on video I'll rent the "Gullibles Gone Wild" tapes.

Anonymous said...

There are actually 8 of us reading the Hosemaster blog? Wow...that's nearly as impressive as a 78 point rating.
The Wine Spectator is still in business?

Didn't I read someplace (maybe in a Dan Berger column?) that Parker is one of the Flying Elvises when he's not annointing Bordeaux wines with digitally-enhanced scores???

Shouldn't Wine Advocate scores for Italian wines be displayed in Roman numerals?
And, Mr. Charlie, don't ask "What the hell IV?"



Charlie Olken said...

Do I know you?

Samantha Dugan said...

See I heard that Parker overdosed on TCA, freaking wine biz rumor mill. Thanks for clearing that up Mr HoseMaster sir.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O,
I don't think so.


Daniel P said...

This is funny. Charlie, I assume you will lighten up?

Charlie Olken said...

Yes, sorry for taking every here so seriously. This stuff rivals Andy Blue's feeble excuses for hilarity.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Everything here is serious, ain't it?

Gee, rivaling Andy Blue for hilarity? I never aim that high. I just want to rival Eric Asimov's wit. At least the half he writes with.

Charlie Olken said...

Are you suggesting that Asimov is a Nytwit?

el jefe said...

I feel so fashionably late... who knew that marsupial and feline pee were so closely related? Someone should do a study. Hopefully someone can also do a subjective anal-ysis of RP's TCA. QED.