Thursday, February 14, 2013

The HoseMaster's Application to be the New Pope

Dear Cardinal Perroti-Brown,

I am interested in applying for the recently vacated position of Pope at The Wine Advocate. I’m certain that the abdication of Pope Antonio came as quite a shock to you and God, but you’ve accepted the Pope’s decision in a graceful and classy manner. Hell, He’s God, no one should be surprised. OK, I probably shouldn’t have said Hell.

It is the Pope’s job to speak for God. Pope Antonio, if I may be so bold, was never convincing in that role. I’m pretty sure he broke many of God’s commandments. For example, “Thou shall have no other gods before me, unless it’s Michel Rolland.” And no one really took Pope Antonio seriously, his Papal declarations fell on deaf ears. Winemakers ceremoniously kissed his ring, but then made fun of him after he left. “Sure, he’s the Pope, but he doesn’t know the Oakville Bench from the Rutherford bus stop.” So, in my humble opinion, the Church of Bob is better off without Pope Antonio. Yes, the younger parishioners may have been attracted to him, he spoke their language, but young worshipers show little interest in the Church of Bob. They’re flocking to other, newer, hipper places of worship—Our Lady of Wine Dude, and that crazy Canadian Nat Out of Hell First Congregational (though I think they plagiarized the Church of Bob mass). The more established members of the Church of Bob, his Choirbuttboys, never felt the kind of respect for Pope Antonio the church needed. It was his age, for the most part, and, frankly, news of his retirement has invigorated the faithful. They eagerly await a new Pope, a Pope who clearly and genuinely speaks for God. I’m that man.

I understand that there will be a Papal Conclave convening soon to select the new Pope for the Church of Bob. Cardinal Neal will probably push for some creepy sort of M.W. to be the next Pope. Please, Cardinal Perroti-Brown (oh, I miss the days when Dr. Miller was part of the church and I could address you as P-B & Jay—who doesn’t love a good P-B & Jay?), do not overlook the fact that M.W.’s are the spawn of Satan, and worship at his altar. Allowing one to become Pope would spell the end of the Church of Bob, and evil will have triumphed. They say M.W. stands for Master of Wine, but that’s only what they say to the public. They are actually indoctrinated as Mammon of Wine—that’s what the M.W. really stands for, Ms. P-B, so be sure and remind Cardinal Neal of that.

Between you and me, Lisa (may I call you that?, I feel like we’re somehow soulmates), Cardinal David is probably on his way out too. All the damned German Popes are on the way out. No one cares about the German part of The Wine Advocate, no one ever has, not even God Himself. Cardinal David must know this. There’s even been speculation, I know you must be aware, that there was a reason Cardinal David was banished to the wasteland of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. Ugly rumors about Choirbuttboy abuse, his obvious disdain and abuse of them in the Holy Chat Room of Squires. But though I think he’s been a wonderful Cardinal, and that those Choirbuttboys had it coming with all their constant whining, don’t be surprised if he uses the Papal Conclave to announce, like that traitorous Pope Antonio, that he’s starting his own church. Just what the damn world needs, more places of worship—Holy Galloni Chapel and Schildknecht Kirche.

Cardinal Squires will nominate himself. He always does. We’re all sick of him and wonder what God sees in him. My guess is that, hey, shysters stick together. But don’t let him be Pope, that would be disastrous. He’s a backwater Cardinal at best, so Portugal is the perfect spot for him. Who buys that stuff? Make him Pope and give him Bordeaux and California? We know that God works in mysterious ways, but surely He doesn’t consider suicide. That’s a sin, right?

Finally, a word of advice, don’t let those Three Wise Men from Singapore into the Papal Conclave. They just handle the collection plate, they don’t know crap about wine and who should be the next Pope. Tell ‘em there’s a manger in Bethlehem needs a remodel.

I’m hoping that you’ll present my name to the Papal Conclave. I believe that I would be a wonderful Pope, a Pope the worshipers would not only heed but come to love, as they love God Himself. If anything, I am overqualified to be the next Pope. I’ve tasted three vintages of Chateau Petrus yet for the past twenty vintages I’ve awarded them 98+ and higher. I knew Chateau Latour when it was just a little brick shithouse. I almost married Michel Rolland, but she called it off when she found out that “micro” was also my nickname… When you talk about California, my name always comes up. I live in California and am widely respected in wine country. I’ve met Monsignor Harlan and walked the holy land of Harlan Estate, felt the very presence of God, and witnessed the miracles of the pilgrims who flock there to find a cure for their extra cash. I know the Angel Krankl and the miracles of Ventura, how the Angel Krankl took the loaves of La Brea Bakery and turned them into holy wines scoring hundreds and hundreds of points, and his devotion to all things God. When Pope Antonio walked among the winemakers of California they admired him, his fine suit, his cool pointy hat, his magic scepter, his hot wife. But when I walk among them, they are joyous. Well, they laugh anyway.

When the white smoke finally rises from the Church of Bob, I pray that I am the newly elected Pope. Mine will be a lifetime appointment. I shall not use the Holy Parish to make a name for myself only to abdicate and begin my own church. May those Popes who do so rot in Lodi. I shall worship at the foot of God and faithfully convey his wishes and demands to his flock. I shall devote my life to the quest for perfection, just as God Himself would have all of us do. And I will find perfection wherever I go, I shall not be reluctant to award perfection as so many other churches are. Hundred point scores shall flow from me as wisdom flows from God. For that’s where the money is.

See you in Singapore!


Thomas said...

That would be black smoke, no?

This one is quite funny.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I think black smoke is for when the Cardinals fail to elect a Pope, or win the World Series. White smoke means they're high and found themselves a new Pontiff.

Mike Dunne said...

And not one gratuitous reference to St.Valentine. Genius.

Charlie Olken said...

I continue to be amazed. Sure, this is funny--laugh out loud funny in places--but the essential truth in some of those lines really does explain the predicament in the WA finds itself.

If they appoint yet another unheard of, unworshipped reviewer of CA wines, the WA will continue to unravel its hard-won cachet.

So, if not you? Who? Well, to be honest with you, my money is on STEVE as their CA boy, with Jordan Mackay a distant second in the running.

As for Bordeaux, the recent vintages have shown that anyone can review Bordeaux. If rain has not destroyed the harvest, then everything is 95 points and up.

Thomas said...


As the new owner has been quoted to have said: There's a plethora of wine writers out there. It's a buyer's market.

Imagine the quality that will go behind that decision.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Oh crap, is it Valentine's Day? Better brace myself for all the love letters.

Thank you. I tried to write an entirely different piece, one centered around Valentine's Day, but then the idea for this Pope post leaped into my twisted HoseMaster brain. The wonderful coincidence of Galloni and the Pope resigning within days of each other resonated with the satirist in me, and while every dope with a blog will write about Galloni and Parker, I wanted to do something entirely different, and hopefully original. STEVE!'s post yesterday about Galloni was beneath him, and rather tragic.

STEVE!? Really? I can sort of see Jordan Mackay, but I doubt that as well. There will be lots of speculation, as there will be about the new Pope, but I don't think it matters. Whoever gets the job will be in a very different position than Galloni was (I'm not talking about grabbing your ankles), and with far less clout and glory. I'm thinking Stephen Eliot...

I like the buyer's market line. Reminds me of slave traders.

Cris Whetstone said...


With all this talk of God and things religious doesn't Matt Kramer belong in there somewhere?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I'm sure He thinks He does. But I'm not big on the Book of Matthew.

Charlie Olken said...


If you accept the premise that the new CA person has to have either instant prestige or the kind of personality that rises above the pedestrian writing of tasting notes, then STEVE! or you or Jordan or Alder or Harvey or Laube fit the bill. Jordan would be a fine choice, but he neither comes with instant name recognition nor instant yapping. I do think that he could, however, earn a big place in the wine review firmament if given teh chance.

I still prefer you first. Sam can review Champagne and Chablis. We will let Alfredo become the Italian wine counsellor. And that only leaves Bordeaux. That is too easy because, aside from his 100-point excresence, Parker was just mailing it in at the end--and getting it right because the vintages did not require massive intuition to understand.

If you want someone whose patter is loaded with attention-grabbing yapping, you may want the great Chuck Vayner.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I have about as much chance as I have of winning a Poodle, probably less, but I assume you're tossing me in the hat as jest.

What about Josh Raynalds, or Tanzer himself? What about someone of the Asian persuasion? How about your favorite, Jon Bonne? Or Andy Rooney? He'd be great. Does Balzer have a job right now. I think WA needs a reporter in Hell.

Thomas said...

Here are two questions I would ask any WA candidate for Pope:

Can numbers be plagiarized?

Does the Pope shit in the vineyard?

Unknown said...

Only organic vineyards.

Alex said...

That is more biodynamic :)

The Sommeliere said...

Habemus Papam! We all voted for you!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yes, you can plagiarize numbers. I plagiarized JLo's little Grammy number for my Valentine's Day outfit.

To the second question, no, the Pope shits in that pointy hat.

David and Alex,
Pope manure isn't biodynamic or organic--it's HOLY SHIT!!!

Where have you been? I've missed you. Sadly, none of us here gets any kind of vote, thought it's sexy that you speak Latin.

Thomas said...


Holy Shit! You passed the test.

Welcome to the team--as soon as we build one.

When can you leave for Singapore?

Your gig will be to cover Pacific Island wines.

You don"t get seasick, do you?

Charlie Olken said...


Have a look at Wark. You are nominated over there as well.

Do I jest? Does the pope shit in his hat?

Unknown said...

Ron, you're to verbose to do the 'tasting by numbers' thing

Sommelier Martin Charlebois said...

Hello People, Ron Sorry they just called me and I got the job, Not that I wanted it but hey! why not..... after all I will be getting an early pension plan, waiting for the disciple to crash at my door to basically get their money in ''good'' faith to publish my new-new Testament or Bible 2 (still working with hte editor on that issue) also looking for some publisher in diffrent part of the world..... here are a few title for particular markets:

Tora Vino Tora del Este

Since they saw my real implication for profit and gaining new souls without a crusade showing our extremist dialog in propaganwine (and money making abilities) I was solely declare The new pope...

Bacchus the second or drunken first....Have not decided yet!

F***K black smoke..... let's do it With formula one style and from my balcony I would shake a couple of Lambrusco...... much more festive then the crematory tradition!

All cheers.....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Luckily, I'm an expert in Pacific Island wines, especially the pineapple ones, which I predict will sweep the nation. They're sweet, and cheap, so great for folks on the Dole.

I don't usually get seasick, but this comment made me woozy.


I regret to inform you that you've been a victim of a prank phone call. Many people in the biz have been told they're the next Pope. Police have tracked the calls to James Suckling. Such a prankster, that guy! And he does a pretty convincing impression of a wine expert.

Samantha Dugan said...

Forgive me for being tardy, the internet ate my intestinal fortitude and shut me down yesterday but, I wholeheartedly vote for you...can't wait to see you in those robes! Rawr! I love you!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
The robes are cool, but it's all about the mitre. Turns out that's the name of the hat--mitre. I mitre known.

I love you, too!

Unknown said...

i see what you did there...

Thomas said...


If it weren't for your irreverent attitude, you mitre been a contender.

Anonymous said...

Love the Nat Out OF Hell. Great penultimate paragraph. Laube gets my vote: he's almost disappeared already.Kramer is a Jesuit: he has his own throne.