PALATE PRESS: The crack investigative team that brought Natalie MacLean to her well-worn knees does it again with Meg Houston Maker’s expose of Jenna Talia Baioppsi. According to Ms. Meg “Meetyour” Maker, Jenna Talia borrowed her World of Fine Wine™ muumuu without proper attribution, or undergarments. “It’s one thing,” writes Meg “Widow” Maker, “to borrow my property whole cloth under the Fair Use clause, but it’s another thing to claim it’s yours and that Jon Bonné lives underneath it and takes care of the bushes.” Jenna Talia responds, “I have no fucking idea what Meg is talking about. I’d sue her, but I feel sorry for her, she lives in a trailer behind Marvin Shanken, where there’s plenty of shade.” In another investigative report (oh, the gang at Palate Press is fired up—there hasn’t been this quality of investigative journalism since Geraldo opened Al Capone’s safe), Blinky Gray shines a light on the shameful Fantasy Wine Leagues where players draft undocumented migrant workers to their teams, track what vineyards they harvest, and win points by how the resulting wines are rated. “It’s despicable what these leagues are doing. It’s degrading to an uneducated, often illiterate, wildly exploited minority—so it’s basically like college football.”
JAMIE GOODE: The wine world’s Hobbit, Jamie Goode writes glowingly about Authentic Wines. “Here in the Shire, we like our daily tipple, but we insist it be authentic, and not from the Land of Mordor, which is what I call Yellow Tail. When Bilbo and Frodo and I hold a blind tasting, we can always tell the one that’s the most manipulated—it’s that frigging Bilbo stroking himself dreaming about Elves! We’re going to all chip in and get him sex with an Elvish impersonator.” It’s lovely to visit the mythical land of Authentic Wine with our diminutive host. In the wine world’s epic fight of Goode versus Evil, it’s nice to be rooting for Evil.
DECANTER: Hugh Johnson brings his insight to what the wine world can expect now that Robert Parker has surrendered editorial control of The Wine Advocate. “He’ll probably take up gardening and rate pansies,” writes Johnson. “I don’t think anything will really change very much. The people of the world will go on buying oceans of crap like they always have. Parker didn’t change that. He just got famous selling high end crap to score sheep, of which there are too flocking many. Now I like to think of him in retirement spreading manure around pansies instead.” That Hugh is wine’s poet. Elsewhere in the magazine, there’s a comparative tasting of English sparkling wines and Champagne that concludes, “Is there nothing we can’t beat the bloody Frogs at?” Oh, I don’t know, dentistry comes to mind.
WINE SPECTATOR: James Laube goes in search of “Great California Sangiovese.” Should be back in a year or so. Natalie MacLean joins the reviewing team and contributes her thoughts on writing tasting notes. “Once you get the hang of it, that cut and paste thing gets easy. I can do it with my drunky-ass goggles on. Copying from your neighbor, hell, it’s how Parker got through law school, and everybody loves him. Look for my reviews of the new 2010 Cabernets, which I think Tanzer is just about done writing.” And we answer the question on everyone’s mind, “What’s a Molesworth?” As it turns out, it depends on how smartly he invested. Tim Fish wonders how old Century Vines are.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Jay McInerney attends a vertical tasting of Quinta do Noval’s “Nacional” in a post entitled “Tongs for the Memories.” “The grapes for ‘Nacional’ come from a part of the Noval vineyard where the vines are ungrafted, yet have never been touched by phylloxera. That plot is to vineyards what Charlie Sheen is to STD’s.” McInerney prefers the ’96 to the ’94 because, “I couldn’t tell the difference, but ’96 was the year I nailed Princess Margaret.” Lettie Teague reviews the latest wine fridge magnets.
WINE ENTHUSIAST: An issue devoted to the wines of South America, the cover story. “Tannat Decants,” is about the thrilling wines of Uruguay and how most of the grapes are harvested by migratory capybaras. “They’re plucky little rodents,” one winemaker declares, “and their teeth can actually stand up to Tannat, unlike humans.” A riveting article about Argentina exposes wineries that sell underperforming Malbec to local cowboys entitled, “Gaucho Marks.” And Roger Voss writes about Chilean wines, “How come when I write that Chile extends the length of South America, I get ads from Google for penis extensions?” Finally, a tasting of all the great wines of Brazil that takes three minutes, but afterward you look better without the curly hair at the edge of your bathing suit.
ROBERT PARKER ONLINE: Robert Parker unloads on his critics who say he’s been too liberal awarding 100 point scores. “You know how Presidents start handing out pardons to convicted criminals on their last days in office like a huckster handing out massage parlor brochures on the street in Las Vegas? It’s like that. I’m in my last days in office before the whole joint starts to turn an ugly shade of Lisa Perrotti-Brown, so I'm handing out 100's like a Singapore sex tourist. When that floor mannequin Laube decides to quit, he can hand out all the 100 point scores to Napa Valley prune juice he wants. The old moneyed farts who buy it need it to make them more regular anyway.” Don’t piss off The Lion in Winter.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"...that guy Hosemaster has real talent...if you ask me sign him up for Comedy Central...he's the funniest guy since Adam Carolla's hilarious book...IN 50 YEARS WE WILL ALL BE CHICKS..."
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."