Posts Tagged With: Wine Journal

NaNoWriMo (excerpt/standalone article)


And why wine.. for the narrative, for the story, for the love and life of her.  Across varietals, wines should be described as character and story, story in character and characters in a multitude of stories.  Like the blend I sipped last night, one I made in 2012 with a buddy, and now I’m here three years later still learning and evermore appreciative of the Roman-like presence of wine in the world’s collective and individualized momentums.  Wine’s its own scholar, its own study, and I don’t want to be anything more than a student, ever-learning and ever-growing with the ebb of innovation, from the Earth to winemaking approaches and methodologies–  Wine provides the writer an escape and a tally of rewarding inner-storms.

Stopping in my typed mayhem, I remember the first day working behind a bar, pouring wine for guests coming from everywhere it seemed in the world just to be at that counter, at that moment, to taste those wines.  That’s always provoked me to get closer to wine’s epicenter and intrinsic palatable parcels.  Wine is always inviting the lover and curious sipper to get closer.  It doesn’t exclude, it doesn’t judge, and I don’t think it very much wants to BE judged.  Just enjoyed.  Yes, I know, wine judgings and competitions, scorings, publications, blogs like this one.. I get it.  But at its most principal of principles, wine wants communication; the occasion.  That vie, cet amour.

When I drive from my home in Santa Rosa and east on 12, I’m reminded, that it’s everywhere, this story, and I need to commit to the story.  The story, wine’s narrative and cascade of short imagist disclosures, has done its part, very much, in fact ten times over and over; Repeated again from pure civil urgency, an exhausting kindness.  So I need to answer and keep driving, to Sonoma, over to Napa, stop in Calistoga in some tasting room I’ve never been in and taste, and keep tasting, write what I feel and capture the moment and know intimately this ‘why’…  Why I’m here, why wine wants me here, and why I want wine to want me here writing about her.

My notes from last night, on my own winemaking effort, reading them this morning after a rushed-sip sequence of coffee, teaches me to move slower with her, that she need to be listened to, not string-pulled, not steered, just let to speak.  My notes read like some cookie-cutter tasting room menu, “Wild Cherry, Chocolate, slight cinnamon, milky texture.” ‘What the hell’, I say to myself.  Wine deserves much more than that.  She needs MORE than ‘more than that’.  She needs time, measure, attention and always a more wanton writing than I last night gave.  She gave me a story, chapters and dialogue, images, and she knows I’m not the most wild plot enthusiast, so she lets me decide that.  She’s kind.  I need to be more a mirror, and reflect what’s on the other side, in that vineyard over there off Adobe Canyon Road, and over there off 29.  Everywhere and everything.  For her, me.

Wine, writing…  “Wine,” I call to her, “I’m still writing.”

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MOCK SOMM: Quick Sips

Stephen & Walker, 2013 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon —

IMG_9538Inveigling quality from start of sip to summation; one of those Cabs that makes you stop and reconsider your position on Cabernet even if you think yourself a ‘Cab person’.  Celestially structured fruit at its epicenter with atmospheric acidity and texture.  Easily age-worthy, but quite communicative now.  Indeed a new translation of Cabernet but a wine, standalone, that sings a song demanding attention with every parcel of its personhood.  When poured by Mary in the S&W tasting room, I had a hard time interpreting this bottle as its voice and consistency was so much better structured than most if not all the Cabs I’ve recently tasted.  (MM93)

Landmark Vineyards, 2013 Carneros Chardonnay —

Another Chardonnay that orders me and makes me shut my mouth.  No IMG_9518more defamations.  Everything from the apple and pair suggestion that I hope for and the comforting acidic envelopment.. love, just Burgundy love.  It’s a cosmic accost, a wine that challenges you and silences you if have that Chard’ aversion that so many claim to have.  And I’m one of them, or was.  Not with this bottle.  Believable, non-contrived, convincing and coated in charisma, from nose to palate and finish…  You’ll search for Chardonnays of this fold, but such effort’s imbued in implausibility.  They’re not there.  This bottle boasts distinction and dimension; deliciously dualistic.  (MM94)

Sanglier Cellars, 2012 Alexander Valley Merlot —

IMG_9581Confrontationally wooing with is vocal gravity, how it evades criticism and any fashionable dismissal of Merlot.  You’re greeted with depth and versatility, dark fruit and gothic texture to this interpretation of the embattled Bordeaux type– but this wine won’t let you stop sipping, nor will it allow that banishment.  There’s composition in what you sip here; coherence and a theatric savoriness that’s unusual for Merlot.  There’s no warrant for hesitation here, and no call for any stereotyping.  This bottle continues narratively in its development and kindness, with flavor flashes repeating and subduing any Merlot stubbornness.  Rather, while tasting your thoughts dance, calypso, salsa, tango.. you’ll change.  (MM93)

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MOCK SOMM: Casual Vino-er Tonight

Can only write so much, I’m finding.  Behind on my daily NaNoWriMo contribution.  Over 200 words short.  I’ll make that up in the morrow, I’m hoping.  Had too much of the tortilla soup, so I’m uncomfortable, but I bought a ’13 Chalk Hill Pinot, Sonoma Coast to pair with.  Not at all disappointing…  In fact, much more energetic and prominent than I expected for a Sonoma Coast.  I’ll have one more glass before bed.  Maybe that will push me over 1,786.  My daily aim.  And if not, I’ll make up the balance in the early day, tomorrow.

If I had to score this wine, I guess it’d be somewhere around 90, or 91.  It’s nice, but nothing too commanding or innovative or moving about its general consistency.  To me, anyway.  But what do I know.  I’m not a wine critic, or judge, certainly no expert.  I just write about it and disclose what I’m sipping every now and again.

Wine should bring with it humility, and inspire sippers to be more humble, more human and gentle in their presence and way.  Want to write more about wine but I can’t now, tired and uncomfortable, like after Thanksgiving dinners, sittings with family where you have that stuffing again, again…

So this last glass, bottle open for well over 3 hours.. will be interesting to see how the texture has morphed and repositioned itself.  Tired from day.. lecturing the two 1A’s..  But I’m too tired to now really revel in my wave of reading and interpretation.  Watching some numb and numbing reality TV show, what’s left of the program my wife start but’s still on.


I’ll focus on this Pinot, what I just sipped, last from glass, and yes much more color and affection from the wine’s nucleus and expressive turns.  The character now, what I just sipped, what I look for in all wine– dynamism, a quaint cubist recline, sipped ballad strut.  So, score changed–  And to be frank, I don’t want to be one of those wine writers with their silly scores and closed-door attitudes.  This ’13 Chalk Hill Pinot’s one that I’ll again visit, and be in better position for reaction and reflection, more glassed introspection.


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MOCK SOMM: Anthill Farms Winery, Mendocino County, Comptche Ridge Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2012

IMG_9276That wooing style of Pinot I love, and chase, but rarely find.  But I have it now, oh do I have it now with the rose pedal flirtation and light red fruit with understated but still altogether relevant vanilla, encircling my senses with its little urging vignettes of flavor and voltage– olfactory momentum only augmented by what greets the tongue– syllabic syncopation and thorough exploration of the varietal’s ebb and origin.  Mendocino, more and more ardent in its stage presence and voice– even as the hour onward urges I write for this wine and not that it needs me to I just note so I don’t forget; this Pinot’s one I want to remember far after the bottle’s left vacant on the countertop, there just looking back at me, knowing it has me and its spell quite affective, it won I lost and I’m more than at peace with the peace it gave me, a piece of it mise en scèn, its ubiquitous aura and rush about my stages, imagined and actual, lost in the Pinot path again and I’m like an ant, looking for something, not food or any substance but reason, why it took my so long to find the farm, this shape of Pinot and these chapters that I sipped– the bottle looks back at me from the counter and I feel regret and victor syncopatedly.  I walk over to the bottle and just stare at the label, want to know more about so I do some research and now understand why I’m so driven and drawn to its design– they catalyzed humbly and understand and remain so.  Or not so, as this bottle can’t be ignored, passed, or spoken over, or for.  This is my rile reconfiguring my rationale, so pardon–  It’s autonomous and quite vaunting about its phenolic jargon.  Still talking to me, even after the last glass which I finished well over ten minutes ago.

This wine has me on its mission, to realize Pinot’s innermost character, the compounding of delicacy and assertiveness.  And as oxygen saunters into its makeup the floral notes and theses of vanilla and cinnamon, maybe saturated forest soil or something, present themselves and with artful rhythm.  And the Literary qualities?  Everywhere, in all stages of its development and stance, it doesn’t taper or fade or relent in its spell.  Narrative, development, contradiction and plot anomolies… and if I’m one of the ants on the farm I’m more than elated with such, my new story sipping this Pinot form.  I’m more than certain most I know haven’t tasted a Pinot of this expressive elevation.  Or maybe I’m wrong.  Either way this should be studies, not duplicated– well, it won’t be, it can’t.  Only by its creators.

Its own scenery, ambient consistency it how lassos your attention.  Like staring at the ocean, or walking in the Mendocino woods, there’s pace in this bottle.  Vineyard Zen couriered to the glass, and now to the writer– our narratives again soon hopefully meet.  And now I think more about what it said, what it commanded–  And I go back to my glass.  Another visit.



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1,000 words — barrel 1

Starting with yesterday now, Friday, as I had no time to type yesterday except for in the adjunct hole– immediately after class heading to car but when to wrong lot.  Parked in the spaces opposite side of Solano’s campus.. too much here to explain and far too boring to recount for me so I move.  Move on–  All day yesterday thinking of myself as a wine grape, and vine, and winemaker, budgeting time in my head as I couldn’t scribble while driving, and smelling ferm’ the whole way on 12, nearly.. nearing 3PM I had to decide what to eat, and I didn’t want to ingest any poison from the corporate fastfood dragons as I’ve shamefully done a couple times in weeks recent.. so I stopped at the Safeway on 4th, ordered a turkey&cheddar on soft roll– they didn’t have soft rolls, so then sourdough rolls.  No– “Do you have sliced sourdough?” She grumpily slugged to the other side of the counter, in back by a small fridge, she found some atop, held them, the bagged slices, up saying nothing.  “Great,” I said.  Got to my parked car in shade and devoured it– didn’t get a Coke as I thought of doing but rather a water, holding myself to the recent declaration and affirmation of getting back into running shape.  Finished sandwich, wondering what else the day’s story would tell me as a winemaker, grape or vine– time budget but not too planned, stay poetic and artful and whimsical, let no outside plans or forces fragment your fortitude.  Wanted so bad to call the 200 Mendo class, but no, I stayed on 101 North and again in Geyserville smelled the fermentation but this time with some exponent to it, it was speaking directly to my receptors, telling me to drive on deeper into the wine world and don’t stop, don’t change your vision or direction, to intensify my momentum and don’t secondguess yourself or you’ll never make wine, or write, like my sister said..the day now evermore speaks to me, yesterday the 15th, the Ides of October, it’s midpoint where I gather and inventory and see jazz in the bare vines where so many see desolation and the grapes’ absences, I see promise and new chapters, a finished novel, or memoir, a capture or literary leaps from the soil and the winemakers that translate.  And in class, once finally on campus I exploded with offerings and ideas from Plath’s Jar’d pages, her character Esther in all her emotions and struggles and emotional struggles, I realized that I onward trot in my reflective vineyard Literary lots– memoirs, short fiction novels poetry essay sketch or vignette, it’s all there for me to write.  And driving home, that cruel and challenging Mendocino dark, 101 South, I pretended I was Dad, flying over the North Atlantic after fueling the Passat and rewarding myself and my performance in class with a Dr. Pepper.  And the drive, not as bad as I remember, as it has been I should say the past few times with the nervousness and the closecalls and the lights blinding me and me steering in guess, hoping I stay on the bloody road.  And once in Cloverdale, I could relax (and after a traffic buildup from a flagger, result of a repaving construction project which I get but nonetheless a pain for the Beat adjunct who just wants to get home), sip the Road soda and enjoy my flight.  All yesterday, interesting with the grading in the adjunct hole, the run-in with that staring Math “professor”, the walk in the vineyard before I even really started the Solano drive, and all the meditation on my drives–  I know Plath felt this at so many points in her life, if she were going the right way, at the right speed, and when would the fruit come.  Winemakers are all Plathian in their professional movement, not so much secondguessing Selves but still wrapped in their calculations, and wonderings, wanderings through barrels and which chapters, or lots, best together blend.  But they stay tireless and keep with their aims and visions of the chapters, all the elements accosting them romantically and mythologically, the kalology of that palatable manuscript, vocality for a year and speaking for and to their reactions to conditions.  I want to be one of them and I will–  I already am, seeing each of my classes as a barrel, and this semester a blend, and which barrels do what to the pervasion of the story and the point being made by my typed efforts– all written and all meditated, thought over and under and diagonally with intensity I’ve never felt since now I see and feel the deadline, my daughter here in 59 days.

At the Hopper coffee spot, I sip from a 4 shot bomb and I need it, get these words on yesterday to the screen as it’s been stressing or at the very least perplexing me as to why I can’t detach from the scenes from yesterday glued to the walls of my cogitation.  Some weird writer syndrome I guess.  Tonight I’m planning on opening something but I’m not sure what.  Maybe I should go by bottle barn or– no, save money for writing projects.. but I need material!  NO, save money.  Wine writers can never have enough wine, one mentality, while the other, this current ME, says “there’s gottabe something in the cellar, something you haven’t tried before, something new, something for this YOU.  Save you money for Self-publishing, the business, the expansion.” Later today we have family pictures taken at St. Francis, one of their vineyards, as we did last year, and I know I’ll want to take pictures, or even write but won’t be able to like the drive yesterday but if it sticks as yesterday did, does, then it’s meant to be in prose.

This new character I’m thinking of…  How to carve, craft– compose.  She doesn’t drink wine.  In fact, she doesn’t drink anything, but rather paints, sells her work.  Similar to an old character I used to write, but different.  I need wine to think outside this box I’m now in, I’m thinking as freely as I should be I know even with these four shots of espresso but I’m trying, trying, she walks into her studio and looks at all her materials, all the blank canvases and knows she has to fill them, but how and with what.  That Artist question–  And her name her name what.


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Thrall Depth

IMG_9018Finally at the desk to write freely.  Met with winemaker friend Jesse earlier, and before so met with Gary, former K—- friend for some tasting, the Stonestreet set.  Not a “bad” wine there, not in any respect or ramble.  In fact, I just finished my second glass from the Chardonnay I bought today.. nice oak ebb with syllabic fruit form and arrangement, placement.  Just another brilliant Chardonnay in this recent white wine rile I’ve been on.  Thinking what else I have to do tonight.. more house-keeping keeps; officialize website, order business cards…  I now see that this content marketing shop will interfere with certain or all writing urgencies– but “Mike Madigan, Author” is an mmc client, so not too much can off the ledge leap.  OH– want a night’s capping.  But what?  More Chard, or one of the Lagunitas?

Smelled the fermentation again today, just on the “Walk” patio, this morning, so now I’m promise a future in wine, making wine for my own label like my friend Jesse and touring the country for pourings and explanations as to why I made the wine I did and whatIMG_9024 food I’d pair it with– actually, I want to have food in mind while making my wines, as my sister explained at Dad’s 70th, while introducing the Chardonnay and telling a story of how Mom would not just cook to and with it but sip it as well.  Everything I do now is WINE, and all stories are wine-sewn, as so many people talk about terroir I seek to be one truly living it, like Glenn, like Jesse, like my sister– in the vineyard and seeing what the vines want us as winemakers to say.. now, we may not always agree, but there can be a certain syllabic synergy, most luminously.

Tomorrow I’m in the Sanglier tasting room, learning from Chelsea and learning more about their model and wines and how the wines are spoken, what they orate in the TR context–

IMG_9026Just checked on my little Beat, qualmless in his sleep, dreaming of things I;m sur eI have no idea how to interpret, jaded as I am with my age and advance life lording.  Night’s cap, at left, a Lagunitas.. should go in other room to watch what I want, something for next week’s lectures.. secured classes for next semester, today; a 5 and a 1A.  Remembering when I first started teaching and how eager I was and how I’d go anywhere and teach anywhere, any class and at any place– so eager and they know that they feed on it and us, our optimism and open bags, notebooks and car doors; we’re on the fucking freeway more than at that class’ helm.

But that stops for me.


This semester.

And next.

And after next, if I get to next, I’ll be a winemaker, writing fulltime and only having priority and universal impetus in my own layered notes and whimsical musings, all wine-riled and ruled.

Such kalological code.

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Latest St. Francis Visit, 9/29/15

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



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


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


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


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MOCK SOMM: Interview with Arista Winery Winemaker, Matt Courtney

I started by asking him what his “oenological voice” was, rather than just plainly what his style was in IMG_8912his mind.  He smiled lightly, and said that would be a question better suited for someone like me, a writer.  He then added that he didn’t think that most winemakers approached making wine with a style in mind, it’s more a matter of making the best wine you can, the most expression of site.  The “style” that so many address is more an understanding from the consumer’s mentality.  He said he can speak on what his goals are, his approach, and that is about as close as he could get to answering me–  But more than anything, he noted, “I want to make wines that are delicious, that are profound, but that are balanced.” And if you taste the Arista lineup, the appellation blends or single vineyard translations, Chardonnay or Pinot, you’ll appreciate this methodology and practice, as it’s palatably executed.

Matt’s character is empowered by his synthesis with his favored varietals, not inoculating with any commercial strains of yeast or malic bacteria.  You can blow out the nuances of a given site if you overwhelm it with commercial yeasts, he stated with low-volume, easing and nearly poetic rhythm to his speech.  The emphasis is on the vineyard, and doing an unprecedented familiarity with the vineyard site so that when the fruit comes in, it’s only a matter of shepherding the wine, as he said, through vinification.

“You are stripping something away, even if you improve it,” he says about fining and filtration.  Maximum amount of material in the bottle, he stressed.  I told him I found his style of winemaking as more “truthful”.  He preferred the word “transparent”, that gives the sipper the most optimal picture of the microclimate and geographic specificity where the wine comes from.  You’re stripping less away, you’re adding less.  It’s clear Mr. Courtney values the site where the Pinot and Chardonnay come from, and how that site can be tasted and the picture needs to be maintained, shepherded as he said.  “We’re measuring three times before we cut.”

Chardonnay and Pinot to this winemaker walk a funny balance, in that they can be light on their feet, as he specified, but also be complex and layered.  It’s a magic trick, he said, trying to have either of those varietals be that delicious dichotomy, keeping them interesting and captivating.  “I want people to go back for that next glass.”

He likes Chardonnay that’s diligent and develops in the bottle.  And with the Chardonnays he’s produced for Arista, since his start in 2013, we see this bright presence of fruit but yet this interesting palate weight and unique complexity, layered and savoringly compounded with flavor.  He said that Chardonnay and Pinot can be all things to all people in ways that other varieties can’t.  And that ties into this assertion of the magic trick.  There’s a special relationship with this winemaker and these two potentially moody varietals.  And his Pinots demonstrate the same verisimilitude and ardor as the Chardonnay, just ten, twenty-fold.  His Pinots provide this tasty spacial awareness.

Our talk was briefly interrupted by one of his crew members coming in to ask him a question, something about malolactic fermentation, or something.  Can’t remember precisely but it reminded me I was taking him from his day, that these winemakers, especially of this stratum, are always moving, always measuring three or four times then deciding, deciding…  So I had to close, quickly.  Of course Matt being the convivial chap he is didn’t say anything of any dire or rushed tenor, but I intensified my momentum. 

“Really quick, thoughts on ’15…” An interesting year in his mind, partially because of the drought, but as well attributed to the early bud break and the challenging weather during fruit setting.  Diminished yields in some sites, and some vineyards hit much harder than others.  But, in his words, “very variable”.  This will affect the amount of fruit yielded.  He also cited the uneven ripening and the heat spikes have provided challenges in their own arena, making it “interesting” as he said.  But he assures the wines in tank and in barrel are tasting quite good.

I told him that I heard some people, some winemakers say the shatter out there is “winemaker shatter.” He smirked, and said, “I don’t even know what that means.” But Matt expressed optimism about the wines that were fermenting and vinifying, and he again returned to this subject of shatter, and said that in some of his vineyards it didn’t harm the pick and eventual fermenting wines that much.

We returned to the topic of Arista, and what the winery, or label has done for him as a winemaker, and then I had to ask him which of his wines, notably the 13’s, is his favorite.  “That’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite,” he said.

“Which of your kids is your favorite?” I said, laughing, then he laughed, but he then disclosed that he holds a beaming affinity for the estate wines, the Two Birds and Harper’s Rest Pinots.  If you’ve ever had these wines before you can see why–  bold and complex, the volume and layered magical beauty of each…

We closed our conversation with the new production facility on the Westside property and getting the vineyards to where they want them to be, to always push the envelope of quality, getting the vines in better health, year to year.  Again, only optimism and a soft, understated but still vibrantly visible confidence about this winemaker, and for anyone loving wine, it rubs off on you.  You’ll walk away from the chat, length no matter, feeling closer to wine, closer to Arista if you’re already a fan.

“It’ll be a huge help for us in the cellar,” he noted, when the facility is on the property.  Getting more precise with irrigation strategies… vine-water status…  “There’s no limit to how good we can get, that’s what keeps it fun.” Again, the yay-saying sentiment I expected from him toward the end of our talk.  So his “style”, or his voice, if I can attach a new “descriptor”– balanced, just like what he aims to bottle year to year.  And, profound, whether he intends it or no.  Balanced in his tone, his demeanor, and his explanations.  Profound in his presence.

Oh, then there’s the extraordinary, magical wines he brings to fruitful fruition.  There’s that, too.  So, I, the writer, goes back for that second glass.


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Centered and Not Copied

And on this Tuesday I find my Self in a more empowered mood than I’ve experienced or felt in days.  Here in the adjunct hole, hut, parlor or whatever I let nothing get to me as I only see growth with the mmc project and launching the ‘vvv idea’ in days.  The copycenter on the other side of that door to my right is all atwitter, people rushing and copying pages for instructors.. interesting.  Have to edit-down the winemaker interview from yesterday, I’ll do that at the Starbucks on 12&Mission after the 370 class.  We meet in just under 90 minutes to discuss our first taste of Sylvia Plath’s work.  Sorry, was distracted by a message incoming on phone.  I know I should let myself get pulled by a device, but I’m Human and am flaw-ridden.

And what else, this day… what else…..  Nothing much other than Alice and I have been married 8 years, which I can’t believe, another sharp and stark reminder of Time and its vicious persistence only aging us but uniquely motivating the writer in ways many.  May stop by St. Francis on the way to 12&Mission to pick up a bottle or two, and how symphonic, no?  As St. Fran’ was the wine chosen for our wedding.  Well, that and McManis wines, a couple of them.  Not sure if I’ll do any tasting but I really should, always, have St. Francis in the cellar.  Or, closet.

Already into Week 7.  And how do I feel, what do I want?  For it all to be over?  Not really, as this morning while buying one of those accordion file holders for my papers I understand and blazingly saw that there is material in the student submission.  Even in the weaker pieces– how they understand language and words and writing their own word and language to page.  And, how so many teachers become frustrated and incensed with what’s on a page.  I guess I understand the frustration of certain teachers, but more so I urge them to learn from it, and why the student struggles with the transference of words, thoughts, what’s “in there”.

The usual English adjunct, and the older Math adjunct in here with me.  She, ‘English’, is at one of the computers.  Around the corner, the edge of that tall grayish brown cubicle wall division.  But ‘Math’ is just to my right, grading some submissions and doublechecking work with a calculator.  She always looks at peace and quite communicatively connected to her work while he looks truly beat, disinterested and exhausted.  I said hello to full-timer at SRJC yesterday, in the Emeritus hall and he laughed, mentioning something about “decrepitude”, suggesting he either wasn’t happy, was frustrated, or just surrendered.  “And he’s a full-timer!” I thought to myself, walking outside to the 3PM meeting.

I again think of the “perfect world” discussion with Dad, at Monti’s a while back, where he asked about teaching vs writing.  The answer was obvious about both and he urged me to write about wine, creatively as I do.  So that’s what I’ll do and keep doing and writing crEATively for my clients and showing and sharing with people a different view and appreciation of what’s in the glass.  So, yes, I will go to SF Winery, maybe even say hello to my baby sister– in fact, let me text her.

I should target a varietal or style when there.. something to review or study.  So, then, obviously, Merlot.  And SB.  But what else?  What about a blend?  Bordeaux or Rhône or something odd or innovative?  Not sure what they have it’s been so long.  But I’ll walk in only with a Comp Book.  And I’ll not everything, slowly, and with loving labor and finite detail to all nose and palate parts.  The “End Game,” as Kevin and I discussed Saturday… for me: MY wines.  So I study and with angry passion and intention.  Oh I can’t wait.  Yes, I will taste after class and report my findings to my sister and see if she has an opinion on my thoughts and translation of what she translated through varietal and style.  Have several projects going now– need to make a list in my little black mmc book.

Heard from Katie, I’ll meet here there just before 3 and taste with her till about 3:15.  Researching their site, I feel out of touch with my first favorite producer– so many new releases and projects and varietally-centered efforts.  This is a re-immersion.  A certain reckoning of my wined Self.  Ugh– it can’t come soon enough.. so I center and meditate and wonder where I’ll be right when my daughter is born, a full-time writer, writing, Mike Madigan Author and business owner/blogger/wine consultant but not in the cheesy way, one offering honest and useful consultation, much I hate that word, on wines being poured, the order in which their poured, release dates and what be–

Just checked out the portfolio, and I am most excited to taste there with Katie.  And, I just learned she was voted “Best Woman Winemaker”.  How did I not know this? She’s a loft and stratospherically so with her career.  And I aim to catch her.  Not with some embittered competitive edge, not at all, if anything she my little baby sis inspires me like no one else does with wine and winemaking and showing me that you can have whatever you want in life, from your career.  I think quite frankly she’s a paradigm that can’t be mimicked, certainly not copied.

11:43– shit.  I need to get ready for class.  Okay, breathe… where did time go?  I know, I know, let Ms. Plath do the talking in what I orate in class, it will be here and her past and what she wants to share with us– the battles with Self and depression and the poetic urge to tell us all of it!


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

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

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