Wine might be the most difficult beverage on Earth to enjoy properly. Coffee is easy. No matter what coffee “experts” tell you, coffee is all the same. It’s roasted beans, for God’s sake. Powder it and run hot water through it, and, bingo, it’s coffee. Essentially, coffee is human Drano. You don’t need anything to enjoy it, just open your trap and pour it down the drain. And beer is just beer. It’s not about complicated human enjoyment. No one worries about cellaring a great beer collection, or enjoying just the right beer with dinner. Beer and food go together like opera and pole dancing. You want a lot of each, just not on the same night. And it’s really over when the fat lady dances.
Wine Spectator decided to rip off Eric Asimov (How to Love Wine) and publish their own guide to How to Enjoy Wine. This is the equivalent of writing How to Enjoy Orgasms. Really? How hard is it to enjoy wine? Just lay there until the swelling subsides. The rest of my "Simpleton's Guide" is over at Tim Atkin's award-winning blog. And watch for my new book, "The Tantric Guide to Wine," arriving soon. I'm the Sting of wine writers. Tantric sex is like calling the plumber--you're in all day and nobody comes. Anyhow, wander over to Tim Atkin MW, and feel free to leave a comment there, or, if you prefer, leave me a little wet spot here.
TIM ATKIN M.W.
My old computer recently passed on to the great Cloud in the Sky, taking with it some cherished photos I had stored, without backup (backup is for cops and toilets), as well as my continually updated list of ideas for HoseMaster of Wine™. It’s a bit disconcerting when all of your ideas disappear. Suddenly, you’re the editors of Wine Spectator. Not that I can’t come up with more ideas, but I miss that old list. It had years of ideas I’d enter as I thought of them, and was a kind of calendar of stupidity, greed and scandal in the wine business.
Many of the ideas came to fruition, but more than half didn’t. To be honest, at least that many were just plain stupid ideas. I would write an idea like “Asimov parody.” Oh, that’s brilliant. How did I think of that? Oh, I know, here’s an idea—what wine goes with Tony Award nominees? That’s pure wine writing gold. Mostly, my idea list was a way of keeping track of what I was thinking about, and of what I wanted to lampoon. Those ideas were jumping off points, a way to kickstart my imagination, and were usually quickly abandoned once the actual writing began.
So few ideas are actually any good. The list was a reminder of that as well. Inspiration is a fickle dominatrix. When I would sit down to write and felt like I had nothing to say, I would get frustrated. Looking at that list reassured me that writing HoseMaster of Wine™ has never been easy, and never really been fun. It reminded me that I could use an editor, though one is never forthcoming. And it reminded me of something I’ve only slowly learned to believe over the course of writing comedy most of my adult life—the well never runs dry. I always fear that I’ll sit down one afternoon to write and not a single joke will appear. That I’ll search futilely in the desolate landscape of my simian mind and not find a single banana peel to slip on. But, so far at least, that hasn’t happened. The writing starts, and the weirdness and jokes appear. And when I’m done, I gleefully hate ever word of it.