My Fellow Inebriates,

Sixteen bucks in our local booze shop and we had ourselves a bottle of PETER LEHMANN BAROSSA BRUNETTE (2008). We’d had some luck with Peter Lehmann wines before, mostly because they’re competently made and easy to drink, and we held this one to the same expectations. How did it measure up?

peter lehmann barossa brunetteIn fairness to Peter Lehmann, his BAROSSA BRUNETTE was upstaged by an Argentine Malbec we enjoyed immediately before it (review to follow). Although we have friends who would debate this, the LBHQ policy is to have the lesser wine first, moving from good to better (we can’t afford “best”). It’s very pleasant to savor one wine only to have it topped by another. This way you get to enjoy both wines—the first in ignorance of the second. If you have the better wine first, whatever follows is going to seem like relative crap.

Well, yes and no. Sometimes it’s just a shock to the palate. Sometimes that second wine isn’t necessarily lesser—just different. You have to let those taste buds shift gears and adjust. If the second wine is decent, this usually occurs within one glass. However, if the wine is relative crap, you end up bitching about it until it’s gone, wishing it were like the first.

This may have been what happened with PETER LEHMANN BAROSSA BRUNETTE. Following a Malbec that overdelivered with complexity and ripe fruit, the Lehmann offering came across as one-notish, industrial swill. Which probably wasn’t a fair judgment. So let’s address it on its own merits.

To do this we have to dismiss our impressions of the first glass. All of us (bears, parents, our friend R) were getting pleasantly pissed when we opened the BAROSSA BRUNETTE. Almost pissed enough to enter the basement for Guitar Hero embarrassment.

We will ignore the first glass. A Guitar Hero interval…

Just what we needed to absorb the first wine. The second glass is fair game.

Okay, so LBHQ (and guest) impressions were as follows:


Barnyardy…one-notish…mass-production…couldn’t get past the barnyard note


Industrial/standard…thin…turpentine/petroleum…ish. Didn’t really quite work…


Mass-market swill but not objectionable; I’m having more.


You guys really don’t have to finish it; I’ll take care of it.

The stuff is pretty standard and typical for its price range—certainly not a “find.” A 75:25 blend of Grenache and Shiraz and ringing in at 14.5% alcohol, BAROSSA BRUNETTE is earthy and dry with unexpectedly assertive tannins yet a surprisingly short finish. As much as we’ve been happy with previous Peter Lehmann buys, this one reeks of mass production and even has the sense of being constituted of leftovers. As R said, it doesn’t really quite work.

But there our criticism ended. We had alcohol to ingest and “Bulls on Parade” cued up. My dad kicked my mum’s ass; she is really never going to improve at Guitar Hero, but at least she has thumbs and can make the attempt. Between songs we dissed Peter Lehmann’s marketing team for the following ad copy about Peter Lehmann, the man himself:

Peter Lehmann logo

This wine is a testament to the man and his bravery to dream.

Even when you write your marketing copy in the third person, everyone who reads it knows you signed off on it. Or at least you should have, especially if you’re saying your product is representative of you and your bravery to dream.

I’d like to believe Peter Lehmann himself is blissfully unaware of the douchebag copywriting being done on his behalf. After all, the guy is 82 years old. If I were 82 I’d be hanging by the pool, and if I owned a vineyard I’d be wrecked all the time—too wrecked to care what anybody wrote about me.

Let’s hope that’s the case. But for any of you out there, let’s just say: Even if you write your ad copy in the third person, everyone who reads it suspects you signed off on it. So if you say you’re a “gifted innovator,” a “visionary,” or a “thought leader,” we generally read it as “dickhead.”

Note to anyone with a marketing bio: It wouldn’t hurt to self-deprecate a bit. Your work stands as its own testament, does it not? Don’t be a tool.

Move over, Oprah! LB’s got some new favorite things too!

My Fellow Inebriates,

It’s that wonderful time of year when Oprah tells us her Favorite Things.

I don’t know about you, but every year I wait with bated breath to hear what new luxuries Oprah’s pushing. She may enjoy mashed potatoes more than she likes vodka, but Oprah knows a thing or two about sybaritic living. Naturally I’m going to hijack her annual merchandising love fest, plunder it for keywords and tags, borrow her unauthorized image, and share some things I’d like to give and receive this season. So without further ado…

Oddly enough, many people don’t possess a flask. What a great gift for that closet drinker at your office, that frustrated parent at the playground…or you? And there’s nothing like Montgomery Scott to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling about secretive drinking.

Star Trek flask from CBS Store, $26.95


The Apocalypse is a mere 25 days away, but you might want to hedge your bets and send out Christmas cards anyway.

Set of 10 “Obama O Come Let Us Adore Him” Nativity Cards by Dan Lacey, $20.00


And if that doesn’t remind you of the reason for the season, get your hairy mitts on a T-shirt from The Oatmeal.

Glow-in-the-dark Wookiee Jesus T-shirt from The Oatmeal, $18.99


For friends who don’t find Jell-O shots sufficiently harsh and enjoy an additional suggestion of illicit behavior, how about some syringe-shaped shots? Just squirt the shot into your mouth. Ahh!

EZ Inject Jell-O Shot Injectors, $32.95


For those friends who need a reminder where those shots will take them…

Toilet shot glasses, bringing you full circle from that moment someone said, “Hey, let’s do some shots!” $9.95

And for friends planning a visit to Walmart in hopes someone will snap a picture…

This festive plush Santa hat features three elastic holders for shots. You supply your own alcohol and crazed expression. $9.99


And for friends who are already featured among the People of Walmart

Redneck wine glass, $15.00


Typically on Christmas morning we’re so busy tearing open gifts that we forget about the stockings, and then we get some lovely little surprises. This item isn’t really for drinking, but it contains 62% alcohol, and most of us could use it now and then.

Maybe? $5.45

But as charming as stocking stuffers are, there’s nothing like a go-for-broke, over-the-top present under the tree.

Just fill the ingenious Margarita Mixed Drink Machine with liquor, juice, and mixer and it’ll produce 48 perfectly blended combinations. Hit the “I Feel Lucky” button and get a surprise! $299.00


Anybody would feel lucky to get such a wondrous machine, but yes, Virginia, there are still more rarefied objects of desire in the merchandising world. Does Oprah, I wonder, have this unusual item…?

Yes, my fellow inebriates, it’s the world’s strongest beer! Weighing in at 55% alcohol, and with each bottle lovingly nested inside a dead animal (stoat, squirrel, or rabbit), The End of History is “a perfect conceptual marriage between taxidermy, art and craft brewing.”
You know you want it people, and it’s just $765.

What a whirlwind of shopping! It must be so exhausting to be Oprah Winfrey. In fact, I have only enough energy to do it once a year. Cheers, my friends, and may you revel in these luxuries, whether choosing them for a loved one or wishing for them among your own holiday gifts. My fondest hopes go with you on your gift-buying forays.

♦ ♦ ♦

Cheers, Oreo!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Who knew so many intolerant, barely literate A-holes would crawl out from under their rocks in response to the special Oreo that appeared on Facebook last night?

Buddy, I think your ass is safe, so let it hang out.

Taking into consideration the Pride Week Oreo’s presumably mega-caloric six layers of yummy hydrogenated filling, you have to know it hit the trailer park where it lives. Picture (former) Oreo devotees stocking up on massive bulk packages of (non-gay!) Oreos at Costco and Walmart with their butt-cracks hanging vilely out of sweatpants barely able to contain their (heterosexual) Oreo-eating girth.

Yes, when Oreo published a fanciful picture of a rainbow-filled cookie, homophobes went berserk, posting a barrage of hateful comments and inciting their gay-hating Lord to punish confectioners with the audacity to “support” gay America and the so-called gay agenda.

The Oreo Facebook campaign evidently hurt these people. It commandeered a product that probably constituted a sizeable percentage of their shopping budget with its yummy, gooey, chocolatey, icing-sugary delightfulness and turned it into a sick, Satanic, and deviant snack. Poor teabaggers!

Of course, they’re probably mad about the rainbow itself being appropriated in the first place. The rainbow, according to the Bible, represents God’s promise to never again send mass flooding. Which of course He never has. Oh wait, heathens don’t count.

Thankfully a “boycott” hasn’t manifested in any meaningful size. You need numbers to stage an effective boycott, and these haters—despite their confidence that they will make a financial dent in Nabisco—constitute a small island of fucktards in a changing sea.

Fact is, an Oreo with that much stuff in it could probably give you a heart attack. But it’s still a beautiful thing.

Cheers, Oreo! You didn’t need those hatin’ riffraff anyway (they’re not numerous—just rabidly vocal, if not plain rabid). Toasting you with a delicious Oreo martini.

Bottoms up!