Picking Up

And I just stare…..

As a wine club member you have a nonpareil and very personal connection to a site, a winemaking practice, and there’s something about the story that strikes you and coerces you to buy, and replenish your cellar with those bottles.  Some wineries push wine club too heavily, turning the feel of the visit to something mirroring a used car lot, or timeshare marketing effort.  And we’re all different with wine clubs, and what we’re comfortable with.  But I’m one of the small, family producer.  I only belong to one club, Lancaster Estate’s, tucked away on Chalk Hill Road and cosmically ideal for consumers like me, that want to be a part of a winery story and enjoy wines that can only be made one way and at one concise location.

Extraction only Lancaster can attain…

On days you pick up it’s like xmas, or a birthday, or just a gift giving day all about you, about receiving a gift from you to you.  Today was one such day for me, finally getting out to Lancaster after a pusillanimous semester of IMG_9820-0four classes spread over three campuses.  I needed today and Lancaster was there for me, tasting through the flight beginning with the ’14 SB, then the ’12 Sophia’s, mostly a Cab-centered cuvée, then to two Cabs to the side of each other, the ’10 and the ’12.  I thought to myself, “I love picking up.” Some get their wines shipped to them as members, living out of state or in some far part of CA.  But for me, and any other Sonoma or Napa or Marin, or Mendo, member, they drive to the base, the chic unpretentious salon on Lancaster’s Estate to get their case or half case or what them awaits– for me, 9 bottles today, 3 SB, 3 Sophias, and 3 “LE’s” which is curt for ‘Lancaster Estate’ (connoting Cabernet).

IMG_9821The first pickup day for me in a while, so I took my time even though I had a car appointment in under two hours, I wanted to reconnect with the wines like a friend I hadn’t seen in too long.  This was a long time in cue, and the “wine club member” dimension and “privilege” to my visit skipped from my thoughts entirely.  Actually, never really there.  I was just at a family member’s house, visiting, tasting wine and taking in the story and remembering why I joined without focusing on the whole ‘I’m a wine club member’ disposition.  I don’t have that, I can firmly affirm.  They’ve made me that comfortable, feel welcome to such stratospheric level.  I’m a wine lover at a house whose wine I’m more than in love with.  And that’s why someone should join a club, stemming from conviction that your senses are more than in love with the wines.. that you’re doing more than just collecting the wines.. that you’ve been taught something by that winemaking and hospitality tone and characterization.

Now, I’m at that bloody car appointment, waiting for news of what’s goingIMG_9822 on with my wheels, and I can only think about what I dropped off at home in my cellar (more a closet close to the kitchen) before coming here.  I know I should age them, but I want to pop one tonight.  I nearly have to, from what I tasted and how it haunts me.  That’s when you know, that’s when you understand the connection with a winery, where you’re supposed to be a member; that’s how you can see you’ve been taught something, and not just with how a varietal’s interpreted and produced, but about your relationship with wine and why you’ve elected to be part of this barreled world and life, smattered with electric chapters.




Kerouac down for his nap, and I’m tempted to take one myself…  Class in a little under four hours, nearly all grading done.  Admirable progress today, I guess.  I mean, I’ve shocked myself a bit with it, if you should know.  Quiet in here, peace.. think I will rest my eyes for a bit.  And when I’m back up, ready for class, this semester that has so far proven to be arguably the most rewarding since my first classroom in ’06, at Chabot.


10:25PM.  Readying for bed.  Couldn’t just sit here, watch the news.  Another lighted session with ‘100’ group.  And now, back to that bloody tasting room.  It’s fine, I make it work for me.  No days off.  Have to plan everything.  Going to charge this device overnight.. write lesson while in Room, go to class, come home and enjoy one of the Lancasters that was delivered to the winery the other day.  Need to get to the Road, break this curse of regularity that’s lasted far too long.


6/19:  In classroom, 5:26p, students’ll be arriving momentarily.  Today was painful, not motivated to pour a single one-once hint of wine, nor did I want to give any tours, information.. nothing.  There was a mood there with me, one sharp, dark, and it’s still somewhat about my character but this mocha’s assisting in its removal.  Tonight I’m most certainly opening wine, some kind, more than likely Lancaster as I said in the last entry.  More poetry, more poetry…  Have to think in rhyme, and finish editing the book.  This semester’s taking all the surplus time I thought I had.  But it’s fine.. I’m teaching, writing, having incredible discussions on Gatsby, and I’m sure the books we address from here forward will be equally electric with reaction.  Could use a beer right now.. Sophie and I shared the same thought, driving around the estate, around 2 this afternoon.


9:07PM, back home, exhausted, not wanting to go back to the winery tomorrow, sipping this Lancaster SB, 2013.  Finally a moment to Self.  But not many.. so tired of this cramped schedule.  If you removed “the industry”, I’d have more time to write than I’d probably know what to do with.  But that’s how it always goes.  The mood from the winery today still crawls around my thoughts, motions, and unseen makeup.  I’m a wreck I feel, but that means I’m more of a writer, right?

First longer reaction paper assigned.  Will post to the teaching blog tonight– Have to check on the pizza, in oven, and get another sip of this SB…


10:18.. now to that Cuvée they do, the Sophia’s.  Running tomorrow, hopefully, right after work.  Ah… this is the type of wine I see mySelf sipping while on the Road, in a hotel.  My focus, straying, but I stay typing, just again reiterating my intention for the Road.. with my fiction, the stories I see all around me, but I’m not in many places.. only two, now: the tasting room and the classroom.. two rooms that dominate my swoon.  Not letting mySelf go much beyond this line, but I still thinking of what I’d write if I were in that hotel room.  I’ll be there soon.  What if tomorrow’s the day, the day I have that singularly and definitively rearranging day, the one that changes everything, the one for which I’ve been hoping since 2011, the days at ‘the box’?  We’ll see, all I can to Self say.. we’ll see…

Lancaster Estate Winery, 2009, Sophia’s Hillside Cuvée, Alexander Valley

We all know 1Stop’s a fan of Lancaster Estate.  And this ’09 Sophia’s is ample justification for that proclivity.  95%Cab, 5% Merlot.  Yes, a young wine, but less than hour of decanting removes any cranky instability, and there isn’t much anyway.  Chocolate, mocha, espresso, sweet leather, butterfly-like tannins forward the intellect of this wine’s elemental arrangement.  Right now, I’m sipping it on its own, to enjoy the Art in the bottle.  And that’s precisely what resulted from this new wine club member release.  [Yes, 1StopWBS’s a cheerful LE Guild Member.]  Love how the nose, after about 40 minutes of air contact, reshapes itself to offer floral notes intermingled with the raspberry, cherry.  Lovely.  Feminine, forwad.  Still sipping.  And only $42 when it’ll be available for pouring in the tasting salon.  More than “consumer-friendly,” a price like that for a ravishing wine like this.

Saved a little for the next night, about 2.5 glasses worth.  The profile was even more engaging that the night prior.  More present were the notes of spicy plum and raspberry, and the chocolate-nudged vanilla.  Lovely tannic frame with each sip.  Definitely have to reorder, keep a few of these on hand at the 1Stop office.  Pairings might range anywhere from blackened chicken, or spiced red sauce pastas, to Sicilian sausage pizza with some kalamata olives.  Versatile vixen, this ’09 cuvée.


I’m Full, like this Cabernet

“This wine is full of itself,” a lady, on the second tour I did today, said.  There was endearment, when I asked what she meant.  She spoke of the ’07 Estate Cab, what I wound up bringing home, from her analysis.  She also said it was like a staircase, having many steps.  I thought of how wine is wordplay, more Literary, musical, than I perhaps before accredited it.  I came home to little Jack quite awake, more vocal than I’ve ever witnessed him.  I then followed my thoughts to what this writing’s “supposed to be,” if it involves wine.  If I’m writing a “wine blog.” If you know me, you know what I think.  I’m just going to write, follow my own key pushes.  That’s the enthrallment of each sitting.  Right now, Jack listens to my Thievery Corporation station on Pandora, through my phone.  He coos every few measures or so.  I’m deducing he enjoys my music, as before he appeared unsettled when I set him down in his little open-top bassinet.  Although this session’s a little rushed, it’s in a tier of favorites, most-memorable’s.  My son, growing in complexities, intricacies, proclivities.  Much like a wine, a character in an Austen novel.  I can tell he’s engaged with the tracks, their BPM’s.  He’s musical, and certainly more aware than I am of a song’s tonal recipe.

Beautiful in AV today.  Can’t wait to taste the ’07 I brought home.  Also looking forward to 2nite’s writing in bed.  Need to go through some recent video footage I’ve shot.  Some interesting interactions, beautiful footage of the Kaz grounds, among additional catches.  This current track, slower.  Taking me to Paris, a boat ride on the Seine with Mr. Jack.  We talk about local cuisine, Art shown at the museums through which we stepped.  What we’re going to do the next day, and that after.  We’re on a family Art peregrination.  Thought escape; Conference.  He just spoke again, my little man.  What is he thinking, waving his arms as he does, be it involuntarily or purposefully?

8:52pm.  And, Lancaster’s (AV Winery’s) ’07 Estate sits in glass.  Had one sip.  Mild, well-paced for an ’07.  Feel like prose isn’t suiting me in the way I wish it, today.  Need a switch to musical, more rhythmic, cubist, penning’s.  Why am I using apostrophes so much, lately?  Because of prose, its laws, expectations.  I write alongside the whimsicality, spontaneity of wine’s world, now.  Poet forever; So rules, no rules, will ever rule me.

Prose tends to, or has the potential to exhaust both writer and reader.  Little Kerouac sees my approach, understands it.  “Whooooooo,” he says.  Remembering what it felt like to recite verses onstage.  Sharing meter, random rime, syllabic patterns, alliteration.  If I read prose, people would just listen, more than likely.  not move, react.  They‘ simply listen, some feeling forced.  Prose can’t hold music in its characters like poetry can.  So, switching modes…  I want concert, performance.  All Eyez On Me…


Intensely remedied, setting scenes on a

mezzanine.  Plenty fees entailed in ending

leaves.  My dialogue’s on a lightning rod,

awaiting strike; debating plight on a tightened

flight.  My sight’s enlivened like a kite’s height.

Removed, all hindsight.


(3/22/12, Thursday)

Roth Estate Winery, 2009, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast/Sonoma Valley

From Lancaster Estate’s distributed label.  Winemaker Jesse Katz offers one of those Pinots that refuses to release you.  Nice introductory flavor shock with the nose; wild berry, forest floor, spiced mushroom, maybe a mint flicker.  On that palate, you’ll experience light-medium to medium gravity, body, with the wildness the fruit’s tenacity and coy spicy tones pingponging with delicious dizziness.  This Pinot, with it Sonoma Coast sway, doesn’t need culinary companion.  Sip on its own, if you want, maybe slightly chilled as I did with this visit.  Confident in its strut and deliciously interactive qualities.  Tasting room price-point, $28.  Beyond impressive in value, and sip seduction.  Pair with anything from light pasta, to fish, to a margherita pizza.  Maybe even a gently spiced mediterranean dish.  Versatile and voluptuous.  Get a bottle, soon.  Sip, sip …

1S Score: 93