Monday, November 28, 2016

R.--I.P.OB: The Death of Balance


OK, so here’s what sucks. Now no one is going to pursue balance anymore. That’s it? Five lousy years and now, the hell with it, I’m just not going to pursue balance again? It’s pretty depressing. For five years I knew where to find wines with balance. There was a list! These guys and girls are pursuing balance! I want a balanced wine? Easy. Read the In Pursuit of Balance list. Buy those wines. Not on the list? Run!!! Those are wines of the unbalanced, especially Bonny Doon.

Oh, Jasmine and Raj, my friends, my mentors, how did the romance end? Who gets custody of the little ones, like Jon Bonné? Where are the true believers to turn? First, Parker and Galloni, then Brad and Angelina, and now this?! You’re turning my wine world upside down! I don’t know where to turn for points, or Rosé, and now Balance. I’m a wreck. I’m drinking wines from the Jura, for God’s sake. And so I left behind a note… I was in a wine shop the other day LOOKING AT ZINS FROM LODI!! Jesus, what the hell? They’ve got the balance of a dead Wallenda. I BOUGHT THE TOP 100 WINES ISSUE OF WINE SPECTATOR! God, somebody help me. It’s only pure luck that all those Top 100 wines are always sold out, and only suckers buy that issue. Which makes sense, Rajmine (see what I did there? I brangelized you two, Raj and Jasmine, desperately hoping you’ll get back together), because IPOB, well, it made a sucker out of me. Out of all of us.

It’s just not fair. Before you came along, Rajmine, I didn’t have any idea what balance was. But then I started to taste the wines you recommended, and I suddenly knew. Balance is simple. Mostly, it’s about how little I now have in my checking account after buying the wines you recommended.

What was especially nice was that you took the trouble to define balance for me, Rajmine. I’ll confess, I was faking it. It turns out, balance is like orgasms. Wineries were faking balance! Oh sure, they’d look you in the eye and say their wines were balanced, but you just knew they were faking it. You’d gone to the trouble of putting it in your mouth, pretending you liked that, so the wineries would fake balance just to tell you what you wanted to hear. Now, thanks to you, I know better. Just like an orgasm, once you experience the real thing, well, you can’t be fooled again. Right? Not that that’s anything I have to worry about. I’m a guy. Women don’t have orgasms, right? Not that I've seen. Not real ones, not the messy kind, right? I’M CONFUSED! DAMMIT, RAJMINE! IPOB is just like me in bed—finished far too soon. I still need you.

I only heard FROM SOMEBODY ELSE that it was all over between you. OK, fine, it’s personal, but I think I deserved better. I have to read about your breakup on the GODDAM INTERNET?! Sorry. But it hurts. Other people writing about it like they meant something to you. People saying that in your short life, FIVE FUCKING YEARS, THAT’S IT?, you did a lot of good. Saying that you changed the conversation. WHAT CONVERSATION?! I don’t remember any conversation. Where was I? Was there some sort of new conversation about balance that I wasn’t invited to join? You didn’t change any conversation. You tried to end the goddam conversation. “Hey, idiots! We know what balance is, and you don’t. End of conversation.” I guess that’s changing the conversation, sort of like how Pierce’s disease changes grapevines.

Look, I’m sorry, I’m a little out of sorts, right now. I mean, a huge part of my world just crumbled. It’s scary out there now. NO ONE IS PURSUING BALANCE, PEOPLE! What if they suddenly announced, “We’ve given up trying to find a cure for cancer?” How would that make you feel? Especially if you had cancer! Think about that for a minute. All of these stupid wines that don’t have balance, that weren’t officially declared to have balance, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO NOW, RAJMINE? Just give up? Try crackpot cures for balance? I mean, after biodynamics, where the hell can crackpot cures go? And it’s all on you, Rajmine. We just have that one lousy list. I’ve tasted most of the wines on that list. Wow, are they fucking balanced! You can’t fake that. Right? You said they were balanced, so they’re balanced. BY DEFINITION! Now, next step, TRY TO TASTE GOOD, TOO! How about In Pursuit of Taste? Though IPOT sounds more like an acronym for my diet plan. Oh, hell, let’s face it,  having balance AND taste are just too much to ask of most wines.

OK, I guess it’s my fault, too. I took you for granted, Rajmine. I’m sorry. I selfishly assumed that you’d always be here to tell me which wines were balanced. I didn’t see the warning signs. The little quarrels, the cold silences, the limelight turning more toward those fruits and nuts in the natural wine movement. Hey, they stole your bit! Creating a fake movement in order to generate attention and sales, that’s your routine! And then they stole your champions. They went out on the free agent market and went big on Asimov and Bonné. And what did that leave you? Nothing but minor leaguers. So maybe you just cut your losses and ended the whole thing. I get it. You must have been tired of it. All the infighting, and all the losers clamoring to get in. It must have been tiring constantly telling people, I DON’T LIKE YOUR WINE! YOU DON’T BELONG HERE! FIGURE OUT YOUR OWN GODDAM MARKETING STRATEGY! Which, in a word, is “Balance.”

But think about this, Rajmine. You left us without a definition of Balance. Yeah, you pursued it. Like Hillary pursued the White House. Five years of pursuing that ends in a big fat zero. I went to the rallies, I drank the Kool-Aid, I campaigned, I donated, I believed, I believed, I believed. And then I wake up in November and you’re conceding defeat. Just walking away with a pathetic little farewell speech. Leaving it all behind.

You’re just like Hillary, Rajmine. Cold, calculating, self-interested, and leaving us behind to deal with the unbalanced.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Flying the Friendly Skies


Here’s what I’ve been feeling the past few weeks.

We were on this large jet flying to somewhere beautiful, some sort of Paradise, we thought, when it was hijacked and now it’s headed toward a skyscraper. We had no idea there were even hijackers aboard, though we should have known, they’d been making a lot of noise back here in economy class. We certainly didn’t think they could overpower us, take over the plane and fly it into a building. If I’d known the pilot had orange hair, I’d have stayed at the airport. My mother always told me, “Never get on a plane with a pilot with orange hair. Nothing good can come of it.” What’s odd is that the hijackers seem exuberant about going down with us in a burst of inescapable flames. It will take years to clean up the wreckage.



The rest of this week's sermon appears on Wine Journal over at the Wine Advocate site. The rest of the piece wanders about quite a bit, going from Asimov to Kermit the Lynch, and lands on a heartfelt wish that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

You can't leave comments there, but I'd love to hear your feedback here. Everywhere I go, friends, people remark that the best part of HoseMaster of Wine™ is the Comments Section. Oh, they're just flattering me, but it's true. Thank you, Common Taters, one and all.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

WINE ADVOCATE'S WINE JOURNAL

Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm Sorry I Didn't Run for President


I’m sorry. It’s my fault. My wife wouldn’t let me run for President of the United States, and now look what’s happened. And, yes, I already asked, she won’t let me be nominated for the Supreme Court either. I should spend more time cleaning the house is what she thinks. The House and the Senate is what I think. I’m sorry. I let everybody down.

I would have won. There’s no reason I wouldn’t have. I have plans. I’m for the little guy, the forgotten people. I can lie like I’m the spawn of Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. If I were Pinocchio, my nose would be in a different zip code. But I would have won because of my vision. Make America Great Again? What is that? That’s just nostalgia. And like all nostalgia, it’s stupid. I can’t believe people fell for that. Well, white people. Who knew the albino vote would swing an election? Great, now we have a President who put the “pig” in “pigment.” Let’s just hope he doesn’t put the “dick” in “dictator.” Unless it’s in Putin.

I had policies I was ready to debate. I had some money left over in my GoFundMe account I could have used to run my campaign. I had Roederer Award money, which is like MacArthur Genius Grant money—if you live in Botswana. I was ready to run. And now my plans to Make America America Again (catchy, right!) are all for naught.

Imagine this. I would have banned all imported wines from the United States. There are too many foreign wines competing for shelf space in this country. Why are we buying wines from foreign countries? What does that do for us? OK, the ones that are already here, fine, they can stay. You’d have a month to drink them all, and then that’s it. No more new ones coming in. Believe me, you wouldn’t miss them. Let’s keep America’s wine money in America!

You’re not going to miss Port. Let’s face it, Port is the stupidest wine of them all. Tawny, Ruby, LBV…sounds like backup singers for Tony Orlando. We don’t need Port. Having a cellar full of Port is like having a cellar full of teenage hostages—you’re just a weirdo. And we don’t need Champagne either. We have perfectly fine sparkling wines made in America. Ever had Sparkling Catawba? All you have to do is drink a Sparkling Catawba and you’ll never want Champagne again. It will cure you of wanting any sparkling wine again. I think they use that stuff to induce cat abortions.

To make America America again, we have to stop importing wines. Who the hell needs Shiraz? What the hell is Shiraz? It’s just Syrah. Shiraz is Syrah’s rap name. Fershizzle. We don’t need that in America. If we need cheap gooey red wines, we can buy Apothic. It’s great, now every case of Apothic comes with its own insulin injection. Every wine made in a foreign country is made better right here in the USA. We don’t need Burgundy, we have the Williamette Valley, the King of Pinot Noir regions. Hail Oregon, long may it reign Côtes. We don’t need German wines, we have Michigan Riesling. Drink Michigan Riesling—the state is full of unemployed Kabinett makers. There’s absolutely no reason to drink wine from Chile either. Which goes without saying.

I also believe that what this country really needs is a much stronger three-tier distribution system. Only idiots want to dismantle the three-tier system. That system supports countless American wine salespeople, many of them otherwise unhireable alcoholics. Under my presidency, I’d add several tiers. Two or three, anyway. What the hell, maybe another ninety-three! Put ? and the Mysterions back to work with 96 tiers. This country doesn’t need to cut out the middlemen! I’m for the middlemen. We need more middlemen. Middlemen made this country great. Think Ozzie Smith and Dick Butkus. Think Anthony Weiner. The wine industry needs more levels of protection for the consumer, more middlemen making money from the at least five-tier distribution system. Let’s put Americans back to work. Wine is expensive. The more people who take a cut of the action the better. Lining the pockets of rich winery owners with only three tiers has to stop. In my country, it’s five tiers at the very least. Honestly, after this election, don’t you think we’ve shed enough tiers?

In my administration, everyone would have a voice. Regardless of race, religion, or income, I would seek to find a way so that everyone would have the means to take a seat at the table. I even have a sensible plan to achieve that. I call it the Affordable Chair Act. Cheap chairs for everybody so that you can sit at the table. You cannot be denied an Affordable Chair because of pre-existing conditions, like a negative stool sample. All Americans would be taken care of. Under my plan, also, every American would be guaranteed a nice bottle of wine with every meal, and we’d make the wineries pay for it! Man, I wish my wife would have let me run.

Immediately upon assuming the Presidency, after my legendary Inaugural Address, and my stirring rendition of Paul Anka’s “Havin’ My Baby,” I would remove all Government Warning labels on wine. The government has no business intruding on our enjoyment of getting completely shitfaced. No more “Contains Sulfites.” Sulfites don’t harm anyone, except people with severe sulfite allergies, and, believe me, we’re better off without most of them. They’re the weakest in the herd, and, anyway, they’ll get an Affordable Chair no matter what. Much of the problem with the country’s crumbling infrastructure is that on every bottle of wine we tell people not to operate heavy machinery after drinking wine! That’s lunacy! That’s costing Americans jobs. Get that warning off of our wine labels! I don’t care if the guy operating the bulldozer had a glass of Prosecco at lunch, just get the goddam road paved. And why are we telling pregnant women not to drink wine on the label? How is that the government’s business? OK, maybe they shouldn’t drink wines from the Languedoc because their child may be born with Fitou Alcohol Syndrome, but we’re banning foreign wines, so that’s not a good argument. No more government warning labels on wine!

I’m also tired of the push for vineyards and wines to be organic. We need to spray more chemicals, not fewer. How did the priorities in our country get so screwed up that we care more about micro-organisms than the people we employ to spray our crops, our homes, our children? You want wines to taste better? Take the handcuffs off the people who make them. Let them add some flavor to their dull, manufactured wine, don’t make it a crime to add raspberry Jell-O to Meiomi Pinot Noir, that’s what people want! The natural wine movement is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government aimed at taking down our American chemical industry, the very backbone of our economy. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t ban natural wines. Just the people who make them.

I’ve got four years to talk my wife into letting me run for President. I want to Make America America Again. Trust me, folks, the wine establishment is scared to death I’d win. But no more than I am.