Posts Tagged With: wine industry

MOCK SOMM: Handley Cellars, Anderson Valley, Chardonnay, 2012

IMG_7008And the Handley Chardonnay, more than just a stream of me being proven wrong about the grape, the varietal, that problematic genre in oenology– no, this has its own -scape, and diction, and curvature with its apple-ized code and symmetry from scent to acidity to tactile ebb to its overriding message.  And I get the sense it wants me to survey its entity and scene, how it intends on greeting all my senses and receptors– the bottle, and this last glass, knows I’m writing about it– it uses me as a translator and courier of its thesis, and it says, like Amy Tan, “It’s a luxury being a writer, because all you ever think about is life.” And this bottle and its producer and the Anderson Valley AVA bring life with it to everything it contacts.  I’m smitten, enamored, befuddled, and seized by its synecdoche of notes and plays on my perception.  Yes, it’s Chardonnay, but so many, especially sommeliers, talk about “varietal integrity”.  Well here it is.  What more could a wine chaser demand?  Seriously, this writer wants to know. This is more than Handley at their best, this is the AV producer being what I would note equitable, candid, conversational– speaking through the Chardonnay varietal and showing what it wants us to know about its feel and voice, and tone, octave, beaming character oscillation.

I’m now more open to Chardonnays as you may know but this one teaches me even more than I ever expected to learn about the Burgundian loop-grape.  This is more than just “stylistic”.  It’s honest.  Declarative.  Instructional and comedic in how it appears to mock other Chardonnay attempts and projects.  “This is Chardonnay, real Chardonnay,” I say to myself, here at the kitchen counter, staring at an empty glass.  And I’m not “scoring” it as I don’t have to.  This is just a note denoting and connoting that I respect this wine and the producer and how it makes me envision the Road and what I’ll write about so many tomorrows from now.  Fantasized glass apparition presence–

(7/1/15)

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MOCK SOMM: Handley Cellars, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir, 2012

IMG_6979Not at all coy with its confident composition– cherry and some plum-esque suggestion coupled with ripe earth and softly-sequenced black spice– but again I find a Pinot far beyond the simplification and convenience of descriptors or some obscure adjectives.  I’m with that Literary shape of Pinot that loves its dance and its beat and the valley it calls home, most notably shown in its finish– chocolate chant and cherubic chime.  Everyone knows I love Pinot and that I follow it and when I find one I love I become childlike.  And now I’m childlike, again, but more than I was with the last Pinot I tilted into my talking, whatever it was…  This glass’ song folds my introspective bend to something which screams for more connectedness to Pinot, but also warns me that most of them aren’t this coherent and convincing.  Cummings said that “Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.” This Pinot kisses over, over, over and places me in reflective maelstrom, spinning till I can only hope to land for another kiss.

Gentle put persistent texture and a terrific turbulence about the concluding curves to the wine’s IMG_6980measures.  And that has to be the winemaker’s love for 2012, and Pinot, and Anderson Valley, and all stories connected to narrative wines like this– I’m bedazzled by how the oxygen just pushes more from the glass, a step-by-step calculation of the wine itself, taking on cognitive actions and orations of its own– this is what makes it obvious, convex and complicated.

You might read this and think, “So Mike just writes about wine and drinks it and drinks more and that makes it easier to write.” At times, maybe, but not with this wine.  It’s codified and inviting; defensive and seductive; sealed lips, but still eager for kiss next.  I’m challenged by this evasive dark dancer, and I follow her.  Wherever.  A coherent contradiction.  And that’s why it lasts and echoes and has the tremolo’d traipse about my IMG_6981Now.  And my fate, better than any sagacity, or kiss– it’s this, this moment, the standalone second about how I scribble and sip, and sip…..  Tomorrow I’ll fall or roll or stumble from the sheets thinking about that color, the darker-than-I-estimated shade of Burgundian beatific syncopation.  I hear and taste the music again, carry it with me through the day, and I thank my favorite AV winery, and know I need to get back up there, someday, when I’m not writing.  All wine writers or critics should write about wines they love to this extremity.  “No you have to be objective,” says some wine mag galoot.  But I don’t care, proud and posted in my partiality.  Corking the bottle, sad as I sit, like that last kiss on a date, only to drive home remembering the meeting over, over…  So I write a letter as soon as I’m home, to Pinot, to Handley, to AV, to anyone who’s had a wine like this.  And hope I hear back.  And if I don’t… then… then……..

I sip, write, imagine the kiss.  Again, again…

MM96

(6/29/15)

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Pommard Perambulation

IMG_0990The walk told me everything, and the vineyard told me more. That block by the entrance. Accumulating clusters and characters and the air with its brushy and coy song whispered through the canes, leaves as they fiddle with and taunt light. And I just watch, just like the visitors, tourists from Southern California to South Wales. Everywhere, just to look. The pace, unaffected by time its reminding me that I have to be at work soon. Not concerned, only connected to the green echoed visuality and the raw earthly dark tint of the cordonsIMG_0996 and soil and that sound again, the littlest thin muffle of atmospheric dialogue, it moving the leaves again, toward me and back and I just watch. Take a meek colony of still shots then throw the device back in the carrier and repeat watch, walk, hear and heal in the scene; what the world visits for. Vines, growth, the story and the past to their present and when IMG_0994they sip and look out from the tasting room there’s the realization; that connection, and I’ve always been taken by that. I walk further toward the gate and see a leaf, discolored which I’m sure says something, an ailment maybe or virus, I don’t know. I just stare, look and wonder at the colors, and am I supposed to like this scene or feel some empathy or compassion for the leave, or guilt that I’m photographing it with my phone like so many who see accidents or tragedies or some misfortune and internally are pushed to film it with a phone? Am I that? Am I doing that to this poor leaf, this poor cane, the vineyard? Am I THAT tourist? I put my phone away and walk more, to the gate but stop only feet before and go right, then down another row. Taking a closer look at the clusters I meditate on what glass they’ll be in, where, celebrating what. That tie with the people and the tables and glasses, someone’s house, someone’s occasion, someone’s something… someone’s family. IMG_0992 That’s the significance, not the photo, not me, not some magazine that throws scores at the bottle, utterly negating all the effort and time and sunlight and gusts that passed through the vineyards’ expressions and dimensions. Significance and the story of this 2 acre block involves the people coming to harvest these forming wee bunches, in the earliest of A.M.’s, leaving their families at home to arrive just before the sun makes even a slight statement, then they’re trucked off to be crushed, produced and shaped for sipping, leaving behind desolate vines, new end and start. And people will migrate to see that as well. They don’t care what the vines look like or where they are in their “season”, they just want to see, and keep seeing.
IMG_0989Then I open the gate, walk back to the tasting room. At least four looks over my left shoulder, see how the wind pushes those canes and the leaves, and that one leaf, the discolored, moving as it wants and me just staring. I go back. One more shot. And another. Now I guess I’ll work.

(6/28/15)

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Careers Whatnot and

IMG_6928And the coffee now being sipped, and needed as I very much feelthe echo and aftershock of lastnight’s wine.  Typo after typo in this sitting, but that’ll change once this coffee infuses and breaks up the weight of the Pinot and Syrah.  no run this morning obviously, but tomorrow morning I will rise early even though its one of my long days; at the winery then to teaching.  If I’m to become a masterful runner I must make time, sacrifice gladly the wine, and move on with my running.  In fact, tomorrow morning I’ll set the alarm for 4:15, launch by 4:30 like my motherinlaw, and be back to help with Jack and arrange what I need to for his and my, and my wife’s day to go smoothly.

Just made some notes for mmc (mikemadigancrEATive), a virtual office if you would, thought of that driving home from work last night.  So far, Blair and his wines are my only true client, but that will change I’m hoping after the meeting with Chelsea’s folks.. so much happening and so fast but I can keep up and I have to if I’m to have my office and be more into advertising and marketing as I wish.

So quiet in the house now, me at the island in the kitchen of this Autumn Walk base– think I heard J IMG_6929get out of bed.  No doubt he’ll head straight down here, downstairs to his writing father, finding him working and hustling and playing with words, providing my own allegory of sorts…  hmm….. allegory, there’s something that can work for mmc, somehow, with the idea of an allegory but I’m not sure what.  WHAT!  What could it be, possibly?

Not in the mood to be back in that tasting room, just want to play with words all day and plan for mmc campaigns and get closer to my office.  If I make today the grandest of projects, blog absolutely everything, that has to do something.. and I mean everything.  From when I pull up, to when I park, to setting up with Andy in the TR, to pouring, to walking the grounds if I get around to doing that.. again, everything.  “So how do you become a professional blogger?” I don’t know.  I guess blog everything, right?

IMG_6930The coffee starts to make its presence formidable and push away the wine’s placement, driving out an invader– there’s an allegory!  Again, just want to play with words all day, adjectives and linking them to wine and describing wines in wild ways as I do, like the Pride Syrah from last night, how dark it was and vampiric– no, used that before…  how haunting and scenic it was, just with the visual and how it say on your senses and provoked you.. oh Pride, all their wines, and those grounds.. dreaming dreaming and talking to myself in some odd wandering morning narrative, now the coffee is sure in spin, not quite as strong as the coffee the Pride pride made me that morning I went up there but close.  I’m awake and focused and mmc is coming to life, in this virtual office then to a real office space on H-burg square, looking down at the tourists and smiling with them, even though I’m working, but I’m working for me and where I want to and how I want to– I guess and entrepreneur.  I don’t know.  I’ve never really liked that word.  Everyone uses it and everyone flaunts it wherever and however they want to.  I’m just working for myself, that’s it, from words and my allegories with wine and the people enjoying them.  Wine is supposed to be enjoyed, and what you do for a living should give you pleasure, and I know the extents will vary person to IMG_6936person, but you should like if not love your “job”.  I’m only going to accept loving mine.  Like the guy from Maine who owns his own ad agency, who came into the winery months ago, right when I first started.  Obsessed with his website and how the business looks, that real CREATIVE agency feel.  That’s what I’ll have from downtown Healdsburg, and that’s what I’ll perpetuate with my “clients” and the relationships that I build.  Creativity.. that’s the important facet to my company’s name, not ‘mikemadigan’.  It’s the ‘crEATive’ that allows real life, that allows us to EAT, to have fun, to actually live and continue our stories.

6:22, and I hone 1000 words.  The first cup, nearly dead.  That’s fine.  I’ll make a second.  Imagine how much coffee I’ll be drinking when I have my own office and have to bring work home and work all night to make some deadline, or even sleep at the office– who knows–  I want this to be an adventure, mmc, and I want to share it with like-minded people, the creatives, those wanting to grow– no… expand.. no…….  AMPLIFY!  Clients that want to amplify and  re-emphasize and aggrandize their business’ story.  Creative, Creative…..  There’s no creativity in being safe, I dare say, so I also look for clients that trust me to take measure gambles with them.

IMG_6938Looking at one of the bottles I brought home last night, the Longbow Pinot, a barrel-selection project from Arista, here on the island looking at me, the last of it.. I think about the story of wine and how it comes to be and the fantasy, if you’d call it that, what brings people out here, the words they use and how they don’t know if there is some proper wine language and descriptive habit.. so….. what am I getting at?  I don;t know.  Like I said, if I had all day to play with sentences and words and the creativity now in my and develop it somehow I’d be able to tell you.  But I can’t.

6:41, the laptop needs a charge before too long as do I which is the reason cup 2 is already at writer’s right.  The day underway, as are my thoughts, and how to grow my friend’s brand, Archival.. focus on that words.. play with it.  Archive, something Archived.. a treasure, a story, a winemaking style.. what..?  I can only play with punctuation as well, the same way my sone fiddles with his toys; the cars and trucks and other vehicles he lined up for my parents last night on the carpet-covered chest (now at my left).

Sip one of cup2 and well on my way for a crEATive day.  Think Jack still may be sleeping, tired little bloke.  Probably could go back to sleep if I wanted but I have thoughts to develop, brands to grow.. building building building, I need to build and assemble this business of mine, be my OWN client, essentially.. market myself any way I can and what better than through this bottledaux philosophy?

Then I hit a wall.  I should walk away from this keyboard, just take time to think about my words and stories and allegories and– he’s up.  I heard him, my little Artist.  He’s on his way to see his typing father, and what better reason to break for me?  My immeasurable thanks again to Alice for this coffee, everything I thought it would say this morning and help me to write.

IMG_6937Jackie to cuddle with his mama, and me back to typing, and typing about typing, and about the business I’m seriously trying to build finally at 36 years of elderliness.  I look at the images and articles and concepts around me: the dishtowel with cherries about its surface, that Longbow bottle, the coffee, my phone, Jackie’s cars and trucks and whatnot.  And then me.  The writer.  And business owner?  Suddenly ad/marketer?  Yes.  And another YES.  Just keep moving, I tell myself, and that the stories need be told– it’s more than simple branding or any idea OF branding, but story telling, transparent narrative.  And I mean REAL transparency to the narrative.  Me: up early and writing sipping coffee, sipping more coffee to keep me writing and keep me crEATive.  Telling myself that I’ll blog and write and capture every goddamn thing I encounter today.  Story telling and narration and allegory and meaningful lecture to myself and the world.. TODAY!

Jackie just waking up, struggling to do so like his writerfather.  Now to cartoons and the day is off…..  Blog everything, capture everything, like him yawning and stretching on the couch and the sounds of this cartoon that my waking senses can’t yet adequately process.  But I keep writing and ignore this odd vertigo feeling that comes and goes.  That has to be the last of the lastnightwineinfluence.  I’m sure of it.  Today and tonight, no wine.  Have to run tomorrow morning, and early, earlier than early.  Go to sleep in running gear and just roll out and roll out to street, and fast, only one hour allotted.  And fast, fast, then faster.. if I stop then there’s no story, nothing being told or narrated.  I look over at Jackie, his contentment.  I want that for the day, while I create and while I capture.  Which will only further build and appreciate MY brand, this mikemadigancrEATive idea/project/dream/vision/hope/story/what/talkwithmyself/affirmation.

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From Remain

IMG_6908

My brother Kevin, inspecting the Pinot block…..

IMG_690710:04,  Mom and Dad left, and me here with the Pinot, the one a “friend” at work aside for me set.  Listening to classic rock tracks from dinner.  Dishwasher in full focal, and me here with this keyboard, indeed influenced, and more than likely not running in morrow.  And why should I when my wife was enough celestial to get my some coffee for rightafterwake.  MY wife, building her teaching career, and not settling, only advancing, having her progression ascend and never comfortably stabilize, she’s always moving and advancing–  I’ll use that as the model, her as idol, like the grapes of this vintage that continue their maturation, their storying.  This morning, walking the rows with a friend, I noticed, it came to me, the inevitability of a vintage.  It will happen.  Their will be grapes pulled and wine made.  The writer must develop as nature does: inevitably.  Tonight on the porch, sipping the Pride Syrah with Dad on the porch as little Kerouac played with his friends in minutes remaining before they were called away to bath and or bed.. he said, Dad, “It looks like something could come from these clouds,” meaning rain or some front.  That’s natural, that’s more than just simply predicted– it’s definitively systematic.  The writing need be the same, part of my climate and system and yes the wine to me codes but I entrench in my convictions and out carry my mission.  Again at the pictures, the onset of real pigment and life and visual– me lost in the night and my session, looking at bottles on counter, by kitchen– the SB and the Pinot, SRJC, that I opened a couple nights past.  And now this glass of barrel-borrowed Pinot, 2013, oh that amazing vintage– why are so many so quick to IMG_6922forget about 2012?  I’ll never get that.  And I’ll never get the innerworkings of the wine life and world and circle.  Tired, and bent from Pinot and not knowing where I’m going with this narrative– can’t wait for the novel to be done, what Mass’ does with his life and how he figures all into his story, what he wishes and what he sees, what he does wit his adjuncted reads.  My mind’s not the most sound it’s ever been, but I’m writing looking at pictures I shot this morning of Kevin and I walking that block and how the story correlates to my permanency here in this stage and moment– wish I were on travel, on some street and in some hotel unknown– is that not the life that we all want, the unknown and the unexplored?

IMG_6910Last sip–  Yes.  I know I’m one with wine and I can’t get away, not from the biological effect but from IMG_6909the character code it poses to my persona and Personhood.  I remember the first wine that really told me something, something– a 2000 Merlot, from a larger producer– An old song, Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”, comes on, and I think and think and imagine me, the world and the time and whatever– confused and contorted– others talk but I don’t listen, at all, because they talk.  I want to feel and think and postivize, that’s me and my aim, disposition.

Can’t thank my wife enough for the coffee– can’t wait to wake and not run but just write and look at these pictures more.  But now, I drink this Pinot that my “friend” set aside for me in “her office”.

(6/27/15)

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Walking to the adjunct cell,

where I now sit and write I heard a student behind me, young girl with two other girl friends, say “Well I want to be a teacher.” Not sure what I thought or how I thought what I thought after hearing her say that, but now I think “good for her”.  It’s a positive that some still want to educate and do what they’re passionate about in education.  Again I have no idea where I’m going with this or where I wanted to go but her words stuck to and with me–  Now I’m tired, and not in much mood to do anything but relax, with wine, with words and a book and read for once, only ‘cause I want to, not to review the assigned chapters I assigned for lecture’s sake– and now I can’t concentrate.. real life.. insurance and life.. life, always with its intrusions–  And Alice calls back to tell me everything is fine.  Now I need a glass.  Of something.  Pinot most likely, the Shone Farm Pinot I bought yesterday at Oliver’s.  The MOCK IMG_6863-1SOMM piece I wrote this morning has been for the most part edited, so I’ll post that soon.. was quite active at the winery with taking quick pictures, no notes as I wanted it all, the tasting-through of those Pinots and other discussions, the wine scores to the vintage and weather and what the vineyards could yield, to be kept in head.  To simmer and develop.. closer to my company, elevated thinking and visualization for the blog, and this ‘mikemadigancrEATive’ idea.  Having two wines sent to me from and Anderson Valley winery for review on blog, then more wine from another winery.  So, then you’ll ask, do I want to be a wine critic or judge or journalist?  I don’t know!  I just understand about this Mike Madigan, the one sitting here in the adjunct cell that I want to stay close to wine and I want to write about it and represent certain brands, or labels, in some new creative way.  Definitive and decided; punctuated with passionate forward with my own oeno-fervor.

IMG_6864-0My lecture for the night, for 100, planned, and I listen to this music and collect myself, and know I’ll do my best, and I think of Poe in his Philosophies on Compositions, on how convictions and the Artist’s sentiment is delivered and derived.  And, like Him, I won’t reveal too much.  Why should I?  Ask a winemaker how they did what they did, they give you the convenient version, the one they want you to hear and the telling they’re assured you’ll accept.  And good for them.  Why reveal too much?

I remember when I would walk campus and tell my friends one day I’ll teach at the college level, be a ‘Professor’.  And here I am, not with the demeanor or actuality I saw myself having..  But I AM teaching.  And I have wine.  And moreover I have my words and pages–  The MMS to greet this world.

(6/24/15)

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MOCK SOMM: Scherrer Winery, Sonoma County, Grenache, 2012

IMG_6783Some would throw at me, “How much liveliness can you expect from a Grenache?” I understand, am with your angst, I didn’t expect this much persuasive quality either.  In the introduction of palate, you’re greeted by rich, believable, animated fruit and coupled with a concise and softened spice, abiding the texture which I had to sip repeatedly to fully embrace and conceptualize.  One word for this bottle: dulcet.  Certainly a musical revolution and ambrosial arrangement that demands the fixation of senses all.  And with its phenolic entrenchment, it’ll go for years.  Who knows how many.  This writer won’t wait on his, as I was so smitten and stuck in its song, I’m coerced and intellectually reimbursed to again tilt glass–  poetry and speed and slow seduction, a delicious and pivotal dichotomy of rhythm and recital, talking to me and telling the free-spirited Beat in me to keep sipping and sit on the porch and watch life pass, don’t worry, Grenache is meant to be light, swaying and sent in song–  In its truth, it tells you to again sip, and notice how it evolves and changes its instrumentation of flavor bestowal– cherry now, and light reverberant strawberry.  And there, with sip three, or five, I have total enveloping symphony, a euphonious consonance of varying flavor and essence suggestion.

This is not merely a matter of being impressed by a wine or the varietal or the winemaker’s IMG_6784interpretation thereof; it’s what the wine said to me: “This is life, what you sip.  I…  Am. Life.”  And I don’t contest, at all.  And to the skeptics of Grenache, you need this bottle meet!  Be taught something.  Be humbled.  Be bewitched.  Learn something about your “palate” and how you see wine before you again say something about the light but loud Rhône.  Another step lift, and again, I’m taught.  Sip sip……..

MM93

(6/24/15)

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wine thought 4

Sometimes I just stare.  At the vineyard and the wine in the glass– IMG_6549sometimes it’s not about tasting or drinking, but just observing; all the people at the counter or bar or whatever you want to call it and just listen to them talk about wine and what wine means to them.  THEIR wine thoughts.  The Peace of it all, the Zen behind the glass’ contents; observation and thought and reflection, and I mean real reflection–

And this could be wrong but who’s to say, who’s to say anything about how one reacts to and interacts with wine?  I still just watch the puddle, that deep purple, or black, or dark dark purple sea, and it stares back at me, with grateful docility.

(6/23/15)

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wine thought 3

IMG_6844And the rest of the Pinot, what I opened last night.  Needed after a day, and this Pinot sympathizes, understands the beating I took today; working in a tasting room then teaching.. the wine’s there for me and me for it, interpreting and telling its story, best I can.  The wine encourages freedom, and not just this Pinot…  All wine.  No guidelines for expression, no how-to’s, none of that nonsense.  It’s a lawless embrace, and my embrace is Pinot Noir, at least for tonight, and again.. I’m annoyed and the wine tells me to calm down, to let it go, and to write how you want– no laws and no casts, no binding, no cells.  Just a simple narrative sip, show, tell–

(6/22/15)

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wine thought 2

IMG_6657And on the red or white question I always answer both.  Be closed off to anything, why?  Why not be open and then decide?  My sister’s a winemaker, and she used to say she didn’t like Pinot.  Simple, plain.  And now she makes one of the most well-arranged and sculpted Pinots I’ve ever sipped.  So…  Always say yes, then formulate a well-thought opinion or perception.  Not that wine has to be over-thought, but there should be some thought, right?  Oh and Pinot, maybe I’m saying yes too much.  Maybe I should go back to Cabernet and with her run away– what if I.. what if I…  There needs to be more exploration for wine and this writer, so I can be in position to yell yes, more.  More travel, more removed corks, more blending, more blind tasting, more journey and just throwing Self to wine; more Education and Self-Education.. more Roaming–

(6/22/15)

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