Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

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3rd Apr 2017

Crapaholics Anonymous

by Ron Washam

 

Hello, my name is Ronald. And I’m a Crapaholic.

Hello, Ronald!

This is my first time speaking at a Crapaholics Anonymous meeting, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the wines I drink lately. I drink wines I like. I think I know a lot about wine. I drink wines from all over the world. I drink wines from California, France, Washington, New Zealand, South Africa…I love South African wines! Have you had Pinotage? Do you know where the name comes from? It’s Pinot Noir crossed with a little Garbage. I think it’s required by law to be at least 15% Garbage. Anyway, I love wine. I buy wines based on experience, and the reviews of reliable critics. So, mostly experience. I thought wine was just wine. There’s bad wine, good wine, great wine, and really great wine. But it turns out I was wrong. I was fooling myself, probably like all of you Crapaholics here tonight. It’s a hard thing for me to say. But I need help with my addiction to Crap. I’m a Crap whore.

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cry. I just feel so…guilty. I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for my new girlfriend. She’s the one who finally broke me down. She’s the one who showed me what a selfish, thoughtless jerk I was for drinking wines that weren’t natural wines. I swear, I didn’t know how horrible it was to drink those wines! I swear. I didn’t do it to hurt the Earth. I love the Earth. I’m so sorry! (Sniff) When I think about it now I want to kill myself. There I was drinking wine from a co-op in Barbaresco thinking I was enjoying wine. I know, I know, I see those pitiful looks in your eyes. It had sulfites added, it was fined, maybe filtered. What was I thinking? I hate myself. That wasn’t Nebbiolo. It was more like Nabisco, Nabisco d’Alba. I’d pop open a bottle of Second Growth Bordeaux not knowing I was an idiot for thinking that’s what wine is supposed to taste like. Now I know. It’s kind of hard to look at myself in the mirror and admit I was wrong. Those wines, that unholy Crap, are lifeless. They taste of the hand of Man, not the hand of God. I feel like such a fool. I see it all now. I’ve found the Light. It’s Amazing Grace. “I was lost, but now I’m unfined.”

I’ve spent the last few months drinking nothing but natural wines. My girlfriend has made sure of that. We even use the new Riedel Natural Wine glasses! They’re nice glasses, but really cloudy. Best of all, you never have to wash them! The less human intervention the better. In fact, they’re guaranteed to break if you do wash them — wasting precious water like a self-centered jerk. And I like natural wines, I really do. It’s kind of like dating on Tinder. You don’t know what you’re going to get! You make a choice for a date, just like choosing a natural wine, she’s a complete stranger to you, and certainly looks clean and desirable! But then every once in a while one smells sort of funny. It’s too late, you’ve already committed, so you just finish, and tell yourself the date was more natural, thus better. It’s OK, the results are the same, once you get past the faults. You got screwed!

But in the past few weeks I’ve been cheating on my girlfriend. I can’t help it. I’m sick. I know that now. I’m so ashamed. (Sniff) I’d sneak out to my local restaurant and I’d sit at the bar and I…I…I’d order a bottle of something that got at least 94 points from Parker. The bartender knows me now. Last time I was there he sold me a bottle of Australian Shiraz. 98 points! 98! I didn’t even ask the price! I didn’t care. I needed a fix. God, it was good. It was denser than a Trump cabinet pick. Barrel-aged Valvoline, oilier than a wine rep for Gallo. In other words, Heaven. I slugged down half the bottle before I began to feel miserable. There was a woman at a table nearby drinking a bottle of Occhipinti Frappato who looked at me like I was in a playground with my pants down. Like I’m a disgusting wine exhibitionist. I was so ashamed. But I’ll go back again. I will. I can’t help it. I love great wines! Help me to stop. Please. I can’t do it alone.

I go out and I drink a bottle of Sassicaia, and then I come home, and I feel dirty and corrupt, and I pray that I’ll be able to give all that up. That horrible Crap, those nasty, disgusting, manipulated pieces of Crap. I think my girlfriend can smell the sulfites on my breath. I tell her I ate some dried fruit, but I think she knows. Like all natural wine followers, she’s so sensitive. “Do you know,” she’ll tell me, “that many of the wines you used to drink were filtered through isinglass? Through a fish bladder?” “I wonder,” I tell her right before she slaps me, “how they get the fish to drink the wine in the first place.”

“It’s not funny,” she tells me. “Do you know how many chemicals the wines you’re drinking contain? Have you thought about how the wines you used to drink were ruining the planet? How can you be so stupid, so insensitive? Natural wines taste better. Because they don’t taste like death, they don’t taste like climate change, they don’t taste like the lousy, stupid, despicable human race had anything to do with them. I hate people and how they try to make things ‘better.’ I hate you. You need help, Ronald. Wines don’t need intervention, asshole, you do!”

She’ll leave me if I don’t quit drinking wines that aren’t authentic, honest, natural, real, biodynamic, organic and certified sensitive. But I’m not doing it for her. I’m not, I swear. I want to be a better man. I want to put only healthy things into my body. I mean, I’m not giving up alcohol, don’t be stupid, but all that other unhealthy stuff. Whatever that is. I mean, she has a point. It’s mean-spirited and egotistical to enjoy wine that’s not biodynamic. I’m a far better person when I drink wine and think about the ultimate sacrifice the grapes have given for me to enjoy their bodily fluids. I insult them when I think they can be made to taste better. I think we all feel that way about our bodily fluids.

I know that I have a lot to atone for. I’ve hurt so many people drinking wine. I have to accept that with every bottle of wine I’ve opened over the past thirty years, I only displayed my ignorance and complete disregard for what is right. I drank Crap. Soulless wine produced by soulless winemakers. They have their own crosses to bear. Generations of winemakers using sulfur. Now dead, and damned to smell it for eternity in Hell. They deserve it.

I hope it’s not too late for me. I love those unnatural wines. I love the way they taste. I don’t know if I can give them up. Loving great wines is a horrible addiction! Please. Help me. I know. I know. I need to turn to God to help me. Only faith in a higher power can save me from the wines I love, keep me from destroying what little soul I have left.

One day at a time. Because it’s what right. All of you here know it. The others out there, the ones who still drink their Champagnes, their Brunello Riservas, their Napa Valley Cabernets, may God forgive them. They know not what they do.

My name is Ronald, and I’m a Crapaholic.

Photograph © Tim Atkin MW

 

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