Wined and Windblown
Had been meaning to stop, for years, and finally I did a few weeks ago. Feeling like a guest at a resort, or at an elevated Aspen cabin; cozy and convivial, inviting and rich in story and passion for the grounds, for what’s poured. I knew it’d be great but just not as intense as I experienced in such greatness. Joseph Phelps is a beacon of not only quality but as well its own distinguished and directed language in the wine it bottles. Prominence and promise, passion, and an extended communication and connectedness with everyone they have over— And that’s how you feel, that’s how I felt, as if over at someone’s delightful dwelling, focused on wine and the grounds, the Napa Valley and the history of what’s been catalyzed by the Joseph Phelps story. I could have sworn I wasn’t a local, but here for a first. An out-of-stater. Tourist, I guess. But certainly not from here. It was musical; a wined moment I could sing and sing to, as I was being sung to with the views from that back patio and from the notes in the wines the host put out for us.
There were some other tastings I’ve done in the last couple weeks, like at Bergamot Alley in Healdsburg, where the owner, Kevin I think his name was (yes, Kevin.. I see looking at his card that I forgot I put on my desk here in the home office), poured a cosmically magnetic flight of import wines for me. I had to get something. And.. I did. Two. White and Red. And where else.. oh, the Suncé tasting room in Kenwood that opened a couple months ago. I realized you just have to get out there. Taste wine and find something you like, and I know I’ve said that in a something-wined page or string of pages I’ve written before, posted to some blog or I don’t know, but in this last month or so it’s become like a staple and stake of clarity in my wined life— Get the F out there and taste some wine. Tonight I’m sipping a Grenache, from Sanglier, their ’12, which won’t surprise people I know. But, it’s a wine I trust, that I can depend on, and it’s just goddamn delicious. It’s memorable. And I have to be honest, I thought I didn’t have any more left. I actually thought, when I saw the bottle shape was Burgundian, that it was one of Glenn’s Russian River Pinots. But, no no no! My gregarious Grenache, with all its voluptuous and erotic tumble of berry and cherry, chocolate and black pepper floating around— whatever it is, it has me. Now as I roll through pictures in my phone like that typical wine geek, or blogger, or tourist so struck by everything around them that they take pictures of everything, and I mean everything; from the doorknobs, to the winery dog, and the ceilings, each stinkin’ label that’s in front of them. And them, this “they”, I start to envy them, the visiting ‘they’. The tourists… They don’t say things like I am here, like “some other tastings I’ve done the last couple weeks”. To them tasting is something a vacation entails, something they plan for an envision and fantasize for weeks before getting out there. They don’t just go out and taste, they can’t. They’re not here. But I am. And the weeks neoteric have been invaluable teachers, with encircling and forcefully fruitful lessons to me as one who sips wine more than just a little.
But, I have to again paginate, recently I’ve just been tasting. The climate of love about my wining “palate” (a word I’ve come to hate as everyone says it and so many say it and oversay and overuse it do so just to sound like someone who should be listened to when really they’re the ones who should be first ignored; they’re the bad ‘they’). And I’m lucky enough to live close to these tasting rooms and wineries, these roads that are like a jolting reflective spell veins. So I pour myself another glass, try to finish an article but I wind up getting so lost and whirled in the wine here at my bottle-emboldened home, in my own tasting room, my own flight, my own visit-that’s-not-a-visit that I disconnect from being a local. And different that the tourist, or planned visitor. This is something else. But I’m tasting. And it’s wine. So wine.