Thursday, November 1, 2012

The World of Jenna Talia

"I kid you not, I love Jenna Talia."’s Jenna Talia Baioppsi brings her hyperfresh questions to some of the country’s leading sommeliers. Be prepared for her incisive, cutting-edge, computer-generated ideas, and the fascinating answers they elicit. We’re lucky when we’re exposed to hyperfresh Jenna Talia. She’s the voice of Millennials, the ventriloquist to those dummies.

Rog Subparr

I have a really interesting question for you, Rog. What do you think will be the next trend in wine? I thought of that question myself. I can’t stop thinking about you.

I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to make the next trend in wine, Jenna Talia. Orange wines are already so yesterday. You can tell, even Steve Heimoff knows what they are now. However, orange wines were a fabulous trend. Average wine consumers hated them! This is the very definition of a successful wine trend. I hated them too, but, as a famous sommelier, I felt the obligation of my calling—educating people what to like while ignoring what they have to say. It’s so rewarding to recommend a wine using the influence of the sommelier position and then watch the person struggle to understand why the hell you’d drink a wine that smelled like the underside of man boobs.

But to answer your brilliant and probing question, Jenna Talia, the next trend is going to be adding your own alcohol to wine. My colleague over at San Francisco’s hottest new wine bar Dick is already doing it. It’s simple, really. You convince a few winemakers to have a few cases of their wines de-alked. You offer those de-alked wines by-the-glass—Dick has wines from wineries like Kosta Browne, Littorai and Siduri, as well as three de-alked Jura wines—and then, on the side, you give the customer his own glass of alcohol to add. It’s cool. One person in the party likes really low-alcohol wines, so he just adds a splash. Another wants 16.5 ABV and adds a huge dose. It’s very democratic. Sure, wineries always preach to drink what you like, but then they dictate the alcohol level. And you’d be surprised what you learn. Like when you taste the Jura wines without alcohol they taste surprisingly like Super Balls.

Again, this will be the hot new trend, and your average wine lover will hate it and generally ignore it. I’m the master of that.

I like how you give really long answers to my questions that I made up without anyone else’s help. I could listen to you talk all night. You have the cutest lips. What wine region has you really excited right now?

Well, Jenna Talia, I love off-wines from interesting regions. Wines that even the locals don’t really want to drink. I’m compiling a long list of German red wines for my new restaurant client Mein Kampfo Fina—it’s an Italian-influenced German restaurant. I love their steamed mussels with pasta dish, the Musselini. I pair it with another one of the wines I’m excited about lately, white wine from Uruguay. It’s a white made from a relative of their black grape. It’s called Tannat King Cole.  I’m telling you, Uruguay will be the next big thing in wines from places you’d never visit, replacing Lodi.

Oh, there is just so much obscure wine in the world, it seems foolish to spend any time at all on the boring old great wines. Who wants to spend a lifetime tasting Bordeaux and Barolo and Rioja? It’s like only having sex with three beautiful women when there are all these needy homely women out there. And, you see, it’s what we do when we become wine experts. We put down the classics and celebrate the plonk. Who needs Alsace when you can get wine from the Canary Islands for a song. Get it? Canary Island? Song? Never mind. And the upside for us wine experts, whether we own a wine shop or run a wine list, is that no one knows the difference between crappy wine from Irouleguy and great wine from Irouleguy! Is there a difference? There is if I tell you there is.

Of course, I’m also making my own wines under the Subparr Cellars label. You know when you taste a wine made by a famous sommelier, it’s going to be Subparr. I have a Subparr Assyrtiko/Vignoles blend called “Assgnoles.” It’s on the list at Dick, the Dick List. I’m often featured on the Dick List. And I’m about to release a Subparr Red from Cabernet Pfeffer—the “p” is silent, like in swimming pool.

I really like how you talk down to me. I feel it’s only appropriate. Do you like my questions? I wrote them for you. Here’s another one. What’s the biggest change in the wine scene you’ve noticed since you became the most famous sommelier in the world?

That’s a very good question, Jenna Talia. I love that you’re smart, and not just a face. What’s changed is how many more people want to be sommeliers. There used to be hardly any, now they’re like cockroaches.  “Hello, I’m Gregor Samsa and I’ll be your sommelier this evening. Oh, crap, who turned the lights on? Gotta go.” Sommelier isn’t a job, really, it’s a title. Like Prince, or Ambassador, or President. You’re not an average person any more, you’re a title. And carrying that title obligates you to certain things. Mention it at every opportunity. Never admit you like Zinfandel. Never, never win a Wine Spectator Award for your wine list unless you work in some hillbilly state. And always come off as pompous in interviews.

Promise me that you’ll always remember our time together.

I promise, Lettie.


Mockingbird said...


Samantha Dugan said...

Wow, another "Get off my lawn" rant for Talia, she must be on to something. I love you!

Strappo said...

Where's your like button, asshole?

Over Par Daddy said...

Sam, she is on to something alright. She has religion. "I was blind. Now I see".

Samantha Dugan said...

Charlie Baby,
Well cool! Now she can be a big beacon of light for many others.

Emmojee said...

Free Pussy Riot!

Oenophilosopher said...

I. Can't. Stop. Laughing. Thank you hosemaster, I will be reading this to my children's shomoyeahs. I imagine you chuckling as you wrote some of those perfect zingers. I salute you.

Thomas said...

Now that was funny.

I've always felt that "Littorai" has a racy, sexual-ness to it. Say it aloud and see if you agree. To see it in the same paragraph with a "Dick" made my day.

Anonymous said...

I think I've been to that wine bar, but I'm pretty sure it used to be called Esoterica Pretentia... They thought it was too wordy so they just decided to call it Dick for the sake of brevity.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gang,
While it's occasionally difficult to come up with ideas for new posts, more often the ideas are gifts from the wine blogging universe. I somehow read a post at written by Talia Baiocchi in which she interviewed five sommeliers in LA. I used to work in LA, so though I didn't know any of those particular pretentious windbags, I KNOW those pretentious windbags. The questions were mindless, the answers were stupid. I just let it fly from there. I wrote this post before Ms. Baiocchi, who I don't know and don't think wants to know me, began her career at Wine Spectator as their token Kewpie doll. So just my HoseMaster luck that my post and her first hopeless blog coincided.

BD said...

I thought this post was inspired by Blinky's 10/30 post.

I assume Dick carries Splooge Estate.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Blinky couldn't inspire lemmings to commit suicide.

You are correct about Dick and Splooge Estate. One hopes that's one thing Dick never runs out of.

John M. Kelly said...

Ron this is one of the best posts you have put up in a while - but then you never have set the bar very high for yourself. But seriously, my assistant and I took a break from pressing wines and were ROT FLMAO (which is actually a very dark wine we we think Subparr might be interested in putting on the list at Mein Kampfo Fina if the owners close on the location in the Castro).

Thomas - "littorai" is what all the cool kids are calling that thing one does with the tip of the tongue, tracing the alphabet.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey John,
Thanks. And welcome back to the comment page. I try never to set the bar very high for myself otherwise I'd just quit writing altogether. And then where would everyone go for all this fun? Vornograpy? Sermontation? Wine is a highbrow world, which demands lowbrow humor. I'm just the guy with the bar low enough to provide it.

And "littorai" is sexy, especially if you add a "c" to the beginning.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Hosemaster, sir! You've stroked the ball well down the fairway which is Parr for The Course.

I think your score on that round was a 74, no?


Dave Larsen said...

I'm late to the party again but gotta say I loved your interview, especially the punch line. At 60, you're just hitting your stride.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Anonymous 1,
No, 74 is my age. Some would argue IQ.

Thank you. I hope you had a successful harvest. Man, it was one of those genuine Once in a Lifetime years here in Sonoma County, and Napa as well. An amazing year to witness.

And anyone with a blog will tell you, it's great to have latecomers to the party. Your timing was perfect, all the really wasted ones have already left.

Marcia Macomber said...

You had me at "The World of Jenna Talia." Couldn't stop laughing right from the start.

Hard to pick out a favorite lines amongst so many (plus so many great ideas from the commenters), but if I had to pick: "I have a Subparr Assyrtiko/Vignoles blend called 'Assgnoles.'" Precious! Just precious!

wendy said...

My favorite part was the somm making his own wine under the subpar label. I cringe every time a somm calls himself a winemaker. Way to nail it! Or, even better, when somms go around the valley and buy one barrel from a winery and take credit for "blending" it and putting the restaurants label on it. But these are just my sour grapes. Just, please don't parody my wineblog whenever I get around to making my first post.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hi Wendy,
Thanks for contributing. If you ever get famous as a wine blogger, there's a good shot I'll take a whack at you. I always try to make bloggers look over their shoulder to see if the HoseMaster is sneaking up behind them.

Unknown said...

What can I say? The wine world desperately needs your serious insight. In simple terms, most of what's said and written about wine today is a balloonful of hot air. You're just the prick it needs!

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Well, I guess that's a compliment. Thanks.

The wine biz has always been predominantly malarkey. It's just a hobby of mine to make fun of it. Maybe it's time to start collecting stamps.

Anonymous said...

Ah,'re one of the 'good guys' I miss in the wine business.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Mat!
Likewise! Thanks for checking in, my friend. I miss your wines as well. If you're ever in Sonoma, give me a shout and we'll wreak some havoc.

bottle runner said...

nice one hmw. f-ing nailed it. lol.

Unknown said...

You are absolutely right about Uruguay being the next big thing HoseMaster...check out this recent article and keep an eye out for wines from Uruguay like Artesana Winery.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Sorry that your initial comment went to Blogger's Spam folder.

I confess I've had only a few wines from Uruguay, and nothing memorable. Perhaps your winery will change all that--I'll keep my eyes out. I do, in fact, like Tannat, the palindrome grape (is there another?).

Thanks for stopping by. Man, the HoseMaster is going international!