Posts Tagged With: Wine Journal

Glass Memory

When you learn in the wine world it’s different and much more punctuated I feel, than in other extensions.  The soil, the rootstock, the varietal clone the microclimate the trellising style, the adds (if any).  So much to it.  And listening to him speak of the ripening and the clones of Pinot and everything that’s to be considered as a grower/winemaker, has me considering and reconsidering everything.  I feel tireless, just like him.  Wanting so much to work those endless harvest hours.  but I pause and just watch again, seeing if I really could do that– well of course I can, if I put as much of myself into it as he did, does–


And I walk another block, staring at the hills and again realize there’s so much to this wine story of mine, of ours, all of ours in this world and business.  And the story that’s being told and narrated is not ending, ever.  Back in Bennett Valley, just up the Road from where Alice and I used to live, in that condo, which I find completely Literary in all its suggestive angles, and I still feel tireless, like I could write all night about wine and what I plan to do with it.  I’d pace back and forth, up and down that row if I could.


I follow.  Just a student again.  And I love it.  More than I can here tell you and certainly more than I have time to tabulate.  So I follow Glenn some more around the rows and look at the clusters, and one thing I do notice which he confirms is the uneven ripening, which could be negative or not.  But who knows, I guess.  It all depends on how the juice tastes, right?  So I want to study the business more and see what I can do as a winemaker, maybe, or just a wild wine writer that I already be.  My head’s everywhere, and I credit and blame the day, in those blocks.


Categories: mikemadigancrEATive | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7/24/15– notes

Meeting with client, then what.  Writing, whole day to self.  May do short run, but the writer needs time to meditate think in the context of the novel.  6:54AM, and not much in a mood for writing.  So then what.  What am I doing?  Why force?  ‘Cause I can’t sit still.  Not with the words and the streamings of what’s synaptically snapping in my head.  the novel the novel the novel, just like when I was in grad school; go to the fiction seminar then come home to write, all jazzed up but then do nothing with the pages in fact I have now no idea where they are, were, or are, in the garage?  victims of the Autumn Walk move?  Who knows.  But I’m older, much, now, and with a family, with real deadlines.  Used to hate deadlines but I now I clear conceptualize their value and grow from that, the old Chinese wisdom, Lao Tzu, of calm overcoming heat.  The connection not sure but I know there is one and one that will establish the day’s mentality and attitude, my mood which has of late proven to be volatile somewhat.  Symptomatic of writers and their ways, my ways.. the one holding the pen and collecting the pages– if I’m to be a novelist all has to be simple and all has to be contained, have borders.. so…..

On the Road I’ll have–

Hours later, i resume with whatever I thought I had, after meeting and so many wine thoughts and sips I’m confused and convinced that the wine story will show me where to go, exactly and not.  I’m not editing this entry even a little, but writing freely, so freely I’m lawless and chaotic, and defying what there is in way of law.. two Chardonnays I tasted on Healdsburg’s square before my meeting with Glenn, where again I was prompted to futher submerege in the text and subtext of wine’s clefs and frets– but then what, the entanglement of my consciousness becomes even more oceanic in its momentum–  I’m cornering myself for reason;s sake and stabilization, the anchoring of wine’s candid thesis and direction, the papers and novels it wants me to write– so now I sip more of the Sanglier Blanc, a blend of every white varietal under a Sonoma County variable sky– my beat complete and replete with a street’s beat.  And me, the novelist under deadlines always just sipping the new wine that greets him, thinking he can be a winemaker and novelist and journal everything he can– he said, “One fast move, or I’m gone…” And so I feel the same way and drink more, listen to the music of the quiet on the bottom floor of this Autumn Walk spot– distractions that’s it, Emerosn would be mad at me and he should be, and so should Dad, as he once told me that distractions are “death to a goal”.  Those were his precisely realized words, the specified direness of everything, and as a writer it vocals even more, me with my students and my novel just haunts me and makes me drink more of this white blend of 53 varietals– I just use sarcasm as a way to cope, and with what, who knows, this narrative is directionless, and I am on my Road, in these studies and always jealous of the students and those that get to travel for work, you know the ones that say “Oh I just got back from a trip to North Carolina for a week, and then Florida after that…” Just heard someone say that to me, so placidly, and I was angered or envious I don’t know I just saw the Road for me and become hellish in my realization of accepted regularity–  staring at the wall, the wainscoting, the patterns have me distracted– nothing in this room wants me to write.  So I fight, for my sanctum, and my sanity, and the stabilized penning of my Now, the Newness and the Road’s varying light, what happened?  but I’m calm, not at all overheated, or understated, but what am I truly, that’s the novel’s goal determining that so I’m destined to be flat and failed– my beat piles on a cold floor.  This white blend, telling me to go further into wine’s heave, but for what I ask, what if I stopped–  I need sleep now, the adjunct, the tremens, that’s a career right? 

Categories: artist's notes ... | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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


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

-ing Save

IMG_7127Now I get to freewrite–  Immerse myself in Creative irresponsibility, and log what I know as of today, the day after learning I’ll have a daughter by December.  And what to think, not sure how to state or log precisely but it’s hitting me differently now, differently than before we had little Kerouac.  My novel has to be done, my daughter has to have a writerfather… do I feel like I failed Jackie, a little, I don’t know, but this scene will much different be.  Sipping my night’ cap, the Racer, and seeing the commute to Westside Road differently, why I don’t know maybe I don’t want to do it anymore and maybe I know I can make this mmc project work–in fact I’m sure I can–there’s just something, something there for me and my story and what I want my daughter to have in a father.

I’m in the Autumn Walk study, looking out at the street, no kids and no supervising playing parents.  Nothing.  Just quiet.  And just a pervasive dormancy that has me stuck in my inner-narrative and the book I’m there with, here with, always with.  This is a different Madigan, and I don’t know if there’s a particular category that has or needs me but here I the writer be– constituted and rooted to my truest of imbued Newness.  The Road, me, seeing the intersections, Denver and New York, and California again, here in Santa Rosa’s west side, off San Miguel, before buying my family a farm off Shiloh as I the other day was– memorizing me steps and thoughts and meditations, so free in this study, and nothing else I need do or about think, no things, just the future and the prognostication of promise and paginated profitability– me, the prose or poetry, just the simplicity of my artistry.

So then I stop.  Think.  Inward look.

But I’m still left with visions and thoughts and the nights of the college years, like yesterday, or not, so far, not away just there in the past, so distant and pulled, from me, always of course.  Time is definitely more an issue with us writers, and of course so as we always need more hours for the novel, or the play, or the short story collection.  It’s always our fault.  And my daughter, and Jack, will read this and think either “My dad’s nuts.” Or, “I want to write, I want to read, I want to have my thoughts in the stream.” Of course I hope the latter but we don’t have control as parents, much as opposite we wish.

Still have a bit more of the Racer 5 to sip, look out at the street, the across-the-Drive neighbors, so still out there.  My angst in sets.  And what do I do, think of letters, to write, to my writer “friends”.  Only one, Lila, returned from my last blast.  Cords tangled to my right, on this desk.  Are those Alice’s?  Wait…..  Yes.  But I can’t blame her.  I’m just as scattered.  Worse, really.

I’m too free in this writing.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New saunter with new

IMG_7095friends and new observations, portraits of Russian River and viticultural empiricism.  Sounds of dried leaves, step step step…  And that phantasmagoric fog that beat into the scene like some soft percussion hint, the brushes over snare, and I bob my head waiting for music but none, just quiet and more visuals, jest me awed and listening to him tell me about the soil and the trellising system, yield and clonal amalgamation, presence and octave– everything there was Literary, watching the clusters morph to something that’s envisioned or published and printed on some postcard, made into merchandise with a skew then sent somewhere, then discarded both materially and in memory.  But not me, not after that walk, even if I tried I couldn’t lose the clusters and that gray sky and the intermittent coy atmospheric nudges against the right then left side of my face.  I felt part of it, it, the hills and flats and those clusters.  Then the vineyard chief showed me the color contrasts of the rows and how that translated to ripeness levels and the vintage’s message and expected yield.  I just wanted to keep walking, write in the Comp Book and take everything with me, everything now here with me in my writing grotto, looking over scribbles that I can’t translate or decode even with as much coffee as I’ve today sipped.

One set, of vines, in particular held me, told me something that I can remember, just the vintage is IMG_7090coming and Pinot’s now my conductor, purpose-r.  And I’m settled in that godly swing, like an ax to a downed tree part I’m in Pinot reach, I’ve already been reached, my new docility accredited to the fold; wine and Russian River, a vineyard walk with friends new– and maybe next time I will stay, just a little longer, see what the hills and trees and screaming blocks instruct.

I was never that much a follower of anything Burgundy, until of late.  Singing varietal, Pinot is, one having its way with our inner-shores and climates, fermenting our moods into something more composed, more composure about the sipper, this sipper, as he pours a little IMG_7093more and holds to his knowledge that the vineyards know more about him that he them.  And what does that mean, another walk, more steps over those dried leaves and under competing trees– a war over water, struggling vines giving to new notes and insinuated brow, more California or Burgundy I don’t know, you tell me.

With another glass I talk about it, more notings and pages not thrown to ground but just set aside.  The blocks deserve my most tracked and traced attentions.  So I stop with sips, I just look at the puddle in the bowl, wondering what it’s doing chemically, what the oxygen urges from its core and tabulated temperament.  I’ll in a minute know, but not now.  I have to wait.  The same as growers with new plantings.. fruit, fruit, where is the usable fruit?  Patience.. but not easy.. not for this saunterer, not with my steps or scribbles.  I type faster making myself think I caught it all.


Categories: mikemadigancrEATive | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MOCK SOMM: Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County, Sonoma Red Blend, 2013

IMG_7063Again, delivered by dark reaches and suggestion– towering chocolate, symphonic spice, and an argumentation to its pervasive balance that I haven’t recently seen in a Merlot-centered blend.  Soft encompassing novelette of a pour, with its smokey dark fruit and dark chocolate shadows and hauntings.  I’m very much halted by this, one of the most convincing and directed, coherent red blends I’ve in months sipped.  This is my plain and preferred oeno-plateau, the Bordeaux-built blend.  Indeed, I’m here writing, more than just “inspired” but reactive and more crEATive than I’ve felt all day– with this soulful seductress of a dark phantasm, this layered palate performer.  Leather and plum, depth and ferocity to its form, just what any consumer hopes for in a wine.  But there’s more than the mundane humdrum mediocrity of a pull-and-pour bouteille de vin you get from the everywhere-market.  Distinction and accuracy.. sweet ember, royal, and refined, bulldozes any hesitation with blends that overlap regions, bordeaux and Rhône, and wherever.IMG_7065

I always fly and form to wines with a musical quality, and from the multiple varietals encased in this project, I experience several types, voices (not going to dumb myself or this bottle to “genre”).  It’s jazz, electronica, the chilled trip-hop I listen to on lunchtime writing rushes– I bob my head and maybe a bit jig in chair, but I’m eased and equalized, relaxed with sanity retained.  Thinking of all the blocks along Highway 12, the wine life here in Sonoma and its overarching generous narrative kiss to writers like me.  I can only be selfish with her, as the last glass is poured, no one will connect to her and listen to her song like me.  So, again with her piquancy, scent to tongue.. slow, ignoring time– just us.  So, I sip. 

With closed





Categories: mikemadigancrEATive, MOCK SOMM | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opened a Merlot



from a potential client, mmc.  And honestly, mmc has been all that’s dominated my cognition and persuasive inner-imagery today and this evening, even what at dinner with Alice at Roberto’s, where the service was oddly slow.  This Merlot, much better than the one I produced in ’12…  I can tell there’s more new French on it, this one as well a ’12, but made by a professional wine-wielder.  This translation having more of that “gothic” grittiness I like in a Bordeaux, and the prose I write should reflect that in that I just want to finish my novel here tonight and not go in tomorrow but just stay home, dive headfirst into the coffee and that cinnamon latte blend and end the noel where it is, in one day, so I can grow mmc.

I need to relax with my visions, my mmc dreams and those of the novel finally finishing.. oh, and making wine this vintage, as I boasted in earlier entires, do I want to do it?  Uh– I don’t think I can, with all I have going on, in, on–  Want more of this Merlot and I will, it’s 4th of July weekend, the time when Americans claim to revel in being a free nation when really they succinctly set themselves to sip wildly, get drunk, and say ‘fuck the rest of the world, this is how you should be doing it!’ Really.. okay.  I never get political on this blog, but I had to follow with that framing of my thinking.  Someone asked me today, “So what are you doing for your 4th?”

“Uh,” I started, “staying home and writing, and opening a nice bottle of wine.” But then I remembered I’m spending my 4th with Mom and Dad, so I added and amended–  “Well, with my parents, I’ll be opening nice wine and having a home-cooked dinner with family, nothing crazy,” I told Kaz, also a prospective mmc client.  I see my office, and me in there planning everything on a board, one animated and enjoyable and engaging for me.. my business and livelihood, what I thought about today while going to Alice to hear M2’s heartbeat…  The consolidation, continuing with confident continuity…..


Categories: mikemadigancrEATive | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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–


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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…



Categories: MOCK SOMM | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Categories: Pommard Perambulation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at The Adventure Journal Theme.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,889 other followers