Posts Tagged With: Cabernet Sauvignon

MOCK SOMM:  2 Wines from Jesse Katz 

Aperture Cellars, Alexander Valley, Red Wine, 2011

IMG_9274A wildly vocal blend, Bordeaux varietals, Cab/Malbec, and one that commands the sipper to be lost, twirled and whirled in the body of the wine and its speech; darkness of berries and vibrant and confident presence, impact and influence on senses.  And, you taste more than structure, you’re greeted by a communicative being from the bottle; the words and story of the vintage and winemaker, Alexander Valley’s relentless promulgation of Bordeaux varietals.  There’s no halt to this wine’s momentum and palate placement.  Like his father’s photos, you’re caught, not anytime soon release but held in one place to appreciate and be lost in the visual, the scene created and captured, measured and treasured.  Of course I’m partial loving Cabernet and Bordeaux blends, and being one of those fervent followers of Katz, and his father’s work, but I’m instructed to appreciate Cabernet and Cab-honed blends differently with this bottle and most notably since it’s from ’11, the vintage that so IMG_9275many of these wine “experts” and “critics” want to dismiss so knee-jerkingly.  This wine is a taste of place, the alchemical invitation to experience stylistic translation of Cabernet meeting Malbec in bottle, in the perfect accompaniment, actuating its own autonomous atmosphere.  This wine reminds me of my relationship with wine, frankly, what I’m after and what I’ve been after in wine; Literary qualities, a story, the sipped-written; Wines that have their own character development and past, future, that are part of my present.  And I found another, finally, from an old friend, now infused to my wined picture and life more clearly– another sip, and I hear its voice.  Again, again…


Devil Proof Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Malbec, 2012

IMG_9041A Malbec, on its own, defiant in its delicious dichotomy of a disposition.  Loud and assertive but still very much elegant and poetic, not at all overreaching or stretching into a stance it shouldn’t.  A harmony of red coupled with its principles as a Bordeaux.  And you’re thinking to yourself, “And this is 100% Malbec?” And yes, there’s no support from another varietal, and no odd adjustments or anything strange in the writing of its story.  And like other wines from Katz, we see that understanding, and that winemaker influence and innovation sans trumping the identity of the varietal itself.  So then… we sip again, and experience what wine should be, or wine of this elevation; Art.  A story, a new story and new IMG_9044adventure for Jesse, when I asked him how he knew it was time to begin his new mission and venture he simply responded with “It was the right time.”  and it was the right time in my oeno-apologue to meet this bottle, having me feel immune and impervious to all ill elements, and how could I be harmed with such didactic wine in my glass, and the woman smiling back at me, holding her cigar herself aware that nothing and intrude on her proverbial quietude?  Cinnamon singing from rich raspberry and antagonizing cherry and other wild berry suggestion, lively spice song and tannic accents supply memorable structure, and more story, more memory, and what critics say about Mr. Katz’s passion project matters but doesn’t.  There’s mastery, visible, tasted, cellared or poured, it’s there at your table and you live, feel, and see it.  All.  And you’re proof that nothing negative can puncture you’re moment.  So you smile with her.


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1,000 words — barrel 3

Want to sit for a thousand words but I’m not holding myself to anything.  I’m strangled by time and obligation, and tiring of the patternized words used.  A new keyform for me hopefully.  A slow surmise of sorts.  Told my students that if they’re bored or still in their writing, or “blocked”, then they should do something crazy.  But what can I do now here in this home office with my son upstairs asleep and me just here looking at The Bell Jar, and the papers I still have to grade.  Next week, digits doubled for term, and soon I’m liberated on my front.

The members today, at their party, for the most part content and conversational.  Me, in awe of the wines poured and the surroundings, another ride down the hill on the back of that tractor, or on the flatbed bed pulled by tractor.–  I realized on the way down that tomorrow has to be the day, where I wake at 5AM, no matter how tempting it is to go back to that pillow, under that sheet.

Last night’s Cab me calls but I dispute its beckon.  Thinking of myself as a winemaker looks interesting from the eyes out, from the vineyards in.  Hard to punctuate what I feel and what to say, sing, but it’s on page.  Maybe I’ll remember to explain and expand later.  Or maybe I won’t.  The house is quiet now and I feel I have to type in the same volume and octave as everything else so I don’t stir anything or anyone, little Jack.  More I think about teaching, here in the home office and how the full-timers are so sure, some adjunct too, that they’re experts when it comes to form and stories, literature be it poetry or narratives or short stories but have never even self-published or blogged anything, infuriates me.  But I return to my moment, this office, or room as soon as you step in the Autumn Walk hut.

What if I decide to teach nothing next term?  I won’t do this, of course, as I’ll have two babies at that point, but it’s just something to think about.  I can’t enact the craziness I encourage of my students, or at least in this vein.  My mood sinks, as I realize I’m weighed down by my age and place in life, my maturity if you could call it that and how I am, just me, this Mike– goddamn it!  I just want to write crazily and travel and not look back at anything or anyone, come back home to my babies and tell them everything I observed and lived, read it to them from the journals.  I still can, right?  Desultory directions only encourage the writer, and the characters around me yes drawing them and drawing from them, everything I can gather and when I think I’m stuck I’ll embrace and enact the crazy in Mike–  Frankly, I’m just sitting here on this couch just as I did in the condo and wonder how I should write, how I should change and if change is the bloody solution.  “Solution?  Solution to what?” I don’t know really.  Just helped Ms. Alice prepare a mechanized swing for Ms. Emma.  And now the whole wholeness and immediacy of another baby in this house constricts me, yes pleasurably but does constrict.  Alice went upstairs and I back to this couch to finish my thoughts but I lost them.  They perfectly strayed.

Why am I forcing myself to write on this couch, my scribbler sarcophagus; innate and inane and immobile.  And as a writer, I have to ask: “WHERE is my writer story set for, and WHEN?” And I’m not just addressing or entertaining time with ‘when’, I’m talking about character development and me in my zen factored with Personhood and so many other existential variables.  I love the meal of journey, thinking of it.. just imagining the here-to-there-ism of it all.  And writing along the way, everything, from the fold-down trays on the planes to the clouds you see below the wings, those passing mountains that you swear you’re the first one to optically ingest, to the wine they have onboard– atrocious, yes, but you sip anyway, you don’t care, this is an adventure and you’ve never done it before so you throw yourself in, quick and lovingly; the angel’s spin to a musical nondigital bliss–  I’m curious what I’m capable of, terms of testing my written and studious, vocational, efficacy.  Tonight I watched a show with Alice but as soon as it ended I noticed myself relaxing with her and not doing much of anything but idling, immobility– that won’t complete a MS, and Ms. Emma nears in her landing.  So I rose from the couch to Alice’s irritation and made for the study.  Where I began this entry, reading a new book, and now I sip the rest of last night’s Hawley, and forget about all chains, readers who might intersect with these lines and think “wow he writes only about wine, how boring,” or, “What is the point to this?” I don’t mind, and I don’t mind them, pay them even a small cup of mind, not even one of the tasting room’s regulated 1 oz pours.  Life is mine and it’s finally talking directly to me with rich stage-worthy dialogue; monologues and soliloquies and sharply stark sentences propelled into the audience’s space, leaving more space for growth and written diarist escape.

I formulated something by happenstance, or maybe not happenstance but by inadvertent intent, meaning I intended it but didn’t know I did; some subtexted dance of the Unconscious–  Rescinding certain thoughts, and just going for characters, this new one, not so new, and her name not important in this type but I know her, readers will want to know her, and she will know herself better after I write her.

Only a little wine left.  I study my character, the wine’s more so.  It’s more interesting than me.  I’m writer to it, revolving now around it, that little purple Cab puddle in the coffee cup (was too lazy to reach up and get a wine glass)–  It doesn’t care about me, it’s the celebrity.  I’m paparazzi.


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And for once, for once

I talk myself out of a mood before sitting down to write– and consider this wined rant very much a brainstorming about wine and selling it and through a blog, creatively– I won’t lose site of the creative compulsions but I will be aiming my Literary wheels for sales purposes, endorsing certain stories and bottles and wines I believe in.. and watch them move, move out of the tasting room or warehouse or wherever they are.  I’ve had this idea for a while now but have only lightly dabbled in it, or something like it–  But here I am this morning, tired of the semester already like you wouldn’t believe and swearing I’ll never do it again.  And I can’t.  Not with a daughter on the way.. there needs to be more singularity to my efforts and maybe I shouldn’t be putting all this out there into the whatever-sphere, but I have to have it noted, not just for you but for myself to read and re-read.

I’ll be in the shower just before 10, then to campus where I’ll quickly grade through the Kerouac papers.  Then let each section go early so I can return to this brainstorming, and I know what bottles I’ll start with.. not going to note that here but just know I know.  MY mocha tastes a bit off, odd but I’ll keep sipping.  Think.. think.. I tell myself and wonder how to do it– sell bottles from a blog.. I know I shouldn’t be taking up time here thinking how to do that.. but that’s what I want to do.  When someone buys a bottle, why do they buy it?  Yes, some for prestige or something thought that buying this bottle provides a certain image for them, like when people walk into a tasting and the first words out of their mouth are “I’m a wine club member.” Most people buy wine, I find, from identifying with it, in some way.  Yes, how it tastes, but as well where it comes from, the character imparted from the wine– and no this isn’t theory, and this isn’t imagination, this is an observed actuality.

Just had an image, fantasy of me calling in, both classes, just saying ‘fuck it’ and staying home.  I won’t, but it crossed my thinking just now, and with radiance and a bit of rancor.  Have to channel what I do, the effort I materialize, for the classes (all fucking 4 of them this term) and rack it over to the selling of wines through the blog, the ‘vvv project’.. now I see something else but I can’t note what it is entirely or even partially and not just from wanting to it secret keep but as well not wishing to douse it in any accidental hex.

9:47– nearly time to run upstairs and into that shower.  Thinking.. thinking.. more about wine and how to move it, crEATively.. just posted something on a small SB/Cab producer, something and someone (along with his biz partner) that I’ve written about before.. nice story and website, and winemaking style, a little more grit and varietal character than I think most American consumers are used to.  Which I like.  Which is why I would love to sell their bottles on the new blog–  Now the ideas fall like determined rain, precipitate piously…

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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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And I feel, I don’t know,

scattered or stressed or something.  Want to research in wine or something wine-related but I know nowhere to start.  Need another small glass of the Cabernet I opened, an ’09 from that winery I used to work at.  Not in the mood to note its name, just sipping something I was sure was shot but actually has quite the quietude about it.  And it’s from the wine world being in a state of flux– the vineyard purchased by this person but the original owner is still in possession of this % of the land and keeping this much interest in this and–  I just get lost, and when I try to “research” or write or do something “professional” with wine I just find myself getting lost.  So, then, I do what I do, as I now do: sip Cabernet and meditate in the quietly quietude of this downstairs.  No TV, just thoughts, and confidence, and knowing that tomorrow, a Monday, will be better than today which was a full day to my own Time.

This ’09 speaks a certain tongue, yes that purposeful and poised Cabernet presence, but not with what I’m used to.  It’s its own climate and cycle, voice and momentum– like a machine that isn’t too loud but it moves, oh does it move.  And an idea that my friend Sara mentioned to me, writing for wine and wine & food publications, a blogger, a writer traveling and blogging on wines and wine events, covering them as a true journalist but one with literary and wildly creative rootings.  Huh, that could work.  Sara referred to me as a “Sonoma wine expert”.  Which I’m most soundly not.  But, even still, I am here.  I do love Sonoma wines more than any other region and I do write about them.  I’m sipping one right now.  No, still not naming the name but my friend Zach did the final blend on this, I believe.  There fermentations and initial treatments were handled by the previous winemaker.  Wine– Sonoma– wine tasting and sipping and drinking the wines you love, the ones that add to your moments and character– all wine love, and blogging about wines all over the world from a more Human angle and less from a “professional one”.  So funny to me how so many are caught up in being “professional” in wine’s world, or industry.  Isn’t the “professional” demeanor  more or less common sense?–  Don’t want to fixate on that now, I want to delve into this wine, the Cabernet 2009 I just sipped, just a minute ago walking softly into the kitchen and finishing my glass.  Think I could have let it sit for another couple years, but, you know what, I opened it tonight.  I didn’t even know I had it in that little wine closet, it was a surprise, the past Mike packaging it up prior to the move, just for this night, this moment and this writing.  Going to think a bit more, close the session, enjoy moments before bed.

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Copying My Own Chronicles

IMG_8238Another scuffle with tech today, on this hotter than hot Sonoma County Summer Labor Day; my memory stick won’t dock with my wife’s school computer.  So this unrest on wages.  I won’t call it a war, as it doesn’t deserve that presence in my history book.  Sipping the last of this ’12 Sanglier Cab and I’m committed to so much tomorrow; waking at 5 and running at the gym after Solano.  Going to kill the teaching blog and just print pages for the classes from now on.  In this Great Consolidation, I need to distill everything down to wine, my wines, the wines I make and how I write about them.  And I’m still set on SB and Merlot.  And there are some qualities to this Cab that I’d like be in my Merlot—the texture and smoky ebb to the nose and palate frequency.  Winemaking to me isn’t an “Art” in the banal usual mentioning of it, and not a simple “trade”, or even a science.  It’s a voice, it’s a story, it’s Life and a life of its own and how it intercepts with its “maker”.  But who’s really to be credited, the wine or the winemaker?  The fruit or the vintage—how will that “winemaker” put everything together, to make the biggest buck or to tell something about that vintage and that varietal, something truthful?  Tomorrow I plan on writing out a timeline, like I once saw Dad do in his office for Mom and himself, for retirement or something.  But I’ll tell you this, one year from now, I’ll be in the middle, or if it’s like this vintage END, of harvest; monitoring fermentations and perhaps barreling down, all funded with the selling of the startup, which I need launch in the next 2 weeks.

Beginning to dislike quite ardently my wife’s school laptop.  Should hear from the tech drone IMG_8374tomorrow about my laptop and the harddrive I gave him to transfer all my writings and other content.  It had better word, all I have to say.  Need the rest of that Cab, see what it wants to tell me or what it just directly orders.. all funneled to wine and its voice, narrative, poetry or if it wants to be more musical.  “Well, Mike, haven’t you always described wine as musical or jazzy?” No.  Not ‘all’.  And is this Sanglier Cab musical?  Absolutely.  This is just the type of bottle that makes me write my wild wine writings and wake up the next day thinking, “holy shit, there’s something in that body, in that song…” But I have to temper the momentum of my sips as this bottle as well urges restraint, a particular contained measure of expression.

IMG_8239Quite finally in my day, on this couch, my Cab oer by the window in the kitchen, closed, but should go outside and sip on the patio.  Alice and I only about 30 minutes ago going outside to take out trash and recycling, saying to each other that we should have a cocktail, or in her case water, on the patio, as the night screamed vacation and “NO WORK” to us both.  But no, tomorrow calls, but my tomorrows will continue to change and they’ll be in a place where I want them to be but more importantly where they need be for my daughter.

Wine will solve and write and embed everything.IMG_8373


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Barrel and Narrate

The half-marathon done, and I just scraped some time together to post– or write then post, a piece for client 1.  Now I wait for the day to further evolve and progress, the week to start, have to wake early tomorrow if I can, feeling quite tired from the half and not enough time I feel to get anything done.  Lectures to write, blog posts to finalize.. only way to stay ahead I feel and fear is to wake at 5AM, every morning.


Alice leaves for school, to get some work done before her week lifts off and my son still asleep upstairs, very much with Time’s invitation to finish projects and brainstorm, and consider reality.. I’m creating all this content for other people, which I’m more than happy to do, but what if I dumped all gathered content, written and visual, and short videos, to one spot.. my site.. and the purpose?  Wine education?  Not so much.. just a telling of wine life, then maybe sell, I don’t know, ads or ad space, or whatever.  Truly get it monetized and have WILD wine-woven startup.. consumers and DTC and advertising, and blogging and letters and reviews.. everything that wine is and is meant to be, fun and Human and inviting.. if I’m sipping wine, what are the first words that me accost?  The other day I was thinking of odd or obscure words to describe the Arista Zin, that 2012 they’re pouring in the TR, and I wrote “Roman”.  I had to laugh at what I wrote, and I wasn’t sipping anything, it just made me laugh, but there was purpose and pertinence to the words.  Like a Roman soldier, something grandly-themed, something historic and history-shifting/making.

I need to move and write with everything as I ran the half this morning.  My best time ever for a half-marathon.  Not by much, but I did well.  That needs to be my momentum with this site, this startup.. and what to call the idea?  Not sure, but I need to think about it.  One thought was “enoguistix” but I hate that ‘ix’ sound.  And I’ve used ‘eno’, or ‘oeno’ too many times already.

Think I hear Jack upstairs stirring a bit.  Good.  Need to shower before Mom and Dad’s and decide what wines I’m bringing up there, or wine, singular.  Have to drive back, remember, and I don’t want to be slowed or with wandering attention as wine and beer seem to do now with my thinking and scribbled conceptions.  Must be a mark of aging, I don’t know.  But even if it’s not, it still reminds me that so much has to be done and there’s not much allowance for idleness, or even a mere moment of still.  M2’s arrival approaches and everything has to be set, scenic, empyrean.

‘fermentopia’.. no, don’t like the ‘topia’.  UGH!  Then what?  How about…  Don’t want to write it here.  Or at all.  Not now.  Going to let the ideas bounce around with each other till something adheres.

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One in Front of the Other

     This Cabernet that I’m sipping is absurdly enchanting.  And I’m in a relaxed rouse, with my draft of the newsletter off to the publisher, owner…  I’m building this mmc business, but it’s not moving quick enough– I know that’s the wrong attitude, so I refocus on the wine, and tomorrow, and how I have to wake up early to  get certain things written, like the lecture for the Solano section and notes for Mendo–  My SR lectures went along with hilarious brilliance today, if I must say, especially the 3PM section.  There’s something about this semester, I’ll say, I don’t know what, just something.

     Full from dinner, so I’m not sure I’ll be headed upstairs soon, but who knows.  Would love another glass of this Cab but I need to finally rise at the hour I keep writing about.  The wine tells me to taste again, find out what about it has me so held in its hue, and how it harnesses itself to my makeup and vision, this prose and sitting, the universal session of my ambitions and actions…  The writer the professor the wine writer and love, and maybe one day ‘maker’.  Who knows, who knows, I don’t know.

     Thinking about wine and my relationship with Art and how to develop everything further.. being this full slows me but I won’t let myself be slowed no, not for anything or anyone so I keep writing with this bizarre rhythm and hope it sticks.  Sticks to what, to readers and the wine world, someone saying something, something different that what’s in those flimsy publications..


     In Solano library.  All paper work done and–  I should be writing this in my semester Comp Book.. writing in too many places I know but somehow it’ll all get consolidated.  Have to send an email.  Then look over wine notes from yesterday, last night, on the vineyard treatments before harvests and the varietals that are being picked, someone recently, just this morning actually telling me that the Chardonnay appears ravishing on the Napa side.  Haven’t heard much about Chard in our quarter.

     Have some in-class pieces to grade already, from the Solano 370 section, examining tendencies and the dimensions of the students’ writings; tonality, paragraphing, punctuation.  Then, imagery.  Not so comfortable in this little cube, here in the library with students around me.  Funny as I don’t so feel at SRJC– so I move, find different suggestion for my pages in a more enclosed scene for my prose.

     In an adjunct collaborative, or joint office, or lounge area.  I don’t know what this is but there are two other adjuncts in here now, was three.  I feel like a winery competing with other labels for some sought-after fruit, some vineyard block.  I get vile glares from these other instructors but my head’s down to this keyboard.  And it’s not quiet in here, as the library area is just outside the door to my 12 and 3, and 6.  I can only think of this semester’s end, the last chapter, already, when I’m fully into my writing practice (mmc), teaching two sections at SRJC, and my daughter’s here, I’ll speed home ignoring the laws of 12, 29, then back onto 12 to Santa Rosa.  She’ll be in my arm’s crook and I’ll read to her from some of Jackie’s old books, or my journal.  Or just talk to her.  She’ll look up at me and associate my face with story telling, with the day of work, with comfort, with love and art and Life.


11:42AM–  Can’t get to room early as someone’s teaching in it.  I’ll leave this adjunct cooperative or shared cell at 12, so I have a tall glass of time to myself, like that Cabernet last night, which I’m surprised was so vocal.  Last time I opened a bottle, on the first night it was a bit coy, or shut, or diffident on the first night.  The second night it was expository and narrative, telling and beatific.  But last night, right when I poured it, layers were boasted.  There was this expressionist angularity to the palate movement and varietal voracity.  It taught me again to give wine more time, to give it space to evolve and read itself for oration.  And that’s what again draws me to the winemaker and grower, how they provoke and evoke and emote all the suggestions and dimension of a grape, the vines and “terroir” as so many now boast.  What I tasted last night was more than the recently commoditized “terroir”, but personification, oenological syncopation between grower and varietal and winemaker.  And me, the one reacting, the scribbling sipper.  Have to get this out of my head before class, the wine’s always a distracter, a puller from pusher out of any linear attention.  Wine causes the adjunct to dream, of days where I don’t have to freeway fly, where I don’t have to look, where I don’t have to apply.  I’ll only apply Self to wine and telling its stories, sharing my reactions and attraction, and glass-tilted actions with readers, others following wine.  And that chapter just landed, finally.  But I don’t relax, I don’t become even the least complacent.

     Lecture prepared, for the most part, but the most integral element of the day is that they turn in their work and go get the book.  The work, true scholastic gymnastics can initiate.  And I out of steam run.  My optimism is qualified, and the writer’s visions of wine become a bit blocked, by a mental catalogue of other pulls and pushes.  Need to gather standalone pieces for printed project, and need to go through stills and footage in camera.  Andy talking about the vines and me shooting closeups of Pinot clusters only days before they get picked– although I’m not sure the particular RRV block I’m thinking of has been pulled.  Yet.  Or maybe it has.  We put together a pool, at Arista, when will the first estate block be swarmed?  I had first guess, and I scribbled ‘8/22/15’.  Two days.  A Saturday.  Will they pull it on a Saturday, or wait till Monday?  I win a magnum of something should I be right, a certain oenological Nostradamus.  And then not a thing should I even a day off be.  So we’ll see.  And anymore that’s what wine and the vineyards represent to the writer, something at which he’s not at all excelled.  Waiting.  Patience.  Temperament of temper.  But I have to learn.  I have to be taught.  And the wine’s instruction, especially last night, materializes most poignantly.

     My favorite glass–  I mean ‘class’.


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MOCK SOMM: GReedy Wines, a reaction

IMG_7978Already in love with small producers, I was sure this was to be a label that would contribute to me and my story and transcending wine character in some new encompassing way.  The wines are one facet with me, certainly an important one, but not the be-all of the new presence, whatever I’m sipping and whatever new label I involve myself with.  GReedy Wines, an amalgamation of talents and visions of Greg Urmini and Ross Reedy, shows the approachable more story-told side of wine and the narrative that I’ve always found more inviting about wine.  These two oeno-elevated chaps have travelled and studied impressively, as well as formally studied, and only from a true adoration of and envelopment in wine itself.

The next morning I go to my office, open my Composition Book and look through my notes, which as always I have an arduous and incensing time surveying.. but I started with the Sauvignon Blanc jots.  A ’14, fruit from Alexander Valley, does see a bit of an oak’d motion, but not much, not enough to interfere with varietal integrity or regional translation–  I scribbled (if I’m reading it accurately): “Poetic pulse from intro to conclusion of sip; melon and cream, light herb and pineapple; a jazzed tap of white Bordeaux–” And there are more scribbles from there, but I remember now the revolution of the palate-feel and how the wine itself took to oxygen, developed and peculiar and impressively characterized sensibility to its “palate traffic”, I wrote.  I’m again thinking of their story, Greg and Ross’, and how they merely want to share, display what they can do, yes, but offer something different to the wine lover and translate varietal and region, and vintage in their own way.  I read down in my SB sentences, and see verses, that’s what this bottle made me do, there in my home office; a wine with influence and persuasion, rhetoric, I wrote “…expository, effusive, dactylic…” And this isn’t just one of those sip-before-dinner Blancs.  It’s with the momentum that can walk and recite alongside dishes.  Lighter creamy pasta, or chicken with light pepper and lemon, or a caesar salad, or for lunch with a chicken salad.  It beckons something with flavor punctuation and charisma to match its won.  Another note, “a letter to Sauvignon Blanc as a genre, as a story and song…” Now, I’m not certain what I was inferring or asserting with that scribble, precisely anyway, but the bottle had me encased in thought, a bright awe, and stricken with impression.

Then Cabernet, also from AV.  A 2012.  And Cabernet is that one varietal that I’ll always moniker IMG_7965my own.  But this bottle taught me, contrasted with other bottles out there and ways the grape is handled and then bottled.  Greg and Ross illuminate a more melodic palate beat and presence with this ’12, singing through suggestions of plum, chocolate, light espresso, light and atmospheric oak, or cedar, theses– adored “all minutes and measures of this Cab”, as I have the Comp Book.  Between the two wines, this project catapults the GReedy boys’ story the most prominently– that wine fervor and going our there and living it, the travels and education, the self-education and writing your own story, everything that the small label should embody, PRACTICE, and share.

So is ‘love’ a strong word, when addressing me and my affinity for small production houses?  Not a strong word, but an inaccurate one, surely.  Small producers are my theology, as a wine writer, drinker, chaser and storyteller.  This story can only grow for them and the bottles they produce, are not only inviting and communicative now with their flavor arrangements and ambient textures, but would as well enjoy residency in a cellar.  And wines that visually and immediately demonstrate that degree of agility and proverbial availability, openness, “diplomacy” as I wrote at the page’s lower sector, should be written about, brought home, shared, studied, explored over months, years.

Researching them more, the GReedy assembly, I find they met while in travel, where from a literary disposition can only encourage character growth and provide that story the consumer wants to read– hence my theology in the small producer.  There’s more sincerity, more candor in the narrative, and in what’s bottled.  More pervading intimacy, for sure, and like I scribbled at some point last night, I think while tasting the Cabernet: “Traveling in ideas and interpretations, transformative properties for wine’s character and me as the sipper, scribbler.” Am I lost in the wines, yes but no, more like metaphysically prompted.  And not many wines do so to this writer.  In fact, less than very few do.

IMG_7977So, here this morning with my coffee, I return to my SB notes, on how the first olfactory impression was rich, “beaming” as I wrote, and entirely believable.  Not contrived or conveniently morphed with oak or inappropriate alcohol content.  “More music in this SB than the others, much more sway and swagger.. general sensory magnetism…” And I kept on noting and writing what I encountered.  Wrote more on the SB than its Cab cousin, but I still puzzle and de-puzzle what I sip and what I wrote, being put in the palatable maelstrom of GReedy Wines, its two-bottle and wildly coercing portfolio– in fact, no, they deserve better than such a clinical noun, ‘portfolio’, ugh… a short story, or novelette, one which will keep in its scribe bass and highhat taps; its own song and Art, travel and education, the Road and the growth and the ambrosial madness of wine and its world.  These two produce the same as I in this Comp Book, on these keys, with fervor and tireless reflective urgency.

And quickly back to the Cabernet deconstructions, and one word cages me, “hymn’.  Connection to the theological lean, yes, but beyond that I’m lost.  And I don’t mind.  Consider this morning’s thousand an appreciative epistle to the two.  To travelers, the wine-minded, the urgent artists, to the ever-written story.  Stories.

Link to Their Website:  GReedy Wines

Direct Link to Get on the Mailing List, to Purchase GReedy Wines:  GET ON THE LIST


Categories: MOCK SOMM | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MOCK SOMM: Stewart Cellars, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012

IMG_7293Enclosed in this new Cabernet translation, one from Napa which I don’t explore enough and I don’t know how more I need to go over there now, I can simply flurry and fly to a computer and order.  But I slow in my sips and remember what it was like with the first sensory landing; the chocolate and toasted oak, blackberry and cherry and whatever spice that is, nose; then the palate is irrevocably kaleidoscopic in its current and webbed ebb.  Just charming and musical, jazzed from first measure to last.  I look for jazz in wines, as you might know and here I have it, a newly voiced Cabernet beat and snare sound; soft but not passive, assertive with no encroach.  Just a bedazzled figure, me, speechless and only writing what notes I’m capable; the coma-coding charm of this bottle, texture and rhythm, me thinking and writing something down that I check later only to laugh as it doesn’t make sense.  And why don’t I be more technical, why not go more into those descriptors and what wine publications would publish, what a half-faced clack-dish sommelier would say, in that low all-knowing octave.  Because I can’t, no pulse of that angle; what this is, candid adoration of a wine, this Stewart Cabernet, Napa.. Napa and I reconnecting and I have this to thank, but I’m afraid to try others.  And I don’t think I will for a while– need to order more– and the recalls of the jazz I sipped the other night and right now again grip me, have me bobbing my head, not knowing where the wine’s profile and note syncopation will next go.  I don’t need to know.  Just years ago, I was just discovering Cabernet, and I’ve learned a bit since then, but this bottle, as Ginsberg said, “doesn’t hide the madness”.  It teaches me more than I could have called.  It shares its “inner moonlight”.  And this madness, make me mad to keep sipping, in want of more notes, more music from its nuclei, more discoveries and answers but I don’t want it to answer them all; I love its dark mystery, from visual to texture how the sip summarizes itself.  I need another.  Sip.  Bottle.  Case.  So I’m in scribble till the night’s over, till the jazz arrests.


Categories: MOCK SOMM | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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