Wednesday, February 19, 2014

High On Believing

Man, where have I been lately? I can’t seem to bring myself to get fired up enough to slog out anything other than the occasional, somewhat buzzy, four sentence proclamations and blathering over on Facebook and the sometime comment over at my beloved HoseMasters blog. Not sure what’s going on per se but I do feel that some of the utter nonsense and redundant hissy fits by other bloggers and wine writers has created some kind of artistic and brain atrophy, that and likely some animosity as well. Hate to admit it but there you have it. When I get caught up reading some of the shit out there it makes me want to distance myself from the whining and pomposity completely. I’ve grown so weary in fact that I have opted to avoid even my own blog. Sucks actually. 

I have found tiny bits of verbiage inspiration by way of wines, the Champagnes I wrote about last landed upon my craving frame like a mouth taking bites along the back of my thighs and this past Friday night, Valentine’s night as it so happened, had me plunging my bits of desire into pools of glorious Burgundy by way of an astonishing micro-negociant by the name of Pascal Marchand. The people that showed up to taste and learn those wines from and with me, the heart-fluttering pride in the way the wines showed and how successful the numbers looked at the end of the night, those things all help and have in fact pushed me here, now but when I look about amongst my “peers” I find myself…well cursing a lot and ultimately wondering, “Am I am wine person or a wine writer” because it takes only a few spins around the interwebs to discover, those are, or can be, two very different things.

Came home Friday night punch drunk on Vosne-Romanee, Ladoix, Clos de Vougeot and Pommard, my longing to share, inspire and be inspired sending me all buzzy to the internet. Mistake. Huge mistake. Turned out that perusing the random articles and recommendations of my fellow wine…writers, ended up being just the thing that basically sewed up my craving and sent me right to bed, huffing and muttering phrases like “Asswads! Who are these people?!” and “Don’t they get it?” before I took a few chest filling breaths and let myself float to sleep on a comforting cloud of customer appreciation and that thing that only spending a few nights with your palate drenched in absolute beauty can give you. I found peace ignoring the asinine and not trying to once again figure out where I fit. But then there was the next morning….sigh.

Skimmed the incredibly long list of chocolate and chocolate type goodies, articles and which wines taste best with them. Pear and dark chocolate truffles and ZD Chardonnay anyone? Anyone that recommends Chardonnay with chocolate is NOT a wine lover, period. They are quite possibly, obviously, a wine pusher, but wine lover? Not even close. So after a scrolling through a couple dozen of those there were the anti-articles, the ones that rightly tell people that there is no wine that tastes great with chocolate, with maybe the exception of Port or Banyuls, and play the devil’s advocate. I felt myself sitting taller in my seat. My shoulders pulling back and growing in volume, my grin breaking through the grumpy face as I read the words we’ve been saying for decades now, “Yes!’ Here we go! Finally” dripping from my coffee scented lips as I trudged through a rather banal article published on some online paper of sorts. I scrolled and even though I agreed with the first bit of the “article” the lack of passion left even my eyes drying up. I persevered and found the deeper I got into the personality less “piece” I was reading yet another formulaic wad of shit dreamed up by a “Wine loving” writer. Fantastic. I read how this, professional (?) suggested sparkling rose with flavored popcorn, as in Creamsicle flavored popcorn in place of the wrongheaded chocolate and wine pairings, and she recommended that you travel on over to her “Award winning wine blog” to see the results of her, extensive research. Yeah…wine blog award winner. Perfect. 

I kept looking, hoping and seeking and was met with a wasteland of stupid bullshit. Valentine’s Day wines recommended because they are made by a husband and wife team? What?! Less stupid than some but still random babbling that does nothing for the consumer and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I found a link to the worst of the breakfast cereal and wine pairing articles. Let me just say that again, the worst of the breakfast cereal and wine pairings, because there are a few now so there can be one that is worse than the other horrible ones, by Herculean proportions. 

So not only is this moron, or um, writer, suggesting that we eat Rioja with Frosted Flakes and Bordeaux with Honey Nut Cherrios, (and I’m sorry, what grown ass person is still eating those? Fuck cereal, where the hell are the Toaster Strudel and Pop Tart pairings?!) but this wad of an article writer even gave us a “Wines to avoid” section…because shit, no one wants to be the pink-faced idiot that pairs the wrong wine with their goddamn breakfast cereal. So this, professional, suggests, for the best pairings, for breakfast cereal mind you, that we “Forget about softer wines like Pinot Noir and Barolo, as the milk will overwhelm the wine. Also stay away from Champagne. The strong sparkling components do not pair well with the smoothness of the cereal and milk.” Because you know, when I think soft wine I think Barolo. ???!! Where the fuck did you read that genius? Pretty sure you’ve never tasted, or felt, Barolo if you call it soft, and if you are referring to the lightness of color, well you just yanked out your novice card and swung it about the internets. If you are illustrating the flavor or texture of wine by the color, well you are a tween and you should leave this pairing stuff to the grownups, you know, the people that actually taste and drink this stuff, please. 

Popcorn, chicken wings, Girl Scout cookies, wine making couples and cereal. Really? This is what we’re selling? I don’t get it. On one hand I can see that some might be trying to make wine less portentous by cramming them into food situations for “common folks” but in doing so, don’t they see just how bloody portentous they are being?! Insisting that wine go places where it ends up tasting like shit, because you think wine more sophisticated or refined is the height of arrogance and snobbery. Quit it. If you truly love and wish to promote wine you are doing it wrong, way wrong. Cereal and chicken wing pairings that suck, they don’t sell wine. They might sell you to some non-wine-loving editor but don’t fool yourself, (or for a second think that you are fooling me) doesn’t work and in the end makes wine the “yuck”. Another way to look at it is these writers, that supposedly love wine, are doing their best to sell themselves on the freelance market, by the pound, and to that I have to ask, “What does a pint of integrity cost now a day?” If you sell these articles and bullshit pairing ideas you are a very large part of the problem and you are actually doing more to increase sales in the booze business than in the wine one. You make us all look bad. Shame on you. And shame on those that encourage you….

So this. This is what I see when I run out seeking inspiration and that nibble that drives me to drink, worship, learn about and share wine? This and the never ending whining of critics and bloggers and their same fistful of arguments? Gack. This is the best huh? Popcorn and wine pairing? Way to set the bar. Whimper…

So okay. In order to fit, belong and be relevant maybe I ought to do some wild and crazy wine pairings of my own. Maybe it’s time for this wine lover to get her “don’t give a shit” on and sell myself on the murky stage of irreverence and quirky?! I mean, if I’m to be considered a wine person, or wine writer, I had better get in this here game right? I want to be able to call myself a wine writer dammit, I need to up the ante and junk…I can do this.

Wine for Life’s Situations

Jury Duty – we all know this is a total bullshit and obligatory life situation that we either have to do or go to jail for ignoring..or just ignore like my neighbor and best friend do, and have never been called, or arrested might I just add. For Jury Duty I recommend a wine that carries with it the same kind of bullshit appreciation, Cabernet Sauvignon. Who doesn’t want to do their civic duty? Who doesn’t love Cabernet? See, we can kill two groan inducing birds with one stone here. Drink Cabernet while waiting in that stinky room full of your peers, before you lie to get out of having to serve. 

Back to School Night Why? Why do they make us come to school, try and cram our huge, steak filled bodies into those tiny desks, nose all a-flicker with the industrial stank of Crayons and Elmer’s Glue, as some half-drunk teacher explains how they are forming our children’s minds, for us. For this particularly grueling event I suggest a flask of Paso Robles Zinfandel. Just dull the senses as quickly and deliciously as possible. Bonus is the juiciness of the wine goes swimmingly with gummy bears so…

 Gynecological Exam Easy Peesy! Champagne! I mean nothing says up to your elbows in vagina like the whisper of tiny bubbles. Sort of a cheater pairing actually. 

Kid’s Sleepover Tricky this one, but I think the key here is low alcohol. I mean you need to be at your sharpest, (possible while still dealing) when driving the wee ones to the ER for sutures after you chucked an empty bottle at their tiny heads for shaving the cat and washing each other’s hair with peanut butter. Moscato d’Asti, without question.

Smoking Jack Herer Pot Oh come on now, don’t act all stuffy here. The pot is for affect the wine is for the refinement. When smoking this particular earthy strain of weed that gives a euphoric and uplifting feel, I suggest Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Goes perfectly with the sticky green flavors and the light-headedness, of both, makes it all sing. Or you and your buds will but whatever…

Smoking Headband Pot This giggle inducing and herbal weed calls for a wine that doesn’t try and complicate things. A wine that just lets you be and doesn’t challenge you when you are trying to get your giggle on, so Merlot, from Washington is the way to go here. Dark berry fruit and supple tannins are just the thing this herbal and black tea flavored…herb, is calling for. Avoid Champagne or sparkling wines…and cookies, as they will over tickle the fancy and induce the bends. 

Writing a Bullshit Pairing Article Gin. Lots and lots of gin….

I might just need a hug.


Thomas said...

Funny indeed...laughed hard enough that I almost coughed up the homemade pumpkin cheesecake I ate for breakfast beside a glass of Bual.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
There's a corner of the wine Intergnats that I try to avoid. I fuck up and go there anyway at times, and I always live to regret it. It's that corner where simpletons go to make themselves feel good about their wine knowledge. The simpletons say mindless and useless and outright wrong things about wine perpetually, and at the same time defend their right not to be snobs. As though ignorance and puffery and the purest lack of talent is preferable to caring about insight, accuracy and knowledge. The Intergnats, in that it allows anyone to publish, gives the simpletons a sense of meaning that they are not entitled to. In a previous era, nothing they write would have ever seen the light of day. I always hope that deep down they know that. But they don't--they're simpletons.

Meanwhile, stop being funnier than I am, Baby, I'm getting insecure.

I love you, and this was a wonderful piece. Get angrier more often.

Dale Dimas said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this rant, Sam, and I WAS going to say something about "...when you're feeling inspired just write, don't check what others may or may not be saying..." OR, "just because someone else "published" a piece and maybe somebody read it doesn't mean squat, so just laugh at the ignorance and/or don't read it..." BUT, rather, I think you were truly inspired in your Life Situations Pairings. Brilliant!

Being in a family of educators, I might point out that a nice Paso Zin is for both sides of the Parent/Teacher equation for Back to School Nights...and for the Principal as well!

Samantha Dugan said...

Now why would you ruin a perfectly good cheesecake? Thank goodness for the Bual.

Ron My Love,
Goddamn it they drive me batshit crazy and the best part is that they write these steaming pieces under the guise of not being snooty when in fact, by making wine the only beverage, you are being exactly that, a big dumb snoot. Some of them have to know they're idiots, right?! Well if not I might be just the bitch to let 'em know it. RAWR!

I'm never funnier than you Honey and I have this button that can be pushed, makes me crazy with angry...wanna come find it? I love you too!

That's why I mentioned half drunk teachers, trust me, if it weren't for teachers we'd sell a lot less wine. Gotta love them, for a multitude of reasons.

I thank you, again, for your ongoing encouragement kid, means a lot, that said, I can't just write for the sheer joy of it, least not yet. I hope to get there someday but I'm still beholden to the kind strokes, like yours, but I am working on it, I promise. Thank you again for your support and praise.

John Kelly said...

Ha - beat me to it. I'm up to 52 saved drafts on mine, and it won't be nearly as funny as yours.

Samantha Dugan said...


I showed you mine now....

Romes said...

Sam, you, my love, are exactly what the others are not. You are both a wine lover and a writer, and the two together, well, they keep me here reading and missing you always! You drive us to buy wine purely through words and that is an immense talent I find no where else. I know this was "funny" but I truly appreciate the real you.

Love as always...

Do Bianchi said...

I can't remember where I saw it but I did see the girl scout cookie post.

forgive them, sister, for they know not...

and this post is hilarious btw... love it...

we did pair our fav take-out pizza and Bolly on Valentine's though... I'll leave the rest to imagination... ;)

Samantha Dugan said...

You are just too kind, and the kind of customer I live for. Thank you for everything lady, I love you.

First of all, I love pizza and Champagne! Course it depends on the kind of pizza, not all pies are created equal as you well know, but I think the acidity in Champagne is a perfect partner for crusty and melty cheese. Sort of high on my list of great pairings.

As for forgiving them, well that is going to be harder. It's the "professionals" that I am taking issue with here love, not the consumer. If people want to drink Gavi with their M&Ms what the hell do I care? I only get pissed off and frustrated when supposed wine professionals write articles telling them that they should try Pinot Grigio with the green M&Ms and Gavi with the brown ones. They should know what they do, if not, we should be boycotting their bullshit publications. Period. See what I mean? Argh! Gets me all fired up and junk.

Thanks for popping in love, always a treat to see you here, Oh, and thank you so much for the link love last week!

Anonymous said...

You must have been pretty stimulated by one or more of those Burgs.But you get mad like a 1971 Freemark Petite Syrah, while in your sweet rosehipped linger- forever- with- earth- and -spice mode you're Romanee St Vivant, or an exceptional Amoureuses. Very funny and a different mode for you. I enjoyed it very much.

Anonymous said...

You must have been pretty stimulated by one or more of those Burgs.But you get mad like a 1971 Freemark Petite Syrah, while in your sweet rosehipped linger- forever- with- earth- and -spice mode you're Romanee St Vivant, or an exceptional Amoureuses. Very funny and a different mode for you. I enjoyed it very much.

Samantha Dugan said...

Kind of a throw back post, not that I wrote it before but I used to rant and huff about a lot more than I do now...the puffery of the blowhards have slightly deflated me. I do thank you for your comment and reading me enough to know my style. Made me feel sorta grand and junk. xoxoxox