Of course not! He is a keen wine journalist with a trusty palate, an eye for what’s hot and talent for writing mouth-watering reviews. And what does he want? He want to enlighten folks like you and me. And when does he want it? Now!
At least, that’s the world according to Drink Me, an online wine, beer and spirit publication that whores itself out to so many advertising johns that trying to hack through to the Mission Statement is like fighting a jungle of thorns and booby traps to get to some mythic golden idol. When you finally break through—hitting the requisite ‘X’ marks to excise the advertisements—you discover you that Drink Me’s Arthurian quest is ‘scouring the world for the best imbibables around, the coolest equipment to help you make the most of your drinking life, and advice and know-how from the people shaping the way we all sip and swirl and savor.’
And that’s cool. That is pretty much what all of us with drink columns are trying to do. Personally, I like to think of myself as a sort of spiritual spirit superintendant, scouting out suds ‘n’ sauce across the Seven Seas, scaling soaring sierras and schlepping my sapience to you, my kind and gentle reader.
As I say, I like to think that, but considering most you know more about wine than I do, the evaluation is probably lame.
In any case, let’s you and me do some role-playing, but in a non-BDSM way. Or, keep the ‘M’ alive, because you must be one if you’ve read this far. Anyway, let’s pretend we write for Drink Me and our assignment is professional: We have to come up with a column with advice and know-how following our global scouring trip, the funding of which we will leave (like Blanche DuBois) to the kindness of strangers.
We’ll have to submit our piece ‘on spec’, meaning they don’t buy the article unless they like it: You offer them a series on the affordable wines of Bordeaux and are told that they have published that story five times in the past month. I submit a story on the hand-blown ampoules of Penfolds’ 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the response is that ‘hand-blown’ is an oxymoron.
In rapid succession, we suggest features on Mexican wine, Swiss wine, Hungarian wine, wine from tiny Polynesian island of Niue and wine made from the fermented spleens of Peruvian stink badgers, and we are told that they published articles like that within the last 24 hours.
And so, here we are, you and I—all dressed up in our journalist costumes and nowhere to go. We could scour the world for the worst imbibables and write about those, but that would be in direct violation of Drink Me’s Mission Statement, wouldn’t it?
‘The Three Most Boring Wines in Existence’ by Rob Priddle
Okay, game’s over. Take off your journalist costume. Slowly, article by article. And now that we are all naked and stuff, like the Emperor without his clothes, all you BDSMers may return to the fold and strap on whatever it is you strap on. I’ve got the ‘M’ covered this time—I actually read Priddle’s piece, ‘The Three Most Boring Wines in Existence.’
What are they? Well, Rob decided to take the iconoclast’s route and turn his trusty palate and eye for what’s hot toward what’s not: Three wine ‘varieties’—his term—that he feels are so excruciatingly dull that they could cure a certain sleep disorder that causes aggravated, aggressive awakery.
Now, if you were going to make this sort of tongue-in-cheek claim, and substitute it for a genuine column purporting to educate drinkers, I would think you’d have two non-negotiable obligations:
First, you would have to avoid writing in such a style of la morgue littéraire that people actually fall asleep during the introductory paragraph; that would sort of step on your punch-line, right?
Second, one would hope that you’d come up with a trio of wines that required more time and imagination than your headline took, which you probably didn’t write anyway.
As for the first, I leave it to the reader’s objective opinion, since I am Master and ordering you to read the article as part of my ‘S’ role. But for the second one, Priddle suggests two wines which are so clichéd and overused and rubber-stamped as being dull that if I gave you three guess and you couldn’t come up with them, I’d assume that you are probably somebody who actually needs Drink Me’s input.
For the rest of us, White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio were indeed listed as numbers one and two, although Professor Priddle felt it necessarily to specify California White Zinfandel so as not to offend any of the zero wineries producing White Zin outside California.
Likewise, Veneto is called out so that the stellar Pinot Grigios of Barefoot Cellars don’t get inadvertently grouped with dull wines.
So, seriously— what Priddle is saying is that White Zin and Pinot Grigio are boring, but only the boring ones, not the other ones; that’s the consummate Drink Me news-flash. That’s the keen, mouth-watering wine journalism running amok through these features.
Next thing you know, they’ll tell us that some Bordeaux is reasonably priced… again.
But, really, I would have allowed all this to slide, because I really don’t read Drink Me, even to cure my insomnia, my gonorrhea or my final-stage, acute sarcasticoma. But the third Priddlean choice for dullsville wine so defies my concept of propriety that I must step in and wall the motherfucker up in in the catacombs of wine journalism.
Yes, old Rob, never profound, now veers into the profane by disrespecting the classic, wonderful, darkish Sherry that holds ground between tart Fino and rich Oloroso, fortified and oxidized delicately in porous casks, served chilled as a sensational, nutty aperitif. Although the name Amontillado may be sometimes misused commercially, Priddle—henceforth referred to as ‘The Jester of Journalism’—makes no such distinction, as he did with ‘California’ White Zin and ‘Veneto’ Pinot Grigio, but indicts all Amontillado under his blatheringly boring banner of boringness.
Well, I’ll tell you something, my dear Robunato. I think you are full of shite. But fear not, I am willing to provide evidence:
I have just received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, although I believe I may have paid more than it is worth. You were off masquerading as a wine journalist and watering mouths, eyeing heat and advising and could not be found. I feared losing a bargain, yet I think I may have been imposed upon. It is your trusty palate that I lacked, your keen judgement.
Come with me to the vaults. Over there, into the depth of the recess, while your journalism bells jingle—the termination of the feeble light may not enable us to see, but therein lies… the Amontillado.
Drink, while I render you all the little attentions in my power.
What’s that? The intoxication of your sense of humor has now worn off? No problem. I will write to your employer and make your excuses. I will blame this infernal cold. The weight of the ancestors. Your cough. Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh. They will understand… after all, this is Amontillado.
And now I must positively leave you. In pace requiescat!