New Bottle Ticket for a Bottled Ox

img_0858Finally home after a taxing tasting room day, after my 7-miler morning.  First run of that length in some time.  Thinking of wine, where to go with it next… sipping the remainder of the Dry Creek Vineyards ’14 Zin I last night brandished.  Somehow lost the cork so I wrapped the neck in saran wrap.  I took it off expecting instant evidence of oxygen contamination, or at least some oxidized something.  But nothing.  It withheld.  It stood its ground, showing it’s more than an ‘it’.  This bottle shows unyielding intention, some derelict drive that’s admirably curious.  So I’m here writing my article or reaction to the day and night and wine, simply confounded.  Then I stall.  I need another glass.  Before siting to write I was tempted to turn on CNN, see what the new chief’s done now.  But why when I have this wine, when I had the day I had, literally rolling out of bed and running.  The wine tells me not to stop… time is like my oxygen, and not in a beneficial manner.  Like oxygen can be to wine, time is to the writer.  So I speed on.

One lady who came in today, absolutely obsessed with magnums.  Had a question about every one, and the vintage.  Each vintage, she’d ask, “So what about this one?” Not asking if I like it or not, but I knew that was her tonal subtlety.  “Well,” I returned, “if you’re asking me if I like the ’12, yes, I love it.” Then she did the same with the ’13, the ’14, and the ’11.  “Wasn’t 2011 a bad year?” She asked.  Ugh, I thought, the question.  Why always people and 2011?  (See why I began this piece with ‘finally home’?). I told her my defense of 2011, a little about ’13 and ’14, and then slid away.  No more, I couldn’t do it.  People should find out for themselves, about any wine or vintage, winery or region.  Wine, like literature, art, or your own writing, is about discovery, and risk.  You heard 2011 is a “bad’ vintage?  That’s more than bountiful warrant to go out there and try some.  See if they’re right.  And if they are, then you learn from it, what makes a less-than-towering vintage.  And if they’re wrong, you know now that going out and seeing for yourself is the most instruction and informed way to live wine.

Second glass at left, and I’m standing my ground— or sitting my seat.  Babies asleep upstairs, and I revisit the conversations from the tasting room in head.  Everything from those with co-workers toward shift-close, to the ones hours earlier with the larger group that walked in, many of whom were “industry”, telling me about the releases at their wineries and what they like to drink at home, to one of them whom makes his own wine and sells it online while working production at a larger Russian River producer.  There’s more than enough wine out there, in the world, for me to explore and write about, and beyond those simplistic descriptors and expected-to-be-mentioned fruits.  The personality of the wine.. this Zin, in instance— wild in its behavior but everything it speaks is poetic.. nothing foul about it, and unusually organized and dedicated to its palate narrative… a wine understanding the sipper more than the sipper conceives what’s in glass, eventually washing over senses.  It welcomes me home, congratulates me at the end of my day, orders me to relax.  This wine type you remember, you seek, you learn from.


inward jot

img_0822Just wrote another essay.  That’s two in this I-think-collection I’m gathering.  Not sure how many I want to collect, but each piece is an essay, standing alone.  Gave a wildly poetic and energized lecture on Plath and her poetic radiance, this morning.  I keep thinking of the fig tree mentioned in Bell Jar, how the narrator cites starving to death in her inability to pick one.  Then, while walking back here to the conference room I though of a singular title on a business card— my sister’s, “Winemaker”.  What the fuck is mine?

What do I want it to be?


No punctuation.  Just the word.  I’ll keep writing, through this whole day, and inventory every effort as I did the other day.  Thinking of an essay on Plath, that part of the novel and its universality.  Everyone feels that way, at one point, having to choose one thing, or at least something, to be.  That’s what they are, that’s what they do.  And you live once!  Which, of course, makes it even more stressful.  “…choosing one meant losing all the rest…”, Plath wrote, but I wonder— Does it have to be that way?  What if you limit yourself to a small number of figs?  No, you have to choose one.  You want to have to only choose and have one.  You’ll be stronger that way.  I can write, run a business, be a winemaker, be a marathoner, be a tutor, be a copywriter…. One thing, one ME, one story—  WRITER

I don’t want any punctuation touching that word, or at least in this context.  One author for my study concentration.  Yes, her… my darling Ms. Plath.  And she’s right, the figs do eventually wrinkle and blacken, so I have to move quick, and I have to choose and never look back.  So, changing my mind, I’m a “WRITER.” Why the sudden punctuation, now?

‘Cause I’m a Writer.  Period.

The Nose

img_0820I learned a long time past— take your time smelling wine.  Don’t inhale too hard or too fast.  Inhale like squirrels you see, or groundhogs, that stand upright and take in atmosphere in those staccato’d pulses.  “It’s wine smelling, not wine tasting,” somebody once suggested to me.  At first I was like ‘Yeah, okay bro…’.  But now I realize he was entirely right.  And don’t overthink what you smell, the “nose” of your wine.  Just see what you see.  It’s an encounter, like anything else.  Hear so many say “wine is alive”, but don’t treat it like a living thing, or being, person.  They use the first contact, the smelling or ‘nosing’ act as a means to show how much they know about wine or how sophisticated they are.  Take your time, smell what you will, and taste.  This is your tasting.  No one else’s.

wine sketchez

img_07962013—  St. Francis’ opus, if you would— one of its grandest of grand efforts, Bordeaux spectrum.  A certain galaxy speaking from its delicious faultline, reminding me why I’m with wine.  This offering actuates the poetic and demanding demeanor you expect from Bordeaux blends.  I know, I’m biased.  But this bottle’s its own space, its own place and perforation through time continuums.  Mostly Cabernet, I think, then mettled with some of the other Bordeauxs.  Could call my sister to get the exact blend but I’d rather not and just sip, let it speak to me— this wine reminds me of why I started writing about wine in the first place, why I started to blend my literary terrestrial with cet oenological peripatetic where I live.  This contained savory code appeals not just to Meritage chasers, but to any wine lover or roamer or gawker seeking something that perforates their expectations, that teaches them, that electrifies them in ways that delightfully disturbs the way they encounter any new wine going forward.  It’s obvious, my tie to this mammoth producer in Kenwood, but believe it or not I’m object in this step-set.  And what I get, a contained and convincing red blend.  An anthem, singing to all my receptors and analytical receptions.  Just finished last glass.  One more before bed.  The smoke and cherry, chocolate dark atop espresso powder and power, just too inexorable to dismiss.  St. Francis winery never speaks.  Rather, demonstration and tangibility is its culture.  And I’m here, before nightcap, convinced.  I’m instructed on Bordeaux amalgamation and attitude—  seeing myself in some vineyard, Kenwood or the Left Bank.  What do I do?  Glass, another.  Meditate, alongside my Patron Saint.  More I let it sit, after glass final poured, I see more tenacity and character, palate rhetoric and vocality.  The wine now not only reminds but instructs me to play with time, to not just enjoy, but purposefully enjoy and understand what I’m sipping.


img_0787Up and I don’t have to be, but I couldn’t fall back asleep and wanted to be doing something.  Last night didn’t get as much done as I wanted, so here I am.  Anoche’s Chardonnay being kind with idea generation but of course this writer didn’t honor it appropriately, didn’t get to page three.  Well today I have to, with this first cup and beyond I’m letting myself be completely and obnoxiously free, blissful.  Selling myself on this idea of freedom and writing, freely writing about wine and not having to write about it like so many others do— and I’m not sure why I have to tell myself it’s okay, I know it’s “okay”, I guess I’m just contemplative this morning about so much, so much with life, with a career, with me as a father, husband, son, brother, all of it.

Now I definitely won’t go back to sleep.  Was afraid there for a bit that I would, but now I know I won’t.  Selling myself as well on the idea of having more, and that it’s not bad to want more.  Not at all.  Some would have you think you’re greedy and you’re a bit of a stooge for just ‘wanting’, but if you don’t want then you have no aim, and a character without aims is one without a story.  No one hopes to read that, or anything like that.  So I’m up.   Now just past 7am and I have no interest in stopping.  This isn’t “work ethic”, this is obsession.  Obsessed with having more for a career and getting to where I want and NEED to be in order to set my family in the life quality I envision.

This morning, this day, this 18th of February, has sold me on ME, this new me, this ME I’m convinced I can be.  That I have to be.  And it’s about more than just sales and selling yourself on being able to do something or even the forward motion idea…. Today, and all days at my 12 are about happiness.  Being happy.  Couple semesters ago a student bought me a “Happiness Project” journal.  Supposed to write one happy sentence in it for five years.  Returning to that page-set, returning to me, returning to a singular and simplified but amplified goal— total, encompassing, inescapable happiness.  Terminal happiness.  Infectious happiness.  Last night’s Chardonnay, I noticed, had a kind of happy disposition and rhetoric to it… funny, I remember thinking that during the last glass, just an hour or so before bed, that it tasted ‘happy’.  Guess I need to be more like Chardonnay.  Huh…. Anyway, keep writing.

Today’s sentence: “I love where I’m going, I love who I am, this is going to be good.”

Another slight Cab sip—

I got it! I figured out how to make it as a writer.  Want to hear my trick?  Easy…. Okay, you want to hear it?  …. No, can’t, much I want to.  Okay here it is… to just not give a fuck.  Not care at all.  So many tell me, “Watch what you say, this is a small industry.” Wine.  The wine industry.  And?  You want me to be afraid.  You want this writer to bite his tongue.  I’m feeling a new character come about this evening.  One inspired by.. I don’t know… HST… Hem… Plath… Pac…..  Tarantino.  I’m here in my role, after wife said she didn’t want to drive to Windsor, have our dinner date.  So I drink this ‘Lagunitas Sucks’ and hear only dialogue here.  New movie..

Me:  Is there something to this movie?

Me2:  There should be, otherwise why watch—

Me:  Exactly, why watch.

Me2:  That’s what I said.  But now that you said it, it has me thinking more than when I said it in my head.

Me:  Sometimes I have something to say…. Most of the time I just say shit, but it’s not really saying something, like something, you know, significant.

Me2:  Sorry?  I don’t know.. where’s that Cabernet?