Posts Tagged With: Art

Sunday, my new regularized day off. 

Just back from coffee run with Jackie, and I feel that angst again, that stress or anxiety about my writing and business ventures–  So today I do a couple things differently.  First, no posting to bottledaux blog, or at least not right away (though knowing me I’ll change mind on that.  Then, play with and post wine images and then brainstorm on paper, around and about them.

When the morning started Jackie insisted I go with him to the backyard to inspect the downed umbrella, that was actually taken from the table, out of that little hole and thrown a few feet to the left of it.  While outside I noticed the reality of the morning air and how clean the morning was post-wind, how all the tree aromas and other terrestrial scents were everywhere, all encouraging my senses.  I then though of how there’s no coffee in the house and how the air’s feel would pair perfectly with coffee.  So we were off.  Now Jackie sits on the couch watching his new Spiderman cartoons that I bought him the other night after Alice’s and my dinner outing, now I sip.. think about my wined businesses, and how I DO want more than one– diversify in my wined leaps– maybe a wine writing workshop.. that’d be interesting.. but where would I hold it?  For the brainstorming eventual.

Snacking on waffles, 2, imagining the rest of the semester, tomorrow touts and tumbles week 8.  Have to check account bala–  No more saying what I will do, only what I AM doing.  I look over at Jackie on the couch while I work and he stretches.  “You like your cartoons, buddy?” I ask — “Yeah, superhero one!” he blares.  I’m holding to these Sundays off, a way for me to get writing done, and some grading maybe but I could wake early tomorrow and do that–  Yeah, right, famous last words from an adjunct.

So much to wine and so much to my story with it.. so I develop on what I have, the familiarity I find myself in with wine.  Met a guy yesterday whose dad owns a wine shop, or wine brokerage rather, up in Cloverdale, and his father started the business after leaving from someone else’s similar-model.  And now he’s been in business for well over 10 years.  Nearly 15, to be truthful.  I’ll research them and– no, no more saying what I will do.. just know that today is all about brainstorming, organizing, planning, setting money aside for the growth of mikemadigancrEATive…

This morning, all in resounding syncopation with my mood, optimistic and eager to see the Road, travel for and to new wines and wine stories– and that’s what I have to remember, what brought me to the wine world and industry.. the stories, all the stories that people, the owners and winemakers, can’t wait to share.  And now I share mine, the wined storyteller, sharing and showing everything that I see and feel in Sonoma, and if I venture outside to Napa, all recorded, all documented.  Honesty and visuality.  And all for and about wine.

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Latest St. Francis Visit, 9/29/15

IMG_8885So I finally had the opening in my schedule to visit St. Francis, the winery I’d argue that started everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  My passion for and relationship with wine, my family’s involvement with wine, and everything wine in my life.  I walked through those enigmatic doors through and under the bell tower, and to the bar, where my old friend Ronnie was pouring for two or three sizable groups and managing everything with a fluency and assiduous momentum that anyone in hospitality would envy.  My flight took off with the Sauvignon Blanc, a 2014 which showed all the versatile and vivacious qualities I look for in an SB, a bottle with not just a peculiar persistence to its form and fold, but as well food-pairing capabilities and a stern collusion of tropical qualities and texture.  Then the Estate Cuvée Blanc, a white Rhône blend which I’ve always enjoyed an not just from taking to white Rhônes perhaps more than others in Sonoma or Napa do– it’s just a finely revolving and musical white wine, with that acidic subtext and slight oak influence that grabs the sipper and instructs on a different way to converse with white wines.  Then the Chard which I always love, then a storm of reds Ronnie insisted I taste.  I tried to stop him but he wasn’t hearing it–  the IMG_8889RRV Pinot, then the ever-famous Behler Merlot, the Lagomarsino Cab, Rockpile Red– everything telling me I need to fall deeper in love with wine and its story and stay close to St. Francis as  a winery and why wouldn’t I as it’s always teaching me something new about wine and certain blends and varietals, and something even more rewarding about me as a wine-riled writer and how to see wine in my life.



St. Francis started out as a dream of founder Joe Martin and his wife Emma.  I’ve always found their story and path compelling and telling to me, one always scribbling alongside what I sip and intersecting me with magnetic and encouraging people like Ronnie, and all through this industry– only the positive and the love and family-sewn story that brings people over that small bridge from the parking lot and through the doors under the so-known tower.


Once the tasting was over I walked around a bit, out on the patio and to the lawn, and around the parking lot a couple times, just thinking and remembering all the family moments precipitated here, and where I am now with my wined life, and how it all started in that tasting room, on both sides of the bar.  When I used to pour with Ronnie and now just as an obsessed patron; one with a near-cult paradiddle to his ideations and speech whenever St. Francis lands in the conversation.


While finishing my entry here and remembering my latest elbow-on-bar scene I sip the Merlot, the ’12, one you’d find at several stores in this area and elsewhere.  Dad used to tell me whenever he was on a trip and he wanted a bottle of wine he’d go to a local wine shop, always look for a “Frannie red”, he’d say.  And it’s obvious why.  Nothing nears this phylum and forward of grape interpretations, red or white.  So I take another sip, find my Self in and on a new flight.


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MOCK SOMM: Sanglier Cellars, Sonoma County, “Touché”, Grenache, 2012

IMG_7923It had been a while since I last tasted the Grenache from one of my favorite little producers in the county but I thought it warranted, last night just wanting to have something a little different.  It wasn’t too hot outside as it had been and the commonplace SB or Chard didn’t hit me in thought and meditative angles.  “I need something red and celestial, gentle but assertive in certain corners of the palate,” I internally intoned.  So I pulled the last Sanglier Grenache from my cellar.  And immediately I was riled by the spiral of earthy red fruit, meaning mostly raspberries and pleasant medium-red jam-reminiscent tremolos that talk to the palate and encourage those second-looks which aren’t bizarrely over-analytical, or even analytical at all.  That’s not why I opened it, I didn’t want to be a wine critic and I didn’t want to be critical, I just wanted a charming musical soar of a red and I was sure I’d find it here in Sanglier’s translation of Grenache.  And I did, oh… I did.  Small run on this bottle so I’d get some soon, if I were you.  Just don’t buy too much.. this writer needs some more.  [JOKE?]  And with the food I’m used to ordering or enjoying here in the writerhut, like Mexican or light red pasta, or even a burger from this place my wife and I love down the street, it’s perfect, versatile and vivacious from sip one to last.  The blend on it’s 75% Grenache and 25 Syrah, so it’s linear in its note sequence of the fruit complexion and tempered oak talk, but not in any way simplistic or plebeian.  This is a bottle that any Rhône or red adorer should have on their home shelf.  Perfect beat and bravado but as I affirmed nothing excessive in volume, or ‘voltage’ as I sometimes say.  The Touché will have saying to yourself, “Touché”, a bit seductively startled that a Grenache could have such depth and amorous modes.

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Another Island

IMG_8805 Wine, today was all wine.  But as well, a return to running.  6.2 treadmill miles today, then home to shower before the crushpad, where the Cabernet, the last Sanglier lot as I understand was crushed.  Now the writer’s at home, battling several distractions but here in the homestudy writing about the day and how it only moreso convinced me I’m a writing/running winemaker.  Tomorrow morning, although I’m sure the wine will still be felt, I’ll be writing and journaling, inventorying all.  The run is starting to catch me, a bit, but not as much as I thought it would.  Must still be in a bit of shape.  After the 6.2 I took to the basketball court to shoot a few.  But not many.  I know Glenn would call any minute and ask me to come to the press and I did and he later messaged me to be at this house for the wine club/employee/grower event at his house.  Myself, didn’t sip much, but there at home I have surveyed both the La Rochelle Chardonnay and the Selby Merlot.  Not aiming for any level of effect but just to be in wine’s story– the write can only think of how many weeks are left in the semester and how much longer he has to wait to launch both the startup and the website for ‘mmc’.

Smelling the other fermenting wines in that room, one of the barrel rooms showed me what wine can IMG_8812do to senses and the story, how it’s perceived by a writer like me.  A writer– like me.  Down comes Alice, what haveth she to say– “Where’s my ipad?” Then up she goes, pointing out to the writer how big her stomach gets.  I remind her she’s pregnant which is unnecessary but I do to comfort her and she smiles airingly and I can’t help but imagine my little girl here in this house, crawling around like Jackie used to in the condo.  Wine is family, and a family business.  So I need to push harder with mmc and vvv.  There are universes and solar strokes nearing that I never before pictured.  So here it is, what the writer has always wanted and I can’t be slowed even for a minute– I should be drinking coffee right now no worry I will in the morning keeping my story going and all these short stories and narratives involving and revolving wine and winemaking and wine drinking, what the grape says to me, leaving behind the bloody adjunct de-signification, how they lower us and throw us where they need us and– no matter, this semester, F ’15, will be a bold forward in my wine label’s methodology and bottle titles.  Already have one thought of , the “Adjunct’s Succession Blend”.

IMG_8814Now, for cap, the write sips his Lagunitas bottle.  Then I need bed.  A fine rest for the writer and a sturdy state for the winery, Arista, come morrow, where I know I’ll taste more wines, Pinots, and a Zin– oh and that Chard, maybe two.  The writer’s exhaustion him catches but the book grows and I hope to be on the Road soon with my little pages and whatever pens I can steal from the plane and hotel– simplicity in my saunter and syncopation, my synapses rile in new realizations and thought so going back to Mendo someday soon and confronting that tight-greasy-faced pig that rejected my writing pulse, telling him something like “Oh I’m doing fine, I’m writing.. and what are you doing?  OH.. still teaching English at a community college?” And yes that sounds vindictive and petty, ‘cause it is. It’s warranted.

Then I calm down.  It’s the weekend, if I even get those.  Do I?  The downstairs of the Autumn Walk IMG_8824base, quiet, and me with this laptop on my lap and my family upstairs asleep except for possibly Alice who took a nap only a handful of hours ago.. provides the writer some pause, some collection, and another sip of this Lagunitas Sucks– was tempted to have more of that Selby Merlot, but the writer’s done with Merlot tonight, done with wine.  Beer’s what the character craves.  And another cruise through the day’s stills.  So I deep breathe, hear the back neighbors but ignore them, already fantasizing about the coffee– oh, I should make some now, and I would, but I know that would anger Alice. I should be upstairs now but I’m a writer with a flurry of character quirks.


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Merlot Echo

At SRJC, and a lovely full-timer just said hello to me and asked if I was going to the retreat this Friday, which I didn’t know about.  And I know what they’ll say, there was an email.  And if that’s their response then I’d cite that’s a prime justification in me caring less about the profession.  Why not invite me personally, face-to-face while I’m here as when I’m here I’m always HERE, in this bloody conference room or that adjunct box they let me use.  She was so sweet, Jackie, in her approach and regretted I couldn’t come.  Just heard a new adjunct tell the FT’s in the mailroom that he commutes to Chabot, and SSU in addition to teaching here.  He lives in San Rafael.  He’s younger than me by a few years I think.  Oh, and how I regret that I’m only seeing the flaws of this adjunct thing now, at 36.  But I’m here in this realization and moving onto greater things.  Talked to one of my other clients this morning and invoiced his company for a piece I wrote, the one on the grower.  He mentioned other work ahead, possibly.  I can only stay positive as a writer but pretend I have nothing and am starting at square one, moving and moving and staying motivated in wine’s world and story.  Will revisit the Merlot this nuit, and open something else– OH, the Chard I bought yesterday from La Rochelle.  Clean and visibly vocal fruit, convincing in its varietal stance and interpretation.

Have to start prepping for the 1PM section at 12, in 50 minutes.. have to order biz cards, but launch mmc site first.. much more positive day so far.  Had the chance to go see J again at school since I forgot his blanket and mattress cover, and pullups, which was a wondrous mistake to make, quite beneficial as my mood was even more risen.  Need more coffee of course and keep thinking about wine, its evolution and how it changes.  May go out on another pick with Glenn this Friday.. not meeting with Ben, but am with Chelsea in A.M.  Will visit a TR or two, get some bottles to study, focus varietals only.. SB & ME.

And on my path to being a winemaker and wine writer and blogger professionally I can understand my life and LIFE principally, elementally and intrinsically, better, more inclusively and expansively.  Wine wants me to follow it, into new chapters and narratives and conversational momentums, dispelling all facets negative and anti-life.

More full-timers file into the mailroom and laugh loudly without worry, unconsciously bragging their security, their non-worry.  And good for them, it’s not mine anymore, that attention, that need, and that resentment toward them.. true I convey the reality but only for the book and sharing my story and how I’m changing.  More past pictures looked at and it’s obvious.. wine’s always there, and I demand it always be there.  Oh my mood today– “This is what Life IS!” I in my core and being blare, and no cares, only care for the wine I’m now studying and the wine I’m to make and what I’m segueing toward as a character.  Jack and my little girl will one day survey this chapter and know, climatically conceive and deeply hold that all this is for them and their mother.


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The next morning, odd

vibes and vertices about the day’s development.  Just came from the crush pad where Glenn showed me the Syrah pressing, next to the Grenache and Mourvedre add, for their Rosé project.  The first press or “rain” as I thought of it of Syrah was darker than you or anyone would expect from a Rosé effort, nice thick strawberry and cherry, wild berry rile to its presence, while the second rain was IMG_8662lighter and with more wildness to its fruit quality, almost like a (though I hate the word) tartness.  Britt and I went to see what the brix was on the GR/MV co-ferment.  About 24.6, if I remember right.  Then they press that and add to tank, but it seems this vintage there is a concern with juice.. all the more to my winemaking momentum.

At the Starbuck on Hopper, which had the longest line I’d ever seen here, so far, since my consistency of visits, taking nearly 15 minutes to get my mocha and sit here for my morning words and expressions, musings or whatever you’d want them to be tagged– my visions and dreams wander sitting here thinking about the wines I’ll make and how I’ll write about them, what my sister and parents and everyone would think.  What Doug, my lunching friend from yesterday, would think.  And my other projects…  Would love the whole day to just STOP, focus, get done what I need.  But now I head to Arista where for sure there’s only more content.. more and more and more than I can handle but somehow I’ll find a way to press it out like this morning’s Syrah and have it settle in my barreled prognostications, measurements of a literary life and winemaking anchor-theme..  Like I always say, I’ll write everything for the day, everything and show my readers, you, what I see in this wine world, the conversations and what’s said, everything from a worker’s worry of what’s on the schedule, who they have coming in, do we have enough bottles open, to what time does the wedding start and when do we close (if we have a wedding).

The slow nature and character of this coffee hole continues, with people collecting and pocketing just in front of me, mostly with scowls about, wondering what the hell is taking so long and will they be late to whatever.  And many have the day to themselves today, normal people unlike me as it’s Saturday, and they frown and frown, and roll their eyes when name called.  I sit here and laugh below the moving characterization of surface, wondering how the rest of my day’s to go.

Now all these flies fly around me for torment or amusement, I’m not sure, but I’m annoyed and wonder what else the day plans on throwing at me–  Started with the sun in my eyes, so much I had to lean my head out, on San Miguel.  Then again on Hopper causing me to nearly miss the crush pad– 

And now someone sits next to me.  Leaving.

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MOCK SOMM: Taft Street Winery, Alexander Valley, Merlot, 2012

IMG_8603Usually I wait till the next day to write a reaction to a wine that catches me, but this one I have to write in the moment.  Never heard of this producer before but found it at a local wine shop and since my penchant for Merlot is always a-bubble, I bought it.  Opened it just before dinner letting it breathe for not that long.  I was looking for candor, true truth of Merlot and that’s what I found, a certain whirling and whimsical honesty in the wine and what it noted for my senses.  Purest texture and potent palate, from front to summation with darker fruit that you may expect, but maybe that’s the Alexander Valley talon landing.  Either way I’m smitten and swayed by its sequencing.  The type of Merlot that has me remembering travel and a more imaginative me.  And this Merlot does offer what I look for– unique varietal translation and a certain stubborn echo at sip’s close (what most would simplify and dumb to “finish”).

Everyone who knows me knows I want to get back to making wine, and Merlot is the varietal that coerced me to wine’s curve, and I’ve never backward stepped. So I dance forward and jig with this bottle’s janiform song.  Its complimentary duplicity in form and and palate is precisely what punctuates its uniqueness.  I’ll go back to that store, obviously, and walk with a few more bottles.  I measure with the structure of the nose and mid of this Merlot crafting it’ll go at least 7 years.  But there’s no possibility of any wine with this tier of strenuous orchestration lasting so long in my writing base.  So I pour myself another glass and don’t overthink it, and see what new chords the wine wants to play for me.

MM 92

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99% Story, 1 % Wine

Tired yes, but not going back to bed– just arriving back from Kick Ranch pick with Glenn, he saying it’s over a third less fruit than last year.  But being out there, removed in that vineyard, the mild temp, even a bit cold as my hands are still returning to normalized mobility here in home on couch, I’m seeing myself more and more a winemaker in futures near.  Have to somehow sort through these pictures– and somehow I’m tempted to go back to sleep, but I’m home earlier than I thought I’d be and I always hope to write at 5AM and here I am so I can’t let Self return upstairs to our bed.  And no coffee, as to keep little Kerouac in his calmest charming state of sleeping.  Today need be extraordinarily productive.. after Chelsea meeting, going to a couple tasting rooms off the square.  Or maybe just one.  Or maybe none.  May need a nap as I didn’t sleep that well last night and this morning getting home late from Mendo, all that traffic and the stop and go surrounding some freeway fixup project on 101, but after that cruising into Cloverdale and Geyserville smelling the night air and fermentation, it intensified my speed, wind at my face’s left side–  I’m wandering in my thoughts I know, but this is the great consolidation I’ve always mentioned, for years now, and everything is right where I want it.  And, back to my address of sleep, I kept waking last night and this morning looking at my clock, doing that countdown afraid I’d miss the alarm, or I didn’t set it properly, or I’d just fucking sleep through it.  Luckily Alice heard me, ordered me to work, out to the vineyard for my continuing oenological rollercoaster serial novel–

Wish I had the sense of mind to describe what it felt like out there in the middle of the rows in the complete dark, surrounded by the crew members picking the exhausted Syrah clusters.  But the exhaustion, THIS exhaustion, and no coffee me wrestle and catch and ultimately subdue.  The air, such a benefit and respite, consolation from the heat wave that’s pummeling us.  OH– have to finish the piece for the Grape Growers by day’s end, just some simple edits and tweaks, nothing serious.  Maybe I should go upstairs, or just nap here on the couch for a bit.  Back all this up, I’m telling myself, don’t lose these thoughts and the entries, the days of writing– wine and the lasting spell of everything it touches; me and the eventual clients and customers that sip my bottled projects.

And I tried to go back to sleep, then I went to my meeting at Chelsea’s and tasted a bit on the square then did come back to this Autumn Walk spot and slept for about two hours.  And now the time reads 10:05, I sip a ’12 Pride Merlot.  Just the type of Merlot I want to produce, but mine’d be a but lighter, a bit more of that rose pedal or floral quality.  But even still, this was produced by my sister’s friend and friend to the Madigans, Ms. Sally, and it’s incredible, this is my second or actually third glass and I couldn’t be in more of a wine mood and mode.  The thoughts of this morning, around 4AM, still haunting me and introversion in this wine writer’s world, his Personhood.  Not going to finish the edits on the Grape Growers piece, and it’s hot down here on this first floor, so I just shoot for a modest thousand words for this 9/11.  And that date, 9/11.. not sure how I feel, not sure how much I want to dwell.  So I move on, and instead of dwelling on tragedy I fixate on promise of my world and reality with wine and all that’s ahead, my own winery, a tasting room like Hawely’s; rustic, dark chic and clean, completely wine-themed, no excess merchandise or any tourist trinkets. 

Still a bit tired, with that nap hangover you get when you only mean to rest and close your eyes but wind up falling into sleep deep.  So I try to wake up and re-organize and center with this session, thinking about that air this morning, trying to be more like Glenn, just walking around the vineyard and enjoying the moment and not using my camera every third or first second.  And last night, driving back from Mendo, and today parking at the Vine St. Starbucks in Healdsburg, smelling the airborne fermentation.  Harvest, this harvest, the 2015, making me more a winemaker than I’ve e’er been and writing everything and about everything from the cluster appearance to weight, to taste and to how the initial indications of fermentation smell like.  Like today, floral berries, whatever it was, could have been Pinot, could have been Zin.  But who cares about varietal, it was wine, it was and is Life.  And it’s me, about me, what I’m sipping from Pride and what I’ll sip next vintage when my fruit comes in.  So another mark on the timeline, after M2’s born– my winery’s fruit coming in.  So tomorrow I’ll wake at 5 or earlier, and launch the website, hurriedly, then my biz card order, then launch my startup piece– oh wine’s world won’t know what hit it.

But then I think maybe that’s the wrong attitude to take, I sound like those pompous excessively polished sommeliers that have a picture taken of them looking up at a glass like they’re actually thinking of the wine they’re peering into.  And they’re not.  It’s about them.  And these sites that claim they’re all about wine and wine’s true message and theme are only about selling something; themselves.  And that makes me want to hate the industry but I refuse to let these ad rats influence my conception and view of wine, its industry or business or culture.

The light during those early hours this morning, Glenn walking around and seeing the fruit, me imagining me him, watching what I’d have to make wine from.  Wine, a voice and a lean vintage.  So what do I do?  What does the vineyard and the vintage want this writer to do?  Need another glass of that Pride.  Help me think help me be more of that vineyard and its soil the feel and smell and taste– the rocks and terroir, the texture and revelation of steps of voice– wined voices haunting and following, from glass to character assembly.  No more wine, but sleep, and tomorrow, more story to write and more things to see and taste at Arista, the evolutions and stories in bottles.

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MOCK SOMM:  Cirq , Treehouse Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2012

IMG_8350Waited to open this bottle, and I wish I would have waited longer.  Just to see what else it would say and sing—or more so, wishing I had another 11 bottles.  But this was a gift from Michael Browne himself and I waited for the right occasion, with family, greeted by a rich and prominent palate, convincing and determined with dark meaty fruit qualities and illuminatingly proverbial tannins.  Usually tannin address doesn’t concern me, as I’m looking for fruit composition and profile, but the methods by which these tannins align themselves with the berried tenacity is admirable, worthy of study and ode, the slow sips where you think about what the wine’s telling you—you listen, you let yourself be instructed and shown, shown and delivered to a higher stretch wine wined reflection.  You do nothing but sip.  And slowly.  Study.  Listen, see feel fall and get lost in the fermented translation ebb

This Pinot screams drama and theatricality, not to get attention or connoting that it’s over-extractedIMG_8349 or any intricacy overdone, but that there’s so much attention-deserving dimensions to every step and syncopation of the bottle.  It’s obvious Michael Browne has a precise aim with this Pinot project, just like with the circus and how it seeks to not only entertain but help you escape the clasps of mundane modes and muffles.  Here you’re being shown something, something with Pinot that hasn’t before been done or perhaps even attempted.  And what is that exactly?  Not sure—or, I am sure but not with any words presently to characterize it.  It was an experience, it was visual and vivacious, credible and coded in flavorful aggression.  Not sure how to get another bottle, or if I can, but if I ever do I’ll note while I sip—and that’s another note to note; this wine had the writer solely in sip sequence, sans scribble.  Which never happens.


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And, finally, I’m back…..

IMG_8278And it had been, what… 5 years since I went last?  For this year’s mission and chapter I decided to enlist my dad, one savvy and swift with a camera, and always helpful to this scatter-minded and manuscripted writer, helping me find a more succinct way of gathering content.  So we showed early to acquire our press passes, and there was nothing but a general fluidity to each step of the process and our immersion onto the MacMurray ranch, which can only be described as one of those mesmerizing tourist-dreamy scapes; expansive and pervasive with each note and nuance to its character, story.  And we first started with Coffee, as I told Dad that I was in bad need of some caffeine.  After getting our passes and putting them ‘round our necks, we headed for what looked like a cold coffee tap.  And it was.  (And I apologize for not remembering the name of the shop making these incredibly ambrosial and fiery cold cups, but they were otherworldly, to be modest.. they deserve only praise and visits from the entire county!)

We then headed for the tents, each its own valley, just as I remember.  So many producersIMG_8287 I had never heard of but was incredibly elated to meet and taste (just a bit, had to stay focused and on the job as Dad reminded me.. this was not the time for me to be my usual Beatnik writing Self).  I wanted to capture everything at the event and the clear, linear and creative organization and parceling of everything made my mission simple and attainable in content objectives.

IMG_8325At the Sonoma Valley tent, I of course saw my always beloved St. Francis, then to the Russian River tent met with my beloved Sanglier, Susie Selby, and others.  This was a day for me to be a journalist and blogger, yes, but to also just be a Human lover of wine, nothing pretentious or competitive.  Just taking everything in at the Ranch, and this event’s coherent progression in all facets just welcomed everyone in attendance, no matter what kind of ticket they had.  Oh, and a new favorite of mine with their station, Acaibo, pouring their commanding blends that showed me a side and narrative of Bordeaux that I’d never met.  So again, yes, education is part of the event’s thesis, but so is that experience, finding wines that sing a song you want to hear and sip over, over, with your family and closest of friends, ones loved.  That’s what wine is.  That’s what Sonoma has always been.


Walking away from the tents and back over to where the beer and coffee were, I sat in on a bit of the seminar, or one of them, by my favorite Sommelier buddy, Chris Sawyer.  He made it fun and exciting for the guests, examining several wine types and getting reactions from the crowd, making it a true wine event, one for educational purposes, yes, but also just a simple enjoyment of the grape and the bottled contents we have at our diner tables and family occasions.

Sawyer on the 1's and 2's ...

Sawyer on the 1’s and 2’s …

Some of the resplendent tables for me had to be, one of them anyway, Lancaster Estate. IMG_8290 Always a might Sauv Blanc and Cab producer, and that day they poured both.  The 2010 Cab had never been so expressive, or at least that I can remember.  Maybe that’s demonstrative of this event’s successful nature, it even makes the best of best wines taste better.  Also ran into my old buddy Ed Thralls, Jr., owner and winemaker of Thralls Family Cellars.  He was pouring his Rose of Pinot, a 2012 and ‘13 Pinot.  I’ve known Ed for a long time and it’s blaringly apparent that he’s becoming more innovative and deadly with his oenological prowess, with the Rose having that bright and texture touch and musical quality, and the other two just tasting more than true with the varietal.  Pinot, transfixing both vintages with wizard-like intuition– Mr. Thralls and what he does, only added to the Wine Country Weekend.  Yes, I’m biased, but I’m candidly putting myself in the consumer’s shoes, here, pretending I came in from out of town with a friend and bought a ticket to see how these wine country people live.


The food could only be noted as divine, all over the event–  I mean, I don’t even know IMG_8280where to start.  John Ash of course, wowing everyone with their bites, and of course Costeaux’s bakery from Healdsburg, a mecca for so many things for locals and tourists.  This is the event that I remember, enjoyable at every corner and comfortable; nothing complicated, only rich imagery and interactions with other food and wine lovers.  Dad and I met up later, after gathering our content as we needed, then decided it was time for a couple beers, and if you’re a true beer lover like us then you wouldn’t be disappointed by what was offered; 3rd Street Ale Works, Russian River Brewery of course, Laguntias and St. Florian who I’d never heard of but served me my favorite IPA of the day.  And we were off…


Walking back to the car, Dad and I photographed some of the Chardonnay clusters, talked about what we saw and sipped and the people we talked to.  Part of me wanted to go back, make up some excuse like “Oh there was something I didn’t get!” But no, the day needed to end and I have to wait till next year.  Five years ago, I don’t remember this much representation from so many wineries, and I don’t remember so many people.  The organization worthy of study and mimicry I do remember but not with this much efficiency and cleanliness, and how helpful the event’s little hospitable army, from the parking area to the booths to the lawn where tents were.. everything.  And everywhere.  Everything and everywhere at MacMurray was halcyon and rich with the wine culture and way of life, our wined story here in SONOMA.


As I always do after one of my wild wine writing missions, I look through the pictures, and yes there’s that ‘awww’ feeling, that there was something I missed.  But that’s how the story went and was meant for the day, that’s what was in this chapter and whatever I didn’t get to I will next year.  WCW ’15 reminded me that wine’s an evolving story, and you share it with family and continue in the steps you’ve always embraced and put into the collective wine story of any county.  But I’m in Sonoma.  And the celestial scape that I saw can only happen here.  And I can only write this, from here.

Already in the visions of next year…


Categories: mikemadigancrEATive, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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