Monday, March 26, 2012

What We're Reading

Compiled by the editors of HoseMaster of Wine

STEVE!: A fascinating look at how a working critic manages to have spotless integrity in a world of wine reviewing corruption. STEVE! wonders why he doesn’t have more fame and influence arguing that, “while there are, understandably, differences in opinions about the same wine, only my scores come from a deep, dark, needy place.”

WINE SPECTATOR ONLINE: A wealth of interesting posts this week. James Laube relates the country’s raging contraception debate to the cork controversy in a column titled, “Just Pull the Damned Thing Out.” Matt Kramer explains the difference between white Burgundy and red Burgundy, and, in so doing, sets a Wine Spectator record for most words used in stating the obvious, a record previously held by everyone on the editorial staff. And, finally, Tim Fish discovers the wonders of tasting room crackers.

SAMANTHA SAMS CLUBAGE: Samantha’s latest post explores just why French wines are better than any other goddam wines. It has something to do with the tingling of the little hairs on her girlie parts. As good an explanation of terroir as I’ve ever read ensues, with Samantha taking the position that “terroir is like Dave Mathews--hard to explain, but I know it when I taste it.” But she really gets going with her tribute to what Grower Champagnes do to her “bits.” “I’ve got mousse in my caboose,” she begins, “ and en tirage in my garage.” Yahoo! I love when she gets down and dirty. This girl writes like a dream, a wet one.

DINER’S JOURNAL: Eric Asimov, writing under his pseudonym Eric Asimov, talks about the Natural Wines being produced in Arbois, which he tasted while on leave for Jura duty. “Natural wines,” he states in his low-key authoritarian voice, “seem to express more about the people advocating them than anything else—that they are seriously flawed.”

SERMONTATION: Tom Wark invented wine blogging, which is why he is particularly reviled. Today’s post is about the Constitution and Tasting Fees. Tom argues persuasively that our Forefathers expressly forbade Tasting Room Fees under the Eighth Amendment which expressly says, “…nor excessive fines imposed…” Oooh, he’s got you there, tasting room scum! Tom suggests that consumers refuse to pay tasting room fees, and if they run into problems not to forget their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Tom’s blog makes one wish there wasn’t a First Amendment.

FOOD AND WINE: More on the mysteries of pairing wine and food from the magazine that is completely baffled by it. “Cabernet with Eggs” is a delightful article that argues the perfect match with what comes out of a chicken’s cloaca is full-bodied Cabernet, and offers a recipe for Egg Foo Young Red Wine. In the penetrating “Trust Your Palate,” Wine Editor Ray Isle says that the trick to matching food and wine is to have faith in your own taste. A convincing argument for canceling your subscription.

ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON THE WINE TRAIL IN ITALY: Alfonso transports us to another time and place with his blog—I think it’s Hooterville circa 1960.  Today’s post, “Pasta My Prime,” is a gorgeous lamentation about aging and some other stuff I couldn’t make heads or tails of. The words flow like a busted sewage main, and leave you thinking, Was that a brilliant post, or an eye chart?

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Jay McInerney writes for the 1%--that is, the 1% who are happy he replaced John and Dottie. His column this week focuses on his visit to Sting’s winery in Italy, where he practices Tantric sex with himself. Meanwhile, Lettie Teague has one more retraction to make about yet another mistake in her column, “I regret that I mistakenly wrote that ‘Romanee-Conti’ referenced a gypsy whore.”

1WINEDOODY: In today’s post, Doody makes the case for Portuguese white wines. Entitled, “Who You Callin’ Vin, Ho?,” in Doody’s signature Look at Me I’m Hip style, he argues that Vinho Verde belongs at your table, especially since he had to travel all the way to f***ing Portugal, on their escudo, to teach you this. It’s quite a convincing romp, and, best of all, we can look forward to his Tweets about Vinho Verde this coming weekend! Example: “This 2008 Vinho Verde makes me want to rush to the airport and have my junk touched! A+”

VORNOGRAPHY: Alder talks about the rash of counterfeit wines on the auction circuit and offers his services pro bono heado. “Line up those 50,000 bottles of old wine from that Rudy Dude’s cellar, give me 36 hours, I'll taste them all and I’ll tell you which ones are fakes. And, as a bonus, I’ll post some spectacular photos, mostly of kitties.” Hard to argue with a guy who definitely knows about fake.


1winedude said...

You are officially in your New Renaissance period, my man!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey 1WineDoody,

Thanks, but I'm not sure I ever had an old Renaissance period. Just having fun rattling cages.

Caustic Scotch and Soda said...

Oh I was so hoping you'd include: Bordellos Have More Fun...but one must leave room for a sequel, I suppose. Delightful read sir mensch.

Samantha Dugan said...

Grower Champagne may get my bits tingling but you sir, you rattle my cage better than anyone. I love you! And thanks for including me with all those famous bloggers! Who knew all it took to be listed with the "Fancy Pants" was to describe what was going on in mine....

Beau said...

So many bits of awesome in this post.

Tom Wark said...

The thing is, you have to balance the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 21 amendments to the Constitution along with the Commerce Clause. Very complex.

Thomas said...

So what happened to the Negress, the harlots, and that guy with one initial and two names?

We need the sequel--now.

Thomas said...

...and while you are at that sequel, do not forget the Dr. of wine, the lady with the red hair, and why not Dottie and what's his name, too??

So much material yet to be mined. Are there any bloggers who, like Sinatra was, are hard to mimic? If so, try them too. Stretch your talent, Ron. It can be only fun for the rest of us.

Mockingbird said...


Anonymous said...

Methinks "1WineDoody" is looking far too old to get away with the "Dude, Where's my Wine?" kitsch much longer.

Steve O.

1winedoody said...

Anonymous - I looked this old years ago when I started poodling. I'm also short, not very attractive & fairly dense. I am sure I've inadvertenty left something out, but also fairly sure you'll anonymously remind me what it was :).

SUAMW said...

That is quite candid and incisively insightful, 1winedoody, for a BASS player....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Caustic Scotch and Soda,

Yeah, there are endless boring blogs to include, but that's a lot of joke writing as it is. Brunellos Have More Fun is yet another site with a barking Poodle, and a dull one at that. But I've found that talking about those clowns on my site only gets them more hits, which I studiously try to avoid. And there will definitely be sequels to this post... If you're new here, it's hard to tell with pseudonyms (like you're too important in the wine biz to use a real name), welcome.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Your pants definitely have it goin' on. And goin' in. And goin'. And I only put my favorite bloggers in this first "What We're Reading," and you're the most talented of the bunch.

I love you so!


You and Samantha, all about the bits. And thanks for the kind words.


You are nothing if not complex. Like Oedipus. There's a joke there somewhere, but no use going on a scavenger hunt.


I like to think that the jokes stand up even if you don't know the person I'm spoofing, but I do try to make the comedy accessible, and, really, who reads the Chronic Nefertiti? I could have had an Alice reference, but I had space constraints (self-imposed). Dottie and Dotter? Who cares?

And the guy with the initial and two names? I'm not dumb enough to go after guys who insult me. They like to see their name in print, they get hits, they get HoseMaster notoriety (pretty vain, ain't I?), so screw him.

If I want my talent stretched, I'll visit my proctologist.

Steve O,

I look old, not 1WineDoody, but he does have a "voice" anyway. Of course, so did Jerry Mahoney.

amy cleary said...

I'm always late to the comments these days. Must be all that gruner I am drinking.

Most excellent, especially "Jay McInerney writes for the 1%--that is, the 1% who are happy he replaced John and Dottie"

Thomas said...

OK, Ron, 'fess up: the Jerry Mahoney reference was an obscurity "messo là per me!"

Yeah, I unnerstan (a little e.e.cummings for you) your reticence to give some poodles their 15 seconds of fame by making an appearance on HoseMaster's award-shunning blog, but sometimes you gotta give poodles their pooh, er, due.

Dave Larsen said...

Ron, Excellent stuff as always and you are so prolific for a humorist. You obviously are mining a very rich vein of ore. FYI - Lettie Teague clarified her retraction. She was playing a joke on her editor to see if he would notice what she wrote.

Thomas said...


Why did you send me to that Palate Press article?

I found the discussion concerning half bottles more revealing than the the article itself. Pamela got it right: half bottles do not represent what the consumer will get because, as anyone who knows anything about wine storage and aging should know, half bottles of wine age much quicker than 750s.

Besides, in my view, reviewing wine is not about making either the blogger or the PR person's life easier. In fact, reviewing wine is a dead art ;)

Kathy said...

It was a rather dreary day until now. Go Hose!

Poodle Daddy said...

I was thinking that there was something missing from this column, but, on reflection, it is better to be missing than to have one's talent stretched.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Amy Love,

Gruner? Yikes, I didn't know you'd died and gone to Hell! My condolences. That would more adequately explain your tardiness, I guess.


Well, the title of the piece is "What We're Reading" and I'm certainly not reading many Poodles. And it does help if a blogger has SOME talent, then it's easier to make fun of their style or content. Ridiculing a cipher is actually kind of hard. But it seems I've found a new recurring HoseMaster piece--everyone seems to love it when I insult the wine blog world.

And Jerry Mahoney...not that obscure. Though few people know he's made of Limousin oak.


Oh, I can crank out this crap all day long. I hope that I make it look easy, but, believe me, it's not. I've always said, you should see what I edit out... Thanks for the kind words, as always.


Ah, yes, I'm such a ray of sunshine! Thanks, Love.

Puff Daddy,

What's funny is that I wrote the majority of this piece about four months ago and it began its life as a mild parody of what you used to do now and then on CGCW, that is, write about blogs you'd been reading that made you think. That morphed into using the format that is used on the Diner's Blog on the NY Times website (where Eric Asimov never ever mentions my blog as What He's Reading--hard to believe!). And in that transition I neglected to include CGCW as a target. It won't happen again...

Man, comedy is a tough business.

Mockingbird said...


"The pipeline has dried up.

Five or six years ago, almost any casual wine enthusiast could launch a WordPress or Blogger blog, write a post about each new wine he drank—from the plonk to the good stuff—and wait for wine samples to come pouring in."

Samantha Dugan said...

I don't think I have, or had a pipeline, so I'm guessing if it was there it was so dried up that it snapped off. Depressing....

Thomas said...

I'm unsure why the dried up pipeline would be good for me to know about. Enlighten me further Mockingbird...unless you are referring to one of my old vinofictions posts that might have taken freebies to task.

Most PR people avoid sending me samples, but they don't seem to want to stop sending me press releases, many of which could use my professional assistance.

Mockingbird said...


As the supply of free samples, so has the torrent of bloggers to mock dried up.

I posted that immediately after you recited a litany of blogger names/references.

Blogging Daddy said...

If there ever was a pipeline of free samples to thousands of bloggers, the wineries have only themselves to blame.

But, the fact is that the so-called pipeline was never all that long. No winery worthy of the name ever sent out thousands of samples.

What they did do was experiment with the blogosphere to find out how useful it would be to their interests. And guess what, they found that some bloggers had an audience and some did not.

That remains true today. There are more than one or two influential bloggers and more than one or two who get samples.

The pipeline may have shrunk and eliminated samples for some, but the real reason there is a decrease in the number of active bloggers is that good writing is hard work, and the blogosphere, like any other marketplace, only has room for a handful of voices.

Thomas said...


Thanks. I may be slow, but when something is explained, I ain't so dense that I can't understand!!!


"but the real reason there is a decrease in the number of active bloggers is that good writing is hard work, and the blogosphere, like any other marketplace, only has room for a handful of voices."

Wish I had posted the above.

Well, I did post the sentiment numerous times in the past, but it's time seems to have arrived.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

As always, measured words of wisdom.

But let's not forget that the article in question was in Palate Press, which has the journalistic standards of Nickolodeon, but with a smaller vocabulary. The home of columnists like W. Break Gasbag. So because that article asserts that some mythical pipeline has dried up, well, first of all, so what?, and secondly, according to whom? Unnamed sources and a guy at Michel-Schlumberger? Convincing.

But isn't it fun that a blogger can go on PalateCleanser and say, "What are you talking about? I'm buried in samples. But, then, I'm who I am." First, however, one must thank the accomplished journalist who came up with the column for her insight and talent. "Great Post."

Though it all makes my HoseMaster job easier.

Charlie Olken said...

"Measured words of wisdom"?

Have a look at today's CGCW blog for unmeasured words of wisdom--mostly from Steve but with my pithy edits.

On Sunday, we learned, via the SF Chronicle, that a good wine list is one that thinks customers do not matter so long as the list is made of wines that tickle the arcane fancies of some failed M. S. candidate.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Well, by "measured" I meant a thimbleful.

I did read the CGCW diatribe about restaurants and sommeliers. I just liked that Stephen was all revved up about it and let it fly. I could damn near see the spittle on the screen. Love the passion.

And what's the difference between an M.S. and a failed M.S.? One needs to go home and learn more about wine, and the other needs to try again.

Mockingbird said...

Here's another sign 'o the times, Thomas:

"The eroding effect of word-of-mouth on the regional reputation premium"

Damn, Ron, You may need find a new pet peeve...

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I've got thousands of pet peeves to choose from, no need for more.

Reading that "scholarly" paper makes Vornography seem amazingly fast-paced.

Mockingbird said...

Re: number of pet peeves - have you considered clinical intervention/help?

Re: scholarly article - good science or not, it does point to the fact that wine blogging is on the decline. But, you might enjoy the eight tenets of the church of bloggology:

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Time to swear off the links. Not how it goes around here. Especially for an anonymous poster.

Mockingbird said...

If it pleases....
But does that link look like I'm astroturfing?....

Kathy said...

Just killed out most of what I was going to say...(always a good idea).
Late back into this game, distracted by too many Tweeters not tasters at Bordeaux '11.
I will need some humor this week. Plz.
We don't have mockingbirds here but do have cuckoos.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I shall return tomorrow with a new post. Just took a Thursday off because, well, I felt like it. I only make cranking this stuff out look easy, it ain't.

But thank you, as always, for being here. Wouldn't it be nice if they banned Twitter from industry events? It is incredibly annoying, and extremely neurotic, behavior.

So how many 100 point wines did you taste? The number to beat is 19!! Go!