“I’m wild, unruly with my illustration.. I’m beyond flavor and your languages… I’m lit in my own syllables and scopes.”
That idea. The one that hits you and rattles your character and inner-composition.
Finally, I felt it. I credit the Pinot from last night, and last night’ general vertex, and the past few days at the new winery assignment, tasting through the Zinfandels yesterday, a varietal I swore I’d swear off, and that I’ve always castigated with a venom that I didn’t display even in my Chardonnay War days. I used to say Zin was a wine idiot’s grape type. That it was plebeian, one-dimension, deaf, loud, dumb, clunky. But what Foley does and what I narrate from the bottles I pour and market is a precise elegance and poetic set of notes that you don’t find in Dry Creek, and certainly not in other AV producers. So far, Foley, in my eight days of repping them has taught me more about me as a wine writer than my entire “career”, if that’s what you’d call it, in the wine industry. For a number of reasons. Not only the vistas and the wines, the winemaker changing careers, utterly—even after going to law school and deciding that wasn’t for her, being brave and fearless enough to universally shift momentums— but for how the presence and the new narrative from the old brand perpetuates. No drastic boost in production, no wild alteration of visual philosophy, or the pervasive feel of the winery and brand itself. Foley’s doing just what I’ve advised students do with their writings, for years— use what you already have. Yes, the winemaking style has changed, but immeasurable and irrevocably for boon. This new winery assignment is doing to my prose and wine journalism what none of the other wineries were able to— lasting Newness, new Life, new Self-knowledge… new languages and words and thought patterns associated with wine. Hard for me to explain, especially as the coffee begins to take its hold, and the Pinot from last night again lasts on my thought tarmac. But the idea is here.. wine, write into and out of and back into wine’s world, Life, business, the people, the seemingly insignificant objects and actions— dish towels, act of drying glasses, by hand, each one of them, then watching someone use that glass to taste a wine for the first time and fall into some irreversible wine-love affair that will immovably shift and staple their oenological understanding. My inner-composition, the character that can be seen writing in the corner of this Starbucks, with caffeinated jitters and twitches and swift across-the-keyboard dashes and sprints, changed. Re-written. And it’s only been eight days.
Wine… what else do I write about you? I think this, a lot, actually. Why? ‘Cause wine’s very much a mystery, a codified myriad. I want it to stay that way. Why would I want to know everything? Why wouldn’t I want wine to be intriguing and provocative, something to interact with and get to know better? I look through one of my journals, the “Carpe”, see some jots from a couple weeks ago where I say.. “dark sexy vampire seductress, enveloping me in her new language, something Plath-like, assuring me that life is to be treasured and taken slow, enjoy every moment.” I’m not saying that this is how wine writers and journalists should write about wine, but it’s how I do. And, I will say, that wine is much more deserving of intimacy than just a banal, proletarian monolith of “descriptors”. I’ve never understood that, as I wrote earlier. Wine deserves conversation, intimacy like I said.. the genuine, the truthful, the personal. It needs you, and you it, if you’re ever to even remotely “know” wine.
And on with the day this writer goes, refusing to get tired or slow, or even miss a singular step. Walking around the new winery, finding that graveyard with a co-worker. Or, me finding it from he, Nic, taking me there. I couldn’t ignore the obvious contrast and lecture from the moment, education new for me in the immediate juxtaposition of life, death, back to death against then back out to life with the vineyards, this vintage, settling into its life. Life is short, wine reminds us. And that walk between and around the stones urged me to be more wild with my wine writings. When I first started to receive recognition, or mild praise for my wine writing, a radio guy called my blog posts “wild wine writings”. It’s never left me. And since lecturing on HST last semester, and a couple terms before that, I have to be crazier with my wine words. Do what my sister-in-law ordered back in ’09… write about wine. Only about wine. I may stray for a bit, but I’ll always come back to the juice, to the Pinot I last night glass-tipped, to the Merlot I had in San Ramon back in ’02 which started me on a casked path off which I never want to hop.