Thursday, January 8, 2015

The First and Best 2014 Bordeaux Ratings! The Inaugural Guest Post on HoseMaster

A few weeks ago the wine writer Stephen Brook, who inexplicably reads HoseMaster of Wine™, wrote to me asking if I'd be interested in publishing a guest post. Finally! Someone else wants to write this crap. Stephen's conceit was to seriously rate the 2014 Bordeaux using his encyclopedic (or is it now Wikipedic?) knowledge of Bordeaux and of Bordeaux prognosticators. For those of you who invest in these wines, who try to purchase the highest rated wines of a given vintage, in other words, you numbskulls, this is an invaluable service. I suspect Stephen's numbers are going to prove uncannily accurate. Well, let's put it this way, his numbers will be uncannily numerical, and of equal value to Suckling's or Molesworth's or Parker's. I love the idea of comparing Stephen's imaginary scores to theirs. If you don't know Stephen Brook's wine books, I recommend you add them to your wine library. Thanks, Stephen, for giving me the day off!  And congratulations, you're the first Guest Writer on HoseMaster of Wine™! Who's next?

Visiting Bordeaux in December 2014, I enjoyed the aromas of the still fermenting wines, and the glug-glugs emanating through the bung-holes of barrels in which the malolactic was staggering towards its end. All the winemakers assured me 2014 would be a very good vintage, so I thought: why wait to taste the wines? It's hard to taste young Bordeaux: all those tannins, all that press wine, all that undigested new oak, all those adjusted samples. An old hand like me just knows how well each chateau will do, so get ahead of the crowd and draw up your wish list now.

How good are the 2014s? Pretty good, is the consensus, though not stellar. Should you buy them? Everybody asks me that question but it really isn't my problem.

Here are my ratings of the 2014 wines, uncontaminated by any unpleasant tasting experiences.

Lafite Rothschild            94-96
Latour                    95-97
Mouton Rothschild            94-96
Pichon-Longueville            91-93
Pichon-Lalande            90-92
Duhart-Milon                89-91
Pontet Canet                93-95
Batailley                86-88
Grand-Puy-Lacoste            90-92
Grand-Puy-Ducasse            85-87
Lynch-Bages                91-93
Lynch-Moussas            85-87
D'Armailhac                89-91
Haut-Bages-Libéral            89-91
Pédesclaux                86-88
Clerc-Milon                90-92
Croizet-Bages                85-87

Cos d'Estournel            93-95
Montrose                93-95   
Calon Ségur                91-93
Cos Labory                84-86

Léoville-Las-Cases            93-95
Léoville-Poyferré            91-93
Léoville-Barton            89-91
Gruaud-Larose            90-92
Ducru-Beaucaillou            92-94
Langoa-Barton            88-90
Lagrange                87-89
St Pierre                87-89
Talbot                    85-87
Branaire-Ducru            88-90
Beychevelle                87-89

Margaux                94-96
Rauzan-Ségla                90-92
Rauzan-Gassies            85-87
Durfort-Vivens            85-87
Lascombes                89-91
Brane-Cantenac            89-91
Kirwan                90-92
D'Issan                88-90
Giscours                88-90
Malescot-St-Exupéry            91-93
Boyd-Cantenac            86-88
Cantenac-Brown            87-89
Palmer                    92-94
Desmirail                85-87
Ferriere                88-90
Marquis d'Alesme            87-89
Prieuré-Lichine            88-90
Marquis de Terme            87-89
Dauzac                84-86
Du Tertre                86-88

Haut Brion                94-96
La Mission Haut-Brion        92-94   
Pape-Clément                92-94
Dom de Chevalier            89-91
Haut Bailly                90-92
Smith Haut Lafitte            91-93

Haut-Brion                95-97
La Mission Haut-Brion        93-95
Pape-Clément                91-93
Dom de Chevalier            90-92
Malartic-Lagravière            90-92
Smith Haut Lafitte            91-93

Petrus                    96-98
Le Pin                    94-96
Vieux Ch Certan            93-95
Lafleur                    95-97
Trotanoy                93-95
Certan de May            89-91
Clinet                    91-93
La Conseillante            91-93
L'Eglise Clinet            93-95
L'Evangile                90-92
Fleur-Petrus                92-94
Le Gay                91-93

Ausone                96-98
Cheval Blanc                95-97
Angélus                93-95
Pavie                    95-97
Clos Fourtet                92-94
Canon                    90-92
Figeac                    90-92
Beausejour-Bécot            91-93
Bel-Air-Monange            90-92
Pavie-Macquin            92-94
Troplong-Mondot            92-94
La Mondotte                94-96
Valandraud                93-95
Le Dome                92-94
La Gaffelière                89-91
Canon La Gaffelière            90-92
Trottevieille                88-90


No one buys Sauternes, sadly, so there's no point in scoring the wines.

As a public service, the Hosemaster will in due course compare my scores with those from critics who tramped all the way to Bordeaux to taste them in April.

Stephen Brook

I wonder if anyone would pay to read HoseMaster of Wine™. And if they would, why, when I give it
away for free? Would it be like leaving a gratuity for a Friend with Benefits? When I was a teenager, there were no Friends with Benefits to leave a gratuity—though one girl told me I could just put the tip in, which confused me. I have more than 1800 email subscribers. If they all sent me five bucks, I’d have nine thousand dollars! I could buy that fake bottle of DRC I’ve always wanted. This doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, really. Most of you waste five bucks every day at Starbucks, and then tip the barista. Skip a day and then send me the money. By the way, I hate the word “barista.” Who’s proud of being a fucking “barista?” You’re just a glorified McDonald’s employee. Who don’t call themselves “drive-thruistas,” by the way. But five bucks a reader? I should get a PO Box.

Right around Thanksgiving of last year, HoseMaster of Wine™ broke the 1,000,000 page view barrier, according to the Google stats at the backend of Blogger. I have no idea what this measures. I was going to write a self-congratulatory post, but suddenly realized that the page view numbers are essentially as meaningless as 89 points. Plus, it took me four years or so to accumulate that imaginary number, so that’s not really very impressive. Though 1,000,000 page views makes me feel a bit like Scrooge McDuck using a bulldozer to move my gold coins around. Bloggers, and I’m no exception, check their stats compulsively, like flashers who just have to put on a trench coat twice a day to wag their weenies at teenage girls. We think our junk is fascinating. Mostly, it’s pathetic and laughable.


Anonymous said...

Slacker! Has the HoseMaster of Wine been over-served once too often?

Dr. Samuel Johnson said, "No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library."

We, your faithful readers, demand the HoseMaster get back to work.

WineKnurd said...


I was wondering if you could also provide imaginary drinking windows or will we have to wait for the critics to provide their imaginary drinking windows.


jock said...

Looks like only 15 kinds of bordeaux this year.

Unknown said...

And the Latour will be available when?

Anonymous said...

And another thing ... E.L. Doctorow once said “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

Get back to work, HoseMaster.

Eric V. Orange said...

I've got a sawbuck for ya, hose.
You have paypal?

Just another drive-by.


Daniel said...

"I like Bordeaux. I had a good one from Walla Walla." actual customer quote.

You know we can't afford to give you money, Hose, as we mostly work in the wine business. No one ends up with a small fortune in the business unless they started with a large fortune.
A better option; I'll happily share a bottle of something with you if you are ever up in the PNW (Tacoma).
or, if you prefer, a bottle of something crappy...

Charlie Olken said...

I wonder if Steven Brooks got his inspiration from Alder Yarrow's unsupported numbers or from Hosemaster's review of books.

One reason I would NEVER try to be a guest columnist here is that the Hosemaster has a particular rhythm, humor, insight, and I would do no better at matching up to that high standard than Mr. Brooks has done.

Being a journalist is too close to being the opposite of a satirist.

Blaise said...

Are these TripAdvisor scores? I'd love to stay at Lafite. Definitely not at Croizet Bages.

Bob Henry said...

Tim Atkin, M.W. who researches and writes new vintage Bordeaux reviews (, must not be feelin' the love right now -- what with Steven Brooks getting the nod as the first guest columnist.

(Or is this Tim's nom de plume?)


"I have more than 1800 email subscribers. If they all sent me five bucks, I’d have nine thousand dollars! ... Skip a day and then send me the money. ... But five bucks a reader? I should get a PO Box."

Yeah ... a drop box in the Cayman Islands.

With the fund administered by Robert Vesco.

Alfonso Cevola said...

welcome to the Million Mile High Club, Ron...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gang,
Sorry for the very tardy response. I was busy hiding from Islamic fundamentalists. Oh, wait, I meant Natural Wine advocates.

I can't speak for Stephen, but I will. The piece highlights the point that in the world we live in, Bordeaux quality and certain critics' preferences are entirely predictable. So why wait for their scores when you pretty much know the results? For Stephen, it's a way to tweak his friends and fellow experts. When their "actual" scores come out, how far off will his scores be? Not by much, I'm guessing. But, no matter what, it will be funny to see.

Stephen felt no one else would publish this subtly satiric piece. I'm, of course, shameless.

As for the monetary donations, that, too, was simple foolishness. Though, hey, Eric, a Paypal thing might be a good idea. Or just mail me the $20. Tips are always accepted on HoseMaster of Wine™.

For those who just come here and expect the same "high" level of comedy, the same old crapola, well, too fucking bad. It's my blog, and I intend to screw it up.

Stephen Brook said...

I rush to respond to the comments, most of which seem unrelated to my piece. Drinking windows for 2014? Easy: for US drinkers, the moment they arrive on the shelves; for UK drinkers, wait 25 years.
Charley Allken (he couldn't spell my name either) suspects me of aiming to occupy the same satirical spot as Hosemaster. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hosemaster is unique. But Charlesie is free to dislike my piece on anyway.

Thomas said...

What, no perfect scores?

Mr. Brook obviously needs more pulling numbers out of one's ass training.

I am, however, awaiting the Pinot Grigio scores. Somebody's gotta beat Santa Marjoram.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My common taters only rarely respond to the posted piece. It's like a cocktail party where everyone is off in a different corner having separate conversations in their own head. I'm used to it.

Don't fret about Charlie. Not that you are. And, Charlie, I'm not looking for replacements when it comes to guest bloggers, I'm looking to provide a place where genuine wine writers can have some fun with the business. They don't have to compete with the HoseMaster, which isn't really that hard to begin with, just have some fun.

I mentioned the exact same point to Stephen, wondering where the 100 Point Scores were. I even proposed the Margaux get 98-102 rating. Stephen wanted to try as much as possible to accurately reflect the upcoming scores of leading wine critics, that being more to his satiric point. His piece is something of a time bomb--if and when his scores are seen to be right on, that's when the comedy bomb goes off.

His idea appeals to my sense of humor, and, frankly, that's the one that matters around here.

Thomas said...


I didn't need an explanation, as you already know, but your three other readers may not know that I was being facetious, which of course is one reason for this blog's existence.

Does anyone know what the other reason is?

In any case, aren't perfect scores becoming the new black? Or am I being misled by Beserkers?

Charlie Olken said...

Stephen--How can you not be "Brooks", as in Brooks saddles, upon which my ass sat for so many years of riding Ralieghs around town.

I did not confuse you with Brooks Brothers, an American sartorial institution, even though it is now owned by Marks & Sparks.

In any event, I remain a fan of your writing--jut not this one.

Charlie Oaken Barrel

Ron Washam, HMW said...

The other reason for this blog is to annoy every other blogger. I thought orange wines were the new black. Or David Oyelowo.

I may be unique but Mr. Brook is singular.

David Larsen said...

I was going to say that guest contributors be required to make humorous statements in addition to their serious content. But the humor in the other readers' comments will suffice. "TripAdvisor scores", that was a good one!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

One of the nicest things about having my blog has been the common taters. It's a funny group, and often they make me laugh, which seems fair.

I suspect I'm unlikely to have another person volunteer to write a guest post for HoseMaster. And certainly not someone of Stephen Brook's stature. But I can hope.