Driving back to

IMG_2029Following with impulse to write, but it’s difficult, from this exhaustion, whatever bug has invaded my lining.  Jack’s birthday party today.. family, friends, celebrating my son’s life.  1 year on plant, for my little Artist.  Alice, already, now at 8:26p, retired.  One interaction I have to record from party: a conversation between my friend Melissa’s husband, Troy, and I.  About drawing, painting.. something I need to answer, a curiosity that need be quelled.  I told him the other day, that I want to ask him a couple question.. everything from how to start, to what I should draw, what I should start drawing, what he does, and all pertaining.  He told me, as I do with students or anyone else curious about writing, “Just start drawing…go to a park, bring your sketch pad, and play with color composition.” Glad I heard it from his dialogue den.  Now, this’ll be precisely what I’ll do.. just play with colors, inventory every effort, session.

Still feeling symptoms.  Light cough, intermittent sniffles, rare sneezes.  Combatting it with a 2008 Decoy Merlot, that my winemaker sis brought in her supply of wine for Kerouac’s gathering.  This is just the type of Merlot I want to produce.  Poured night’s cap just over ten minutes past.  Quite full, that bowl.  Notes– blackberry, licorice, mint, mocha on nose; palate: syrupy cherry, lingering licorice, mint, thick and slow progression; finish, all notes remaining with generous tannin dispersal.  Can’t find anything to critique, really.  And why should I?  I’m writing about it, writing alongside it.. I love it.  Why do we insist on complicating things– moments and matters in Life?  ESPECIALLY WINE?.?!!

This blog, beginning to get traction.  Significant readership.  So what do I do?  “Monetize” it?  Did Hemingway have ads on the sides of his pages?  I want this to be a gallery of Life.. MY life.  Not a forum for soul selling.  So that issue’s anesthetized.  Glad.  It’s.  Dead.

Back in TR, morrow.  These evidences of slowness need to depart, already.  Need another Merlot kiss.  ’08, again my vintage of interest.  Katie and I didn’t get to talk business today, and that’s fine.  BUT, our bottling’s right around the corner.  Need to ask her about aging potential, final fining, or blending.  Last minute edits, possible adjustments.

Honesty, in this prose: calling in sick, tomorrow.  Don’t think I’m sick enough, thankfully.  Would rather be in that Room, talking to people, listening to their demands, be they wine club members or other.  Domestic, abroad, interstate…

On mind: poem.  Cubist standalone’s.  Still have quite a bit of the Decoy left.  Sipping with melodic murmur.  This writer can’t afford to be “sick.” Writers like mySelf, Mr. Hemingway, don’t get “sick.” We have a certain power that makes illness unknown, even symptoms’ thick.  Just looked at clock.  8:52pm.  May be right behind Ms. Alice.  Tomorrow morning, on way to Estate: buying sketchpad, colored pencils down the street.  Cheap as I can find, to be sure I do something with them, so there’ll be no pressure.  Either I do it, or I don’t.  Just going to blend colors, color intensities, blending on top of other blends.  Was interesting today, Troy telling me to look at a translucent glass sheet, tell him what colors I saw.  He told me that’s how you deconstruct what you see as an illustrator.  Going to try this, FINALLY.  Write what I find, or don’t find.  Who am I doing it for?  ME!

(2/17/13, Sunday)

Burgundy Vintage Skirmish

Pinot.  ’08, ’09.  Can’t decide which vintage I prefer.  Usually, I avoid speaking in sweeping generalizations about varietals, vintages.  But this is just a fun question I’m posing to myself.  And you.  I know, what AVA’s are we talking about?  That’s why I typically avoid such probes, because of the variables.  But, let’s just talk.  Which do you usually shoot for when on a Pinot safari?  Lately, I’ve been into 09’s…that is until I sipped one the other night, Sonoma Coast, that felt timid, taciturn in its flavor arrangement.  So I went back to ’08, one from Anderson Valley.  I know, the fires, the ever-pervasive smoke note.  Have to say, it was rather tempered, advantageously actually, coupled with wild berry, a little toffee and back-palate spice.  So, I’m back to ’08.  So I thought, till I tasted an ’09 Carneros that seduced me, proselytized me into a vision by which I’ve never before been gripped.  So now I’m a Pinot mess, torn between 2 lover years.  Where do you stand, principally, on the ’08 v. ’09 matter, if it’s even a “matter” at all?  If you saw two Pinots on a shelf, one ’08 while the other ’09, and you weren’t familiar with the producer [and forget the AVA for the moment, and “matter”], which would you pick strictly predicated on year?  And forget how pretty the bottle is…  Just go by that four digit time marker…  Make a vintage-rooted election.  Which is picked???

Opolo Vineyards, 2008, Grenache, Paso Robles

Sipped this on xmas eve.  Nice translation of the Rhône blending grape.  Strong rustic raspberry tones with earthy twirls.  Rather calm, but still excited to deliver richness that I’ve never seen in a Grenache before.  Paso Robles fruit, again, teaching me something.  Nose: gorgeous floral romance, and spiced steps; restrained and intriguing.  The oak voice isn’t overstated, which is nice for any palate wanting to experience that dark fruit from the not-so-noticed varietal.  Fine on its own, but even better with the steak that was served.  If you want to try a Grenache for the first time, this would be an optimal bottle for your beginnings.  Since xmas eve, this beautiful Paso pulse of a wine, I’ve been Grenache hunting.  Anything I find’ll have tough time trumping Opolo’s, I’ll bet.

1S Score: 91

3 Recent Wines …

Layer Cake, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009, California

A calm but direct Cabernet.  Nice smokiness with diverse berry blasts.  Tannins, adorable.  This was enjoyed on New Year’s Eve, just sipped.  Somewhat paired with apps, but mostly just casually consumed.  This is a Cab for people that enjoy elegance and finesse over tannic tyranny.  The alcohol percentage, 14.1, which allows more artful palates a chance to flourish in flavor.  Poetic, this Cab.  Ballet balance in each of its steps.  After open for over an hour, it slides across palates like scenic fog.  Nice to see a wine with this composure at such a reasonable price.  And, for an ’09, it already had a voice, a posture, an identity.

Qupé, Syrah, 2008, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

A Syrah for Syrah lovers.  Juicy, spicy, smooth, bewitchingly voluptuous mid-palate.  Had this with burgers topped with medium-sharp cheddar and caramelized onions.  A multitalented Syrah, one needing a dinner table, palate home.  Nose to finish, all wild spice berry, a minty lean.  Like I said, a Syrah for those loyal to the varietal.  Not simplistic, but sturdy in its strut.  This could easily age for another 4-7 years, with the structure, inhabiting ballad habits, pulsating notes.  Zooming…  Even after extending oxygen contact, this wine persists with a deliciously tenacious pulse.  Missing this bottled manuscript would prove a certain mistake.  Go enjoy a stupendous Syrah sip stampede.  Let Qupé teach you about real Syrah translation, representation.  Sip, sip …

Carpe Diem, 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Oh, the ’08 vintage with Napa Valley Cabs.  So in love, this simple writer.  My buddy Steve, owner of downtown Napa wine bar “Carpe Diem,” gave this to me for a little wine appreciation, theory.  What a musical bottle; Literary just in its flavor transitions, finish, connection to next sip.  Linear, consistent, yes.  But not in anyway boring, simplistic, or predictable.  Mouthfeel, gentle but assertive–smoke, chocolate, blueberry, black pepper.  Coy mint flashes on finish but nothing overbearing.  Upon second pour, a more pronounced raspberry voice on nose.  Again, balanced.  With this second sip set, I appreciated more the acidic arrangement of the wine.  Guaranteed, this would please even the most choosy of Cabernet counsels.  Go get a bottle, now…  At Carpe Diem Wine Bar in Napa’s animatedly entrapping downtown…

Corsair, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, Napa Valley

Nice, deep, dark.  Gorgeous.  Yes, this is what I mean when I call wines “romantic.” Or, especially, “sexy.” Nice dark berries, velvety tannic waves, just beautiful to sip.  Perfect for pairing with slightly spicy red pastas, or steaks, more richly garnished chicken dishes.  What do I say about 2008 as a vintage, other than I love it?  Just that, especially with Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.  This is the négociant’d effort of Dan Dawson, 1StopWineBlogShop’s friend and owner of Back Room Wines, where I pick up most of my bottles.  This Cab, now after being open for a couple hours, handing me a set of smoky cocoa/caramel notes.  Successfully, successively seductive.  Only $45 dollars at Back Room Wines.  Can’t believe that price point with a Cab tasting this good, with fruit from “Stagecoach Vineyard” on Atlas Peak.  Full, ripe, elegant, distinguished.  Go get a bottle, or 12.  You won’t regret it!  This deserves a spot in even the most selective’s cellar.  Sip, sip …

Jonata “Todos” Red Wine, 2008, Santa Ynez Valley

Nice wildness to the fruit, which comes from a number of varietals.  I want to say nine, if you can believe it.  A good friend of mine, impressively familiar with Jonata’s portfolio, shared the following with me: 67% Syrah, 14% Cab, 6 Petite Verdot, 5 Merlot, 3 Viognier, 2 Sangiovese and 2 Cab Franc, 1 Sauv Blanc.  Whew…  Tannin management, expertly executed, to be modest.  This is a sipper, as well as one for pairing.  Blackberries, chocolate, earthy smoke on nose, voluptuous palate, and a myriad of layers to the finish.  Notes most pronounced to me, consistently, nose to finish: black cherry, wild spices, herbs, coffee.  Gracefully determined in character.  This wine has an excitingly unorthodox nature to it, which must be the reason I’m still pouring it for myself.  Great consistency in gradation, subtlety, each sip.  Definitely a fortunate find.  Another sip …