Posts Tagged With: wine world

Mock Somm– New Wine Love/Promotion: Arista Winery, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir, 2013

And we find a balanced, artful, poetically polite but potently IMG_5461persuasive Pinot. First impression, or ‘nose’, entails strawberry and maple-ized raspberry and a coy courting of chocolate. The sips’s summation reveals herbs and wild earthy electricity, and encompasses everything one loving Pinot from Russian River may seek. This is the idyllic etching of not only the varietal, the AVA, but the vintage… Arista brought to fruition what other producers only hope to with 2013 RRV wine, with this balanced bottle of musical and new-world oenological jazziness; a terrestrial palate hug; a Burgundian smooch.IMG_5463
IMG_5460I sip now, and find more notes and subtexts to the wine’s whirling, whether intended or unintended, I don’t care.. at this point, and this is not to discount the winemaker’s meditation, I find more taste tiers: caramel, rose pedal, cinnamon, and evasive cedar (but I’m on glass 2, in ever-truth..).
I guess the most charming element to me from this bottle is that initial palate contact that brings that wild, unfettered fruit; strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and maybe a little cranberry, maybe. This is the wine I brandish for occasion or just when I get home from work, when I don’t want to grade papers but just want to enjoy a glass and collect.

Small production, and I’m quite serious.. SMALL. Secure your bottles now, and be confronted pleasurably by this provocative interpretation of RRV Pinot!

Call Arista Winery at 707-473-0606 to secure your bottles! Again, inventory is low to begin with, only 250 cases total production on the ’13 Russian River Pinot, so move quickly!

AND… they ship cases for FREE!!!

Tell them the Bottled Ox sent you! Cheers!

Again, Arista Winery’s phone: 707-473-0606

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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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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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Papers Ahead…..

And I’m here in the nook hiding behind my entry. But not so. I’ll get in there eventually I just need to keep the jazz playing and the coffee in cup.. this morning’s coffee, from the shop down the street, like I’m in the adjunct office, like it’s a work day, I’m in my role– I’ll grade all day starting at 11, 3 papers at a time, truly “Swiss-Cheese it” as Dad says.. already have rubric set up, all I need to do is mark the papers, or finish anyway. Gorgeous outside, that after rain feel, but I still incredibly am moved by the petrichor still in air, and falling from that intense blue. And I stumbled upon that word, “petrichor”, in a science journal, as it’s a new word used to describe the smell of rain; so I’m guessing it’s a noun and adjective, either way I thought I’d give it a home on page.
The coffee works but the jazz station stalls.. this isn’t helping theIMG_5343 adjunct. There, think I got it to work– and….. There. And revisited the rubric which I will dive into in .. less than two hours. Too lazy to do exact math. It’s interesting, the relationship between adjunct and coffee. This cup, telling me to keep typing and forget about the papers, just for a minute, but then I think it orders me to go grade one, just ONE. I will, just after this paragraph.. while in RRV, I’ll take pictures, see how the vines are progressing, and see how this drought is straining our dearest vines. Don’t think the rain was enough to introduce any mold or rot, still think it’s too early for that, and maybe too early for shatter, I don’t know. That is one area I wish I was more learned in: vineyards and vineyard management and truly what’s out there stemming from the soil..

And I did it, graded ONE paper, one from the 1B section. He wrote about the connection between Plath’s Art and her eventual self-termination. First, the font looked suspiciously sizable. He has fortified points, but I thought they would benefit from that word-by-word approach with the poems, especially, and then the entries, maybe not as much focus on Bell Jar. This ‘word’ approach that I cite has benefited me greatly, this semester and a bit before, enabling me not only as writer but reader, teacher and Human.. in de-cluttering the house for our eventual and nearing move, there are certain books I refuse to stow away, and Ms. Alice this knows quite roundly. Plath is among them, with her entries and the collected poems.
The sun outside and the blue, the petrichor’d pavement and all the leaves with their newly augmented notes and songs, call me. Should I go for a drive now? Just leap out there to the car, head to the winery to get the paycheck stubs (my main and Adult/responsible/mature intention for driving there), take some pictures, maybe take the comp book and a couple papers up there and just find a new stage, some new surroundings? I can write and grade somewhere else, write?– I mean, RIGHT? I don’t have to be confined to the kitchen nook? This harsh wooden chair, paining my tuchus. Love that word, as it reminds me of Grandma.. Still can’t believe she’s been gone for well over a year, two years this June.. and now Ross.. Life too fragile. I have to just follow impulse, and not worry not fret not fear and to some extent not care, or not so much. Yes, anxiety and any worry is entirely much a cell; a jail; a still death to itself. So no thanks. The coffee, still falling into my core and I don’t let the narrative stop and just remembered I owe this day a short bit of fiction as I have the past several days and I have to print that poem as I want to share it with class tomorrow, read it to them, let them KNOW and SEE that I’m one that does, not just a ‘teach’.
Loading up backpack.. going to be a traveling driver, writer.. but to where? How ‘bout the bakery? Or Flying Goat? Or…. huh, can’t think of anywhere right now.. the bakery might work.. just need a scene shift.. and if I go to Healdsburg I’ll be nearer to Arista. Makes sense. The papers nor the students frighten me. I remember when I first started teaching I was afraid of student reaction, like they wouldn’t like me or they would tell someone, some department chair or dean that I was a horrible person and professor. Now I wildly don’t care, and just do my job (that’s what I meant earlier by ‘not care, or not so much’).

The morning calls me, calls me out, out there, under that blue, about the airborne notes of post-rain and newly glazed cement. I need to be out there, that will get the papers graded quicker, and make me proud of myself for finishing them so early, and so quick. So I ready then, after this sitting, and I’ll write while I grade, write what I find, have comments for them when I get back and welcome them to discussion (which few professors or teachers or instructors, whatever they call us, do), have them ask questions, have them ask how to strengthen their writing, how to make it explode from the page, how to have their convictions beautify the page and all the paragraphs cascading from their impulses.
Find myself now easily distracted and a bit tired. Pulled by emails and messages and this goddamn phone. I would love to murder it, make Poe proud and bury it alive. Not going to bring all the papers with me as that will only overwhelm the adjunct, put me in a bad mood and stall me further.. so I’m thinking, 20 items, pulled from stack (which I’m, again, surprised isn’t that towering, think I may be able to finish today, leaving for me tomorrow only to plan and write in the earliest of early’s, there in the adjunct office). Almost checked my phone, but no, NO! Staying away from that thing.. this is a jazz session, all my sittings be and just as the drummer and pianist can’t halt in their touches neither can this writer.
Adjunct in need of his succeeding demitasse…..


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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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3/5/15: Cut Cord

My wife’s birthday, and I feel like I’m still, or running in circles, or struggling to get caught up, something.  And I’m here after our dinner at Sea Thai and with a glass of the ’13 Mendo Ridge Pinot.  My mind’s exhausted and drained as is the physical, and nothing to report– feel like I haven’t written a thing in days, and this is the second or third time I’ve felt such in the last week.  But I’ve been writing, reader!  I swear I have!  Just not with the confirmation of the blog, that immediate posting.  Rather, I’ve been typing in this bloody laptop for me, and scribbling in the Comp Book, like a real writer (my def’ of a “real writer”, anyway).  Called W——— today and inquired about my passport, if I left it in my folder– yes, their very elaborate system of each employee having a manila file folder and a dimwitted slot or insert on the wall to side of that micro- managerial desk/hideout.  I know, I’m the buffoon, but I had to call and ask (only to later find I left it in my desk, left drawer, top shelf).  The HR empress I spoke to said she mailed my check, “unfortunately”.  “Unfortunately?” I thought.  What did that mean?  ‘Unfortunately’ that I left, or that they couldn’t keep me, or that I didn’t remain duped by the emaciated wage at which they had me set?  Don’t care, either way.  Tomorrow I’m at Arista and I couldn’t be happier, at an actual estate, not on Hwy 12,– out there, with a view, views, a spot for me to write, collect Self, sincerely immerse in wine, its story.

English 1B today went more melodically than I before measured.  Not sure why I was so nervous, or reserved– as a teacher, I thought to myself walking to the PC library, “I can’t let myself get rattled or reserved by what I think the students will say in reaction.” True, I now know.  I just have to trust my instincts, and like my sister told me in ’11, “If I second-guess myself I’ll never make wine.” And I’ll never teach.  And I’ll never write.  I’ll never do anything.  My glass, left, more than full, and I sip slow, thinking of the rest of the semester.  Just finished Week 8, and this is when everyone starts to become a bit agitated, stressed, kerfuffled.  And I now grow and empower from such reality whereas before I would crumble under it.  After 1B, went to the library with one of the students, ‘S’, who submitted a piece to me, one he wrote on his own times, and I finally had a chance to react to it.  Not sure how old ‘S’ is, I’m guessing 19, or 18, but his writing accuracy and boldness is already reader-worthy.  With a certain Philosophy gallop and coercing, tackling notions of conformity, capitalism, society and general existential sight.  And it’s a standalone, not part of a larger effort.

Later in the day I halted at the store, to pick up some bubble and beer, celebrating Ms. Alice’s cumpleaños, and ran into ‘D’ from the estate.  He told me that he had a gift he’d been meaning to give me, and insisted I take it now, as it was hibernating in some cavern in his car (a BMW SUUV, I think an X3, or 5?).  Doesn’t matter.  Anyway, he ran to his carriage then back to the isle where I guarded his items, we spoke a bit then parted.  I came home, unpacked my articles and unwrapped, read the card, and was touched…  ‘The Writer’s Desk’, by Jill Krementz, showing many known and widely cannonized writers and their spaces, practices, each with sovereign disclosed or capsuled narratives on their practices.  And now I’m more pushed than ever to find my desk, buy it, rent a space or studio somewhere (like Ezra), and finally start the life I envisioned in Mr. Sullivan’s Creative Writing class, Senior Year (’97).

I feel old today.  I do.  I won’t lie or try to hide it it’s just on my mind, my thinking, in everything I do, my age…  When I forget where something is or if I forget some paper at home or if I lose a submission (like the original paper ‘S’ gave me), I wonder “Is this part of getting older?” Fuck! I then think.  I don’t have to like this, at all!  And I look at my wine glass and think “I just need to keep sipping.  I just need to get in the character tomorrow demands, at this new estate.  It’s not the old estate.” It’s definitely not!  No offices on some soggy higher floor, no boring meetings that succeed in nothing.  No nothings, no meaninglessness.  Not this time.  I’m done with that, and I’m done with the obligatory, done with the expectations set by others.. like when DP said “It’s going to be what I want, not what you want…” I still laugh.  ‘Cause look at me, my studies, where I’m going and who I see myself as, finally.. it’s above what they measured, and what any fucking winery is willing to award, pay-wise.  Even if they could, it’d just be money, something to try and keep me happy, sedated, subscribed.

My son, asleep upstairs, I think.  When we came home after retrieving him from L & B’s house, just around the block, while we had our birthday dinner outing, he was vocal, hungry, refusing pattern.  And who can blame him?  He gets that from me, his defiance.  Hope it doesn’t hurt him later, as it has me.  I’m convinced: the reason I’ve had trouble keeping jobs is because of who I am, WHAT I am, a writer, a thinker, someone who thinks and questions and talks.  But I can’t blame the wine world, W——— or K—e or any of them.  They think simply.. they market, they sell, and it’s all around wine, and their interpretation of wine and the wine pattern…  There’s no other proper perspective, right?–  Or forget ‘proper’, they just know what’s right and how to do it and everything and they are the only, everyone should join their Kuaint Koreshian Klub, yeah?  Why not?  There’s so many boons!  Your life will be so much better, no?  They’re not accepting or welcome or even minusculely open to objection or question.  You can’t fault a monkey for doing what it does; You can’t engage a dummy in dialogue; If the pig snorts, and just waddles circularly, then it’s just being a pig.

But I return to the day, my goddess’ celebration…  Last of the Pinot, and relaxing on couch (Alice upstairs to horizontality, and me to follow soon).  Time for day to close, I don’t want to but that’s truth.  I’m distracted, I’ll admit, by my phone and email and school and Jackie’s toys and–  Excuses, I know.  I breathe, and think of tomorrow, envision my day and the exposure and the new story.. wine shouldn’t be stressful or corporate or penny-pinching, or punitive.  What some wineries need to learn, especially if they’re to boast they’re “family-owned”.  If that’s elemental and intrinsic, then the familial fiber should pervade to all relations…  But what do I know.

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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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