Sometimes I break, pause from the sips, to collect Self and know precisely what it is about wine that captures the writer and why so often I write about it. In this most recent hiatus, if you will, I think of the varietal that brought me into consistency of sips and bottle-chasing. Merlot. The varietal that’s only popular to deplore from a less-than-quality movie and what now has me kerfuffle’d is how I’m returning to this grape type, after years of flying around from Zin to Syrah, to Malbecs and Pinots.. and now back, back to Merlot, the first bottle magnetizing my character in ’02, when I lived in an apartment in San Ramon and I called my mother to ask what I should serve for guests soon arriving. And she recommended a Blackstone Merlot, think the vintage was ’00 (yeah, it’d have to be, right?). Anyway, here I am, pensive and reflective and scribbling in my Composition Book a lecture to myself to extend this break, don’t sip for a couple days, build the anticipation for the next Merlot cork removed. Pride? Duckhorn? Trefethen? St. Francis? Kaz? What? What should I next meet? What kind of character do I want to greet me? And why do people hate Merlot? Oh yeah I forgot, letting some flimsy-brained film think for you is much easier and painless opposed to actually going to a store buying a bottle and thinking for yourself. Okay.. I’m corrected.
And, in this break from sipping, a curt and coherence cleanse if you might, I wonder what I’ll learn next about wine, its world and the many business models and sizes of wineries, and why winemakers go that way with a varietal interpretation while so many choose another path and practice, or some derivation thereof. The lessons compile, and for the English Professor parcel of Mike Madigan, I can only see more and more to absorb. And I’m overwhelmed, unannoucedly. Maybe I need a glass of wine before dinner– NO, wait, wait.. anticipate, deliberate. And so collecting my senses I hear the dialogue of a tasting room, tourists new to Sonoma/Napa, asking questions and discovering.. discovery.. expansion of knowledge and perspective and.. I should pause like this more often, and do just what I’m doing, listen. To myself and others, and wine’s story will enrich everything about me as a mere sipper.
And the other province about Mike Madigan’s character? One just in love with the translation of grape to bottled content. Professing so much love and curious exponential myriads that loudly envelope senses all. Notably olfactory, gustatory. Spellbinding swirls with the darkly tinted chroma. And just like that.. the glass tilting halt ends. Sipping an ’09 Cabernet from– Doesn’t matter. I’m peace’d, safe in my composing. Logical structuring re-structured in some useful cubism code, one I’m writing not yet. The ’09 tells me to wait, don’t write for a minute, “Just enjoy me,” it orders. I let the strings be pulled. No moving of pen, no typing, just a sip, another.. another.