This wine I just found staring up at the ceiling then at me, at Bottle Barn. I looked and immediately rescued her from that shelf. When home, I left her become accustomed to the ambient air of my studio, opening and stretching, and I new that such a young Grenache wouldn’t need too much time. Pouring glass and the visual has me, quicker than an instant’s instantly. I knew I was in for my own interaction with Philosophy and destiny, my own surface of thought and meditative mediation. Suggestion first, vanilla-toffee conversation and vortex, alongside milk chocolate and floral intersections, energetic and disclosing. Found it difficult to center on the wine, on her, because of her. First, I’d never heard of the producer, and I thought I knew most everyone in Dry Creek, even those without tasting rooms. Guess not, and I’m again shown that wine continues to educate us and make us more aware, wishing for more knowledge and experiences and dreams. As she become more communicative and more eager to play her jazz for me, I decided to stop listing fruit suggestions and spices, anything oak-honed or vanilla-put. She spoke with more verse, more of that anti-formalist grab and elevation. I found myself and the wine, her, holding a new dialogue plot. This was a new conversation for me, one utterly unexpected, and one educating and enriching. With the second glass, the principles became more clear and austere.
Cherry fire and more sped recital of earth, maybe chocolate but I wasn’t trying to just list what you’d read somewhere else. She deserves more than that… galaxies more and with the glass again falling in content, I set it down. Looked at her with student retinae. This morning, drinking a multiple-shot mocha, I can still feel that progression, those words from her, that in-the-moment translation and re-translation and tryst with Grenache. Each lift and tilt, a definite and defined, defining bise (kiss). Everything brought into and composed and consolidated in the moment at my kitchen counter. Returning the cork to neck and placing the bottle that holds her onto the counter, I scribbled like some character meeting someone for a time first. Inaugural love but one that’s always been— right there, waiting, me for her and her for me, me with my dashed into urgency verse, and whim-pinned poetry.
Laying down, trying to sleep last night I had words pummeling my concentration and any remaining centeredness I had after my one and a half glasses. The softness of her approach and language, how none of those youth flaws you find in young reds impeded. There were no wishes I had, I found nothing missing. She was precisely what the writer begged both with and without intention. Last night, with a Grenache, the writer found more of himself in wine’s collective and individual stage presences. This is why I’m with her, wine, why she encourages me when new and renewing characters like her. Even after threes sips of this mocha, the first I’m sure seared my senses, I can still feel the sip slowly dance, taste that cherry, maple or toffee shapeliness, saxophone-sown cherry. I’m following, this next day. Haunted and taught.
Every person I saw this weekend had, has, a story. I only learned a couple of them. College students taking a break to taste wine, many of them to excess, but others coming to learn of new releases, wines in barrels and in their crucial developmental steps and crawls, skips and blips. I’m fine with not knowing hardly any of the stories, I just appreciate the nearness of those characters I didn’t know, with glass in hand and walking around seeing what else they could taste, talking to me often asking what my favorites are. Seriocomic, the whole progression. Both ethos and pathos, in a cup, for me and them to sip. My story, the academic in a tasting room pouring wines and talking of them as I do, and here this morning collecting whatever energy I have to write, write my day and story, from wine to the classroom and back.
Enough of my tzimmes. Into my paper, on wine and its essay-like posture, and delivery if successful. Or maybe not “successful”, but composed, assembled and narrating clearly its character and general figure and gravity. Wine has always presented itself to me as a literary and thought-lit entity. I collect this morning knowing what I am, a professor or teacher in wine’s world. Should have followed my sister-in-law’s advice a long time ago, about blogging about wine, solely, from my literary groundings. Me, wine, a story, right here this morning listening to my jazz and drinking what’s left of the 4-shot mocha.
Truth. Finding truth in what I saw this weekend, the younger college students and the older wine-walkers that keep adding to their cellar and laying down wines for some occasion, not even sure they know. Time punctuated in the days three past. Tasting from a barrel, where the wine is at this time. Then in later-time in bottle, then on a table or counter, in glass, drank, gone. Like us.
Miles Davis and I going over the last three days of Barrel Tasting. Sipping slow on some 2015 AV Cab, galavanting in my cognition, and thoughts, and philosophy-pronounced perception of all in my day, days, what I am and where I’m going. More than epistemological entertainment of my life, character, but more. Wine reminds me to adhere to my inherent character, propulsion and aims. Wife and babies upstairs asleep and I’m here with Miles while he throws notes to no percussion, and me with class tomorrow, vowing poetry earlier to them in a message, and to myself to provide and prove more recital. The Cabernet in my room settles, meditates and any stress alleviates. My Personhood further amalgamates. This is more than wine, when I write about wine. I don’t write about wine, I tonight find. I’m intoned in my thrown own. Me. The writer, the recorder of all around me, all specifics and seemingly insignificant blips.
Being one in the classroom, at the college level, the “students” who I more regard as my teachers, in front of them offering ideas I’m centered in manners I’m not anywhere else. Already see tomorrow, the rest of my story. Getting up early tomorrow either to write or workout or both. Maybe only write I postulate after again sipping the ’15… jazz notes from the screen and mind fly. Don’t want to be my own pesticitis, but I may be with how much I overthink certain certainties. Divided mind but pleasantly, in and out of this current room with toys surrounding me like encroaching force, and then me here with my reflections in and about Barrel Tasting, and my glass— this Cabernet, not that impressive but not at all underwhelming, not in any regard. My respect is for the one respecting the wine itself regardless of varietal, AVA, vintage or producer. Just wine for wine. No lacuna in this taste, or the one before… another, and more voice, more notes, more ascension and recital in the luminous structure and semblance of verse, voice, posture.
A freewrite at day’s end, at Barrel Tasting’s first weekend, end. Me on floor, not wanting to hear any voices, just jazz, the wine, what she has to to me say— verbal play and triangulating talk, around my perception and obligation, what I have to do tomorrow. Coffee already made, and today told me to wake early in morrow and put verses to page like an addict of addicts. Lady in tasting room yesterday, day’s close, with an obvious drinking penchant, stumbling from one side of the room to other. I will continue in same pew with poems, verse, early wakes. Miles has me in my own music, my own rebellious verses and with this ’15, a vintage known to be pummeled by water-lack, I’m only emboldened. Needed this sitting, this pour. I’ll help self to one more. The floral angles make themselves more known while I look around this room. Me just the writer on floor looking around his house like he’s never in it before been.
While I get distracted I find self re-centered, a wild collection of dreams and thoughts, romantic architecture of persona and mild setting of self. The wine’s to credit, I’m a narrator abetted by this 2015 potion. My loaded open-coded commotion, here with me as I write. Me and wine. That’s it. There’s nothing more complicated. IT’s just conversation inner and outer. Wine-wheeled.
Day 3. 08:47. Thinking about my shop, posting Elyse piece, finally. Who else do I want to sell? Everyone, in a word. Everyone has a customer, every winery had a voice and an audience. The obvious selection is St. Francis, with my and my family’s history with them, with my sister as their winemaker. But I want to think outside boxes, far outside boxes… Arista. Kaz. Whatever I want. I don’t need permission to love the wineries I do. So… I select one at a time. Remain not only demand-driven but discover-driven. I discover, as the consummate consumer, then the customer discovers something through me, my site, my shop.
On this third day, I see the why to wine. It’s the people around you. The occasion. The life emphasis, the stories, the literature and recital to it all. As I get closer to 09:00, I anticipate the day. Who I’ll see and what they’ll say, what they’ll buy, then tell self to stop anticipating. Take the day as it delivers itself to this writer’s self. Wine is an entity of spontaneity. Zut! Why didn’t I wake self earlier, get downstairs and writer my daily 3000 wine words. Today, it I hit. The feel of the winery now, contrasted to yesterday’s frenzy, t he day before… teaching me. This peace with my Coltrane tracks in the office of unoccupied cubicles and desks.
Tasting from barrel yesterday, my newly primed and titular wine hone and tone, seeing each character shifted from the day prior. The Pinot, taking a back-step and not as communicative and voltage-intended as Friday. Then the Zin taking my focus from my beloved AV Cab. But, when I went back and tasted both the Zin and Cab, on lunch break, the Cab retook my posture and movement, senses. Wine continues to teach me, situate me in this new morality and philosophy, thinking of my life and everything I’ve done and how the very event of barrel tasting reminds us to live, that time doesn’t wait— Not only does it not wait, it wants to push us aside and keep with the sprint. That’s why I don’t stress when the crowd spill into the tasting room, wanting one more tasting, and another, and another. One day I’ll be so old I won’t be able to stand all day. Huh… even now, me a runner and in fairly fit condition, I’m tested with an all day post on legs behind that counter pouring.
Have to visit the barrels again. See what they want from me. See what precisely they have to say. They could say anything. They change. They wanted to sing different songs these last two chapters. The quixotic envelopment of barrel tasting provokes a writer, at least a writer like me. Wine… each of them. New notes, new intersections, new dimensions and lessons. Wine’s embodies so much more than anything I’m discussing. It’s a reminding symbol. We’re here, and not for long. So, capture everything. Be so into the moment you don’t regard it as a moment, but something else. Something part of you. Didn’t expect such proficient theory from Barrel Tasting.
It’s no secret by now that I have a proverbial penchant for Elyse Winery’s offerings. Of all shapes and codes, everything they release like that Coltrane song I can’t hear enough. Their collective character is of a precise oenological diction that both mystifies and befuddles, and instructs me. About a month ago, I ordered four bottles— the ’12 and ’13 Mitchell Cabernet, the ’13 Petite Sirah, and ’13 Morisoli Vineyard Zinfandel. With my exploration of the label and general wine principles, I can only find my notes compiling and multiplying. Coming from the literary world I look for character and dialogue, tone and emotion in what I have in glass and how it introduces itself to senses. Each of these presences define and punctuate conviction and purpose, with their madly jazzed saunter-aesthetic, I write more, see more in each bottle, as oxygen touches the flavor composition more composition is riled, catapulted like eager angels at a wine lover no matter their “level”.
These wines unify, not only with each other but stream community with wine drinkers. That’s why I intoned that your “level” is inconsequential. The Petite Sirah, my little Jane Eyre gem of a night-scape wine…. Both Cabernets, prominent and versifying songs, each narrating their vintage conditions and atmospheric posts. And then the Zinfandel, establishing a beaming paradigm of what Zin producers on the Sonoma side, or any side, should aim to manuscript. Elyse instructs us as wine pursuers while not instructing. There is no exposition, but furthered, the most inmost and immersed, subterranean expression and romance. A wine producer singing to us all, with kaleidoscopic chord and key, octave. My last bottle, gone. So now, to call them. Wondering if I should apologize for studying so swiftly…. Reading over notes, remembering, before reaching for phone.
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Sitting in my usual. Corner seat before barrels tasting day 2. Only have twenty minutes to collect so I put myself in the poet’s chair, in the student’s seat. Using every breath and thought optimally before seeing more of the wavy verses, people who’ve been to too many spots. But before addressing that, I explore the why. Didn’t find a definite answer or understanding yesterday, with the first day. Tasting from the Roth barrels and me behind the bar, seeing people only want more wine, but what I did see was the appreciation of occasion. No, they didn’t take tasting wine from barrel with as much astuteness or attention as I would, or as I hoped they might. But the why entails a love for the moment. A direction to the wined direction. I love wine just for this just for what I saw yesterday, even the over-sippers, and there were a few— more than I anticipated there’d be, truthfully. The why professes in the tasting room, at the barrel, in wine’s magnetism to bring people somewhere. How much they sip and how seriously they take it is irrelevant, frankly. Wine tells people to go somewhere, and the people go to be around other characters similar. That’s poetic, that’s musical, theatrical and animated. The why in wine, in barrel tasting, is in the walk up that walkway, the first barrel from which you taste. No matter your age, college kid obnoxious or older collector serious, you’re all there concurrently. To taste, yes. But more so to experience. To live, to spend that part of your life right there at that time, taste wine and do what you will with it.
Today I measure will be even more traffic-trounced than yesterday. And yesterday was quite manageable. Some complain about how crazy it gets and about the drunk people, the college kids and whomever else isn’t working and enjoying their day. Not me. As a writer, I take it all in and inventory and deconstruct the stage. People all around me at one point, and person working bar with me left to do something, I think clean up broken glass in women’s salle de bains. I stood. I poured. I talked to everyone, this one kid in particular that wanted to get something sweet for his girlfriend. I told him we didn’t have any sweet wine. He then posed what I thought was the sweetest tasting. Said the Pinot Gris. He agreed. He bought and thanked me for my time, and for being so patient with him when it was him moving in patient perambulation with me. I could tell he was affected by the juice, but I didn’t act any differently or ask if he was okay, or offer him water which I probably should have, back-looking.
Before Day 2 launches, and I’m here and there and everywhere with a bottle in my hand, surveying the people on counter’s opposing terrain, I look out the window at my right, see rain, and breathe. Today will test me, all of us. But I take it in differently being the wine journalist, writer, diarist. I’m in the wine industry, for my thirteenth year, and still see Newness from how people drink to how they talk before and after having too much, to what I say to myself while talking to them. Having the dualistic dialogue. All around wine. The wine is the why. Wine is its own poetic aesthetic, but as well its own psychoanalytic momentum. College English, Literature Instructor in wine’s rooms, noting everything. That’s my why, blended with wine’s.