Friday, September 4, 2009

The Grapeful Dead

I'm just not in the mood to post. Writing a wine blog is a thankless task, about as rewarding as doing the makeup on cadavers. You love what you do but all you get in return is a lot of blank stares. The usual reaction to the latest HoseMaster So why keep doing it? Well, essentially, you never run out of dead bodies.

The wine business is full of dead bodies. It often feels like nothing new has been said in a hundred years. So I dress those dead bodies up, maybe it's the old Cork vs. Stelvin cadaver or the smelly Wine Competitions are Stupid corpse, sculpt a smile on their faces, lighten up their cheeks a bit with some rouge, and put them on display. We love the gruesome. "Gosh," we say, "it looks so alive, so real," when it isn't. It's as dead as Dick Cheney's conscience, it's deader than Jay Miller's palate, it's starting to smell like editorial meetings at Wine Enthusiast. But we keep poking at it, trying to make it move, see if there's any life left to squeeze out of it. And even when we're certain it's dead, we feel the need to resurrect it by talking about it. So many dead bodies...

Do Wine Bloggers Matter? Deader than Jenna Elfman's career

The 100 Point Scale It's stupid, it's not stupid, it's subjective, yeah, but it's useful, it's just a guide, but it's so easily influenced, blah blah blah--D E A D.

Social Media--For Selling Wine or For Building a Brand? Stillborn. Never had any life. Cute little thing, but never took a breath. So it makes us especially sad to see its little lifeless body lying there mimicking real life. So sad. Steve Heimoff may never get over it. But it's still dead.

Shipping Laws, Boy Do They Suck Yeah, we know, wineries are victims, consumers are victims, liquor lobbies are evil. This should have been buried with Jimmy Hoffa, if they'd found where he was buried. It's dead like Mutineer Magazine's prose style.

The "Sideways" Effect For Christ's Sake, this idiotic piece of crap film is five years old! It had about as much to do with killing Merlot as Son of Sam did. And, sure, it put Pinot Noir on the map, after all, Pinot Noir had only been popular for, oh, a hundred years. "Sideways" is Hollywood, narcissistic garbage that keeps floating to the surface like a Mafia victim in the Hudson River. It's bloated, it's rotten, it's Dead. All the makeup in the world can't make it seem less revolting.

Parkerized Wines Now that Parker is dead, why are we still talking about Him? No one makes wines to please Parker any more! This is the oldest and deadest opinion in the wine business. Get over it, it's dead. You don't have Parker to kick around any more. There's lots of bad winemaking, but, really, it isn't his fault! There have always been lousy wines, always! And there always will be. Alice Feiring loves a lot of wines that are crap, wines that she saved from "Parkerization." (God, please save me from Feiringization, the belief that one is truly inspiring.) You can dress this cadaver however you want to, but it's dead, dead like Phillipe Melka's cachet.

Wine and Music Sort of like people who think Obama's health care plan is Socialism, this is a subject that is simply too stupid to live. Matching wine with music is something akin to matching your shoes to a loaded weapon. This is one of the subjects wine pretenders love because it illustrates not only their educated choices in wine but their eclectic taste in music, sort of like finding out your date not only dresses like a federal inmate he can also wax ignorant about politics! There is no correlation between wine and music. It's dead. Not even Madonna would adopt it.

And the list goes on and on. But once again, I've dressed the corpse up, made it look real, and got you to look. "The HoseMaster of Wine," you say, "it looks better than it ever did when it was alive."


Arthur said...


Thanks for giving me a blog idea ;)

And you are wrong, black iguana cowboy boots go perfectly with a .50 cal Dessert Eagle - nickel plated, of course.

Charlie Olken said...

You and I once traded emails about the difficulties and challenges of humor. I got to thinking about some of that while you were on your recent sabbatical and here is what I have come up with.

Blogging, almost of any sort has become incredibly boring--in no small reason because the subject matter has been exhausted and there has been no new meat for the fire recently. Good writing has meaning either for now or for later. It matters not whether we are talking about the kind of gossip and silliness that made Herb Caen so readable or we are talking about wine blogs or 538, the brilliant political page that I used to read every day until November and now I read once a month.

My kind of writing, which is rarely funny, has the changing vintages and new releases to keep it interesting--to a few folks at least. How many columns about how wineries are using the new media can we read in one week and still stay interested? How many "I love my latest overpriced Cabernet discovery of the day" column can we absorb before we say "basta"?

Topical comedy is hard without new material, yet that is what The Hosemaster sets out to do. This is wine, not politics with its endless supply of amusements, and it is hard being David Lettermen everyday when you have already bashed the usual subjects several times over.

So, in the interest of keeping you from keeling over with ennui, or even in ennui (please try not stepping in it), I have come up with some topics that have not yet been exhausted and might just be grist for your mill. You do have a mill, don't you?

--If money is the mother's milk of politics, is oak the mother's milk of wine?

--How come the Gallos have not arranged for Jess Jackson to wake up with a horse's head on his bed. You have to admit that Jess has the horses--even if Steve Heimoff is the only wine writer who gets to ride them.

--Is King Freddy of Franzia the new Gallo?

--Corks Are Dead. Really. They are dead. They are not the living, breathing embodiments of Bacchus. Neither is Stelvin unless Bacchus is really the Man of Steel--and I thought we had reserved that for Steven Kent and his brother.

Finally, Ron, there is no fee if you decide to use any of these topics.

Samantha Dugan said...

Damn Mr. are kinda sexy when you're mad. Rawr!

Jason said...

Out of topics? Not hardly! What about a stirring 4 part series (read the first part and he'll pay you to read the last three) on the greatest wine blogging controversy of the century? The Great Rockaway Giveaway...

Anonymous said...

I've never tasted a good Philippe Melka wine, have you?

Alice!? Alice?!! Who the hell is Alice???!!

If Parker is dead, why are so many California red wines redolent of prune juice? Why does my palate burn (not to mention my credit card) when experiencing the latest and greatest "vintage of the century" Rhone wines?

Please don't go describing wines in terms of classical music. I have enough studying to do with regard to wine...don't make me have to learn the difference between Beethoven and Bach. I've had sufficient trouble trying to distinguish between Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc!

As for the reference connecting oak and mother's milk, please Mr. O, no breast-feeding here on the Hosemaster's blog.
And how about those White Rocket wines of Mr. Jess Jackson? I'd talk about them and ennui if I wasn't already bored.

What's Social Media, anyway? Isn't she the daughter of that Wall Street Journal couple?


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Charlie,

Unlike David Letterman and his 20 writers, what I write about on HoseMaster is limited, as you point out, to a very small world, the world of wine, the wine business and the menagerie of dimwits who blog about it. After more than a year of doing it, it began to seem obvious that the number of subjects on blogs is about ten. So I thought it was time someone stepped up and declared them dead. These subjects are too dead for even the Heimoff Maneuver to resuscitate them. And, as Jason so aptly points out, I missed a few. No one's perfect. Well, Alder is, but, then, he's the Second Coming of Robert Lawrence Balzer.

Writing humor is what I can do. Sure, I know a lot about wine, but I try to simply have fun with the whole screwy business, insult those who have risen to the top of it and actually believe they deserve it, and generally play the Fool. What you do at CGCW is altogether different and way more useful. And it's not something I could do with a straight face. But I admire it, read it, and enjoy it. And I'm flattered you read my baloney.

Hey Anon 1,

The Social Media joke made me laugh out loud. I always want to go after the Wall Street Journal couple but that would mean I have to actually read them, and I just don't have the stomach for it. One day I will. And thanks for your many contributions to HoseMaster, my friend, it's always fun when you show up.


Welcome, don't be a stranger and don't let the other folks hanging around here talk over you. There are as harmless a bunch of curmudgeons as I know. In fact, all you lurkers, chime in now and then! This ain't the library, you don't have to be quiet.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

You make this whole thing worth it.

Steven Mirassou said...


Thanks. Sometimes I want to be the guy who has the balls to say exactly what's on his mind...damn the torpedos. But being unable (except under the most unusual or drunken of circumstances), I look to you instead.

Charlie :)

Do Bianchi said...

I have been told that the script for Sideways the sequel has been handed in. Just when I thought the world was safe from Giamatti-ization...

Alfonso Cevola said...

Well it doesnt look like the world is big enough to be safe for Hosemaster-ization

In fact the wine world isn't safe from the latest ill to befall it- hosemater-izaion.

Ron, you are bigger than Alder - Or so Dr. Vino tells it that way.