Monday, May 11, 2015

The Latest in Wine Drugs

I know I’m getting old because every show I watch on television is sponsored by drug companies. Actually, I’m old because I watch television to begin with. Everyone else is streaming their entertainment. I’m old, I’m lucky if I get any stream at all. I mostly dribble. I am bombarded by ads for drugs with weird, meant to be catchy names—Cialis and Viagra and Levitra and the like. Lots of boner pills for men. Followed by ads for drugs that help restore tears, all aimed at women. Coincidence? I don’t think so. (Have you noticed how many boner pill ads air during golf tournaments? I guess they know their audience. Different strokes, and all that…)

What’s all this got to do with wine, HoseMaster?, you might ask. Relax. Take a chill pill. Pop some Xanax. Grab a Valium enema and give your sphincter a vacation. I’m getting there. As it turns out, there are some interesting new drugs aimed at sophisticated wine drinkers. Warning: Do not take any of these drugs without your doctor’s, or your sommelier’s, supervision. 


We understand. Wine can be depressing. So many experts, pundits, critics and pontificators. Scores and medals and varieties. You just want to get drunk. But do you get drunk on 86 points, or drunk on 98 points? It matters. Like it matters who you sleep with. In the dark, it’s fine to get drunk on 86 points, like it’s OK to do the local crossing guard. With the lights on, you need at least 94. Wine is devastating to your self-esteem. You feel worthless drinking that 84 point Merlot. But there’s nothing you can do. Until now. Now Dureza® way!

Just one Dureza® a day and all those 86’s turn into 100’s! You’ll feel good about getting drunk again, no matter how lousy or unpopular your wine choice. Throw away those Tim Fish oil suppositories! You won’t need that Laube lube any more. Who needs greased palms? Now you have Dureza®! And just like that, wine is all about the drunk again.

Disclaimer: Tell your doctor if you begin a subscription to Wine Spectator as that could be a symptom of a brain disorder. Do not use Dureza® if you are pregnant, or anywhere near a pregnant woman or a dwarf. Use only as directed, and not as a date rape drug like everyone else. Do not operate heavy machinery or elevators when using Dureza®. In rare cases, Dureza® can cause unexpected erections in women, and we mean unexpected. If your nose begins to play the theme from “Rocky,” seek immediate assistance. When taken responsibly, or upside down with a tequila chaser, Dureza® is safe for most wine lovers.


Hello, boys. I’m a failed actress reading lines, but I’m draped across this bed in silk lingerie because I’m ready for a Master Sommelier candidate to take me. Taste me blind and tell me where I’m from. Pair me with his favorite meat. Don’t disappoint me. All you need to do is take one Bonarda® a day, and you’re always ready to open me up and severely overcharge. Why wait when I’m ready now? With Bonarda®, you won’t have to wait. And you’re a sommelier, I know how you hate waiters.

Bonarda® is the drug for Master Sommeliers with E.D., in other words, Master Sommeliers. Some people think impotence comes with the MS, like the sense of entitlement and the ability to think you’re intelligent when drunk, but it doesn’t have to. Not any more. Now there’s Bonarda®, available by prescription only, unless you have the Internet or a doctor buddy who has the crapload of samples we passed out. Remember: Bonarda®—And you thought just the MS exam was hard!

Disclaimer: People who have only passed the CSW exam should not take Bonarda®, and, in fact, shouldn’t actually tell anyone they passed the CSW exam. In certain cases, Bonarda® can cause an MS to misidentify Pinot Gris as wine. If you notice giant red veins on your penis when taking Bonarda®, don’t brag, though a high-five is acceptable. Do not use your penis as a sundial. Bonarda® is not recommended for daily use if you drink orange wine, Ribolla Gialla or Alice Feiring’s urine, even if that is on the MS exam. Do not take Bonarda® if you are prone to sanctimony.


Millions of people suffer from Wine List Anxiety. Are you one of them? Does an approaching sommelier make you scream in terror? And it’s not even Bobby Stuckey? I mean, he scares the shit out of everybody. When your restaurant party tries to hand you the wine list at dinner, do you uncontrollably fart the Canadian National Anthem? Does the thought of wine list prices make you break out into a cold duck? You’re not alone. And now you have Xarello®.

Xarello® suppresses the urge to weep when you open a wine list, and it does it naturally, and with few side effects. Now when you open that wine list filled with unfamiliar wines and ridiculous prices, you won’t have a care in the world. You’ll have the confidence to call the sommelier over to your table and say what you’ve always wanted to say, “I asked for the wine list, not your tribute to you. Are you running a wine cellar or a carnival sideshow? You must be the barker because your list is nothing but dogs. If I want to pay three ridiculous figures, I’ll rent the Kardashians.” Xarello®—We’re Madeira as Hell, and we’re not going Touriga any more.

Disclaimer: Do not take Xarello® if you’re milking a goat. Do not take Xarello® if the goat is milking you. Xarello® is not recommended for teenagers as it can occasionally lead to thoughts of suicide or starting a blog. Side effects can include singing show tunes and Tourette’s Syndrome. At the first sign of singing, “I’m Just a Fucking Girl Who Can’t Say No, Asshole,” contact your doctor, and your agent, or, hell, just break a leg, Girl! Don’t take Xarello® if you’re allergic to fingerling potatoes. Don’t fingerling potatoes unless you intend to wash your hands afterward, Scumbag. Don’t come near me with those goat-milking, fingerling potatoes hands, I’m not scared of you, I’m on Xarello®!

Last weekend I attended the Amador Four Fires wine event (more on that later). One of the selling points, in the promoters’ minds, was that the wines served at the event had been “curated” by a tasting panel made up of wine writers, sommeliers, wine retailers and other assorted mentally ill people. I also read that the recent Sonoma County Barrel Auction participants had their entries, contributed for charity by the way, “curated” by a team of sommeliers led by Evan Goldstein MS. I hope this doesn’t become a trend. It’s insulting and annoying. Who screens the clowns screening the wine? Oh, I’m sorry, the clowns “curating” the wine. I guess it implies some sort of guarantee of quality, though it also implies I’m too stupid to decide for myself what wines I like, or know what Russian River Pinot Noir tastes like. No, I need eight or nine jackasses to narrow it down for me.

I ran into a couple of the “curators” at the Amador Four Fires event, and I asked them how a few of the wines I’d tasted had passed their expert palates. I had a couple of Barberas that would have been really nice accelerants. I suggested, as part of the entertainment, that the event set up a dunk tank for the “curators.” Disgruntled attendees could fork over a few bucks to have the chance to hurl a baseball at a target that would drop one of the “curators” into a giant vat of Skinnygirl Chardonnay (because nothing celebrates anorexia like unoaked Chardonnay). Weirdly, I think they liked the idea.

The bidders at the Sonoma County Barrel Auction were people in the trade, mostly very successful retailers. The winemakers whose wines were represented are many of the best winemakers California has to offer. So they need Evan Goldstein MS and his merry band of nitwits’ stamp of approval on the barrel samples? Do you know any winemakers personally? Ask them what they think about the judgments of Master Sommeliers. It sounds a lot like Tommy Lasorda talking about Dave Kingman (Google it, non-baseball fans).

There’s a sad trend lately to glorify sommeliers and people with initials after their names. Stop. It just feeds their already grossly distended egos. Many of them are fine people, and very knowledgeable and charming. OK, a few of them. But they shouldn’t be sitting in judgment, “wisely” filtering wines so that the rest of us don’t suffer, and so we benefit from their boundless wine wisdom. It’s enough we have to suffer their presence on the planet, their self-proclaimed, self-certified expertise. We don’t need them “curating” wine for us.

And when you do clean everything up, eliminate the faulty wines and the nonrepresentative wines, you also eliminate how people learn about wine, and about their own wine preferences. On an important level, that’s what a Four Fires event is about. There’s an annoying edge to these curations of wine “experts” trying to protect consumers that implies we’re all naive and ignorant children, and they’re omnipotent parents. Stop that! It’s condescending and patronizing, and it needs to stop. Wine lovers need to learn to understand bad wine, atypical wine, and weird wine, too—it’s part of the fun. It’s like dating. In retrospect, I’m grateful for all the bad, atypical and weird women I dated. I’m glad my mother didn’t “curate” my sex life. Just writing that creeped me out.

I truly believe that you learn as much about wine from lousy wine as you do from great wine—it’s the boring wines that are worthless. A lot of boring wine passes an MS’s sniff test. I think I’m going to pass on “curated” events from now on. One MS in a room is a lecture, two or more in a room is Hell. I already live in a Hell of my own making, I don’t need Evan Goldstein’s help. I wonder if his mother…never mind.


Daniel said...

MS's are the Celebrity Chefs of the wine you really want to eat at Guy Fieri's restaurant? At least if it is winemakers picking the wines, you'll get the cool weird stuff that they get to make on the side when they aren't tasked with making 1,000,000,000 gallons of lightly oaked chardonnay.

vignoramus said...

I'm appreciating your 'Ephemera' as much as your regular posts Ron.
They can often be the highlight of my week.
Admittedly my weeks are pretty empty.

Curated lists and MS running 'wine programs' gets boring. People should be allowed to love wines from the côté a ouvrir every now and then.


Thomas said...


That word has made me wish I did not understand English.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I pick on MS's because it makes for good comic material, and because I find the whole wine certification thing hilarious, and so much a part of what people find snobbish about wine. Oh, look, I can memorize facts and get letters after my name and people will admire me! If you know a lot of baseball trivia (and it's not much different than wine trivia), there isn't a test you take and then you have a BJ (Bill James) after your name. "Hello, I'm Barry Bunthole BJ. Want to take ball?" Learn about wine. An MS does NOT guarantee endless wine riches. You might not ever make back that fifty grand you spent on passing the exam. And, aside from that, it isn't actually anything to be that proud of. I know a lot about wine, believe me, it simply isn't.

Thanks. I think that says more about my comedy than it does Ephemera, but I appreciate the kind words.

I also think that it's easier for my common taters to respond to an opinion piece than to satire or comedy. My piece today is simple nonsense, a weird idea I had one day that the names of grape varieties often sound like those horrible drug names we're bombarded with on TV. It's just a format for strange jokes. Hard to know what to say to that. Ephemera leaves room for responses, which seems to resonate with some folks.

It's like "terroir" makes me wish I didn't understand French. Wait, I don't understand French. Never mind.

napadavid said...

All right Hosemaster, we were just pussyfooting around when we inflicted James Cameron, Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Kevin O'Leary on you Yanks.. fart the Canadian anthem? I'm gonna send you some Vancouver Island wines that are so bad you're gonna crap your pants!!! C'est la Guerre!! Oh, that's right, you don't speak French..

Amalie Robert Estate said...

Pinot Moore - When you want to “go all night” without having to “go” all night. Standard disclaimers apply in person.

Amalie Robert Estate said...

Hey #Champagne - Got Gas?

Home remedies are often the best. Cut out the “middle man” by self-prescribing and self-medicating.

Champagne Deconstructed in three simple varieties:

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yeah, well, I see your Vancouver Island wines, and raise you Texas wines! I don't need bad wines to crap my pants. I'm old. I crap in 'em anyway. C'est la Guerre? Isn't that where gerbils get stuffed? Yeah, like I said, not so good with the French.

Amalie Robert,
I don't need Pinot Moore, I got my Bonarda pills. I'm Bonarda than you think. Like Champagne, I need to put a cage on the tip. Ouch.

Marcia Macomber said...

A new HoseMaster classic! So true about certain varieties sounding like branded drug names. These were fun.

wine man boy said...

Smelliers should be able to point. I don't want to hear the bullshit. I hear the bullshit all day long.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
You are far too kind. It's hardly a classic, and more of a simple exercise in writing parody. But thanks, Love, and thanks for being such a longtime and much-loved common tater.

Wine man boy,
Take the bullshit out of wine and what do you have? Non-Natural Wine. Thanks for being a common tater!

Aaron said...

"I had a couple of Barberas that would have been really nice accelerants."

I almost lost it at this!

BTW, <s> or <strike> are not allowed? Seriously?

Paul in St. Augustine said...

Hosemaster, the letters after the name are important today for those individuals hoping to enter the wine business, particularly at the wholesale level. Nothing sells wine better to restaurateurs and retailers better than a CSW who is especially perky and pointy.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

When I was a sommelier, I recognized one immutable law of the wine business. The more attractive the salesperson, the worse the wine. Then, as now, most buyers were men. When a particularly beautiful woman walked in with an appointment, I knew it was going to be a lot of lousy wine to taste. There were exceptions, of course, rules need exceptions, but not many.

CSW, WSET,'s like a bunch of lousy fraternities and sororities that you should have outgrown when you were 23.

I wonder, do CSW's have secret handshakes?

WineKnurd said...

I am a CSW and I shake hands.

With John Thomas.


Not sure if causation or correlation.

But it's no secret.

Bonarda can suck it.

'Da Knurd

Bob Henry said...

As the late, great Warren Zevon sang:

"Even A Dog Can Shake Hands"

(Google it, non-music fans.)

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Knurd CSW,
Of course, a CSW is not an HMW. So common. As for John Thomas, wow, now there's a dick reference you don't hear every day. Or any day. Nice going! I call mine John Boy, cuz it's small and played by Richard Thomas, John's younger brother.

Wanna shake?

Yup. And they beg, too.

Thomas said...

My dog curates tennis balls for other dogs. He's both a connerseer and a poodle.