Posts Tagged With: wine industry


He finished the glass and thought, thought about what he was supposed to think, of his first vintage, 2012, a Merlot, and what, what was he supposed to think.  He’d start his label, yes, but Merlot.. Merlot, so many hated Merlot and they didn’t even know why, why, who why what.  Merlot.  So he sipped and noticed an added vocal layer.  But maybe it was how much he’d sipped of his own, this bottle, the first, the first from his first vintage, and this was what he was to build, fight uphill, and more than a battle, a cabal to all.  But he was distracted by his thoughts and fascinations, dreams, and paintings internally–

Finished.  So another opened, so he could open possibility’s locket ere long.


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4/14/15 journal — “Tackle”

Done with 1B grading, and ready to leave. Will write more after class, planning on going to Redwood Café for some short fiction and a water with lemon.. no coffee, no more for me thank you.. or should I come back here, to the condo, which we’ll on inhabit for another 24 days or so, and nap? Oh how I wish I could nap now, but no, no I need to keep today in proper motion with the lectures and the short fiction ahead; the café and people waiting for their plates and coffees and people they’re meeting there.. and the conversation in 1B, centered around Baldwin and his views, his world views.. more later…..


Little Kerouac with his new truck…..

Classes done, no nap, and wasn’t in the mood to write, earlier. And who else to prompt me to pen but little Kerouac himself. We now, just back from store where I bought him a truck and now we have our usual end-of-day conversations and cartoons and play with trucks and cars and the usual chase down the hallway and through the kitchen. While driving he waved at all the trucks around us, and individually, methodically at the corner of Yulupa and Hoen. Why do I stress as I do, and why do I let so much bother me? Money and classes and so much that’s out of my control? Yesterday was given the greenlight to write about an Arista wine for the purpose of generating sales, case movements. I’ll write up some copy tonight, some short prose and post some pictures– but, shit, those were erased when I restarted the phone, I think… Yes, gone. But I refuse to let it bother me. If I do, then tech wins, and I’m taking my war with it quite seriously. More writing by hand and less of the typing but I’m typing now, that’s what the Story renders and I can’t be divergent with the Story, ever. I can’t afford to.
Now I’m in the living room seated, leaning against the couch, while check claims that he’s stuck between the arm and the endtable. I laugh while and after he says whatever he does in that dialect of his, the Jackie tongue.
Nothing to report, bored and still not in much mood to write. Just want to be lazy and watch Jack, no assignment or prompt around this moment-set. Now he engages me, running away when I threaten to get him.. here comes the ‘Daddy Monster’ I impend. And then we together laugh, hysterically sometimes. And now he’s back to his own language with a little bit of a higher octave to his words and this funny squished face he does.. I laugh now, and continue, don’t want

IMG_54479:36PM. Tomorrow I vow to wake early, and write track after track, just like a singer-songwriter locked in studio. But fiction, all fiction, short rushed panicked fiction. Back from Mom’s birthday dinner at this new spot, or relatively new stop in Windsor call.. what is it?– oh, ‘Kin’. no complaints, really. No, at all, none. Great service, great wine selection.. amazing Cab the waitress selected to pair with the burger I ordered (which was cooked flawlessly)– sometimes I feel I should be a food critic, or blogger, some tweeting foodie that just talks and tweets and posts and doesn’t care, just puts themselves out there– and why not? Why not do that with the fiction? With the small pieces? So much on mind right now with this new house and the sale of this condo and moving and Summer & Fall semesters, booking the Fall classes this Friday.. and work tomorrow….. Need breathe, just calm and forget about everything, just write and react to what’s here in front of my game, this adjunct plate, and not stop– a social media friend of mine, a blogger she is (not sure about what), said that “you can never put out enough”, referring to blog posts, tweets, material, copy and photography.. just put yourself out there, all of you, and some of her work isn’t precisely mind-strangling.. so if she can make a living doing what she does, then a writer like me, this writer here at this nook table, should have no problem transcending.. and why has it taken me so long? I’m just venting, and I should, I deserve to after what I’ve been through this last week and what’s been on my mind– the grading and the prep and the money and all arranged into that maturity box.
Sipping still water from glass, and getting tired. Bed, go soon, so you can wake early and what– vent to the page as you always do. IS that what Baldwin does? I find his essays scenic and instructional, but a tad prolix. He’s it, though, lived as a writer and done the traveling trek that I dream of, and when I listen to NPR in the morning, of these journalists traveling the world and seeing war and recording it and relaying the findings by page to us in America, I feel ferociously failed. And I know I shouldn’t. I can just hear Mom saying something like, “Don’t be like that, don’t doubt yourself.” OR, simply, “Stop.” And that’s why my mother is invaluable, and I have to note that today, on her birthday.. if it weren’t for her, I’d be nothing like this writer, here in the kitchen nook of the condo we’re about to sell thinking of the next words to write.. sip the water again, more than absolving.

Day, time to end. No more writing. Just living, thinking, like Mom told me earlier when I called her stressed, she told me to just sit and think, don’t write. And that’s what I need do now.. soon phone to be OFF, this devil laptop, too. And then to bed, and I have to note how thankful I am that I’m not in wine’s throws at current current.. just this water, Equilibrium, and thinking of the day’s lectures, this morning’s 1A especially, on the symmetry and value of living, being one of the living, that tomorrow’s not exactly assured.. now I enjoy my night, for thinking. Writing done.

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Connective Shelves

IMG_5372Sipping some of my wine, the ’12 NDC. That’s New Dad Cuvée, if you forgot. And I get not so much weepy, but .. no, not nostalgic.. just reflective, and realizing that I can make wine and have my own label and write about it if I wish and create some new story for this writer. Discerning this moment and how the wine amalgamates with my current sentiment.. the adjunct war, coming to an end as I want it to– no surrender, no armistice, no walkaway. I’m sipping, here in the nook, to a bottle I, with much help from my friend Blair, produced. And I have to settle on varietals, I know. Don’t want Pinot. Just Cab, and SB, and Merlot.. that’s it. All Bordeaux. This sip… The Cabernet romps silence the Grenache assertions (and Grenache is the lead voice in this assembly, as I recall..). I feel this wine is its own occult oscillation, with the dark notes and visual, with the undercurrent of conviction and avant-garde story.. this wine speaks to me, and I made it!– Well, with Blair’s help. I’m not winemaker, but I’ve made wine with the activity and prowess of IMG_5371professionals. And here I am, after a day completely enraptured in the thought of wine, and I think more, about the winery I today visited and the Pinot I took home and the other wines I tasted in that rustic garage-like cove, making me think of what I can write and what I can do with wine and what I can write to while I do what I do with wine– postmodern repetition and mirroring; the Plath realization looking at the puddled cogitation in this bowl, this night’s pouring vessel. I’m just rambling I know, but like I said this was a night and day of wine…
Tomorrow, Ross’ funeral. I guess I’m ready, and I guess that’s why I’m sipping with such fervency. Who knows. I’m not blaming Uncle Ross, not at all, I’m blaming me, and my inability to decide that death is integral in this existential equation. I’m the problem, as I’m a writer; I’m to blame, I’m a writer, and death is everywhere, and I can’t hide from it; I’ve evaded it once, defeated it, to be technical and keep score, but I know it wants another scuffle with this Beat, so what do I do? For the moment, just enjoy the wine Blair and I made..

Now: still with caramel and raspberry and minty earth and herb. Need to share this, and the Merlot Blair with me aided, with the Arista faction. And soon. Saturday, then.. decided, for the next episode of the ‘cast Tome and I shoot every week.

IMG_5351Scattered in my thinking and I know tomorrow wil try me but I’ll continue, and stay in writer mode even though Tobias Wolff said in that lecture, specifically, that if you’re a writer at a funeral you should take time to grieve, not observe– but I have to disagree. I can’t just de-activate it, as some do, or can, or think they can.

So the wine’s done, and so am I. So till tomorrow, where I bid adieu to my uncle, my father’s brother…..


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Mock Somm: Sheldon Wines, Roma’s Vineyard/Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir, 2012

Virile and musical, rousing modulation with a pursuant pace on palate; light red fruit with earth and tea, spice and seductive sensibility; this is voice, the IMG_5365kind of rhyme I look for in a Pinot or any other wine, and I’ve never tasted here before so this was a bottle that made me subscribe, already envisage my return. Upon olfactory initial, I’m in redolent exchange, observing all dimensions in that cranberry, or earthly pomegranate, or rhubarb– I don’t even know what rhubarb is. Again, I’m not a somm– No, I know WHAT it is, just not what it tastes like, sorry. I’m not rounded, like a somm.
IMG_5354This Pinot stands as that poetic Pinot that I’m always looking for, the low ALC giving the fruit saunter a an invitation to be observed and appreciated.. again, musical, jazzy, Hutcherson on his keys, with the random shuffles and syncopation.. the romantic cryptogram, me thinking, thinking and fantasizing of my sip next. It’s Beat and pages set on palate telling it’s own story, and the winemaker/owner Dylan and I discussed today, there’s depth in this pour, in this bottle, here in this 13.5% ABV Pinot. “How can it be deep or have depth if it’s so ‘light’,” I just hear someone challenging. Well, that’s a whole ‘nother exchange. With this bottle’s submission and today’s visit I define depth as intrigue, innovation; enticing evasiveness and resplendently interactive transcendence; its own haunt, if you will. And that’s the lore of Pinot, but here it actually materialized. This is a Pinot that questions and answers.. vanguard and phantasm. My senses are wholly hexed, charmed, coerced in the palatable octave of this ’12.

Okay, so now a rating. I have to do that, even as a Mock-Somm.. so.. I don’t know… 96. “Where’s the other 4 points?” you’ll pose. “Okay,” I act, “I could have given it 100, and I want to, I’m just trying to seem sagacious, in the luscious loom of such a laudable and attractively actuated Pinot.”

So… ‘MM 96’

(But MM 100, if you promise not to tell…..)

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1 Ounce, 2 Ounce, 3, 4, 5

I think about wine, and what it must be like to make it and watch it intimately in its evolution. The winemaker, the one making it, loving it and establishing closeness to it, an intimacy that only they, the Makers, relate to. So I sip and stare at the wine, this Pinot, in glass; what it’s been through, what did they do to it and how does it see me, just the sipper, the consumer, the opinionated. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I somehow want that closeness. I want wine to love me as the Makers love it, and I want to love It as the Makers do. So what to do, what do next, how to shift paths, careers, or not careers but presence, so soon, so sudden, so needed. It, this red, this Pinot, these pours, brought me here. I thank by sipping. And so slow.

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Mock Somm: St. Francis Winery, Dry Creek Valley, Petite Sirah, 2012

I’ve always loved Petite Sirah but this bottle contains more persuasive and IMG_5337proselytizing qualities than most PS interpretations I’ve tasted.. the inaugural contact is not just charming, it’s vocal and musical, with soft but thick and rich floral and chimes of cherubic chocolate framings. Or, lavender? Or violet. This wine is not just reflective of St. Francis’ prominent éclat throughout Sonoma Valley, and the wine world definitively, but as well the ’12 vintage, and the curious capacity that Petite Sirah carries. I, as do others, even the might master somms with all their accolades and menus they’ve designed and talks they’ve given, have always found the type itself a bit evasive, hard to define. But whatever it is, this bottle does more than the mere expected template judicature. Here I’m sipping innovation, a new interpretation.

IMG_5336And the traditional somm will strike! Move to protest and the self elevation inflammation.. “This isn’t Petite Sirah.. something so smooth.. where are the tannins? Why doesn’t it have more smokey notes? Why doesn’t it have…” Huh? Why does it “have” to have anything? Why not a new interpretation of the varietal and provide consumers with a new song? Again, I’ve always loved Petite Sirah, but this bottle by one of my favorite Sonoma County houses has me singing, has me thinking of what other reds they’ll provide me, the apotheosis of a ‘big red’, from the house of big reds. The texture I could carry on about for the entire entry. So what should I score it?… I have to score it something, grade it– “Aren’t you and English Professor? What grade would you give it?” It’s wine.. I don’t grade wine. I just enjoy. And the one’s I don’t, I don’t write about. This bottle, as stated, sings, captures, colludes. And I follow. In sip… Ok.. so….. 98 Points. Or do I write it “MM 98”?


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Tired and lazy,

cluedknot and sluggish, after dinner at Mom and Dad’s, and after viewing the house that we both want ours. I sip my night’s cap, Racer obviously and try to push through my tired talk inner; today, wishing I would have run earlier but I didn’t– BUT I did get over 1,000 words into novel, mostly dialogue, developing further Mr. Massamen’s character well’s his friend’s. And for the first time in my writing Life, a character taught me something, as I was writing his lines; what I should do and how I should view wine.. tonight, two wines tasted, a SyrahIMG_5286 made by my sister’s friend (PRIDE) and the Pinot my sister bottled.. both with song and vibrant message, but I have to say the ’11 Syrah from Pride had me more observant, attentive, attracted. And then I ask myself, “Which could I sell easier through words, through posts to this blog, or just ‘period’?” I’d say the Pinot, on varietal alone and the body and progression of the wine is such that the pedestrian palate would be more reactive, conversant with its notes. But, that Syrah, to a learned sipper, which I somewhat see my Self, has more magnetism, more.. wine on mind, and what I can do with it; how I can write about it, bend it, drink more of it to become more unified in its IMG_5285symphonic sorcery, and why me? ‘Cause I want to write, and about it, about wine, sip it and think about it and sing from it.. and when on the Road, in my hotel room I won’t go out but stay in the room and write down singular words, whatever comes to mind while I sip, thinking of my son and my wife and any other child we have and what they’re doing while I’m out, on that Road, making money to pay for our new home.
I’ve decided, I do want to make wine this vintage, some Cab or Pinot.. thinking Cab. I love Pinot and yes I am currently in a Pinot basilica, but I’m one of the Bordeaux ball, and I have to dance so.. so….. I’ll again talk to Mark soon and see if I can secure a bit over a ton of Cab, maybe from Dry Creek.. or AV. And I’ll take notes each step, type and print and document my trail as a winemaker, even thought I’m nothing of a winemaker, just a writer wishing to make wine to write about the process and how his character changes– to get close to wine as principle.IMG_5287

I look at the wine, in the glass I hold angularly and think about all the time that went into what I’m about to sip, write about then forget. Those picking these grapes left their families at who knows how early, worked harder than most of us ever will (certainly this writer!). Want to write about that, too, I realize.. the vineyard crew. One think I can thank K—- for is the chance to film that, in ’12, waking early and leaving my family, but not to pick, just to point a camera and shoot.. need to revisit that footage; how they moved and the way the lights picked the certain scenes from the estate, the rounded landscape.. I’m again seeing, and it started this morning, in the dark, while my allergies me pummeled.

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Pinot note–

IMG_4969Tomorrow morning, get right to grading, then writing. I know, didn’t follow with my vision of having all prepped tonight, and graded. I know. But here I am, writing and planning for what will be done in morrow. Alice staying home and taking Kerouac and his little girlfriend Addison to school. I should probably let both sections out early, giving me more time to write, and plan, brainstorm, contribute to this ‘secret page collection’. On our walk this afternoon, J and Alice and I, thought about careers as I always do and what’s mine, what’s mine.. the Adjunct War, just material for the novel (which I finally started writing today, the Massamen piece.. 3 pages! … My new 3-page-a-day project, but not for 100 days, not sure how long). Not wine, but if I write about it and only write about it, then I have something Literary and marketable.. ick, “marketable”. But I have to think in that toll to some point, no? I want to move my family out of this condo, and if not out of Santa Rosa then to a more pictured parcel of it.
The wine tonight, a ’13 RRV Pinot from Decoy– I mean Migration (another of Duckhorn’s battalion of labels). Never had this wine before, and I don’t yet IMG_4968have some “official” opinion, but I am sipping and enjoying and thinking about future, the future, my future and career as a writer. Last sip, I saw myself at a bar, in a hotel, on tour with my lectures, not book, speaking at a nearby university on Deconstruction and Popular culture.. and there… just had an idea for tomorrow. Not going to scribble it in the Comp Book. If it’s meant to stay it will! The wine now takes me to the road, the different shades and street lights I’ll see; the traffic lights and how some are obviously different than those here in Bennett Valley while others are loudly different, like they were constructed by other measurement systems, or other dialectics, other cultures. And they were. The Pinot encourages travel, it instructs me to instruct like something’s going to be lost in my character if I don’t. Again thinking of my sister and her travels and hoping she takes time to write, write about what she sees and what she does and who she is.. a maker of what people like me sip. I’m no expert, but I’m connected to my senses, and I’m vocal, –I’m a WRITER– this wine’s forcing me to write and sit in this nook chair, staring at the flowers my sister-in-law sent her sister/my wife, wishing recovery.. and I recover, I’m revived and see more, see more than ‘more’ is defined.
Life short. And I’m not stopping, and not sipping too much as that will only me slow. I can’t afford to decline even slightly in pace. But I breath, watch my fingers as they jump and skip and overconfidently cropdust the keys, hitting only what they want– frankly I’m not writing this now, it’s the moment in a concerted succession with the wine and these literary fingertips– With Hemingway on my mind, his Feast and the Sea, the Sun, his Farewell.. so much reading more to do– This Pinot tells me to calm and mimic it. I can’t, but I see what it would urge such. About half a glass on the counter behind the writer/adjunct.. position different, my terrain sub rosa and calculated. New thesis.


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Arista Visit: Aghast

IMG_4828 I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t been there in years. And when I finally parked in that enrapturing lot, I nearly forgot where I was. Not to sound self-anointing, but it takes a bit more than a just ‘a bit’ to stun me, or impress me, or move me with wineries anymore, and this includes everything from the elemental atmosphere and arrangement of an estate’s physical nature, to the wine portfolio, to the hospitality, to “value”, or price point. But I was. With all those facets. I was muted. I was taught… The first I sipped was a ’13 Gerwurztraminer, which not only prided a new take on this styleIMG_4826 and varietal, but as well the overall texture and presentation of the wine’s personality; soft floral and playful, air to finish. And the Chardonnay.. well… You know I’m not Chardonnay chaser, and it’s even more strangely uncommon to see me taken by the oftentimes excessively buttered Burgundy bull. No.. this bottle offered the artful sway I hope for with Chardonnay but never see, never feel, am left left hoping that it’s out there somewhere. And yesterday I finally met it. And was smitten.
IMG_4829Between the whites and reds, I thought to myself, “Why HAS it been such a time since I visited? Not just the winery but AVA?” But then I realized it didn’t matter. “I’m here, now,” I thought, and I nearly didn’t know where ‘here’ was, which only suggested that I genuinely was paralyzed with pleasurable impression, bemused.
IMG_4833IMG_4832Then the Pinots, three totaled. All 13’s, one from Anderson Valley, another from Mendocino Ridge, then a classic very wooing Russian River portrait. Even if you’re not part of the relatively recent Pinot craze you’ll be lassoed by one of these, if not two or all. For me, I fell for the Mendo’ Ridge, and for not only the fruit composition and enumerated suggestion of the wine IMG_4834(raspberry, light cherry and cream coupled with an earthy rustic tea.. or something… Just know I was caught.). I wanted a bottle of all three but I had to be somewhat withheld, and looking left, out at that estate and that living space on the hill (imagining I was there for an afternoon, looking over the rows and blocks with a midday Chard splash, splashes, scribbling whatever the property was telling me), I had an inner skirmish. All teaching me something. I found a new majestic morsel, in the valley I rarely get to visit, and still don’t know that well. Now I have more warrant to more frequently return. And I want more, more…

The next night, with family over, I open my Mendocino Ridge Pinot. Yes, maybe I should have waited but I thought ‘no, I’m a writer, I don’t do that, and life is short so drink it with family..’. This bottle had all the same spell but for some reason more augmented, more staccato in its skip and sensory saunter. Just warrant to go back, soon, soon! Bring home more…..

note: Arista means “beautiful, like a bride” in Farsi, and “the best” in Greek. How cosmically logical!IMG_4837

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Critic Bull, not just “critical”

Coffee ready.  Utterly drained from yesterday.  Was reading an article about a writer/blogger who was murdered, read yesterday on lunch at the little Mexican place across the street from Oakville.  He wrote about religion, from what I gathered, as well as freethinking and Atheism.  I’ll confide I didn’t read the entire article, but enough to be haunted by the idea today, of going from one thing (job) to writing and blogging for a living.  And he was murdered for his beliefs, essentially, and again from what I can remember.  So many tell me to watch what I say and be careful what I write and post to the blog in fears of backlash, or fallout, or making it harder to find some measly job in the wine industry again that would pay spit seeds.  That’s what I’m holding back for?  That’s for what I’m self-muting?  Not anymore, not longer.  Ugh…  I’m 36 nearly, and with a son who thinks highly of me, loves me, but would his opinion be contrasted and reformatted if he were older and saw what I was doing in the wine terrain?  And what am I doing?  What am I hoping to accomplish?  Huh.. ‘accomplish’…  I can’t accomplish a thing, or advance, or be promoted, how?  They make sure that doesn’t happen.  Even my sister who’s a winemaker for a large producer is held back or only allowed to build, or accomplish, so much.  And she’s loved when there’s something highly scored but then when a bottle perhaps isn’t heralded in mainstream or is put on the cover of some drooping wine page-pool (magazine, which is focused on ads not so much or not at all the writing and the actual content, if you could call it that).  And another article, where some critic of Vladimir Putin was murdered, just the other day, and he too had a blog and wrote and started his own movement, if you would.  There are people dying out there for causes not even punctuated on and proximal to their heart but completely comprising their heart.  And these wine industry people think that what they do and what they represent and sell makes the world.  I know, I know there are exceptions, many actually, in fact I met on the other day for coffee (Friday, right?  Yeah Friday..).  This man, also expecting his first child, was kind, gentle, inviting of my thoughts and perspectives on wine and life, and just listened.  He was in no rush and didn’t try to dominate the discussion even though I would have been fine with that as I was sitting there, at the SBUX on Vine St. to listen to him, not give him some lecture and share what I’ve shared here.  So I’m reasonable, I want you knowing.  But I won’t be quiet about what happened to me the 2.5 years on the estate, and with days like yesterday, where I didn’t pour or talk about one wine but rather…  You know what, it’s not important.  Today is new, and I’m excited to be back in the tasting room.  Just know my eyes are open, I’m writing and posting all to this blog, and I’m a writer/professor before anything else, and I want Jackie and my next child to know so, to see so.  Oh.. almost forgot about coffee.

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