What exactly is a HoseMaster, eh?
According to Google it’s a company that specializes in connectors and tubing for liquid and gas transfer.
However, there’s another trademarked version of the HoseMaster; one that hosts a web site that has surely become the hotbed for wine writing that dices, slices and leaves no oenophile unscathed.
If the love child of Dennis Miller, Steve Martin and George Carlin were to take up wine writing, gleefully skewering so-called sacred cows along the way, his name would be Ron Washam. The site in question is The HoseMaster of Wine.
The HMW is on a tear. I’ve never laughed out loud so many times (I mean, aside from following live tweets from WBC):
Where else can you read a wine reviewed penned by David Mamet (“Don’t you want goddam Pinter in your mouth?…He tastes like fucking chicken… 98 Points, I swear.”).
Or find a voter’s guide to wine propositions including my favorite, prop A, which would “ban the use of French in all marketing materials.” As HMW puts it, “French is the source for all the wine vocabulary that is stupid, illogical, and inexplicable.”
Sarcasm, much? But of course… and loving it.
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Then there’s HMW’s recent Pièce de résistance: the blind book review (of Eric Asimov’s “How to Love Wine”). As he notes not seeing the cover of a wine book he’s reviewing “takes all the bias out of it.” Not reading it, I assume, positively locks in the neutrality. He could be on to something there. And apparently he’s not necessarily on board with the premise of Asimov’s book, “Who the hell needs to know how to love wine? If you’re buying the damn book, you already love wine. I don’t need a book called ‘How to Love Blowjobs.'” HMW might, however, buy a book on “How to Love Brain Tumors” or “How to Love Rat Poison.”
It’s hard to find consistent, creative, entertaining wine writing on the Web these days – though, Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator has been kicking up some entertaining dust storms of late. And while HMW is equal parts intellectual stew and cynical observation, his ability to weave insightful criticism of the wine industry and those who write about it (especially wine bloggers whom he refers to as poodles) along with a healthy dose of self-mockery ensures that there’s actual substantive value in regularly checking visiting his blog. No doubt it’s often layered deep amongst so many uproarious barbs, insider jabs, and twisted metaphors (ah, yes), but – trust me, Bond-san – the HoseMaster of Wine most definitely needs to be on your wine RSS reader.
Post-HMW, I find myself virtually unable to use words like “briary” or “tender” or “melon-y” or “terroir-ish.” He has simply forever changed the rules of the game.
Post-HMW, I also find myself trying to use less exclamation marks, so often the weapon of choice among aspiring wine writers!!! Awesome!!! #WW!! I’m drinking this entire bottle…!!!! Hang on – cleanse system. Calm fingers. Take a deep breath. Home row… ok, just like that. Use proper sentence construction, verbs, nouns. Must resist… temptation… for exuberant, non-stop irrational excitemen… GIANTS!!! Oh, snap.
Post-HMW, I find myself realizing how hard it must be for other wine blogs (mine especially) to remain relevant.
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Picasso once said something to the effect that a great painting — like great art in general — must defend itself, like it had sharp razors. Ron’s writing does precisely that. Will his blog posts sell for millions in the future? Well, time will tell.
Digging around a bit, I discovered that HMW is a former Sommelier, which might explain why he’d like to ban them from making wines. “The marketplace is flooded with wine made by real celebrities, it doesn’t need wine made by fake ones,” he explains.
HMW is the wine writing equivalent of big, bold Sonoma Zin. You don’t dare approach it without having several jugs of water nearby, and — lest you require a quick sobriety check — a bookmark to Steve Heimoff’s blog, the equivalent of a long, cold (yet though-provoking and informative) shower.
Must read wine writing: The HoseMaster of Wine. I dare you. ku lu ku ku ku ku ku ku ku!