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Thursday Thorns: The Report Card
Blogs That Are Fun To Read—Because I Am Tired of Talking About Alcohol

By Charles Olken

Someone scary once said, “Words mean what I want them to mean”. I may not have gone that far with the title of today’s outpouring, but this column is not about Heimoff or Work or Dugan or Yarrow or any of the other folks whose serious commentaries are required reading. This is about places I visit one in while when I want to have some fun in the wine blogosphere.

You know what fun is. You just put your lips together and . . . . . no, that is something else again. I mean good old fashion fun, the kind that makes you smile as if you did not have a care in the world. We do too little of that in the wine biz. It’s just that what we drink is serious business. Happily, there are place to go that are fun.

Sara In Le Petit Village

Admittedly, I don’t pop in here all that often, but today, I was looking for something to lighten the mood and there was Sara with an entry called “They Do Things Differently” ( It’s short, will take you as long to get there via computer as it will to read entry but do go. It made me smile, and it should do the same for you unless you have been drinking too much of that vile over-14% wine.

Louisville Juice

You may have heard of this blog. I have mentioned it several times. Raise your hands if you have not been paying attention. Sara’s blog is “cute”. This blog is laugh out loud funny. Sure, the guy does get serious now and then. This is the wine business after all, but do go have a read of his essay, “Wine Made Simple: A Modest Proposal” ( . I promise you that you will laugh out loud. If you don’t, I have some of that over 14% hooch that will get you buzzed and laughter will come easier.

The Hosemaster of Wine

There has been nothing new posted on this site ( for nine months. That does not matter. If you are not familiar with The Hosemaster, you need to be. Most of what is there is priceless and timeless like his essays on grape varieties that give us an insider’s view that most of us, even other writers, winemakers and sommeliers did not know. Such as,

  • Albarino belongs in the category of aromatic grapes along with Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Viognier and Jessica Alba, for whom it is named.
  • Re Pinot Noir: In Italy it's called Pinot Nero because Italians like to fiddle with it.
  • Wine Myths: Critics Can Actually Taste All The Things They Describe: There's a pretty simple mathematical way to understand how this works. Take the number of adjectives the critic uses--raspberries, green Gummy bears, pain grille, pommes frites, old Summer's Eve--subtract it from the numerical score, divide it by the alcohol content of the wine.

Yes, when it comes to naming his blog, Oliver Styles has done us the equivalent of calling his winery, Winery. The blog and URL are one and the same. Now, Mr. Styles is no humorist in the way that Tom Johnson (Louisville Juice) or Ron Washam (The Hosemaster) are. He is an Englishman, and he has that wry, ironic sense of humor that so endears us to the English. His latest essay is a critical post about how prices get set in Bordeaux. I loved it, although I will admit that one has to pay a lot more attention to Mr. Styles to get the laugh lines than to Tom Johnson or Ron Washam.


No Subject
by adam
Posted on:4/28/2011 10:31:55 AM


Along the same lines, have you checked out ?

by Ron Washam, HMW
Posted on:4/28/2011 4:19:54 PM

Hi Puff Daddy,

What makes you think I was writing comedy on HoseMaster of Wine? I was dead serious most of the time. Though my essays are definitely priceless, which is a sneaky way of saying worthless, and timeless, which is a sneaky way of saying the jokes were old.

And lumping me in with that Tom Johnson guy, a guy who frequently badmouthed me, well, that's just plain insulting! And I don't think he's an actual citizen of the United States either. Nah, he's from Louisville, he can't be.

I haven't missed the parade of Poodles since I left the pack. But when I do revisit the bloggers I still find them sanctimonious, ill-informed, humorless and puerile. Thank God some things never change.


by Sara Louise
Posted on:4/28/2011 11:33:05 PM

I'm honored, thanks for including me, very happy to have made you smile :-)

Pas de quoi
by Charles E. Olken
Posted on:4/29/2011 12:00:15 AM


What's with the Francais? Your website says you don't parlez the language. I'm so disappointed. It is a real fromage.

And thanks for the barbecue lessons. I would encourage everyone to learn the French technique.

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