Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest post from my extern

I've turned this post over to my friend and psuedo-mentor, Harry Oldman.

Dr. Oldman has been in the wine business for decades. He used to be a computational physicist at a national laboratory in New Mexico, involved in computational fluid dynamics of wine. But after getting sidetracked on a trip to California by Randall Grahm, he has never been the same.

He shares his thoughts and opinions on wine and wine writing on various online wine boards, but I of course don't listen to what he has to say (you know, with me being a Millennial and all).

Since 1WineDude and The Hosemaster of WineTM have occasionally handed their blogs over to their interns, I figured I’d open my blog to this extern. Plus, this will allow me to put in extra hours on social media and get my beauty rest all at the same time.

So, with out any further ado, here is Dr. Oldman:

Why the hell am I wasting my time on a blog? What the hell is a blog anyway? Is this some sort of Interwebs diary that you will read in 30 years to relive your youth, once you can finally afford to buy proper wine?
Since you've asked me to share my thoughts (does this mean you haven't been listening to me all of those other times?), I might as well get to the point because the Blue Plate Special at the Wine Country Buffet starts at 4:00 pm. I have to save money somewhere to pay for all my 95-point wines now that I'm no longer a government employee! (Thanks for the shutdown, Congress!)

This generation, your generation, that reads these blogs and whatnot, really needs to figure out how to learn about wine. If you don't listen to experts, how will you ever learn what good wine tastes like? I was born during a period when Americans didn't know what wine was. Hell, we invented wine. That stuff that those socialist Europeans made was more akin to tart, colored water than wine. Sometimes you had to wait years to get good a vintage. But because Boomers like me in California could afford to buy the best winemaking consultants (you know, Philippe Melka, Stéphane Derenoncourt, and Michel Rolland) we were able to make the best wine in the world year in and year out. That's why Californian wine is so great.

Now, your generation knows all about wine, but you spell it with an "h." Give us the credit we deserve. Without Boomers like me, you wouldn't have the freedom to buy all this insipid ribolla gialla and trousseau that is infecting the vineyards of Napa Valley. Don't even get me started on valdiguié.

I was born during the end of WWII and had to drink Blue Nun Riesling at the dinner table when my father returned from Mainz. We learned to drink that stuff for the entire meal, so don't tell me about food wines. I'm used to having sugar in my cola and my riesling, so I expect it in my cabernet, too. Of course, my family gave up Riesling after my sister left for the convent.

Seems to me that more sommeliers need to have their sisters end up in a convent so that they realize the shortfalls of riesling. (By the way, notice that there’s never been a 100-point dry riesling?)

My generation had to suffer through all the wine that the vets brought with them from Europe. We had to teach them what good wine was. You could say that Boomers are the greatest generation for putting those wine noobs on the right path.

Do you think Robert Mondavi would have ever built his winery if he didn't have a younger generation waiting to drink his juice? Now all you dolts take selfies with your wines and their silly pet names. Little Penguin, Blind Moose and Smoking Loons? Everyone knows that Jumping Goats, Screaming Eagles and Dancing Hares are the best critter wines. How do I know? Because a wine critic told me. I bought them because I can afford them. I don't know how they actually taste because I've never opened one, but I do have a 15-vertical of Harlan. I bet you and your Intertube buddies can't say that!

Speaking of Harlan, if someone is brave enough to slap their namesake on a bottle, chances are they spent the time and money to make it taste pretty damn good. Putting your name on a product is just something your generation doesn't understand. You hide behind your cutesy avatars on Twitter and online wine forums. Real men (and Jancis Robinson) proudly put their initials behind their opinions on wine. If you don't see two letters after a score (RP, ST or AM), don't trust it. If you see three letters (IJB), run.

Life is too short to try a wine I might not like. Having other people try wine for me before I buy is just like having my postdoc answer my phone, my maid clean my toilet or my dog get me dates. I just don't want to have to do things myself. I pay people to do things.

Millennials may have all the time in the world to try wine with their friends in their parents' basements, but I've more important things to do than waste my time on malbec or, heaven forbid, rosé. I don't need a winery to try and build a relationship with me, I just need a pocket guide to tell me which wineries are worth my time and money. Just leave me alone with my wine and all you young fucks can sext away with each other.

You Millennials just don't get it.

In fact, Kyle, you once spelled Millennial wrong eleven times in one of your blog posts, so that proves you don't get it. All of this talk about the current wine industry being in the middle of an information revolution due to advances in technology is just wrong. Just as winemaking didn't see any benefits from stainless steel tanks or sterile filtration (show me a wine tank that has actually led to a sale!), all this talk of wineries interacting with consumers is hogwash.

And the true experts are as smart as ever. Wine critics know that the best way to keep readers is stay in their ivory towers. Any critic that starts a eponymous blog or tweets about his exercise regime just doesn't get it. People and wine are just like they were the generation before. Very little changes except the number of varietally specific glasses in the market.

Despite what social media hucksters like Paul Mabray say, this schism is a generational thing. And I should know, I span generations. I watched the entire series of The Next Generation. I have tattoos. I spend a lot of time with Millennials at coffee shops. They don't know I'm there because they're spending all their time on their iPhones, but I spend time with them. I try telling them what wines are best, but they never so much as glance up. I leave a copy of Wine Enthusiast on the magazine rack every month, but it always seems to get misplaced – I tend to find it in the trash can.

I've followed all the wines worth following from their very start – yet you obviously don’t listen to me. So there’s really no hope! If you won’t listen to me, a fucking computational physicist, I can’t imagine you'll listen to a former comedian or a former attorney.

May God have mercy on your palate.


  1. Hmm. Do I detect a bit of sarcasm here, my friend? Very well done.

  2. There is a position at The Onion in your future, me thinks.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, guys. I'm sure Dr. Oldman will want to write more guest posts in the future...


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