Posts Tagged With: Cabernet Sauvignon

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.


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MY Winery Story…..


A run earlier produced a few ideas as to what I call my wines, the projects themselves; both Literary and running references. And as the writer walked back to the Autumn Walk base–only walking as the heat stopped me right at mile 4–I thought of the balance of wine and Wellness, and how yes people should sip wine, mine or any others, but as well know what they’re sipping; not overthink it of course but just listen to their senses and what those receptors are telling them, and what the wine itself is telling them; what i instructs and confesses and casts….
Didn’t have much chance at work to research as I did on day 1, but I did notice as Kevin and I did inventory that inventory itself as an act can be made so lovingly and comfortably simple, simplified– no surprise drop-offs or organizations or re-organizations. And tonight for the winemaker, or writing winemaker, no wine; only water and a little leftover birthday cake as I need my thoughts atmospherically clear this eve; and to wake early in morrow’s wee-est of times to finish a short story I started. Yes about a winemaker. Yes based on both Blair and my sister. And yes, a vision of what I hope to be– no, what I HAVE to be– with my wines. Tasted a little at work today, just a little and this I tally as a winemaking study act: the ’13 RRV Pinot, the texture and how that transitions into the “finish”. And then I thought how much I bloody loathe that word, “finish”. Why would you ever want a sip and its echo to end? I mean, okay.. I know it HAS to end in tangibility. But what about thought? What about the reflection? The idea that was presented to you, like a short story, or novel, or memoir? Why can’t someone sip a wine and keep thinking about it, or discuss and if they wish deconstruct what they just tasted? Not bludgeon it with excess analysis, but simply communicate. Where is the “finish” there if the words continue, if the thought gallops on? And that’s what I want my SB & Cab, and in later vintages a couple projects in each type, to execute and birth; dialogue, a story, thought.
I’ll open something tomorrow night, but I’m not sure what, doesn’t have to be SB or Cab. Just a wine to study; its functionality and Literary qualities; the “palate narrative” as I thought today with that ’13 RRV PN. And with the narrative, I have to see intent of the wine, what it aims to state and the thesis it demands to deliver. And does it? Yes, I’m speaking of wine as a cognitive and interactive entity. The wine should have some form of rhetoric, and a certain shape and sequence to that rhetoric, revealing its truest of collusions.
A bit after 10, and I think of my tasting room, and the inventory and where it’s kept. Do I do ‘appointment only’ or open Room for the world to come sip? Or do I not do a TR at all? Over-thought… sure I’m not the only winemaker to do this…..


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MY Winery Story…..


Till what? Till I’m making my wine and selling it. today, rough for the writer and not just with the pacing with all elements, nothing optimistic about me today– but then I realized what I want, when I received my gift from Blair, two bottles, one of each from his label; the Chard and Petite Sirah. So yes.. the winemaker’s path.. me.. but I need funding, and all has to happen within a year, 365 days exactly, and I’ll write the whole thing, so that emboldens more consistency in a writing project, a novel, Mike Massamen, and Madigan, doing something that establishes that Zen, that Equilibrium.
I’ve made proclamations and promises before, but this one’s different, far contrasting what before took place. So.. enough of this declaring, now doing. And my budget, ZERO. I’ll start on ZERO and fund the winery, ‘whoso cellars’, with the writing.. so the ‘yrownjoy’ project is heightened in terms of urgency. Tonight, I study the Arista ’12 Banfield Zin. Interesting but it lacks that stage presence that I look for in a wine, that lasting quality, yes it has a story and the visual is captivating and charming, but the sensory dimension once on tongue, on “palate” is coy and rushed, like it doesn’t want to be analyzed. Of course I wouldn’t say that in the TR, but that’s what I’m writing here. And what 2 wines will I master? Sauv Blanc… Cabernet. And from there I build. I’m looking for a way to get the Cab from Cloverdale to SFW, where my sister said she’d watch it. What I’m doing with this day and after this day where I inventoried everything in my professional life is decide, render my path; wine, making it, traveling with it and pouring it for people and writing along the way. Like Dad said, “You can always write.” True. So why not with a profession and stationing which only magnetizes material and more pages– wine, WINE, and making it, writing my tasting notes and my story and what I want people to see, and that voice is the sipper’s, what they want to see; this is about them and them enjoying the wine as they want, not as I want, not as I hope they do, even though I have that idealized construction. My thoughts entangle now and overlap and confuse me and I’m sure you, as I’m nearly done with the Zin I took home– just know I end the day with the yay, no more nay. And with wine, and my label, the winemaker, having an understanding of everything from the vineyard; rootstock and soil type and drainage to the varietals; clone, skin to pulp ratio, brix, maturation… Ah like I told my students, SELF-EDUCATION. And watch, readers.. WATCH! My label close, as is my fruit for this vintage, my last training vintage. And the wine, the wine that tells me to bring it to LIFE. And write it.

Didn’t think I’d write tonight, but I just realized it and what I have to do after the day’s deliberation and trying to shake myself out of a mood. So now.. no more distractions.. only this, only this project.. and I will only write of this, this chase and the wine and my obsession with the stories associated with wine..


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All in the Bottle and All for the Ox

5/31/16, 6:28, and I’m up. I don’t want to think of anything specific this morning but I IMG_4857am. The novel. And money. And bills. And writing. This point in my life, supremely singularizing, putting all in the bottle, this OX and all his interests, curiosities, and affairs. Andy from work, from the winemaking team actually but works time-to-time in TR with me, gifted me a Paso Cab yesterday that was just bottled last week. Can’t forget to make a note somewhere– And the other wines I want to open, in my “cellar” which is really just the back of the closet in this Autumn Walk, or “A Walk” as dad writes in his calendar notes that he sends by email to Alice and I, base.
Running today. Will take an Aleve today. Maybe two, and bring the knee brace Katie bought me for my birthday, get back into it. And no eating anything till after 12, at least. Had a lion’s plate last night with all the leftovers from birthday dinner, Mom’s enchiladas and the rice & beans Alice made, was making as the writer came home and when I finally arrived home the 29th after work.

All in the bottle, I tell myself. This blog and the wine and the writing, stories and IMG_4869running and Wellness, ZEN.. Literature, teaching (which hopefully I won’t be doing as much of when Fall lands on my pedagogy plate). Just keep an inventory, I tell myself. I made a ‘hashtag’ list in my phone, and I hate that I put so much emphasis on something so seemingly juvenile as technology, that phone, and social media, I mean there’s nothing Literary to hashtags and the like AT ALL. But… it does help me center my writings and consistencies, and a swell way for me to properly market myself, my writings, and this blog– Mike Madigan, as a brand. I know just where I’m running.. 3 miles left out driveway, toward MacCrostie & VML, then turn around. 6 miles, think that’s a swell aim. Then home to help with Jackie.. ‘parenting’, another of my bottled topics…..

Was looking up everything wine and winemaking while at work yesterday, before moving to event/wedding mode. And again, that’s not going to be a focus, or even an option, when I have my wine story and tasting room, but I still want the awareness, the knowledge and experience. And, I’m sorry to again mention it, driving those hummer go-carts, or golf carts, such a thrill for the writing with the wind and zooming down the hill looking at Mt. Saint Helena in the natural frame left. But the wine, and winemaking.. everything IMG_4875dominating my sight and visions and hoped-for foreshadowing yesterday and plainly lately for the writer; the fruit coming in and the punchdowns and the feel and thrill and pressure of harvest. Fruition! Everyday has to be harvest for me and these pages and the marketing of my work. I see that now! I have to be a true OX! One always moving, always carrying one story from page one to final and then selling the work no matter the project size. Have to fill in the income gaps and be serious about it like that comic book writer I saw speak on the Paris Review site. Either you do it or you don’t, I tell myself, AM telling myself on this couch right now. And the quiet, the driving down the hill in that Hummer, hearing the wind against me and the trees and imagining writing from Mt. Saint Helena, somewhere up there, about something, like Kerouac from Sur, alone and only noting, no tech, a penman disconnected. All in the bottle. And from a renewed OX. Did the even do something to me yesterday without the writer knowing it? Was it the pages I scribbled agains the Hummer, waiting for the call to come back up and file those chairs–fold then file–then drive the people to the pavilion for dinner and more cocktails? This energy is not common, what I feel and my quaking eagerness for more story, for my run today, and for Life; the Zen it’ll bring, TOTAL Wellness.

Coffee.. another tally in the bottle of this Ox. And an Ox, a being of strength and duty and completion, the ox will always carry his cargo or people or accumulated items from destination 1 to 2. A consistency of devotion, follow-through, sincerity. And as it happens, 2015 is the year of the Ox! And I find more in the Chinese calendar. That the Ox is of enormous significance, truly impacting the story. And I, this writer and lover of wine and all tellings wine-riled and connected will follow my motifs and prowesses. And that’s how I want to be seen and read, as I’ve so many times paginated; an obsessed writer, one never stopping and always journaling and typing and keeping my story in motion, carrying the pages from 1 to finish, like an ox, maybe slow-moving but inconceivably strong and set on fruition.

Almost at a thousand words so I may well keep with my assignment, trudge up the hill like an Ox with more cargo than it probably needs. Waiting to hear Jackie upstairs.. went in an got him around… hear noise, probably malfunctioning smoke alarm.. shit.

And it was, the alarm in J’s room, losing battery power. But the stepstool not big enough, not tall enough I should say. And the day’s off and running and this Ox has to catch it somehow.
7:42 and I’m downstairs with the little Beat, as he plays with his monster trucks I rush toward the morning thousand marker. Washed dishes and wiped down counters, a homeowner of me yet made… Nearly forgot, over $30 in tips yesterday, putting in my winemaking envelope, and forgetting about it, not touching it for anything. Coffee cup one in motion, and I know today will be great for the Ox.

My personal pages vended. IDEA: 20pp for $6.


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Open Flight

Mike thought there was something to his wine, his first couple releases, three bottles total, and he gave up and riled in victory, and here they corralled, his first visitors. 10:59, and 11. Open. 2.
“Hi, what are you pouring? Our B&B told us today was your first day, is that true?” the lady, sounding somewhere southern, said, looking around at the still shots on the wall then down at the tasting menu; SB, Merlot, Cab.
“Just those three on the menu there, and tastings are complementary, our first day..” Mike said, sipping his last little bit of espresso, from the machine he bought from the last crumb of budget.
“Oh.. that’s it? Just three?” she said.
“Yeah.. that’s all I got today, just those three. What kind of wines do you drink at home?”
“Well… I don’t really like Sauvignon Blanc.. do you have a Chardonnay?”
“No.. Just the SB and the two reds. Where are you from?”
“Oh well.. do you have a bathroom?”
Mike breathed, thought, then stopped his eyes in their bulbous roll. “Just past the painting of the cat, then right.”
She away walked, shaking her head.
“So what else do you have?” the man Mike assumed was her husband charged.
“Two reds, a Merlot and a Cabernet after the Blanc. You want to try them?”
“Sure. So today’s the first day, huh?”
“And how did you get hooked up with this winery?”
“I’m the winemaker and.. I guess owner. Yeah…..”
“Oh good for you. You know what, I will try some wine. How much is the tasting?”
“Nothing. Nothing… I’ll take care of it.”
“Oh well then let’s try some wine.. so Sauvignon Blanc, eh?”
“Yes,” Mike said, pouring, “this one I did in all oak, neutral oak, and just left it there to see what it’d do, what it’d soak up and here you have a white with a little more texture and pull but still quite clean……..”
The man sipped. Thought and looked at the glass, then at Mike. “Not that much in the jolt, eh?”
“I’m sorry?”
“It doesn’t jolt, ya know… ‘the jolt’. It doesn’t have a good JOLT.”
“But I’d drink it! It’s wine!”
Mike smiled and poured himself a little to sip with the man. Then she came back. “Why don’t we go somewhere where there’s Chardonnay, or wine we like there Harry?” she said.
The man put down his glass, empty, “Sorry buddy, you heard the boss. She still looks at me like her little brother, mama would have to laugh.” They strolled to the door, he looking back and raising his hand like he was saying goodbye to an old war buddy or something. Mike poured more of the SB.. he liked it.. soft but bright, light but luminous and with conviction you might get from a red, he thought. Then the Merlot… “How could anyone not like this?” he thought. What he enjoyed about its touch.. the blueberry and dark chocolate, it reminded him of dessert. Then the Cabernet, from Alexander Valley, some fruit he remembered getting dibs on at the last minute, the very last minute. He thought it could be bigger but maybe the wine didn’t want that, didn’t want to be seen that way. Maybe that’s not what the wine wanted to do. So he sipped it, respected it, more than the Merlot and SB for standing its ground and going against that Cab stereotype of hyper-aggression and offense; it was that dark musical syncopation; its own jargon and jolt of joy.. “Jolt,” Mike thought, “this has jolt.” He was tempted to close his room, run out to the plaza and look for the man, to show him what wine is when it has that jolt he wanted.. when it has true life.. when it’s truthful and not contrived.. what Mike wanted he understood now was always what the customer or sipper wanted. And here it was. But he was gone. So Mike poured for himself. Room empty. Glass kept full.


Categories: interim stratum (collected writings by mike madigan) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deciding to Attend

Attend what? This session. I told myself that I wouldn’t write anymore today, to just relax this evening, but the ’09 Cab I opened told me to write, and to dive again into Baldwin’s essays. And how he views the world, America, himself. In the Paris Review chat with the interviewer he said he needed isolation to come to terms with who and what he was. And now with this second glass I think about who, truly, I am. And what, the ‘what’. WHAT, am I?! Nearing 36, and I have no idea I know, and I know the ideas will provide some sense but I need more, more sense and vision of what Mike Madigan is. I love Baldwin’s confidence in the face of oppression, in the white man’s world. In all the pieces I read I not only sense and read but taste a sense of fearlessness… That’s what I want in my ‘what’. But as well, in the PR interview, Mr. Baldwin asserts that first-person narrative is ‘terrifying’. And he also says the reader has no reason to trust first-person. I don’t agree.. if anything, the reader doesn’t need to preoccupy with “trusting” the narrator but rather consider their experience, or the tale. Being open. I mean, if it’s fiction, it’s fiction, it’s contrived by the denotative delivery. But what I thought was encouraging, just a couple words later: “…why should you need this I? How is this person real by dint of that bar blaring across the page?” It’s not a matter of needing the ‘I’, but rather considering the ‘I’ for what its ingredients are, conducting a character analysis as you move through the manuscript, and not to determine if that narrator is trustworthy or reliable or even worthy of readership, but just to process the professing prose. To completely write-off the first-person, the ‘I’, is unjust, unfair and too sweeping.
Maybe this is the Cab talking, this bold and vampiric ’09, that dares me to take on Baldwin, to readdress Joyce and his swirly swampy and granulated paragraph streamings… I don’t know, but I’m in a Literary tumble this evening, and the wine and its lecture and story and ‘I‘ only push me further, and I can’t stop, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. This is more than a blog post but a realization of what I’m to do, and that only ‘I’, this writer, can build the career he wants. Everything’s a piece in the novel, everything, and with us about to move to Autumn Walk I need take this prose with more precision and dogma, practice.. tomorrow, the meeting with the winemaker in RRV, finally, asking him questions and responding to his wines– yes I will try to stump or moreso challenge him and find what his views are while at the same time putting mySelf in the student’s seat, learning from his winemaking philosophies and his facundity. We’ll see. I’m not going there to one-up him or show a writer-versus-winemaker form, but to learn. Remember, I want to make wine too!
Last sips of the Cab, and I’m full from dinner, the tacos this ‘Cinco de’. Can’t understand how quickly the semester has past me flown, raced, like it doesn’t care how sensitive I am to Time and its duty. I need another sip… All I can say is “DARK”. Not the most expressive fruit fold on this wine, nor olfactory leaps, but there’s incredible texture and the most anomalous clasp to the tactile reception.. wooing and musical, yes, but I feel there’s more to be told, in a few more years. I don’t want to say “after aging” like some do, but there’s more to be said from this bottle.. don’t rush! And that’s what the wine’s telling me, with the novel and with the semester and my career as a writer: DON’T. FUCKING. RUSH!!! Okay, okay, I say. I’m understanding now, I get it. I’ll slow down, but not in this session, and not with today. I sent writings to 2 locations, 2 publishers, and I’ve posted to the blog a couple times as well– today’s a victory, I’m writing like a dominant penman, very much I feel. And yes I could be prepping for the next classes, but I’m very much of the thought I deserve this time in the nook, yes? The wine, again, telling me to decrease my Literary BPM. BEATS…

With nothing more to mold in this sitting, at this nook table, in my punctuality, I retire, resign for day, night and look forward to morrow, my morrow, the interview with the winemaker, yes, but more, more and more for the novel– remember, I’m a writer, not a bumbling blogger or “wine writer”– I’m thinking about my ‘I’, my story, and MY book. Not the expected– ‘oh, you’re in the wine industry, you have to write about that, and watch what you say…’ No, I’m without lid, and what’s the wine world going to do if I freely speak, and quills are summoned?


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Oeno-Caesura Narrative (inventory)

Sometimes I break, pause from the sips, to collect Self and know precisely what it is aboutIMG_5916 wine that captures the writer and why so often I write about it. In this most recent hiatus, if you will, I think of the varietal that brought me into consistency of sips and bottle-chasing. Merlot. The varietal that’s only popular to deplore from a less-than-quality movie and what now has me kerfuffle’d is how I’m returning to this grape type, after years of flying around from Zin to Syrah, to Malbecs and Pinots.. and now back, back to Merlot, the first bottle magnetizing my character in ’02, when I lived in an apartment in San Ramon and I called my mother to ask what I should serve for guests soon arriving. And she recommended a Blackstone Merlot, think the vintage was ’00 (yeah, it’d have to be, right?). Anyway, here I am, pensive and reflective and scribbling in my Composition Book a lecture to myself to extend this break, don’t sip for a couple days, build the anticipation for the next Merlot cork removed. Pride? Duckhorn? Trefethen? St. Francis? Kaz? What? What should I next meet? What kind of character do I want to greet me? And why do people hate Merlot? Oh yeah I forgot, letting some flimsy-brained film think for you is much easier and painless opposed to actually going to a store buying a bottle and thinking for yourself. Okay.. I’m corrected.
And, in this break from sipping, a curt and coherence cleanse if you might, I wonder what I’ll learn next about wine, its world and the many business models and sizes of wineries, and why winemakers go that way with a varietal interpretation while so many choose another path and practice, or some derivation thereof. The lessons compile, and for the English Professor parcel of Mike Madigan, I can only see more and more to absorb. And I’m overwhelmed, unannoucedly. Maybe I need a glass of wine before dinner– NO, wait, wait.. anticipate, deliberate. And so collecting my senses I hear the dialogue of a tasting room, tourists new to Sonoma/Napa, asking questions and discovering.. discovery.. expansion of knowledge and perspective and.. I should pause like this more often, and do just what I’m doing, listen. To myself and others, and wine’s story will enrich everything about me as a mere sipper.

And the other province about Mike Madigan’s character? One just in love with the translation of grape to bottled content. Professing so much love and curious exponential myriads that loudly envelope senses all. Notably olfactory, gustatory. Spellbinding swirls with the darkly tinted chroma. And just like that.. the glass tilting halt ends. Sipping an ’09 Cabernet from– Doesn’t matter. I’m peace’d, safe in my composing. Logical structuring re-structured in some useful cubism code, one I’m writing not yet. The ’09 tells me to wait, don’t write for a minute, “Just enjoy me,” it orders. I let the strings be pulled. No moving of pen, no typing, just a sip, another.. another.


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Stay Sagacious

IMG_4436Knew right where I was going from the Petaluma Campus, I wanted something to sip of a Bordeaux bend and bravado and I had a certain centering in mind.  So I stopped at Bwise Vineyards, the little embracing tasting room right by Café Citti.  Started with the ’12 Pinot, insisted kindly by my longtime compadre Josh from around the AVA, Sonoma Valley.  Upon aromatic contact I was nudged by rich subtlety, almost to the point of befuddlement, but with a couple more swirls I was wooed by its inherent exposition; the story, the charm and the radiant roar of this Occidental Pinot, as Josh disclosed; 18 months 50% new French.  I this is what I know Bwise to show, tell, share.. so, no surprise for the ravishing start.  Then to the Wisdom, the bottle I nearly always take home when I visit the Bwise Room.  What is there to say but “loud engagement” in this bottle; provocative, voice, persuasion and sensory magic, beginning to finish.IMG_4439  Only reason I didn’t buy a bottle today, I had to get another notebook, as the current Comp Book heaps, and I have over 13 weeks left in the semester…  Then to the ’10 Trios blend, 59% Cab Sauv, 20 Syrah, 12 Cab Franc, and surplus split about PV & ME (Petite Verdot, Merlot).  And I could list and summarize everything else I tilted into my character but it was all uniquely resplendent and quite voluminous.  And approachable!  This is what anyone would deem a “luxury” or “boutique” winery, or “label”, and its approachability and universal feel and character, and song, make it inviting.  That’s why I stopped, right there, on the corner of 12 & Shaw, to have my connection, my appeasement, of Bordeaux interpretation–  “So why the pleasure with Pinot?” you might probe.  IMG_4438Well, curtly, they do it right.  In that ’12, there was assertiveness without the barbaric bravado you might meet from someone producing a Pinot but yet wanting to avoid its intended and inherent softness, ease, and artful acts.  I came to Bwise today to experience a wine producer with care, with respect for the varietals and that connects with sippers on a postmodern level, beyond simple definition and a dumbing-down of descriptor enumeration (and that’s how well-woven these wines are, and will present themselves to your sense and “palate”).
IMG_4440At the end of the visit, my good friends Josh and Sunshine poured me a flight of Bwise behemoths; the ’10 Monte Rosso, the ’10 Brion, the ’09 Napa Valley Cabernet, then as a show of welcome the ’03 Napa Valley Cab, to illustrate how the project will hold in cellar.  I was charmed, and not to much shock this was my leaner, or favorite, for the day, and to a writer/professor it blares character, all of these pours and the label inclusively.  I’m home now, in the nook as I always type in eve at day’s close, and think of what I should have tried again, again, and maybe taken a bottle of.  Next time, as I’m committed to again visit, and, again, if you know me you know I will.  I’m a Cab-chaser, and a Pinot-peruser, so maybe tomorrow or next week or sooner than soon.  We writers need be wise with our words and what better room than this little cove at 12 & Shaw.. do I have that right?  Who cares.  I know where it is, I know where IMG_4441I’m going…  Looking at my pictures, and can’t wait to they take me on that mountain/cave tour.. I find mySelf obsessed, consumed in thoughts of IMG_4442that entity and that bar and everything that Josh and Sunshine poured me.  Readying for bed thinking about these wines, and what I should have bought and that doesn’t happen too often; these wines, all of them, have voice and coercive qualities.  I’ll be there, at that bar, with Sunshine and Josh, or whomever’s behind that sleek counter, I don’t care, long as the Bwise wines are there… which of course they’d be.  I left rapt, devout, and thinking of my next visit, which could very well be next week, or sooner.

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And tonight we ordered in from Monti’s..

me getting the flank and Alice getting that chicken, can’t remember how it’s prepared. And with the Queen’s order, I open a bottle of the ’10 Sophia’s Hillside Cuvée, Lancaster of course. Decided to keep that wine club as it’s the only one I have and I need to treat myself somewhere, and why not with wine. Right now I type with a glass so full of the CS/CF blend I’m intimidated, one side of me saying, “I have to drink all that?” But I have to remain in Beat mode tonight and think about the day and how nothing happened except the wonderful tour with the SRJC students, with the “professor” gifting me two bottles of Washington reds, one a Bordeaux and the other a ’12 Cab. And I think.. wine, wine.. what do I do with it, how many pictures of vineyards and full wine glasses can I take? It’s all repetition after too long, more redundancy that reiteration, right? The phone, with all those wine pictures, and for what? Would rather read Nate’s article again, the one I’m to post to the blog, about space issues and travel and exploration.. love his short curt venom paragraphs, with the antagonistically edged wit and humor. First sip of this glass, and I think of my time at Lancaster, when I’d cal it ‘AV Winery’, back in ’12, how they came to my rescue after the box executed me, set me up for a pretty failure by giving me that goddamn no-call list– or “non-buyer list” from P—-J—. Those bastards, but they let me go, they freed me, and I remember that walk to my car, feeling that promise that I haven’t felt since graduating grad school. Looking through these pictures in my ‘photolog’, I realize how against me time is but I write through the ripples of this Cab blend and I think abou tomorrow and today, what’s to be is the moment to present me, apparently. And I have to let the box go, what they did– was doing well there for a while but in recent weeks with all I’ve been feeling towards the winery and the industry I’ve been recalling what happened there, in those final days, how I have a Master’s degree– I’ve done all that I should have with college and jobs and being an eventual adult.. ughgk….. I have to let it go, I have to just write and release everything, focus on my students and this new semester and how the morning feels, before the 1A, it’s so off and odd, so early. I’m not used to that.
The tumbler Alice bought me; coffee, not so much an addiction but a mandatory verdict and determiner with my Art, my journal entries, and I’ll need it after this wine, but more that that it comforts, and my son associates me with it, “You have coffee, Dada?” Makes me laugh, makes me self-conscious (Asking myself ‘Am I addicted to caffeine, to these mandatory cups, or cups I think are mandatory?’), and meditative. I’m conflicted tonight, with this blend, with myself, and I sip again, feeling tired, feeling yesterday’s run, and feeling lifted with this new year. And with these classes, with my students– I hate calling them that, cuz if they’re my students then that makes me the allknowing almighty professor, and I’m not that, I’m not smart enough to be THAT.
Want to write a piece about the manager, the one who can’t let it go, even for a minute; always with frown on his face, so serious and so concentrated– Will write a sketch or stream of sketches about him– why can’t he let it go? The work? Why? For what? And while he’s walking out to the parking lot, to this car, he has to confront one of the employees, offer an idea, something that will change, as there needs to be change, and that’s his legacy, what he does at his life’s end, order order, command and delegate. Sick and sad, what I can say, profound pestilence, and I think he knows but he doesn’t know how to be any other way, he has to play that role– sick SICK! Management… I don’t care if it’s a “bump”, it’s sick, it’s minimal, and in the wine industry it’s no enlivening pay ascension at all, believe me. But he doesn’t care, he’ll always get his bonuses, we’re expected to just follow, run, jump, arrange and work. SICK! But what if you question? OH, you can’t!
Tomorrow I’ll write everything he says, everything.. for the book and for my edification and stipulations.. my students, they won’t have a coward for an English Instructor, or Professor, or whatever they call us– goddamn I’m so venomous tonight. And I love it! I’m lionhearted in these verdicts, these paragraphs that make me ME, or I think, and at my age I just have to type, no more thinking or meditating, just write & release. MY wine glass empty, and good, I need sleep, and I can’t wait for the coffee, honestly.
I’m ready for bed. And I’m ready for a vacation. I know, “Aren’t we all?” Yes, but like me, I don’t know. The winery, fulltime, then adjuncting… I mean, how many more days of this reality can I hold? I know, calm down, relax, just even yourself, focus inward, on the center, right? “Have some fun.” I’m trying, believe me. Would love to go to bed right now but I can’t.. I have the writer’s mind, that I always have to be writing, and I’m not in the TR so I’m not distracted by gossip or talk or any wandering tourist that wants to know everything about wine like there’s so much to be known. “Oh, I’m actually a sommelier…” “Oh, I’m a certified wine educator…” “And?” I want to ask. But I can’t. I have to be hospitable, I have to play, act, make sure that fawning boil-brained dewberry quakes contently. I shouldn’t care and I don’t, but I’m playing the game, playing him– look, I’m writing my thoughts sovereignly, posting them here, on this “blog”, and what?

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Hope Jack sleeps thoroughly tonight. Going to have one more pour of the Res Cab, then spill the rest out. One guy today, asking me with this interrogative tone, “So why do some menus just say ‘Cabernet’ and the others, like yours, say ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’?” A legitimate question, yes, but his vocal color was quite off-putting, like I was an uneducated servant, just there to pour for him.

Should pour the Cab. Want to be upstairs, in bed, by 10:30, latest– maybe I should skip the wine. No, not when it’s this good… Oh dear sweet Craft that tastes amazing. The summer.. have to order my books. And I need to bring papers to grade tomorrow. No lunch with my new closest of cohorts, Dwight. I’ll be in my car, in the overflow lot, evaluating submissions, maybe a little writing. I’ll always be writing, so readers should just foreknow I’ll have ink into lines.

Not sure how I made through day. Had to have been the blending trial, all the thoughts surrounding novel, the one cave tour I did, that lunch with Dwight [where I didn’t have a beer, but rather a Coke to help keep me bright]… Not sure what to do now, but finish the glass I poured. The Cab, still holding its ground against oxygen invasion. Need to get into some of the Lancaster Cab & Cab blends I have upstairs. 10:08– Going to enjoy my night, stop writing. There’s always a time the writer can stop, should be understood why he stops, and the time for THIS writer’s now. MY Life, in a blend of dilemmas, where wine provokes.. it’s an interesting throw of goes, really. Part of me wants to laugh, the other to drink more.

So I swallow the Cab’s remainder, glass, like there’s an attached clock. EAP, chooses to watch, push my pen to Ligeia’s spot. -4/24/14

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