Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Surprise! HoseMaster's Gift Giving Guide for 2010 (He's Baaaccckkk...Sort Of)

Christmas is upon us, and it seems that every family has a wine expert among them for whom they have to buy a gift. He’s also usually the Family Jerk. In my family, that’s me. So every Christmas I come up with a list of wine gifts that I would actually like to receive instead of the usual corkscrews, T-Shirts (“I have 100 points in my pants” or “Temecula Wines—We’ll Show Those Swiss!”) and copies of Food and Wine Magazine’s Guide to Wine (“…the guide for people for whom mediocrity might just be too high a bar to get over,” says the Wall Street Journal, and they should know.). So for those of you who must also buy for one wine jerk or another, here is The HoseMaster’s 2010 Christmas Gift List for Wine Lovers.


Parker Brothers (that’s Robert and his brother Fudge Parker) has just released a new game that is not only fun to play, but teaches you and your family the fundamentals of BioDynamics for use in your own home. BioDynamics is one of the most controversial subjects in the wine world, right up there with screwcaps, terroir and blind tasting wine critics (who taste lousy, blind or otherwise—except for Lettie Teague, who reminds me of an Alsatian cheese), and, like all of those, is also vastly misunderstood. BioDynamics: The Home Game enlightens as it entertains. Among the most interesting aspects of its play is how it adapts the tenets of BioDynamic agriculture to home use. For example, instead of burying cow horns filled with silica in the ground, players are directed to fill empty toilet paper rolls with popcorn kernels, hide them in the fireplace, wait six months, and then watch a Werner Herzog movie and eat what’s left of the popcorn. This, the game instructs, will bring balance to your colon and create a home for beneficial insects. In another part of the game, players are asked to discuss their personal lives as they relate to the phases of the moon, and are shown how important it is to never use Cialis on a fruit day. By the time you’re through playing BioDynamics: The Home Game you’ll have a firm grasp on the world of BioDynamics, a world that makes The Sims seem downright imaginary!


Riedel has made a fortune on decanters and wine glasses, having convinced wine experts and other jerks that the wine glass you use needs to be the right shape or you have robbed the wine of all meaning. Clearly, this is brilliant marketing. It preys upon the ubiquitous insecurity of wine lovers in the most innovative way since the 100 point scale. Your own meager and uneducated senses fall far short of being capable of enjoying a fine wine, the message is clear, unless you enhance them with numbers and expensive glassware. Only then will you be able to appreciate wine the way true connoisseurs do. By acting like an asshole.

Of course, now that I have dozens of sets of Riedel stemware, glasses for wines from Amarone to Xarello, as well as stemless glasses (for compliance with Handicap Accessible laws), I need the appropriate decanters as well. And just in time for the holidays, Riedel has released its new line of Celebrity Decanters. These are wonderful, innovative and fun for every wine lover on your Christmas list. There are five new Celebrity Decanters for 2011. I want one of each!

The Gary Vaynerchuk Decanter: Garish and loud with a stupefyingly big mouth, this decanter is perfect for wines purchased from a huckster.

The Alice Feiring Decanter: Oh so delicate and refined, handmade in the most natural way possible, the design of this lovely and curvaceous decanter goes on and on and never ever comes to a point. Just big enough for a single glass of wine.

The James Suckling Decanter: Polished to make you able to see your own glorious reflection, so much more important than the wine itself. Just fill it with Italian wine and watch it vanish!

The Michel Rolland Decanter: Who better to introduce oxygen to your wine than the king of micro-oxygenation? This beautiful decanter will make all of your highest scoring wines taste exactly the same!

The Jay McInerny Decanter: Even when it’s obviously completely empty, it’s always full of itself! Put any wine into this elegant decanter and chances are, just like its WSJ namesake, you won’t have a clue that it tastes any different than any other wine.


Actual Secrets of the Sommeliers

Rajat Parr (I was a big fan of his great-uncle Jack who replaced Steve Allen as host of “The Tonight Show”) and Jordan Mackay (named for a Sonoma County wine of appropriate dullness) return with a sequel that, unlike their first book, actually does talk about the secrets of those remarkable men and women who toil tirelessly in restaurant wine cellars all across the world. Ever wonder how to earn a Wine Spectator Grand Award without a single recognizable or affordable wine on your list? Turns out it’s easy! Make names up!

“Il Lollapalloozaia 1997 Vinnie Dimontalcino $350”

Don’t worry, Wine Spectator goes over the entries with a fine tooth rake. Among other secrets discussed--tastevins are really just cheap ashtrays, matching wine with food by price, and the secret to selling syrah (list it as “Exotic Meritage”) The book also has a section on how to talk like a sommelier which dispels the notion that sommeliers are snobs. They are not. They’re boors. Ever sat in a roomful of sommeliers? I sat in a toilet with the seat up once—it’s a lot like that.

Leaking Between the Vines

Every so often a book comes out that speaks to wine lovers in clear and beautiful language about the miracle of wine and how best to appreciate it. Be nice if this were one of them.


The thirteenth in a series that began with the classic “76,” author Frank Lee Poyntless takes on the sensual yet irrelevant wine score 88 in this fascinating study of what it means for a wine to score 88 points. He points out that 88 is a wine that everybody likes but nobody is excited by, so it’s like the fattest bridesmaid. Poyntless goes on to interview famous wine critics and ask them how they reach the score of 88 points in their blind tastings. Said critic James Laube, “It’s cabernet, it’s from Sonoma, it’s 88. It’s chardonnay, it’s from Carneros, it’s 88. It’s pinot gris, it’s tap water, it’s 88. 88 is a no-brainer. Trust me, I would know.” Robert Parker’s take on 88? “Easy. 88 is the new 84.” Charlie Olken on 88, “How many times do I have to tell you, the numbers don’t matter! The descriptions matter. Numbers without descriptions are like pies without crusts, and I’m nothing if not a crusty Marie Callendar.” You might think that a biography of a wine score would make for dull reading, but in yet another of his seminal studies of wine scores, Poyntless makes it a page-turner. The wine world is breathless with anticipation of Poyntless’ next book, the kiss of death “89.” But that’s for next year’s list.


Charlie Olken said...

Welcome, back, Jose. Sam, you have done him proud.

And lovely picture of you at the top of the piece helps out as well.

Eric V. Orange said...

I needed this fix. Thanks Hose, and thanks Sam. Maybe he can guest post as the whim strikes without all the pressure of a high profile successful blog of his own, eh?


Thomas said...

Somebody hijacked Sam's blog.

Must have been a wikileaks team getting even.

Samantha Dugan said...

Not sure he's back but this was a very welcome dose of something many of us have been missing dearly.

Oh and I did nadda other than add pictures which I admit was a lot of fun for me, the first one of course being my favorite. Not even sure how I found it but it was as if the HoseMaster had taken me over.

Me too kid. We can only hope...

Since we are virtually married and junk my blog is considered community property...fucking lawyers.

Eric V. Orange said...

BTW, this is classic;

"Ever sat in a roomful of sommeliers? I sat in a toilet with the seat up once—it’s a lot like that."

I spotted!


The Ceci Sipper said...

Halle-freakin-lujah!! Just what I needed today! Thank you and miss your bloggin' Hosey :) And Thanks Samantha for the pics and for posting!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Thanks for letting me hijack your page with my Christmas wish list, and thanks everybody for the kind words.

I do miss the camaraderie and laughter of my dead blog, and Samantha was kind enough to have read my little piece and volunteer to publish it in her space. I do love a good sneak attack.

Eric, there wasn't any pressure to having a world-famous wine blog, I was just weary of spending so much time online and of being the only one actively pointing out the hypocrisy and astounding egotism of the wine blog world, albeit it in a condescending yet hopefully amusing voice. Even now, on the rare occasion when I read blogs other than Samantha's, I am floored by the dearth of talent. And I know dearth. I'm like Dearth Vader.

And, let's not fail to point out, Samantha is the rare blogger who would even allow an opinionated and risky and generally tasteless post like mine on their blog.

Just one more reason why I love My Gorgeous Samantha with all my heart.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!!

k2 said...

Absolutely awesome! Thank you Sam and Hose for giving me something to laugh about this holiday season. Cheers to ya both!

Thomas said...

Am I the only one to notice that neither prices nor ordering information was given for these items?

Makes the whole thing seem rather suspicious, don't you think???

This Hose guy must be an identity thief. I wouldn't tell him who you are if I were you.


Valerie said...

See, and here I am buying everyone stinkin' scarves from European sheep. You just gave my Christmas a little 'swishy-swish'!

Charlie Olken said...

Sam writes "Oh and I did nadda other than add pictures which I admit was a lot of fun for me, the first one of course being my favorite. Not even sure how I found it but it was as if the HoseMaster had taken me over."

Did his taking you over cause you to stand in front of the camera in your Christmas costume.

Not to make too much of the point, but this blog is the perfect place for Jose to reappear.

Nancy Deprez said...

Okay this was pretty funny!

Samantha Dugan said...

Why sure! Was almost no work for me so the thanks belong to your HoseMaster.

Ron My Love,
You are welcome to post as much as you like here Love, I absolutely admire your talent and I too love you with all of my heart. That and I got screwed...you got partial custody in the will....fucking lawyers. I love you and it was a very real pleasure to read you, laugh because of you again.

No sweat on my end darlin' just had to steal a few pictures from Google and viola!

Thomas/G Man,
I kknow I thought the same thing! I finally had to ask him about it and as it turns out all you have to do to get that information is call the HoseMaster with your credit card and social security number...it's on the up and up.

See hat a helpful guy he is?! And people think he's mean...sheesh.

Charlie Olken,
How dare you?! I expect this kind of thing from Ron but you? Never did I ever think you would be so insulting....my reindeer are WAY bigger than the girl in that picture. Humpf!

Always is.

Alfonso Cevola said...

So, what I heard was this. Why Ron no longer blogs about wine bloggers. Seems he has gotten a lucrative deal from the Go Fug Yourself blog empire to ghost blog for them.

In short, he has sold out. Big bucks. He figured out how to monetize blogging. He is now to be found "in the cloud"

Love that bastard!

Ron Washam said...

Wow, a lot of conspiracy theory types around here. Next thing I'll be accused of being an alias for Julian Assange. Though I can't deny there are those trumped up charges pending against me in Sweden. I swear, friends, my Wiki did not leak on those women.

Alfonso, old friend, I've actually just been too busy writing both STEVE! and 1WineDoody's blogs the past three months to bother with HoseMaster of Wine. I'm not supposed to talk about it, but I've been ghosting those two lovebirds for some time now. And I'm thinking of doing Tom Wark's blog too, but my computer is out of BOLD print and it's really hard for me to be so goddamed right all the time.

My Gorgeous Samantha, I don't know if I'll post here again, but one never knows. See, this is how problems start. I post for you, and now I've got Alice Feiring and Alder all over me to post for them. Where does it all end? In madness.

I love you, My Gorgeous Girl, and can't wait to pet your Rudolph the Pink-Nosed Reindeer.

Sara Louise said...

I've had to buy stemless wine glasses because my dog broke all my wine glasses. If he sees a stemmed glass on the coffee table, he breaks it. I think it's his way of trying to curb my drinking. Too bad he failed.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Okay, you can pet my reindeer but only if I can put you in the harness again...

The offer stands Love, if you ever feel the urge to write something my blog is yours. You astound me with your wit and changed my life by finding me, supporting me and encouraging me...a debt I shall spend forever trying to repay.

Fifty is a teetotaler?! Who would have think? Don't let that adorable mug of his keep you from getting your buzz...err, enjoying your wine.

Dave said...

Darlin' Sam and most Honorable Hose, thanks pulling me out from under the weight of my horizontal mining duties at Mt. Feces and for the much need dosage of fresh air and nitrous to combat the fucking microbial invasions of the season. Any better medicine would have to be in liquid form. Love you both.

Sam, so glad to hear you and Jeremy will be together.

Cheers to all,


Joe said...

I just realized that if you don't drink wine in excess, reading Ron's post is like reading Indian...and there's no such thing as "Indian".

I think a random cameo hijacking of the blawg is a terrific idea, though it's sure to meet tough competition from enterprising travel companies.

Ron Washam said...


Is Mt. Feces that carved mountain in South Dakota with the faces of the Wall Street Journal wine writers?


I actually write in Indian and what you read here is a lousy translation. It's much funnier in the original, Kimo Sabe.

And I didn't hijack her blog so much as suicide bomb it.

Beau said...

Wait, this was a spoof?


Nicely done, HoseMaster.

Samantha Dugan said...

Damn, maybe I should retire from blogging and just let my blogger sweetheart post from now on!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I already beat you to that retirement thing, and I ain't coming back except to annoy folks every once in a while.

You may not retire. Thanks for asking. Period.

I love you

Unknown said...

I just read this putrid sack of tripe - I just came back from Havana, where I habitually go for "cigars" - and I'd have to say this abbhorent article deserves 69. Because it blows.


PS--Please visit my website and watch my outrageous video. It's a screamer!

Samantha Dugan said...

I adore you.

Sonoma William - Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog said...

omg FUNNY, love it. Makes me want to re think my 12 Days of Wine Christmas series, but too late!

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