No nap, today, fought against pull and push to do so. Thanksgiving over, wife out shopping at one of those shopping special eve whatever’s. Me, home. Wine. Just finished glass of Claret. The night passed with such cruel progression. Indifference. Babies asleep upstairs. What movie do I watch, my dilemma. My life’s trouble. Think of how fortunate I am with my family and to have such family, to be sitting where I am, here on this we seek to shed, new one one the way… Day of giving thanks, I need to show more giving of thanks, being thankful.

Tonight, I do intend exploring more wine. No aim to wake at 4am or 4:10 like this day. No. I may actually just sleep in. I will. What do I mean, “may”? May have to punch out. Take the night as it approaches me, describe and translate it, or in such order reversed… then wake tomorrow with more thought. More story. More ME. Tired now, forgetting I’ve been up since 4-something. Think 4:10. Has it been that long? Yes. It has. Me, that writer. Now. Time to Self and I sip wine and be here, writing. A writer.

Does the writer want apple pie or Chardonnay? Both sound like they sound, their own precise appeal and connection. I’m not torn between both but urge to be curved by both, somehow. 9:08. Feel like bed but I won’t. I can’t. But more, I refuse. Why can’t I be a human, just have dessert or drink wine. Is it that complicated? Are my thoughts the hinderance, the block and or impediment? I think it may be just that. Not in any kind of a writing swoop, and I can’t figure anything of it out. How does pine figure. What type a figure be me, I, this writer.

I feel like I’m not doing a thing, while doing too much. A mess. Should have taken a nap.

inward jot

A cemetery on the grounds… an amazing vineyard walk at new property, actually more than one… selling four cases to a couple from the South Bay, people with whom I spent a lot of time, talking about everything from the Peninsula where I grew up, the drive up to Ridge Winery in the Cupertino hills… the views… walking around on the grass just realizing where I am and the new wine story ahead of me…. And, of course, dinner tonight at a soft opening of a restaurant owned by the family that owns this new winery for me…. I’m reflective, contemplative, measured.  Sitting on the floor in the home office, realizing more my current reality and its currency, how I didn’t really write all day, just took notes and shot some still pics and videos with phone (which could later be translated into pages), the writer echoes inwardly, more, telling himself to not stress about times where he can’t write.  Like with dinner this evening with these new co-workers of mine— would I have rather been writing while at the table with them or enjoying their company, the various bottles opened, all the new plates put before us… the oysters, that squid, the burrata, the burger I elected then the desserts, my French Press coffee.  As writers we have to let the moment pervade and land, we study, then paginate later.

Dishwasher in kitchen, I take a break from my types to look at my photo’d record of the day.. wines, views, cemetery, food, friends— new co-worker’s birthday, mine ten days from now.  38.  Have to not think so much about writing and who I write about, and when I write, and WHAT about— just fucking write.  Right?  Tannat open, glass in kitchen and not by me so I can drink slower, and less, focus more on the page and my book.  Hoping to wake early, but just a hope.. but I hope not that it’s jut a hope.  Make it not just a hope, Mike.  And yes, the ‘NO WINE’ lament isn’t going to work, not now anyway.  I need to study wine, react to wine’s character, narrate it as I told that man and his wife at day’s end.  Tangled in my musings, that I’m not even sure are mine anymore but more possessions of the elements around me catalyzing them, if that makes sense.  My sensibilities caution me, against me.. this overly tenacious Self that wants everything and everything in the same timedrop, plated pretty like those oysters and that colorful and cubist burrata.

The stroll around the cemetery with Nic early warned me, reminded me, that this isn’t always.  That the morrow is anything but assured.  That all frames and standalone moment-pieces need be appreciated and examined and written about—  “That’s a lot of work.” Someone might say.  “Exactly.” I return.  That’s why I’m here.  Now, I can have a Tannat lot.  And after that what?  What do you mean, “What?” Whatever the moment is is what’s to be written.  There’s nothing of null gravity.

wine sketchez

A Pinot purity of wine music you won’t often palate–  Universal while not being that pushover Pinot that so many expect.  Formidable and confident, ardent while concurrently maintaining a poetic femininity, soft and symphonious.  What others would call “light-bodied”, I dub ‘charming and instructional’.  Just the first sip had the writer jovial, thinking of sipping it on a New York hotel balcony somewhere in Manhattan, looking down at the traffic thinking about my life in wine and with wine, why I live in Sonoma County and why I can’t wait to get back–  Why I love Russian River as I do, Pinot as I do.  St. Francis, known to more than a few as the “house of big reds” demonstrates through the alchemical astute and angelically innovative winemaker with her unwavering intent on varietal translation and expansiveness, decides another direction for the Burgundian voice that all sippers can hear and speak, have connection with.  Taking another sip, when I know I should be finishing another article I have due…  I assume its subtle intonation and edge.  It has me space-bound and terrestrially sound at the same time.  One of my favorite sketched wines, so far, easily.  Writing this in the year I turn 38 and St. Francis’ RRV Pinot has me with a pugilistic tilt, like I can take on the wine indistry with subtlety and not image or luxury-obsessed pretension.  This bottle speaks to everyone loving wine, and everyone loving a truly Human wined frame like Sonoma County, like Russian River, like St. Francis.  Like a movie I had always hoped to see, on that changed my consciousness, and I finally viewed it, kind of by chance and some from gift result (parents getting me a bottle, sister the winemaker), but I’m being objective, I swear.  I’m already on my “next trip”.  Don’t worry.  Don’t worry about my relationship with wine and my county.  MY county.  Sonoma.  Not “the other county”, as they say.  They’re only a they, and they need us for comparison, for self-state stature.  But there is no mirroring.  Especially when you sip Sonoma County wines like this.  Nowhere near amiss.

wine sketchez

Amphora Winery – 2012 – Mourvèdre – Clarksburg

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Fun and funky little Rhône razzmatazz.  Earthy and rustic, raw berry and spice waves surround your senses.  This is not meant to be for the one who wants the regular, mainstream wine song.  The beauty of this wine resides in its innovative precision and defined defiance.  I found myself sipping this throughout the evening, last night, and it aligned like a swift jazz tune with the pasta with red sauce and blackened chicken.  I’ll be back by the twee little tasting room off of Dry Creek Road any day, to pick up some more.  Nice sipping wine— just what I would sip on a quite early evening to some Thievery Corporation, Miles Davis, The Doors— something to put me on edge a bit, make me think as this bottle does.

wine sketchez

Truett Hurst Winery – 2015 – “Queen Bee” – Gewurtztraminer – Russian River Valley/Sonoma County

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I remember thinking, “A Gewurtztraminer?  I’m going to write about a Gewurtztraminer?” Well here I am doing just that.  This bottle has no sugar to speak of, or none that you can detect, and boasts with tropical and florally capturing chimes from contact one to any finish.  But that’s one dimension to this wine I found inspiring, is that there was no “finish”.  I tasted it yesterday before 11AM, I’m pretty sure, and can still recall every suggestion, from the apricot, to the line, to the wet stone, forest air, tangerine…  This wine just stays there and communicates with you.  Has not intention of fleeing.  Doesn’t necessarily demand a food pairing, but would welcome something spicy or with a little pepper, some kind of heat.  I know, you’ve never heard of such a pairing for Gewurtz’, right?  Well, just had to put it in my notes, maybe to remind myself.  But, honestly, the structure and pervasive placement of this wine is so playful and flirtatious that I would just leave it alone, or only “pair” it with something before dinner, like veggies and hummus, or some aged cheddar., or a chair on a porch, or by a pool.  But, back to what I said, I was smitten leaving the tasting room.  And it was a rainy day, and I kept thinking “This would be nice for just sitting inside with and sipping, feet up on a coffee table in front of a fire or to some Sonny Rollins.” But, had to work.  So, to more of the wine’s testaments, it had me fantasizing, wishing, envisioning myself with just a day off— me, a bottle, a view.  Simplicity, sequencing more seduction.  And from a Gewurtztraminer.  Huh…..

#WineWednesday

wine sketches

2 Lancaster Estate Nicole’s Vintages, 2011 vs. 2009

I shouldn’t put it that way, ‘versus’.  This wasn’t a versus situation.  To be honest, I’m low on wine and I’ve been wanting to dive back into my Nicole’s stash and there they were.  I opened the ’11 first, a few days ago, and I was already so eager for it to be luminous and expressive, me being a defender of the all-too pummeled ’11 vintage.  It had a more gentle impact and presence, which is to be expected from 2011 Cab-centered offerings, but it didn’t lack identity, nor narrative, poetry or conviction.  It was a motion consistent with Lancaster and then-winemaker Jesse Katz.  This bottle still has potential to lay down, if you really wanted to, but there was nothing muted about it now.  It’s ready.  It wants to read its flavored verses to you over an over.

The ’09…  The winner.  I know, I said this wasn’t a versus situation but maybe unintentionally it was.  This bottle could cellar for even longer than the ’11, and had more a roar and rhetoric, more growl, more of that classic Alexander Valley music which magnetizes and galvanizes Cab lovers from everywhere.  Darker fruit, more texture, more of that cigar box and smoke note that complements the tangibly spoken composition and palate posture of the wine itself.  This 2009 Cab-anchored character shows more of a staunchness to it.  And before you ask, I’m not one that speaks of varietals like, ‘A Cabernet should always…’ No.  I’m one that connects with wines almost separate of what’s on the label.  As a standalone wine.  This 2009 Nicole’s stands alone, on its own, owning its moment and sensory presence in a way the ’11 didn’t.  After having the bottle open for about an hour, it was jazz, recited repeatedly and with a different directive in each sip.

It was interesting tasting these, in reverse order, separated by a few nights.  Not like I was worried I wouldn’t like one or the other, or there was any pause or balk.  No need.  The both had their own stage presence, both with their own definitions and connections, dogmas—  Both conversational Cabernets.  And if you’ve ever met Nicole, the statuesque inspiration behind the project, you’d know the justice pervades beautifully, proper and integral.  Neither falls short or even minusculely disappoints.  Lancaster never does, I’ve found.  So this was written with shameless, fan-stricken and leaning proclivity.

(10/12/16)