Monday, November 5, 2012

What We're Reading

Compiled by the editors of HoseMaster of Wine 

WINE SPECTATOR: It’s the much-anticipated Top 100 Wines issue for 2012. And for the first time ever, all 100 wines are from the 2009 Bordeaux vintage. “Hey, the 2012’s will suck from there so, God knows, they could use the help,” writes the magazine’s publisher, Marvin Shanken. James Laube has a rebuttal post, which had to hurt going in, and he also spends his column offering up the 10 Best Things he put in his mouth this year. Write your own joke. Matt Kramer reflects on the meaning of being the smartest wine writer to ever live, and decides it’s his humility that sets him apart. That, and the array of solar panels installed above his eyebrows. And don’t miss Talia Baiocchi’s new blog post in which she realizes old, fat, rich white guys can, in fact, buy young white women and make them do what they want. Tim Fish wonders where fruit flies live.

THE FEIRING LINE: The premiere issue of Ms. Feiring’s independent newsletter, subtitled “The Real Wine Newsletter” (using “real” in the exact same sense as “Real Housewives of New Jersey”), specializes in “honest viticulture and minimal intervention wines.” As it turns out, “minimal intervention wines” are not what you drink while watching Kitty Genovese get murdered. Nope, Ms. Feiring explains, “minimal intervention wines are wines the winemaker manipulates as little as possible,” preferring, instead, to spend his time manipulating admiring, starry-eyed wine writers. No one knows what “honest viticulture” means.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Lettie Teague has a fascinating column about South Africa and all the innovations in winemaking coming from that country. “California wineries could learn a valuable lesson from their South African counterparts and begin harvest in February,” she notes. “It’s also a lot easier to find seasonal help that time of year. And the lions aren’t as active.” Jay McInerney finds that tasting white wines makes him think of female breasts. “Is it just me, or does everyone think that California Chardonnays have humongous hooters? Whereas, say, a good German Riesling has those little girl perky tits that will age nicely and are just a touch sweet. Champagne has perfect breasts, though Dom’s are fake.” When it comes to red wine, McInerney writes, “I think of testicles. And, when it comes right down to it, most of us would rather have balls in our mouths.”

PALATE PRESS: Discerning readers have discovered that Palate Press isn’t just a place for industrial wines to be reviewed by simpletons. A quick visit yields an informative article on pruning shears, tracing them back to their roots in the bris ceremony. (Note to PP: don’t use “root” and “bris” in the same sentence.) There’s also an opinion piece by Meg Housonfirst Maker about Wine Spectator. “I don’t understand why they hired that Talia Be-ach and left me in this Godforsaken virtual hellhole.” She makes a good point. “Talia may be the voice of her generation, but I’m the snore.” W. Blinky Gray wonders why wines that are lower in alcohol aren’t cheaper than other wines, “We buy wine to get drunk, so less alcohol should be less expensive. It just makes sense. Wineries should get on the bandwagon and lower both.” Refreshing to read someone with years of experience who doesn’t actually seem like it.

WINE JULIA: Julia won Best New Wine Blog at this year’s Wine Blog Awards, and a visit shows why. There’s an in-depth report on Oregon’s 2012 Harvest, a spirited discussion of Oregon terroir, and fantastic tasting notes on hundreds of Oregon new releases. OK, no there’s not. There’s notes about free wines she received, free junkets she participated in, and free tastings she got invited to. So, yeah, they got it right, she’s a wine blogger.

WINE ENTHUSIAST: Don’t miss Wine Enthusiast’s 2012 lists of Top 100 Cellar Selections, Top 50 Spirits, Top 25 Beers, Top 10 Cheapass Moscatos, Top 7 Cocktails for Pukeathons, Top 5 Sommeliers with Harelips, and Top 3 Wine Magazines with Inflated Scores. Steve Heimoff pays a visit to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation only to discover, to his dismay, that Sta. Rita isn’t short for Strawberry Margarita. Paul Gregutt walks in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and finds that even then tasting room employees were surly. “They even carded Sacajawea.” Roger Voss on the back roads of the Languedoc, “Look at all the trees…!”

ON THE WINE TRAIL IN ITALY: Alfonso Cevola with a haunting piece about how much in common Texas and Italy have. “My native Italy, land of my ancestors, the womb I gwew up in, is, after all, shaped like the iconic footwear of my adopted home Texas—a boot. As I worship my beloved Italy, am I not just another Texas bootlicker?” Alfonso makes an interesting observation about the two cuisines as well. “Where Italy has garlic, Texas has iced tea.” As usual, Alfonso leaves you wondering if there’s a plate in his head that sets off airport security alarms On the Wine Trail in Italy.


Mockingbird said...


Mike Dunne said...

The only reason I'm not "First" is because I actually read the whole post.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
As always another hilarious read. So many great lines but I think I laughed the hardest at, "Lettie Teague has a fascinating column" might have even snorted. I love you!

Mockingbird said...


The "First" is not a pissing competition between readers.

It is a referential commentary on the status of HMoW. It has risen (?) to such status that wine blog-reading addicts scamper to their computers every Monday and Thursday morning, rubbing the crust out of the corners of their eyes, to see what the Annointed One has said today.

Kind of like it was done on Wine Library TV.....

That said, "honest" viticulture does not sell. Thus no SIP or BD certified vineyard will allow pictures or little squirrels and gophers caught by a trap and writing in the sun as they agonize their way to (naturally) increasing the nitrogen content of the that little patch of soil.

Mockingbird said...

... make that "writHing in the sun"

Marcia Macomber said...

As always, the belly laughs began overlapping faster and faster throughout today's piece to the point I may need to make a trip to the emergency room to keep my diaphragm from herniating. (No, not that one!)

So many hilarious lines. Was it "Steve Heimoff pays a visit to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation only to discover, to his dismay, that Sta. Rita isn’t short for Strawberry Margarita" that struck the greatest chord or “They even carded Sacajawea”?

At the top, you were out of the gate at top speed with "James Laube has a rebuttal post, which had to hurt going in..." Oooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Alfonso Cevola said...

I reckon I would respond but the governor, err plate in my head, will not let me...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gang,

Let's see, I could up my comment count and respond individually...nah, I'll just chime in on my own blog.

The "What We're Reading" posts are a pain in the butt to write. Lots of jokes, mostly crap, in a short space. That's work, but what's really difficult is to find worthy targets, blogs and publications that actually are recognizable or meaningful. The list of those is very short. But I like the format. And it's good comic exercise as well.

I'm not sure I'm the Anointed One, unless you mean I'm unctuous, like a 98 point Parker wine. And I'm certainly no Vaynerchuk. And I'm also far from First. But I appreciate the sarcasm.

Samantha Dugan said...

Um, this is bullshit. I need my "My Gorgeous Samantha" comments, this group comment business, well as I said, bullshit. Humpf! But I still love you!

Thomas said...

Where do fruit flies live? Love it.

Don't worry, you don't have to answer my comment until after you rack up a dozen more. Don't want you to overuse your typing fingers. Besides, unlike Sam, I don;t need no stinkin' hose.

Mockingbird said...

Not unctuous, sebaceous....

Anonymous said...

I am a little surprised that you dropped the Jenna prename for Ms. Be-ach.

Regardless, it is going to stick because the image is carved in sharp relief.

Jack Stems said...

"Monterey: an up-and-coming wine region" - Steve Heimoff, Nov. 6, 2012.


Eric V. Orange said...

You will never retain your top blog position if you don't comment back to each comment. It's the only way, man, wise up!

You know you've made it now because of this;
"Kind of like it was done on Wine Library TV.....".

Being compared to Gary V.
You rock.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
As ever, you've summed me up, "...this is bullshit." So concise, and so accurate. Yet another reason I love you.

It's not typing that's overusing my fingers... And where do fruit flies live? It's a mystery.

Man, you're like Webster. Not Noah, TV's Webster (RIP Alex Karras).

Come on, don't be shy, just sign your name. All the kids are doing it.

I dropped the "Jenna" because, satirically, I was speaking as Meg Maker (who would never use "be-atch," but, hey, it's comedy).

Jack Stems,
I know, amazing. I didn't even know they made wine in Monterey. Next week on STEVE! "Anderson Valley: New Pinot Noir Region to Watch!"

Happy now?

Thanks for dropping by now and then, Eric. Always glad to have you around. Plug me now and then, will you? Sheesh, HoseMaster needs all the help it can get.

And comparing me to Gary V was no doubt meant as an insult. And a damned fine one at that.

Eric V. Orange said...

I will plug you, but the only people who get your humor are the 13 people who comment here and some industry lurkers. I bet I could name most of them.

I'm prolly the only publisher you haven't insulted, so I'm glad to do it. Let's see what you get from 65,000 facebook fans today or tomorrow.

I get it and I laugh every time Ron, even if I don't leave a comment.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

I'm not sure even the 13 people here get it.

I don't think all of my stuff is THAT inside. I like to think most wine lovers would understand most of the jokes. But I'm pretty self-deluded.

Thank you for the plug--I'll let you know how many hits I get from it. And thanks for reading, my friend. I appreciate it.

Mockingbird said...

Yes.... Small, black and perky.....

I love you, Ma'am....

Cris Whetstone said...

Well done again, Hose. Ms Alice will call you sexist BTW. I hear she is dating someone prominent within the heathen California winemaking scene now. Maybe arguments over sulfur levels and fermentation vessels actually turn her on?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I suspect she'll call me much worse than sexist, and it will be anatomical.

But, honestly, you think Alice reads what I write? Unlikely.

gabe said...

love the "what are we reading" posts. how about a "what are we drinking" post in the future? some combination of harlan cabernet and barefoot moscato?

Thomas said...

To Jack Stems: now you know how we feel in the Finger Lakes, the oldest "emerging" wine region in history!

I think wine critics should be arrested for impersonating thoughtfulness.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thanks. I sort of dread writing the "What We're Reading" posts, but they always get a huge response.

"What We're Drinking" might work better as "What We Wish We Hadn't Put in Our Mouths." Why ruin a good Moscato by adding Harlan Estate?

They make wine in the Finger Lakes?! From grapes? When did that start? Man, I need to read more wine publications.

Thomas said...


You won't find that information in wine's a blogger's world now.

Jack Stems said...


At least Dan Berger and the NY Cork Report remember....

I reserve my sympathy for Missouri and Virginia and New Mexico.