Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Vanishing Wine Bloggers

Wine Bloggers Conference
Perhaps you’ve turned your back so you don’t have to watch. Maybe you are secretly in favor of this travesty. Or you’re a skeptic, a denier, like those pinheads who think climate change isn’t real even though the polar ice caps are disappearing faster than free samples of Viagra at the Napa Vintners Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But it’s getting bad, people, and it’s about time we acknowledge the situation before it’s too late. The wine bloggers are disappearing. If something isn’t done, and soon, the last wine blogger will vanish in OUR LIFETIME! What was once a proud subspecies of human (homo narcissus) will forever be gone from the Internet, leaving behind only their signature sniveling and greasy remains. The facts are disheartening.

Once there were thousands of wine bloggers posting countless wine reviews—though the reviews were widely acknowledged to be about as useful as Muslim sommeliers, if slightly harder to translate. (Example from 1WineDude: “The 2009 Chateau Margaux is the Big Lebowski of First Growths and reminded me that polyps are just like Growths only with an exposure that depends on which way you’re facing when you drop your pants. A-.” Penning-Roswell, eat your heart out.) Now there are but a few who publish reviews regularly, the majority having died off when wineries suddenly realized sending samples to bloggers was the exact equivalent of simply driving a forklift through the same cases of wine. Now where does one turn for savvy wine recommendations? We should have seen this coming.

Comments have dwindled to a precious few. Comments are the batteries in wine bloggers’ personal vibrators. Without those batteries, they are forlorn, their longings unsatisfied, their need for love reduced to the stroking of their own warm and engorged posts alone, their solipsistic voices echoing hollowly in the vast, empty cyberspace. Is it any wonder that without comments our wine bloggers are dying? You have only to check the latest posts on all the most popular blogs to see that many are starving. And even those wine bloggers who still receive a healthy number of comments are startled by the emptiness of those comments, the virtual absence of power. (Example from Fermentation: “                     .“) Most comments these days are but tired old batteries that only rev vibrators up to a 3. Wine bloggers are dying of loneliness, and chapped posts.

Wine blogs are the Oakland A’s of Social Media. If you’re a wine blogger, you may as well just resign yourself to last place. Social Media has moved on to FaceBook and Twitter, where emptiness of thought is joyously celebrated, and modern day Zombies are created by the millions. How can wine bloggers compete in our modern cyberworld? 140 characters, most of which are blank spaces—and I’m talking about wine blogs, not Twitter. The illusion that you have hundreds of friends—how can wine bloggers live in a world like that when their blog stats show that they only have 80 unique hits a day, and most of those are Google image searches for “wine douchebag?” The answer simply is that they cannot survive. We are watching an extinction the equivalent of the Passenger Pigeon, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, and Vac-U-Vins   It may be too late to stop it.

What will our world be like without wine bloggers? I know, it’s almost too hard to think about. But stop and consider. Already most of our finest wine bloggers are near death, their last gasps already audible in each and every post.

STEVE!: “I’ve already written two of the classic texts in American wine literature and yet I’m still unappreciated. I give and I give and I give, yet I’m never listed on any Top 100 lists—not Influential People in Wine, not Cry for Help Tattoos, not Most Likely to Name Drop Incessantly. What more do I have left to give?” I’m speechless.

Dr. Vino: “Impossible Pairings—My Wine Blog and Original Thoughts” Bravo!

Vornography: “Essence of Wine Blog—Why do I smell vomit?” You’re standing in it.

Sermontation: “It was at a local bar last night that I suddenly realized I have nothing left to say about the wine business. This does not surprise me and it shouldn’t surprise you. We have finally left the Golden Age of Wine Writing behind and are entering the much anticipated Dark Ages of Wine Writing. I think this is good. Golden Ages aren’t supposed to last forever, no more than a great Chardonnay can last more than a couple of hours after being opened. We will look back at these past few years with great fondness and awe, even as the last wine blog, Fermentation, inevitably goes out. We were given the chance to read the brilliance of wine bloggers while it was being freshly excreted, words that will be read by every future generation of wine lovers. Generations that will despise us because we let the wine bloggers die. Except the HoseMaster, for his demise, we will be revered.” Good night, old friend. Rest in Peace.

Is it too late to save the wine bloggers? It may be too late to save them in their natural habitat. But we can capture the last of them and put them on display. Future generations will marvel at them, their odd habits and strange language will surely delight them. And they will wonder at what once was. A strange and sad race who walked among us, sullied and unattractive, convinced of their own worth despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, soldiers of the grape, slaves to their own vanity, whistling and typing in the dark. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Actual Secrets of a Sommelier


In this edition of Basics of Wine Appreciation we’ll focus on ordering wine in restaurants. Reading a wine list is an acquired skill, like using a napkin. But nothing impresses your date more than your ability to sniff out the best wine at the best price on a wine list. Unless it’s your ability to work your iPhone with your tongue. Let’s get started.

What is the purpose of a wine list?

Think of the wine list as a really boring book, like a Jay McInerney novel only with better-drawn characters. It’s presented to you at the table for you to peruse at your pleasure. Open it to any page and it will be complete gibberish. You studied James Joyce in college, think of it like that. It’s just a bunch of made up words and made up prices. Its purpose is to remove you from reality and make you see the world in a completely different way. The longer you stare at it, try to make sense of it, the less chance you have of remaining sane. It’s often best to just hurl it to the floor. (Hint: This is also often a useful tip for handling your date.)

Should I ask for the sommelier?

You don’t need the sommelier. Try very hard to avoid the sommelier. Do your best to never make eye contact with the sommelier. If you should happen to make eye contact with the sommelier, break it at once. Prolonged eye contact can lead to a sommelier throwing his feces at you. It’s a sign of dominance among their kind. If one should approach your table try not to make any sudden moves. Sommeliers startle easily, and their fear response is to freeze like a possum—and then you’ll never get rid of them. If this happens, the best solution is to make gentle cooing noises in their direction until they regain their senses and leave, or start to hum along. You’ll find they make excellent pets.

Why order wine in the first place?

Ready for Dinner!
Nothing enhances your meal more than the appropriate wine. Except maybe using hand puppets instead of eating utensils. I like Punch and Judy, but only in Michelin-starred restaurants. But be sure and take your own puppets to the restaurant. The only puppets most restaurants own are Wine Spectator critics. But aside from complementing the food, wine’s most important job is to get you drunk. Think of the wine list as a summary of all the different ways you can achieve insobriety, as if you were reading Mel Gibson’s autobiography. A meal without wine is like sex without a partner—necessary but don’t get caught. 

What about wine by-the-glass?

Are you kidding me? Why not just order steak by-the-bite? Makes about as much sense. "I’d like one fifth of the T-Bone for what the entire steak actually cost the restaurant, please." Wine by-the-glass is the restaurant’s profit center for wine. It’s like french fries at fast food restaurants. They even have the same different sizes—small, medium, salty stroke; and 2 oz., 4 oz., and it’s cheap and red and I need to glug it now. By-the-glass is for those self-delusional folks who think they don’t drink much. “Oh, we can’t finish a whole bottle!” Two hours later they’ve polished off six glasses of wine. Just buy a bottle. You’re not fooling anybody. Dimwit.

Why are wine prices so high in restaurants?

It takes a lot of capital to run a big wine program. So when you pay $175 for that $60 dollar cabernet, just remember that you’re drinking it out of fine Riedel stemware, $7 a stem, and that it has been perfectly stored in an air-conditioned wine cellar along with 20,000 other bottles for about 50 cents. The rest is a modest profit for the restaurant. Think of yourself as the Department of Defense and the restaurant as Lockheed Martin. This should give you great comfort and make you feel patriotic. Only traitors and draft dodgers complain about wine prices.

What’s the secret to reading wine lists?

Google this question and you’ll come up with endless articles by experts who will tell you the same damned things. “Look for wines from lesser-known appellations.” There’s usually a reason they’re less known—the wines suck. And, besides, you don’t know the appellations either! If you did, you’d be a damned sommelier yourself. God knows you’ve passed the first level WSET exam—I finally did, too, and my gut feels much better now. And I finished pre-wiped! “Ask help from the sommelier, after all, it’s his wine list.” Yeah, that makes sense. It’s exactly like when the magician helps you to pick a card. You can trust him, after all it’s his deck of cards! Sucker. So what is the secret to reading wine lists? If you recognize a lot of the wines on the list, order beer, it’s probably a stupid wine list. If you don’t recognize a lot of wines on the list, order the second cheapest wine. It won’t be as good as the cheapest, but at least it will get the sommelier to leave you alone for the rest of the meal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On and On and On and On and On and On and On the Wine Trail in Italy

Life is short. Like the finish of a cheap Prosecco. Like the memories of the young, and the time between an old man’s trips to the bathroom at night. But life is also long. From the time you begin to read this until the time you finish, life will have seemed to have dragged on forever, and you will have felt like Dante was your guide here and not me. Life is both short and long. A midget with a large dingdong. We straddle both lives, like a gymnast working the parallel bars—even for men, uneven for women. A man works a woman’s bars at the risk of his very salsiccia. Yes, life is a midget with a large dingdong. Show him respect.

Where the hell's the bathroom?
People, so many people in this wine game. The young come to it filled with ideas, certain of their conviction that their ideas are new. All ideas are new when you’re young. I know. I once had ideas myself. But it’s been many years since any ideas have appeared to me. This is the folly of youth. Ideas drive them. But age teaches. Age is the great teacher. I had a great teacher once, in my youth. He taught me the wine business in just a few words. “Alfonso,” he said to me, “leave a little something of yourself in every wine you drink.” And now all those somethings have reduced me to what I am today. A couple ideas short of nothing.

Emptiness, where I walk

Twice is a word I like. It’s like “ice” with a “tw” before it. I like twice because I like people to read everything I write twice. So it finally makes sense. Like tradition makes sense. Without tradition, what are we left? Emptiness. The feeling I try to leave you with here. The tradition of emptiness. Like writing about ratings. Ratings have no tradition, no memory; ratings are emptiness. I contradict myself by writing about ratings when I express that writing about them is emptiness. Words folded into words, this is my luggage on the wine trail in Italy. American Tourister—my role in the wine world of Italy, and my luggage. Folds within folds.
My Life--full, or empty?

Where do we go from here, the young and the old? Life is a midget with a large dingdong and no ideas, only luggage. If you think about that long enough, maybe read it twice, it will start to make sense. Where will wine go? My beloved Italian wines, where will their journey take them? Will it be a short journey or a long journey? Both. Short for the wines that court emptiness, like Soave and wines in fish bottles. Why do they put wine in a fish bottle? Just for the hali…but I digress. Long for the wines that speak of the people and the country where they are made. The wines of my dreams and my nightmares. My dreams, my loves, my desires. My nightmares, my fears, my… What was I talking about?

Age. Ideas. Folds within Folds. The emptiness of my luggage on and on and on and on and on and on and on the wine trail in Italy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Questionably Funny Valentine

Are you in love with a wine connoisseur? I’m sorry. Wine isn’t a hobby, it’s a disease, like the mumps, or scarlet fever, or professional football. Wine lovers make the worst lovers. They use condoms made by Riedel. Which always break. They think an Ah-So is designed for Her Pleasure. They rate their orgasms. “Sorry, Baby, that was 89—Highly Recommended but hardly Worth Seeking Out.” But you love them, and you want to make them happy on Valentine’s Day. Forget the prix fixe dinner (my prix fixe in Sonoma is 707), the overpriced Flowers (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), or the latest overhyped box of chocolates (chocolates are to sex what clowns are to circuses—just a way to get to the animal acts). Here are some better ideas to make Valentine’s Day unforgettable for your personal, beloved wine geek.

The Inflatable Celebrity Winemaker

For those lonely nights when you can’t be with your wine lover, there is a new designer line of inflatable celebrity winemakers—SCOREGASM! For him, the fabulous Heidi Peterson Barrett Scoregasm doll. It whispers in his ear as he nears his peak, “You’re a 100 point Screaming Eagle, Baby, I’ll make you soft and juicy.” Or maybe he’d prefer the Helen Turley Wine Goddess model, though, truthfully, you can only get a used one at this point. Most of the Turley models were bought up by her old winemaking clients who are now doing to her what she did unto them.

For her, the fully-loaded Michel Rolland Scoregasm Limited Edition model might make her lonely nights a bit more satisfying. Astride his glistening thief, she’ll hear the magic words, “Come fly with me, Baby, you’re so ripe.” Or maybe she’d prefer the Paul Hobbs Scoregasm model. But be careful, the Paul Hobbs model is spread awfully thin.

There’s little doubt that the wine lover in your life has always dreamed of sex with a celebrity winemaker. Here’s their chance. But be careful they don’t get burned. Just like the real live winemakers, they are full of hot air.

Guest Critic

"Treasure of Sierra Madre Vineyard"
Recently, the major wine publications, and also Wine and Spirits, have decided to open up their reviewing ranks to those wine enthusiasts willing to pay for the privilege. The fee differs from publication to publication (Wine Spectator charges $500, while Food & Wine’s fee is pegged to ten cents per subscriber, currently $1.40), but for the money your wine squeeze will be given free samples of dozens of wines to score. Why, it’s damned near like being a wine blogger, just without all that cumbersome prestige. Make sure and taste the wines blind! You gave your word. OK, go ahead, peek, it’s what all the pros do. There, isn’t this the best Valentine’s Day gift ever? Pretend you’re James Laube and just make a bunch of numbers up. Better yet, you’re Robert Parker! Write a column about Hot New Wineries, then give them outrageous scores. See, you were right. They are HOT! It’s fun to be a professional wine critic. Credentials? Credentials? We don’t need no stinkin’ credentials. We got opinions, and we got numbers, and we got a glossy magazine to put them in. Just imagine the fun your wine guzzling partner will have acting like the pros! But, remember, just because you hand out ratings on borrowed authority that doesn’t mean you can accept large speaking engagement honorariums. Well, not and get caught.

The Complete Charles Shaw Vertical

Trader Joe’s, in celebration of ten years of selling Charles Shaw wines, is offering a Limited Edition Vertical Release of every vintage of Charles Shaw Merlot. It’s damned near twenty bucks worth of wine! Which is more than you can say for most shipments of the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. And, as part of the celebration, each vertical comes with a Fred Franzia bobblehead doll, sure to delight your wine lover, as well as frighten rats. Trader Joe’s has sold 50 million cases of Charles Shaw wines. I kid you not. Two Buck Chuck is the FaceBook of wine. They’re both not for real friends.


No, you don’t need them to guest critique wines, but wouldn’t your wine lover like to have a bunch of initials after his/her name? Oh, you know it! The absolute pride in having a business card with CSW or WSET or LS/MFT after your name, it’s immeasurable! Well, now it’s also easy. Under new laws recently passed by Congress as part of a new jobs program, if you meet anyone with a CSW, WSET, or MS and you know more about wine than they do, you can hijack their initials! It’s easy, and it’s fun! Aim low, start with the CSW. Ten minutes of wine talk, go easy now, don’t confuse them, they can and will spit, and you’ll have your CSW. It's just that simple. Then just talk to your wine lover about the subject and, bang, the CSW is his. It’s Tag for wine dweebs. It’s all legal and it’s all fun. It’s the perfect Valentine for your wine dork. Don’t feel bad, the WSET holder you robbed can get another one. Soon everyone who wants a wine credential will have one and they’ll all be meaningless. Wait. How would that be different? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The HoseMaster's 2012 Top Ten Most Influential People in the Wine Business*

Oh, I love a good list. Craig’s... Schindler’s…Franz. And making the list yourself gives you a feeling of power and expertise, even if you have neither. I was making a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2012 and my number one entry was, “Make more lists.” Number two was, “Walk with a limp.” Recently, a nobody in the wine business published a list of the 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry. This is much like Kevin Costner making a list of the 100 Best Actors. Or Newt Gingrich listing the 100 Greatest Speakers of the House. Well, he was the 58th and still isn’t in the top 100. Now, Wreckers of the Home, he’s right there at the top. So, in the spirit of the undeserving and ignorant preparing lists, here is the 2012 HoseMaster’s Top Ten Influential People in the Wine Business*.

I'll kick you in your TJ nuts.
When you think cheap wine and nuts, who comes to mind? OK, Fred Franzia, but I mean actual nuts. Yup, Trader Joe. And it all revolves around a keen business strategy. Make ‘em buy six lousy bottles of wine for the price of one lousy Napa Cabernet. It’s genius. And, sure, there are great bottles of wine at Trader Joe’s just like, occasionally, you see a Yugo that still runs. Real influence is the ability to sell any old leftover plonk with hyperbole and a cute 19th Century lithograph.

The ingenious Meg is part of your every day drinking life. Her eponymous concoction, created in her own kitchen accidentally as she tried to make a Paula Deen recipe for Mocha Almond Insulin, is a common ingredient in red wines the world over. Miraculously, no winemaker has ever used it! It’s the wine world’s Viagra--your go-to when you know you’re going to be fucked. And, like HoseMaster of Wine, it’s virtually tasteless! Hard to imagine wine has been influenced by anyone more than Meg A. Purple.

There was a time, boys and girls, lost in the fiery past, when ordinary folk could travel to wine country and return home with a six-pack of wine they carried onto the plane and stored under their seat. But Osama bin Laden, you know him best from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” changed all that. Osama was also influential in other ways. We owe the trend in winery caves to his vision as well. Winemakers learned a cave is the best place to hide from “drones,” an industry term for stingless, worthless bloggers who live off the labor of others. Bin Laden is also the namesake of the prestigious Beard Awards.

The inventor of the Internet, Al Gore made possible the rise of the most important people in the wine business today—wine bloggers. Their tireless and brilliant work has brought genuine hope to the producers of truly ordinary wine. Consumers turn to trusted wine bloggers for the latest tips on wines so delicious and sought-after that free samples were mailed to bloggers. Thanks to Gore’s invention, anyone can publish wine reviews and opinions, though, thankfully, wine blogs have smaller audiences than the great Sade impersonator, Sade. The Internet has changed the way we think about wine. Once shrouded in mystery, it’s now shrouded in ignorance. A huge improvement. It’s always been ignorance that sells the most wine! Look for Gore’s invention to spur sales to all-time highs.

Mistakenly believed to be dead by many people, Steiner recently emerged from the gigantic cow horn he’d been buried in 50 years ago and is actively consulting for many wineries and vineyards. He has renounced biodynamics, calling it “not half as valid as mind reading, Ouija boards, or Wine Star awards—all of which are hooey.” Steiner is now preaching his newest farming philosophy, SonofagungonnahavebigfunontheBio. Embraced by all the brilliant cutting edge winemakers of the world, Steiner’s new teachings, nicknamed BFBio, have winemakers all over the world burying crawfish in their vineyards. “All the great vineyards have ancient sea beds for soils—start planning for the future!” Also, vineyards are planted according to intricately worked out phases of a teenager. For example, the self abuse phase is seen as the best time to plant seed. Steiner and his various diatribes are wine’s answer to Ted Kaczynski. Now that’s influence.

There’s never any real reason to put 1WineDoody on any influential wine person list, but, well, it’s tradition. Like christening a ship with a bottle of Champagne. That is, a total waste.

#4 KANYE WEST, et. al. Y’all
Kanye, and many other HipHop artists, fueled the current surge in Moscato d’Asti sales by using it in their lyrics. Before Moscato, it was Cristal that they sold by the boatload. Man, these HipHop dudes are more into bubbles than Michael Jackson ever was. Rumor has it that the next big HipHop wine rage is contained in these lyrics:

Girl the way you booty move got me mezmer-iced
Make my eyes go every which way, like a fuckin’ gecko
I’m a find a way to get what in yo pants
You gon drop ‘em to the floor beggin’ for my Prosecco.

Expect sales of the Italian bubbly after shave to skyrocket. That, friends, is influence.

Yeah, I know, it made me laugh too. People who get their wine advice from The Wall Street Journal are the same people taking debate lessons from Rick Perry.

Fight fair, Justices, Trader Joe would want it that way.
It was Justice Scalia’s vote in the 2005 case of Granholm v. Heald that changed direct shipping laws in the US in favor of small wineries. I’m no Supreme Court scholar, but it seemed the rare instance of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas falling on opposing sides. Man, I wish I had a joke here. But isn’t it nice that even a Supreme Court Justice is willing to bail on his principles for a bottle of Kosta Browne? Hey, maybe it Kosta Scalia a Browne friend. OK, I’m tired of this list and I’m getting punchy. There just aren’t that many influential people in the wine business, though nearly everyone thinks they are.

#1 GOD
God makes the list because, well, He invented the original Top Ten list, from which all other subsequent lists are derived. And without lists, the endless parade of facile and pointless and downright narcissistic lists that litter the wine arena—Wine of the Year Lists, Best New Wineries Lists, Winemakers to Watch Lists, Where to Send Samples Lists--nearly every wine publication might cease to exist. If only. Wine is proof that God dislikes us and wants us to suffer fools gladly.

*After Me

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quiddick the Critic

Alone in his parlor, his nose at the ready
Quddick the Critic can’t hold his hand steady.
“I’ve spit and I’ve spit like a short-tempered camel
I’ve got very few teeth that have any enamel.

“My liver has grown to the size of Bulgaria
And my blood vessels look like a map of Bavaria.
My gut has grown huge, I’m immense for my genus,
It’s been several years since I last saw my penis.

“But I’ve got all these bottles, these bottles galore
And with nose and with tongue I must give them a score.
Reputations and lives all depend on my skills.
For my hands to stop shaking, I’ll wash down these pills.”

Quiddick the Critic is the King of all Wine,
His power unquestioned, his gift deemed divine.
One sniff of a wine, one mouthful or two,
A number emerges! Like you squeeze out a poo.

“Cassis and vanilla! White pepper and thyme!
Berries and cherries and girly parts’ slime!
Fresh green tobacco and other parts herbal!
The definitive scent of Tom Cruise’s gerbil!

“Muscular, brawny, with elegant tannin!
A sulfurous note as if shot through a cannon!”
Now Quiddick the Critic is ready to score,
“It’s brilliant, it’s classic, it rates 94!”

Thus Quiddick the Critic has ruled wine supreme.
His followers drank up his every wet dream.
With just one simple score he made up in his head
He can banish a winery to Land of the Dead.

But Quiddick the Critic has seen better days
Subscriptions are canceled, he gets no more praise.
His star has been fading, his flock has dispersed,
He was once the big cheese, but now he’s the wurst.

“I have to do something, I must regain my power,
Or I’ll end up like Verjus, incredibly sour.
Maybe I’ll pack up and travel to China,
Maybe I’ll pray that I grow a vagina.

“Everyone knows when it comes down to palates,
That women’s are better, that men’s are like mallets.”
Quiddick the Critic, at this point, was hammered,
He babbled, he dribbled, he droned on, he yammered.

When suddenly there was a knock at his door.
He reached down and picked up his pants from the floor.
“I rate the wines naked and make my selections,
It’s better than blind, and I get more erections.”

Like every wine critic, though Quiddick was King,
His sex life was barren, he played with his thing.
For a woman might want him because of his clout
But that thing in his pants was most like a dead trout.

“Who is it?” he cried, “Who’s there at my door?”
But his queries were answered with silence, no more.
His instincts were shouting, Don’t answer the knock!
It could be a winemaker armed with a Glock!

But Quiddick the Critic could scarcely ignore
His longing to know who was banging his door.
He opened it slowly, his nerves were atwitter.
But instead of one bitch, he found a whole litter.

For outside his door there were hundreds of Poodles,
Short ones and tall ones, all kits and caboodles.
“We’re here to replace you,” they said as a chorus,
“You’re over and done with, you cannot ignore us!”

“You’re Bloggers!” cried Quiddick, “the spawn of the Net!
You’re posers and douchebags and lovers of Brett.
You cannot replace me, don’t you know who I am?
I’m King of the Critics and you clowns are Spam!”

The Poodles were growling, their barking intense.
They gaped at his size, then said, “Let us flense!”
The first to attack him, he thought he had balled her…
But the one with no punch, he knew, “That was Alder!”

They all were upon him. The nuts and the fruity!
The Blake Grays, the Jim Budds, and even WineDoody.
They cut him and bit him and left him for dead,
And felt proud of themselves, at least that’s what they said.

“Now we’ll be the experts instead of that tub.
Our ignorance though, well, Ay, there’s the rub.
But you don’t need knowledge to start your own blog
You don’t need credentials, you just have to slog.

And you don’t need talent, not even a little
You just need a keyboard upon which you piddle
Your underthought thoughts, your impulsive twaddle.
Your useless descriptions of what’s in the bottle.

The world is much better with endless opinion
With more mindless noise from each mindless minion.
We’ll dazzle the wine world, we’ll learn it much faster.
And screw that damn Quiddick and fuck the HoseMaster.”

With poor Quiddick dead all the Poodles seized power.
Consumers were baffled, the wineries dour.
“They all want free samples, they all own the joints!
Old Quiddick, we miss you, your misleading points.”

But critics were dying and bloggers ascendant.
The bloggers not knowing they were codependent.
Without critics to harp on they had little to say
And slowly but surely they all went away.

The silence is welcome, like when you use Bean-o.
No Heimoff, no Alice, the late Dr. Vino.
And everyone’s happy, from shop to consumer.
Wine tastes so much better sans numbers and rumor.

And what is the moral of our tragic story?
For stories need morals like bloggers need glory.
Well, there’s not much to glean from this Seussic disaster—
Except that the sickest is our famed HoseMaster.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Smithsonian Institute's HoseMaster Hate Mail Wing

One of the great joys of being the HoseMaster of Wine is the accumulation of personal correspondences from folks that hate me. I’ve been asked by the Smithsonian to leave my collection of hate mail to them in my will, but it would mean having an entire new wing built just to house them. I’d like to have Frank Gehry design it. Like most of his buildings, it would look like Zeus puked. Sifting through some of my more recent mail, I chose these few to share.

Honorable HoseMaster,

Kim Chia Pet
Now that I am in Hell, I am forced to read your blog. I wanted to ask you a few questions. Where do you find a dull meal in North Korea? Under the bored wok. Get it? This is satire, my friend. Funny pun, and irony. You can’t find any meal in North Korea. My people are starving like your readers are starving for entertainment. Anyone who says I have the Bomb obviously hasn’t read your excuse for jokes. OK, here’s another question. What’s the name of the last Supreme Leader of North Korea? Termana Lee Il. Ha-Ha-Ha. This is a very funny joke. Why don’t you try to write funny things like me? All you write about is Robert Parker. Nice guy. I met him at the bar last night. He and I have a lot in common. Just two dictators that wanted to conquer Asia. OK, OK, here’s another question for you, Worthless Westerner, Mr. Funny Blogger, Racist Pig and Sommelier of the Year, What do you call my Korean hairstyle? Kim Chia Pet. Oh, hahahahahahahaha, you’re killing me. That’s classic. I am Supreme Commander of Funny Jokes. Kimchi and Kim Chia Pet—oh, I think I wet myself.

You are not funny, HoseMaster. Who told you that you are? Your blog is why I denied Internet access to my people. If you had lived in North Korea I would have had you imprisoned and forced you to read mindless propaganda. How would you like that? Nothing but Vinography and The Gray Report. Soon you would be a vegetable. A human bean---hahahahahahahaha. I kill me.

Your Eternal Leader
Kim Jong-il

Hey Loser,

More plastic than a Hollywood land fill
So all the time I’m filming “The Bachelor” I’m thinking about you, HoseMaster. OK, not really. I’m hanging around taking hot tub with a whole bunch of hot babes and I’m thinking about what every red-blooded bachelor would be thinking about. Money. I am making so much money acting like I want to marry one of those bimbos. Me and my Benziger buddy are raking in the biodynamic cash selling our own little wine—Engorged. Try my 2009 Engorged Pinot! All those bachelorettes want my Engorged Pinot. But that ain’t happening. I’m not chasing a bride, I’m chasing fame and fortune. Just like those pathetic exhibitionist girls are. I don’t care which one ends up being the last one. Hell, I suggested to the producers to just line ‘em up and do it wine country style—blind tasting! I am never going to get the smell of degradation out of my clothes.

Does it ever occur to a mutant like you that you and your blogging friends are like the stupidest of reality shows? Desperately needy people pretending to be someone they’re not who are intoxicated almost all the time and who say and do endlessly stupid and annoying things. Just to be noticed. Tell me that’s not the blogosphere, Ho’sMaster. At least I’m getting laid. The only reality show they’d let you appear on would be “America’s Dead Palate,” hosted by James Laube. Now that would be a depressing reality show—a real tongue depressor! See, I’m not just a pretty boy, I’m funny and smart too. Your little reality show known as HoseMini of Wine sucks. Ain’t nobody laughin’ here, SleazeMaster, but you might be able to hear the sound of me laughing all the way to Sonoma National Bank.

Ben Flajnik

Dear HoseMaster, you Ignorant Piece of Yellow Tail,

We’ve had just about enough of your witless and tasteless jabs at Master Sommeliers. You think you’re so fucking funny when all you’re doing is demonstrating your seeming bottomless pit of stupidity. Sure, you pretend to know a lot about wine, but all you really do is insult your superiors, try to bring them down to your level of Hell. We’d love to see you try and pass the exams for Master Sommelier, Mr. Smart Guy. You rotten piece of Rombauer. Here, DumpBucket of Wine, try these questions on for size. Every MS knows the answers to these. Think we’re just a bunch of dummies with pretentious letters after our names? Eat a Veuve sandwich.

1. Name the four colors of wine. (You won’t even think of saying “Orange,” because you don’t even know what orange wine is. It’s wine fermented in traffic cones. Mr. My Gruner Don’t Stink.)

2. Name the 13 Grand Crus of Chablis (Gotcha! It’s a trick question, MoetHead. There are only 7 Grand Crus in Burgundy—Valmur, Les Clos, Bougros, Les Preuses, Tom, Penelope, and J. Jesus, you’re an idiot.)

3. What river flows through the Rhone region of France? (Yes, yes, this is hard. But it’s the kind of fascinating stuff we have to “master” as Master Sommeliers. And these aren’t multiple choice questions either, corksucker, you have to know this stuff.)

It’s not that your stupid and libelous references to MS bother us. Yeah, like we give a BevMo what you think. It’s that it’s people like you who show no respect for the hard work, expense and boundless self-regard it takes to become a Master Sommelier who are ruining the wine business, GrisHole. Why don’t you go after MW’s? They’re the real fucking Proseccos.

Court of Master Sommeliers