Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Dullness of Wine Reviews Cured AGAIN!

Is there duller reading material than wine descriptions? Sure, there’s PARADE magazine, and everything on Zester, that goes without saying. But wine descriptions read with all the grace and wit of credit card privacy agreements. Wine writers always claim that they slave over their descriptions, but this rings about as true as insurance company commercials that now always feature geckos with accents, sexualized women who transform into fetish dolls, and lying, out-of-real-work actors. If only the insurance were as simple as the morons who sell the stuff. In an effort to, perhaps, jazz up wine descriptions, I’ll have another go at how I think famous, and actually talented, writers would tackle them.

e. e. cummings on Guigal Côte Rôtie (91 Pts)

plums (your pen-
breasts) the
Côtebottle Blonde
and the Côteheywood
Hail! Brune.
mixedup with
blackness—Seal’ed with
a Klum—Viognier
she’s a dynamite sen-
smooth and
Bedouin, baby--
in tents!

You Côte
my ton-
with your
The Guigally
and my

Tennessee Williams on Kistler Chardonnay (84 Pts)

Warm and hot, like your lover’s breath on a sultry summer evening, the smell of something tropical taking you to a past you can only faintly remember. Perhaps you were with a friend or a kind stranger, your pain tied to that empty bottle of wine on the bedstand, your failure still limp in your hand, reminding you that the wine finished poorly too after that big buildup, the whispered longing followed by the inevitable mendacity of love, and the empty promise of fame. There is no wine here, just a memory of wine, and beyond memory only death. Echoes of a cat on a hot tin roof, and what you wouldn’t give for a hot pussy instead. And if you had wanted a wine to smell of summer and smoke, you’d have bought an 08 Mendocino Pinot.

Rodney Dangerfield on Cameron Hughes Pinot Noir (88 Pts)

My wife wanted to taste this wine after sex. So I opened it as soon as she got home. I had to ask her if she had an ah-so. She wouldn’t stop starin’ at me. But she’s no prize, my wife, she’s ugly. Oh, I’m telling you, she’s ugly. She loves wines from Walla Walla—she thinks they’re named after her eyes. When she watches tennis, her head never moves. If her tongue could reach my fly she’d be an iguana. When she goes to a blind tasting everybody else puts on blindfolds. I asked her how the sex was. She said it was great, except why didn’t I tell her she needed a pedicure? I don’t get no respect, I tell ya. I asked my wife what she thought of this wine. “It’s great,” she tells me, “and tomorrow night after sex I’ll probably get a case.” Yeah, of the clap.

Charles Bukowski on Headbanger Zinfandel (98 Pts)

I loved this wine. I hit a guy over the head with it in a dark bar after he tried to look up the skirt of the woman I was trying to impress. It was in a paper bag, so I fucked him up blind. Turned out to be Headbanger Zin. Yeah, it did. It coldcocked the asshole and there was still some left in the broken bottom half of the bottle. In the punt. I love punts, I sucked this punt like it was the last fucking punt on Earth, and it was good, until I passed out while the woman took me in her mouth seven or eight times. I think I tasted blackberries and cigarette butt. She tasted last night. We both loved the length. When I woke up the punt was gone. So was the bottle. This wine is great, and I give it 98 points. I love its punt.

James Joyce on Alban Syrah (93 Pts)

The bruiseblue fruit sings to the pitfruit, perhaps peach, maybe arm, and the tongue hears the siren call of the daughters of Terpsichore, indeed a Solidchore of darklyblue dances on the lengua with little bite, and just the bitterness of those who have embraced Mistress Alcohol because you only liver once. And what is liver but the opposite of deader? And, I ask you, kind Syrah, that most Sereine of grapes, Shiraz I’m standing here, can you, Francly, call me a Cab?


Samantha Dugan said...

The Tennessee Williams, fucking brilliant. Damn, I love you!

Mike Dunne said...

Why are you doing this? Isn't the voting for best blog writing over?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Ah, if only I had a tenth of the eloquence of Tennessee Williams I'd die a happy man. I didn't quite capture his style, it's uncapturable, but perhaps a bit of his attitude.

Damn, Baby, I love you too!

Hey Mike,

That is the big question, isn't it? Why am I doing this? I haven't the faintest idea.

And Jay Miller will fly before I win the Best Writing Poodle.

Andy Perdue said...

I read that Jay Miller did fly. Oh, that was in a helicopter.

Dave Larsen said...

Good one Andy!

Oenophilosopher said...

You had me at "the inevitable mendacity of love".

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Hey, Andy, where you been? What happened? You stopped Tweeting about me! I'm bummed. How can I replace those three hits? Man, I'll never win a Poodle at this rate.


Mendacity--Big Daddy's favorite word in "Cat." Always loved that.

Marcia Macomber said...

Can't decide which is my favorite: ee or Tennessee...

But I will throw in nominees to 'get the treatment' in your next round of literary wine reviews:

Anne Rice
Shakespeare (no poaching the real McCoy)
Roald Dahl
Ayn Rand
Bill Bryson

Whaddya think?

Ron Washam, HMW said...


The vampire Anne Rice, or the Jesus freak Anne Rice? She has a thing for resurrected dead people. Not sure I've read enough of her to "do" her. Shakespeare has been done to death, but, well, he always looms on the horizon of parodies. Maybe I should just get him out of the way. Roald Dahl--not bad. Ayn Rand--one of the worst writers of the 20th Century, in every sense of the word "worst." So that could work. Bill Bryson? Hmm. He's a little too polished.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions! This sequel was slow-going. I mean, Bukowski? I like the bit, but who the hell reads Bukowski? Parody is often better suited for a longer form than a tasting note. In my own opinion, it would be generous to say I went 2 for 5 in this installment. Great in baseball, lousy in comedy.

Mike Dunne said...

If you're taking nominations...

John Steinbeck
Danielle Steele
James Lee Burke
Robert M. Parker Jr.
J.D. Salinger

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay well if we are throwing out suggestions...I'm going to toss in Tucker Max. (Running for cover)

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I'm always open to suggestions. Let's see, I almost did Steinbeck, but wanted to reread a bit of him first, so maybe next time. Danielle Steele could be fun, though it would be just a generic romance novel approach since I don't read that crap. James Lee Burke--yeah, a Southern novelist might work. Maybe Harry Crews. Or Padgett Powell. All just obscure enough for consideration. Parker is self-parody. Salinger--perfect! Love that idea. Thanks, Mike.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Tucker Max?! Is that some sort of feminine hygiene product? I've heard of him, but am proud to say I've never read him. Though I did think about doing a Sans Dosage wine review parody. Now I'll run for cover.

Samantha Dugan said...

Not unless you wish to find my teeth firmly dug into that cute ass of yours!!

Thomas said...

Remember this: In Tennesee's world, it's the men in mendacity...

Nice stuff.

How about one from William Saroyan? I hear he drank some wine in his life.

Anonymous said...

Anxiously, I await, what - the torrid nothingness of the faint wisp of your scent as the cork pops out of the long, graceful neck? Or the torpid lethargy I feel as you spill over the beach onto the gradient deceitful sand that is so deceptive, like your full flavor, that I remember from the last time I tasted you on the lips of my straying paramour... please HMW, please, I beggingly plead of you, more examples of your pleasingly painful prose...


Marcia Macomber said...

I thought the Ayn Rand would kick up some dust! Perhaps just Barrel Shrugged....

Ooo! Agatha Christie! There's an iconic writer. Yes, Bryson would be too hard for the reason you cited. That's the problem with those who really know their way around the Queen's English.

Hemingway - you won't need too many words.

F. Scott Fitzgerald - (We're already all drowning in wine.)

Thomas said...


Ayn Rand gets more attention these days than she ever deserved. She was a horrible writer whose insidious ideas and clumsy syntax would have gotten her a blogger award.

Jo Diaz said...

Good to see good 'ole Rodney back again. Hysterical.

PaulG said...

Ron, I think you are correct about the difficulty of parodying novelists in a short form wine note. But the poets work, and the playwrights also. So how about Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, Edgar Allen Poe ("Quoth the Ravenswood - Livermore!"). For playwrights give me Beckett, with a sidecar of Neil Simon. Go Hosemaster, go!

Daniel in T-Town said...

and if you stray from the 'literature' of playwrights and authors, you could play in the world of songwriters like Roger Waters, "the lunatic is in the glass", Kurt Cobain, "with the lights out, it's less viscous, here we are now, inebriate us", or David Byrne, "this is not my beautiful wine".

Sorry, just having a Nigel Tufnel Moment. There's a fine line between stupid and clever.

Thomas said...

Or Tom Waits, "the piano has been drinking."

Oded said...

Don't Forget Frank Zappa: "Moving to Sonoma soon, gonna be a wine tycoon"

Bill Klapp said...

Ron, I am possessed of three ultimately useless degrees in theatre, but perhaps I can be of help on this occasion: I believe that Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof actually said, "I smell the ODOR of the inevitable mendacity of love. I point this out since your writing in other contexts indicates that you are no stranger to such odors, among others...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Bill,

Wow, three theatre degrees? That's like having three spleens.

I think Big Daddy talks mostly about the "odor of mendacity in the room," like if you're at the Wine Bloggers Conference. I messed with it and used "mendacity of love." I just needed to use "mendacity" in a Tennessee Williams second-rate parody.

In LA, I saw John Goodman as Big Daddy and Brenda Fricker as Big Mama. They were both fantastic. But whoever the actress was who played Cat, I've erased her name from my memory, was terrible. She recited the lines at the speed of sound rather than languidly, like a cat. Still, Goodman was great, and I can still hear him talking about the "smell of mendacity in the room."

Bill Klapp said...

Just for fun:

"What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."

John Cesano said...

Late to this party, but I stopped in to say I read all of Bukowski's work, know his Black Sparrow Press editor, could converse about his literary inclinations without sounding too much like a tool, and am thrilled to see you parodied him here.

nappadavid said...

How about David Foster Wallace: the wine was beyond a heartbreaking, staggering work of genius, its depths went on and on in an unending way, designed to show the brilliance of the winemaker and the pretentious writer1
1 see another unending, pretentious footnote designed to show off my fabulous brilliance and research

Ron Washam, HMW said...


That's actually a wonderful suggestion. I'll put Wallace on my short list. Only Randall Grahm uses more footnotes that Wallace!

Or maybe I should do Wallace and Gromit. Wine and Cheese, Gromit?