Posts Tagged With: wine world

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.


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7/15/15 – Pinot Walk

Categories: vino vidZ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7:17, up, first thing

I do is come to the office, think of day’s planning and what I need done.  More and more I’m living by the calendar.  Part of me hates that while its opposing twin knows it’s necessary with a business like this.  Back at the winery today, I’ll be noting everything– “more videos,” I yesterday Self-scolded, and surround them with thoughts written in prose.  The aim is to not stop and have my style and client treatment reflect such.  The vines don’t stop, so why should I (I say to myself, just did).  Just put something on calendar.. and budget, budget more.. less mochas and more straight BLACK coffee.  And to think, why DO I get mochas anymore?  They take longer to make (which at the Hopper SBUX is anything but a positive, with how slow and inept and scattered that brewing enclave’s proven to be), there’s less caffeine, and they often get it wrong.  And when I order it with whip, which I always do, why do they need to confirm it?  It’s written on the cup, you twit!  This is just me and my morning mood…..  So back to today: everything, record everything..

Waiting for a video to upload.. waiting… I hate waiting, but I have to like or more so love it now with my own business.  Waiting to hear back from a couple prospects, going to follow up, using methods I learned while working for Roger the Insurance guy–  OH!  Just remembered, email that one winery… okay, okay.

So much on mind with this new mmc world.. some days I wish just one client would be enough then I’m of the ‘no, bring ‘em all on’ mentality.  Yes, bring ALL of them on!

Sun, up, and Autumn Walk comes to life.  And me, with .. what I do… brainstorming, my storming brain.. need be isolated.  In my office when I get there, which will be soon, I’ll have a “Storming Brains Room”.  Where the only articles aloud in will be pen, paper, people.

Need more time.  MORE.  Then take more.. don’t just wish for it.  Okay.

Got it.

Affirmations of a writer/entrepreneur, blogger or whatever I am, just a storyteller, telling others’ stories and my own.

First cup done.  And I’m still going.  Problem uploading the video.. shit.  So I start over, and see what I today will shoot, in my head; vineyards and Andy walking in front of me talking about them, then pictures of the ripening clusters and the whole Arista story.

Again with this video upload.  I don’t know what round I’m on.. but this is my life now, and forever.  A crEATor.  And that’s what I’ve always been, now solving problems through crEATivity– ah, more ideas, and I don’t need to write them down even though that’s my first impulse.

Nearing word limit.  One I set.  Charge camera, shoot sample vids on Autumn Walk, then take to vineyard.  Build build build!!!

Second cup made, ready, waiting for the writer.


(7/12/15, 7:54AM)

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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.


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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

8AM, and with 2,000 words

logged.  Have to enter some pieces and entries into my new writing ledger, that I have to keep up andIMG_7042 maintain.  On cup 2, all words written to novel.  Feel like I need a break, this morning, running fast, changing station, Thievery.. sip more coffee, that’ll motivate me.. what to wear today on my mind.. thinking and over-thinking.. fell asleep upstairs last night listening to jazz, some artists I’ve never before heard or appraised.  Yes, I’m getting exhausted in this writing, and want to stop, but I can’t bring myself to.  Why.  Why not.  I don’t know, that’s my point.. my feverish craving for my statements on a page and then post them to some goddamn blog– Mom was right, take a break from writing.  But just now, Mama.. I can’t for long.. this is WHAT I am, not just what I do or want in come fashionable way, manner, or tilt.  And I go typhlotic, just viewing things and scenes and other places in my head, returning to Paris and vacation somewhere, back to Santa Barbara, or that nearby town where we stayed for Nick’s wedding.. ocean and new characters and drinks at that lounge bar.. coffee in the morning, looking at the waves and hearing people go back and forth, from the pool to their room and back again, not knowing quite how to take in their vacation but they know the time is limited so they just go with gut impulse and urge and reaction.  Good for them–

Tonight, dinner at Mom and Dad’s.. do I sleep there or only have one beer and one wine and come home here to enjoy the quiet of this castle, this new Autumn Walk base, as I won’t have this much concentrated quiet for some time again I’m sure..

Developing mmc, rather proud of how I developed my business last night, sending out emails and taking notes, starting cards for each prospect (on pieces of paper taken from winery, or that Kevin gave me, old tasting menus).  They work quite well, these card, constant reminders of where my efforts are.. a real business, me, and if it all to fruition forms, and my money is properly budgeted (obviously with Dad’s help), I’ll get to my office.. want a small space somewhere in Healdsburg– but that’s expensive, and I know Dad would advise against that.  I’ll talk to him tonight, see what he thinks..

8:22– just realized, I met my goal, 3 pages before 9.  huh.. forgot I gave myself that deadline.. love mornings like this.. nothing getting to me today.  I’m controlling the story, my business, my blog, and my direction and marketing momentum.  What will I do till 9?  Maybe just get in the shower, have even more a headstart on the day.. where’s the iron and that little board?  Garage I think.. still unpacking.. like Massamen in the novel.

-get cash, ATM

-write a poem

-post pictures

-keep moving

-wine notes

-get new little notebook.. so then yes I have to leave the house early to go get one, corner store, Coffey & Piner


Categories: artist's notes ..., mikemadigancrEATive | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A writing retreat. 

IMG_7028Or at least pause.  Have been working on mmc since I walked through the door, after watering the lawn as Alice requested.  She in Monterey with my little Beatnik.  didn’t touch the novel today, but I will in the morrow.  Bought a bottle of my favored sparkling lemon water, large size, to rid my system of this wine before bed, or at least thin or dilute it.  Just opened a bottle of the 2012 Mikey Merlot, or Cuvée.  Pretty sure it’s the Merlot, as Alice took the unlabeled bottles from the labeled boxes and put them indiscriminately on the rack int he downstairs closet, my new mockcloset.  The house to myself and I don’t know how to react– my first night alone in this castle, this new abode and safeplace but I’m unsure, and uneasy, so I sip more wine and plan more prose and not in my journal or type– me the write, in love with wine and all the vineyard stories and calls, like today when Andy and I walked the Two Birds block and looked for veraison and didn’t find as much as we estimated would be there, or at least I didn’t, even at one time saying, “We should come back in a week, this is bullshit.” The vineyards are everything to me in my story and my relationship with what I sip, and my Beat and musical qualities as a wine scribbler and torrential terroir typist– on my Road, on my hike to equilibrium, and all through wine, should ask my sister how she came to where she is and her character and wine is to her now, which might seem like and obvious query with an even more estimated response but it’s not to me–

So many quick shot from after work and right before, the vineyard, where I should be writing after work.  I’m sure Al and Janice wouldn’t mind– sweet people like them and their sons would and have only encouraged the Beat and his writing about wine and where the grapes develop their stories and flavored ferocity–  The wine lowers in my glass, I sip and pour more and think about the days at Sonoma State, studying under Bob Coleman and coming home to my San Carlos house in the hills, Bayview, and sharing with Dad and Mom my new knowledge.  Only reason I could go there, and am here, in the Autumn Walk safe, because of them.  I must do the same and more for my children– yes I’m a dad with worry and with vision and with the story, a story of one wanting to rewrite his story.  So much on this kitchen counter again, the tightrope I walk, wait, careful– slow and rightly ridden.. slower…..

A writing retreat.  But there’s no retreat in this writing warrior– ever. No, my beat is one of high bpm and spoken word and confident recital looking down at the audience while I whirl rimes and songs and talk my convictions whether political or wine-coded.  Another sip…  Whichever it is, of my wine.. pretty sure the Merlot…..  Has me deciding the next path for mmc, my little boutique ad station. Me, in advertising and marketing, sales and PR– who knew.  Definitely not me, a novelist.. but this will allow me to do just that, finish the Massamen proyecto.


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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…..


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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–


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

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

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

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

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



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