Thursday, April 17, 2014

The HoseMaster of Wine's™ Wine Class

You don’t have to know much about wine to enjoy it, and you need to know even less to write about it. Knowledge can enhance your pleasure drinking wine, but it gets in the way of writing a wine blog. This is yet another of wine’s mysteries, like why so much wine tastes alike. No one knows why so many wines taste alike, though I think we all agree they do, but it does explain why so many of them receive exactly 89 points. When it comes to wine, shit just works out. You will find that if you become interested in wine, knowing more about it will enhance your experience, deepen your relationship with wine. This is how wine differs from women.

My goal in publishing The HoseMaster of Wine™ Wine Class is simple. I’m tired of answering stupid questions from readers individually, so I’ll answer those idiotic questions here, in a format that won’t single you out as one of the dumbest wine drinkers since Kathy Lee Gifford. At the end of each month’s course, I hope you’ll be encouraged to return, discuss the wines I’ve recommended, and pray to Almighty God I won’t be present in the comments to ridicule your puny and irrelevant “insights.” I think you’ll find that by participating you’ll discover just how little you actually know about wine, and you will begin to keep your thoughts to yourself when among more knowledgeable wine people. I see this as a public service.

As you follow my lead and taste the wines I tell you to, you’ll begin to understand your own tastes and where you have failed to appreciate how much better mine are. Wine can be an intimidating subject, but that’s what makes it worth knowing about. Lots of beverages will get you drunk, but when you know about wine you can use that knowledge to intimidate other people, and that’s where much of the joy of wine lies. If you take my Wine Class seriously, soon you’ll be able to make your superiors look stupid, and, honestly, isn’t that just about the best thing in life? Aside from setting cats on fire?

I taste hundreds upon thousands of wine each year, but tasting is different than drinking, in much the way a food fight is different than eating. When you taste a wine and write about it as a professional, you’re extrapolating from that tiny taste how you think it will go with food, how it will age, and how it measures up against other wines in its category. How is this like a food fight? People throw shit at you when you do it, that’s how. Fat people with powerful wine publications. When you drink, you make all that go away. You can assess the wine with food, learn about it as it evolves over the course of the evening, and maybe work up the courage to tell your critics to fuck themselves with a four-foot ah-so. This is the way to learn about wine.

The class will require some work on your part. Genius. I’d like for you to take notes on each wine. If you want to go all Schildknecht (check Wikipedia under "Logorrhea"), use your imagination, describe smells and tastes that can’t possibly be there. That’s a good way to feel superior to the others, and increase your vocabulary. But, for the most part, I’d recommend you stick to your general impressions of the wine. Is it red, and why? Hold the glass up to the light and admire the legs. Idiot, the legs don't matter, I'm just screwin' with you. Would you describe the aroma as intense or is it delicate? You’re old, how do you know you’re not just losing your sense of smell like so many of our prominent wine critics? Does the aroma change, and if so, did you blame the dog? Would you say the texture is soft and silky like the inside of your mistress’ thighs? Or is it harsh, like the feel of her whip? And why are you so easily aroused, what does that say about you? Finally, what is your overall impression of the wine? Did you find it pleasant or profound? Or did you find it crappy despite knowing you’d be wrong because I selected the wines, you moron, and what do you know? These are all questions I’d like you to entertain, as well as what makes you think anyone will even read your thoughts about wine? There, now you know what it’s like to have your own blog.

My purpose is to get you to think about wine in a way you may never have before, that is, from an educated perspective, not your usual stultifying ignorance. Those of you who are already knowledgeable about wine might find that joining in the discussion will reaffirm your own particular arrogance in a pleasing manner. Perhaps wine’s best quality is its ability to powerfully affirm self-importance. This is certainly reflected in all of the wine world’s major personalities, some of whom should probably be publicly shamed only they’re too drunk most of the time to notice, often appearing in worthless videos dressed in a nun’s habit. Yup, I’m talking to you, Jon Bonné.

Alright, let’s get started. What better wine region to begin with than Bordeaux? Everyone acknowledges that France makes the finest wines in the world. In fact, you’ll find that the countries that make the best wines are the countries that hate Americans the most—France, Germany, Italy and, of course, Napa Valley. There was a time when every beginning wine drinker cut his teeth on Bordeaux. Now no one gives a crap about Bordeaux except the face-obsessed Chinese. But I think that Bordeaux still has a lot to offer the novice because once you discover how overrated the wines are, you have learned a lot about wine. I’ve recommended a few wines, but, truly, considering the ones you can afford, you’ll find that a wine from any vintage from any appellation will disappoint.

Try to match the Bordeaux with a simple meal.  Beef would work, even something so simple as Grandma’s Alpo. Note how the wine enhances, or fails to enhance, the meal. Think about ways you might better have spent the forty bucks the Bordeaux cost you, say by giving Grandma some human food. Everything I’ve mentioned in this beginning column is important to your ultimate appreciation of wine. If at the end of these Wine Classes you don’t feel more comfortable about wine, you’ll have only yourself to blame. I can’t hold your goddam hand all the time.

Finally, don’t worry about the glassware you use. Like you would. Make sure and put lipstick on before you taste or you’ll look like you don’t have any self-respect. Men, mind the backwash, what are you, a hillbilly? Use any glass you like; especially with Bordeaux, it just won’t matter. Worrying about using the proper wine glass when you drink wine is like worrying about what kind of paper bag you put the dog shit in before you light it on fire on your neighbor’s porch. It just doesn’t matter, it’s the quality of what’s in it that counts.


Unknown said...

Sign me up! Too many funny lines to review, had to share it with other wine friends as well. You Hose'd 'em good in this one. Steve Pinzon

Unknown said...

I don't think you have the right to shame my pal J Bonne. After all, if you cannot tell the difference between a 16th century Dominatrix's outfit and something worn by Sally Field, then what good are you.

Once again JBonne has outsmarted you.

Quizicat said...

What is this vendetta against cats? This will not stand!

Unknown said...

Great stuff Ron.. many chuckles.. read a piece in Salon this week on Kathy Lee Gifford's podcast where she espouses her right wing nut bar philosophies.. what a shocker that a rich white woman Bible thumper is in favor of the Tea Party.. but what's really frightening, she's got her own wine label, GIFFT.. please send for review bottles and no end of hilarity should ensue..

Moonstone Cellars said...

This one made me do a spit take with my morning Chardonnay. Hilarious! But I beg you, please cease the cat fires. It never ends well. They always head for the drapes.

Steve Lay said...

Where does one start after reading a diatribe with one great line running into another.

The wine media are the apparatchik's of the wine PR machine that buys loyalty with free media tickets to wine events honoring wineries with faux praise (and rarely worth the price of admission), giving free wine to critics because they are best described by an orifice that is rarely exposed to sunlight, and/or inviting wine critics to contemplate and write, in major magazines, on the fine finish of wine drank under a blood moon while watching Hale Bopp Comet circle UrAnus (sic). Yes, the wine industry and their media have created and perpetuated wine snobs for their gain.

The wine industry is loaded with liberals and conservatives fighting each other as to who has: the proper elevation of the little finger or middle finger, proper wine glass (only the crass/unwashed drink a Screaming Eagle out of grandma's collectible mason jar), best cab., the best experience to the commune that makes organic and orgasmic wines, spent the most on piss water awarded best at the local county fair in CA.

Ron, when will people stop these mindless discussion about grape juice? It's just wine folks, no mattaer how the media spins.
If I go to another formal wine tasting, I am going to wear a tee-shirt that says "HoseMaster knows his shit". Then I will proceed, in ceremonial fashion, to hold a glass up and proclaim-This has a hint of pig fart aroma, the legs of a circus fat lady, the color of piss water, and the delicate taste of used cat liter. Then finish with a statement something to the effect that the winemaker who made this grape squeezing must be laughing his/her ass off that they could pull the wool over the collective eyes of fools masquarading as elites.

As a former farm boy, I have a hard time digesting BS and I have stepped in enough of it to know how to avoid it and define it.

Ron, last question-I Duck Commander a good wine?

Steve Lay said...

Ron, last question then I'm outta here.
How do you train a palate? Do you need a gun and bullship and cafe chair?
Jon Bonne has one and I want one too.

Marcia Macomber said...

As always, the hilarious continues feverishly by the common-taters. Sign me up for class!

David Larsen said...

Hosemaster: Wish I also had the sense of humor to write a funny comment like your other clever readers but my highest complement is that I will Tweet your hilarious post to all of my, and soon to be your, followers.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Common Taters,
This piece was inspired by Eric Asimov's New York Times wine classes, and his first article about the wine class, which focused on Bordeaux. Though I wouldn't call it parody, the tone is inspired by Asimov's style. It's always hard to parody a journalist because their style is intent on removing as much of their own personality as possible. So I just hacked away at it, mining for cheap laughs.

The Jon Bonné aside is really aimed at the laughably stupid YouTube videos being made by Karen MacNeil as Sister Karen. These claim to be funny, but, truly, they're embarrassingly dull. I just tossed Jon's name in for the silly visual juxtaposition of Jon in a nun's hat (yeah, it has a name, but I'm not Catholic and don't care).

Oh, it's just not funny if you say "setting fire to fish." Cats are the most divisive of pets. People insanely love them, and other people deeply hate them. And that's where comedy lives.

Anyhow, if you read Asimov's first article about the NY Times wine class, then reread this crap, you'll get the idea. Here's a link:

Now the question is, do I continue the classes?

Thanks, common taters, for being the best and funniest and smartest group on any wine blog. I appreciate it more than you think.

Bob Henry said...


Does your Wine Nazi class instructor have a funny (punny) name?

Come with all the credentials?: Society of Wine Educators' "Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)" and "Certified Wine Educator (CWE)" and Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) parchments?

University of Phoenix "M.B.A. in Wine" diploma?

A compensationless "content creation" position at a wine blog?

~~ Bob

(Aside: Yeah, yeah, I know: you hate embedded links. Indulge me, for those who take your blog seriously:

Thomas said...


I got the email, but of course I ignored it. Is MacNeil really doing YouTube spots wearing a habit?

Now I know why I never made it to the top--those priest collars give my neck pimples.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey, I embedded my own link, so you get this one for free.

Well, one day I may offer accreditation as HoseMaster of Wine™, but otherwise, the class, like all the rest, is meaningless.

Yes, she is doing short videos dressed in a nun's habit. Oh, really, my friend, you have to see it to believe. Whoever talked her into that should call me--I'd like to offer my thanks. She might never live them down.

Thomas said...

I looked: My God!

In any case, a Teleprompter would have been a better idea over looking down to the desk to read script cues.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yes, it's something of a catastrophe. She needs an actual comedy writer, and a director. Though it's always hard not to watch a train wreck.

nickh said...

'hard to parody a journalist because their style is intent on removing as much of their own personality as possible.'

Maybe in the US but here in the UK I can recognise a journalist by style even when in an unlabelled bottle.

Dan Fishman said...

Another winner, but it definitely helps to read the Asimov article first.

Those MacNeil videos are priceless, but at 89 views I'm afraid you might be the only one getting to appreciate them.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hello Nick,
Interesting observation. One can certainly tell US columnists apart by their style--some shout, some babble, some lecture. But most of the major wine writers/critics (most are better critics than writers, but that's another piece) are only discernible, to me anyway, by their wine prejudices.

To be truthful, I thought that my readers would get the Asimov wine class connection. It doesn't matter, but it does help understand the tone. Thanks for the kind words.

Does Sister Karen really only have 89 views?! Wow. That's sad. They're unintentionally funny because they're so dull and lifeless. Maybe they'll catch Ebola virus.

nickh said...

Yes that does make sense Ron. As you say most wine writers have no particular style, but by their prejudices thou shalt know them.

Bob Henry said...

What a hoot!:

"Online Wine-Certification Course with Optional Chef Jacket from VinNobles (Up to 87% Off Groupon Coupon)"

[Tastevin is likewise optional . . .]