vin jot

2014 Roth Estate Merlot, Alexander Valley.  My Friday night.  Well, kind of.  Teaching tomorrow and have other stuff to address and take care of.  Would love to go for an early, early run, but who knows if that’ll go.  You know what…. I’m just going to enjoy the moment.  Right now, here, now.  Jackie not going to sleep but rather playing around in his room, or as he said “cleaning up”, so wife brought him down to hang with us for a bit.  I just left him in his room and it’s a mystery as to whether he has any intention of sleeping.  I barely have the intention of writing.  I’m making myself do it, at this point.  No coffee in house, so if I wake early to write and run as I hope to it’ll be with the most innate and intrinsic of energies.

My glass in the kitchen, make it last longer.  Have tried this before but tonight I’m honestly not in the mood.  The Merlot tells me to remember what it’s done for me.  You might say almost immediately, “What?” It’s THE varietal.  The one that pulled me in closer, closer to examine and feel wine’s complexion and song on levels further than I could have foreseen.  She tells me to not try to command my composition but let it write itself— wine, Merlot, me… further in intersections elaborate and ethereal.  But something’s off and I can categorize or identify what—  WHAT?  Like I’m on a first date… or first day at a job… nervous.  For what?  I swear, if I say w… one more time…..  I need a sip.  I need the rest of the glass.  Maybe I’m tired.  Maybe I can’t work all day at these wineries and teach at night.  But I had a great lecture this evening.  Fuck.. now I’m just confused.  Might open another Roth offering…

wine sketchez

Schug Winery – 2012 – Merlot – Sonoma County

img_7869Easy-going Merlot with that jazz that I look for in any wine.  And it’s not the Merlot type that so many self-sworn “experts” just want to write away with disgruntled barbs and obnoxious dismissal.  This bottle shows rounded and eclectic palate presence with an unusually convincing fruit structure entailing cherry, blueberry, a little strawberry and mint-chocolate.  Soft grip and a tremolo’d finish that’ll carry you to the next sip.  Not what people think of, or what they’re told to think of (what I find happens most often), when Merlot comes up in discussion or is poured at the table.  This wine shows speed and swagger, sense and syllabic sensibility.  Its own language and sound form.  One of those Coltrane solos that you replay over and over while driving down Highway 1, window down, where you smell the ocean, where the ocean talks to you through phantasmic breezy shoves.  After about 40 or so minutes open inviting oxygen down through neck, she starts to narrate what Sonoma is entirely about— elegant approachability.  No vanity, only a story and conversation through Bordeaux’s always shoved cast member.  It’s relaxed disposition is just what makes it un tel amour.

A New Bridge, Written for Me

Yoakim Bridge Vineyards and Winery Reaction—

Again exploring my valley, Dry Creek, and en fin decided to stop at Yoakim Bridge Vineyards and Winery.  Quaint and contained tasting room with a gentle atmospheric allure that someone like me can only take to, be eager to taste through the flight and further settle into the property and story.  Was auspicious enough to have Virginia, one of the owners pour for me.  With convivial smiles and bright wooing dialogue she poured the first offering, a 2013 Dry Creek/Sonoma County Zinfandel.  Already, the narrative was paginated, that this is a wine producer that couriers not just a ‘sense of place’ as people say about their own wines, but truth of varietal, valley and county, the winery’s inviting octave.  Then the same Zin, 2012, transitioning to an ’11 Petite Sirah which has the most resplendent and magnetic initial attractiveness of I think any PS I’ve ever tasted.  Then concluding with the Merlot.  A 2010 which has a distinguished tasty ardor and accent to its notes and song, general poetry— and oh did it convince me.  Had to walk away with a bottle before walking around the vineyard, checking out the Zin vines just outside their little tasting room which felt more like an artisanal boutique of some kind.  There’s nothing template about Yoakim, only romantic echoes that will follow you home.  And their wines will age, if you’re the character to lay your bottles for a few.

I plan on opening my bottle tonight, I’ll be frank.  And what will I write to it?  One side of me says ‘Has to be poetry” while the other hemisphere screams for inexhaustible paragraph deluge.  Anymore, it really is a strain to find any winery that will provoke me to write, buy a bottle take it home and scribble or type further.  This little preeminent spot succeeded, with jitterbugging exponents.  Could be back tomorrow, who knows…  But for tonight I’ll concentrate and center my thinking in the bottle I bought, the stories Virginia told me about her partner, David, how tirelessly he works in the vineyard and during harvest time (her story from ’03), her family and what brought them to Dry Creek.  I think of what brought me there, which was all the praise I’d hear around the valley and county, how what I heard aligned not even a little to what I experienced— what transpired between Virginia, Dave, and I in the tasting was so much more enriching.  I wasn’t being sold, I wasn’t being taught, I knew people with the same fermented fervor and love as me.  And a new place which has beneficially emboldened my wine story and pursuits.  Merci!  Merci beaucoup!

Mind Silently

Paid tomorrow or tonight, whatever.  At midnight.  didn’t hit a thousand words today but I did write, right now, with Emma feeding and little Kerouac still in his bed, resting after a day of preschool play.  And me, with my ’12 Merlot that I made after writing the article that won’t upload to the fucking blog— ‘nother battle with tech.  What can I do, what the heck, bla bla—  One more sip of my wine, and more wine for me in the future, travels coming, making Mikey’s Merlot 2 this vintage, but where?  Where will I get the fruit?  I can figure it all out, I’m sure.  Save money.  No more eating out.  No more mochas.. all coffee made here in home or just black at sbux, nothing pricey.. budget budget BUDGET!

a writer:  post 021

Should be working on an article right now but I’m being quite the manuscript malefactor, sipping Merlot and freewriting.  Alarm set for— no, no hexing my aim.  On the night: no rain, not so cold outside.. if I were in some hotel on the Road, an overnight, the night before a lecture, I’d be out on patio, sipping this ’12, looking at fading thin clouds pass under stars in admiration of them as I am.  Still can’t believe Fall semester is over— and how I survived I’m not sure but these next two sections I lecture…   Interesting, again I find time, how it just passes and now it passes even ever-quicker with Emma here, carnivorous and plainly cruel.  Have to act out of character, away from the template even the one I’ve set for myself, just act, and write, and target whom and whatever I want, in wine’s industry, on the Napa side, in politics (mainly elephant pukes), and whatever else.  Oh this Sanglier Merlot, just emboldening me to get closer to my label and everything I want to do.  In such introspection, or better objective character analysis, I’ve been fearful of several things: rejection, altercation, doubt by others, and moving from place to place as so many in the wine industry do (and anyone who fails to recognize this pattern is just a mental wart puppy; ignorance and inanimate, like one of the many, in the segmented and inept family, family members of the last winery I “worked” at).  Humorous but I won’t give them any more page.  I’m going to write what I wish, like.. this Merlot wants me to, the varietal I started with, telling me to come back, go make my wine, do something crazy, out of character— watched some commentary tonight on the “townhall” talk with Obama, so many of the journalists and pundits and experts, just talking with enflamed vocality and judging, as if they would do so much more.  IF they were qualified to be in office.. and if I’m in the wrong for saying such, then they commit the thought fallacy of allowing sentiment to trounce sensibility.  The relishable artifact of logical fallacy.

Traveling.. what will get me traveling?  All writers should think how their writing will get them wherever their objective is, that geographic habit, envisage.. and me, writing about politics, more than wine, reducing wine to no more than a hobby— as many of these wine “writers” and “experts”, or “journalists”, present themselves further in disfavor than the politicos I saw this evening on TV.  Now, I respect them as authorities, but their ideas’ delivery was too rushes and saturated in increased heart BPM.  I’m rambling I know but I know what I’m saying, and sometimes, oftentimes, as a writer that’s all that keeps concern, is of any consequence.

So I’m on the Road, in a hotel after attending an event for a Republican candidate, in my room and with a bottle of Merlot, a ’10, on the East Coast somewhere and looking through my notes.  My article, or blog post, due by tomorrow morning at 9, PST.  I just think about where I am, can’t bring myself to type what I noted in that little book, but only write with free wheels, speeding to the page’s bottom line sets.

But I’m in my home.  Hearing my daughter hiccup in the other room, frustrated with herself and how her own body behaves, how she can’t control it.  I dream of the Road, still, finish my Merlot, feel a mood fall over me, down like a tight sock.


a writer:  post 007

There’s no getting around it.  Self-publishing, on paper, will be expensive.  But I’d have something physical to sell.  And then, there’s no guarantee I’d sell everything.  It’s not like the wines in the tasting room, at least one will connect to the guest, they’ll buy one bottle and the speech and visit won’t be a total waste.  So, I have to start with the blogs, have them produce SIGNIFICANT capital and then print books, and ones between 100 & 150 pages– but don’t regard this as anything but tired brainstorming, dreaming about my own winery after visiting Sunce in Kenwood.. I have wine review ideas for what I sipped, the bottle I bought IMG_9885(Merlot, of course), but am too lazy to it now type.  Nursing a Racer 5 and already ready for bed.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, but my conceptual Thursday for my teaching workweek.  Have to blog everything, everything, on this desk papers from Spring ’15 and my hard-drive, the light fixture I broke from Jackie’s bathroom (tossing a plastic blue carafe a couple weeks ago over the shower doors’ frame and clipping it, it falling onto the toilet and Jackie laughing and me thinking “OH.. shit.”)… The Kerouac books, of course, more papers and other paper shit; old bills and receipts and my wallet, phone.. my wife in the other room, watching one of those BRAVO “reality” shows.  And she very much deserves to do whatever she wants.  Again this morning my beat-ette up before this lazy writing me, upstairs getting dressed and folding laundry, readying for work while I struggle to stand– no coffee in the house so not that motivation to shoot from bed and cruise to the kitchen for my Keurig-pressed coffee.  She’s more a writer than me, in many ways, with her devotion to her teaching and all the countless times she’s hurried to her classroom on days off to get ahead and write caches of lesson plans for the coming weeks.  She writes a plan, and incises herself into that story.  She brings everything to fruition, while me, I, the supposed and assumed writer struggles and fumbles.

What if I stopped with that adulation?


MOCK SOMM:  Gundlach Bundschu Reaction; Sustainable Farming Boons

IMG_9604 Sipping some of the Merlot I bought yesterday at Gundlach Bundschu, the ’12, and I can see why so many are behind sustainable farming, and the stark and boldly beaming evidence that it translates to an increasingly truthful, more site and vintage representative wine.  The fruit is more rounded and robust, engaging and elemental in its palate gallop than other Merlots you’d pull from a store shelf, or even find at esteemed wineries in any valley.  And the Chardonnay I opened last night had a similar momentum, holistic and embracing in its flavor modes and moods, and a storyteller unto itself; naturalist and natural in its voicing.  A relief for a wine consumer like me, finding something forthright, a winery that respects its vineyards and the environments and enabling a candid couriering of terroir as other wineries merely aspire to.


As I now tilt the class toward my senses, it yields a riveting richness that you can only experience, I believe, from wineries that farm sustainably.  ‘Gun Bun’ as it’s amiably monikered, has been certified by Fish Friendly Farming since ’12, and you can appreciate and actuate in their adoration for the environment by tasting their wines, as I did yesterday after my draining workday, stopping in somewhat randomly (and I say ‘somewhat’ as I was thinking while earlier IMG_9605prepping for the day, “I should stop at Gun Bun’, haven’t tasted their in years), hosted by Ms. Danielle, a sweetly soft octave’d young woman whose familiarity and oeno-prowess was visible but not bragged.  Which I enjoyed.  Nothing more irking that being hosted by someone who tactlessly aims to perform what they think they know.  Nothing like that from Danielle.  And each wine, composed and coherent, convincing and wildly indicative of meticulous nearness from the farming and winemaking brigades.

IMG_9614Just a little bit of the Merlot left in glass, and I’m annoyed with self that I sipped it so swiftly, but I couldn’t help that self, and what can I do but follow the wine, wines like this, of this elevated character and deific loop.  My thoughts triangulate taking the next sip.  Showing me the rows, the temperatures and amalgamated atmosphere of 2012– This wine teaches from its acutely touched rows, and I sit here at the end of my day and sip, envision what happened that year on their property, and know I have to go back for a few more bottles.  Wish I could sip some more but this is all the warrant I need to put more on the shelves of my quasi-”cellar”.  Enough for me to get more than enough.  I think 6 bottles, then a case, then I don’t know what I’m thinking only I know I want more and I will get more, sooner than soon.  And who authors this entry, the Merlot.  So I’m sent to go.

And it’s more than clear, the sustainable treatment and relationship with IMG_9607vineyards bridges to a more appealing cluster.  The other wines I sipped in my quick visit, such as the Gerwurtztraminer, Rosé of Tempranillo, the Tempranillo, Pinot, and all the others Danielle politely place in the bowl cemented the validity and visibility of sustainable farming’s bounty.

Let the

3PM-ers out, and I don’t care.  I was nowhere near a teaching mood today.  Haven’t eaten so I’m a bit hungry, but I’m agitated, by my own procrastinating qualities, and the knowledge that I could be doing more, working harder as a writer and blogger and business owner, I guess.  So what to do?  The angle of being a father, I need to record that more, more writing on Jackie and my relationship with my best little Beatnik friend.. everything from where we go and at what times and what he says and how I see him fitting into the eventual winery, other than being the cute little guy that says “HI!” when you walk in.  Which he doesn’t do often, say ‘hi’ to unknowns.  But I need to capitalize on the material that he is as a character– and before you say it’s trivial, such and approach, or objectifying him or just using my son as content or marketing fader, NOT TRUE.  It’s praise of him and sharing how thankful I am for this little Artist in my life, and how he makes me a more centered writer–  I really should go get him now but I needed to record this, what I’m feeling and hearing in my nuclei.

Now I’m seeing more stories.  Again I have to return to the reality and the trial and trails of the adjunct, and why so many of us leave “the profession” and why we blog as we do.  The adjunct tale, how we count the weeks in the semester especially in a semester where we, I, we, maybe took a class at a campus we don’t entirely adore.–  In the breakroom writing then two adjuncts, both high school English teachers come in and bitch about the papers they have to hand back, “come-to-Jesus moment,” Vanessa says, then she goes off on the food on campus, all complaints, and not only from her, from me, all of us.  At first I got tired of hearing them, most especially my own–  Now she continues on about how she just went out to eat, the other adjunct asks about a corkage fee and she boasts how she doesn’t drink, “so the wine thing doesn’t interest me.” Sounded arrogant.  And embittered, probably from the papers she had to grade and now has to tonight return.  And, with all embrace and speed, I empathize.  So firingly, quite aligned with her thoughts.  So we’re all fucking bitter, in certain moments.

Home, I open a bottle of the Merlot I made in ’12, and what vroom, what vivacious algorithmic velocityIMG_9099 to its everything, EVERYTHING.  This is the wine I should make, for the rest of my life.  If this were for sale in my tasting room, and that’s how I;m tasting it, as a consumer, a first-time visitor, I quite enjoy it.  Believable and emboldened fruit formation with a romantic texture and consistency, sip 1 to last.  Lovely.  And I don’t want to talk about wines like I always do but I quite like this, if you must know.  Time for one more class, the night’s cap before my long day come morrow…  Just smelled the Merlot, from the final glass I poured myself and I had to walk away and record my reaction; the rich lavender, cherry and cinnamon, throwing their noted bodies into my perception.  This is just the wine I want to make.  And I have.  I did!  So I have to do it again, soon.

New note, that I again sip after washing my hands in the small powder room by the wine cabinet; dried rose petal, or spicy potpourri.  I may have had too much and my senses compromised but I’m not distracted by my phone or some message that may or may not be waiting for me who cares right now I’m a writer writing stopping for nothing not even punctuation– I know I’m viewed as scattered, a backwards swirling universe or maelstrom, but I’m writing at least and so much fearlessly.  But something in me still thickly loves to teach, to interact with and talk to students about books and writing; to Exchange Ideas, as Coleman put it.  And my approach to this wine thing is just that: an Exchange of Ideas.  Not trying to “educate” anyone, just hoping to share the love and fascination with the world and terrestrially vinified galavant around us.

Can’t believe I made this wine– well, with much help from my friend Blair, yes, but it was my idea to start.  That is, this wine couldn’t and wouldn’t be sipped now by the writer if I hadn’t had the curiosity–  I remember the day the wine arrived to the K—- crush pad, the dry ice being added, and then when it was in the back room, cold soaking.. dark, rested, sumptuous and taunting.  So it is now, when I sip, poking at my composure and daring me to analyze it, to describe what I taste– but what if I just want to sip?

entry you me now

A Big Daddy IPA as the night’s cap, knowing Week 9 tomorrow initiates, and I can’t hold myself much longer till the term’s close comes.  More new ideas with my entrepreneurial urges and new tendencies– tonight I’m here in my home office much pretending I’m in the Healdsburg office, eventual, looking out the window typing my new book and realizing I’m here, there, here, where I need to be to provide from my pages to my family– and I have only wine and its world, and its industry I once hated but now embrace as I’ve made it my own to thank.  This is an interesting time for the Beat writer, how he sees everything and how he knows he’s on the path to winemaker, his own small label– the Merlot and the SB, backwards and forwards, listening to Hutcherson and Monk, starting out my window.  Time for lunch so I go to ‘the Goat’ to get one of those sandwiches they do, if they have any left or just get another coffee and write for an hour there in my Comp Book then walk back to office to type.

Healdsburg is my Sonoma Paris.  I found that in my character while walking down that wide alley to Center Street (I think) to Bravas, to have a beer after another day in the Sanglier tasting Room.

10:02.  I know I should be readying for bed but my thinking’s in the know, knowing it has me and all my functionality.  Not going to state here how I hope I wake tomorrow in enough time to write at 5AM but I just did so I know it’s jinxed, hexed from a devilish hymn– if only if only, what is me with my travel fantasies, from here to Chicago like my winemaker friend David (Napa), traveling to Chicago, then Sanglier Scott headed to Florida tomorrow morning, quite early, headed to Florida for some wine dinners and pourings and sales missions.  Why am I not doing that?  A better question: why am I waiting?  Why don’t I just make that be the currency?  Indeed.  So I intensify everything to a stunning degree and BPM.  Music again, everything, and nothing too rehearsed or thought-out or edited. 

I should consider food more, what I eat and where I eat and turn it, every meal, into content, and I could blend this, yes a pun, with my new fitness and workout efforts; tracking what I allow into my character’s circuitry and how I allow everything to be more balanced, if that makes any sense and I’m not sure it does.  Should ready for bed, this writer, and write letters to Dav, and other friends that claim they write– but why.  None of them can keep up with me.  Even Paula, an old friend, expressed in a message today that she wished she could “move as quick” as me with vocables, images and expressions.  She’s giving me far too much laud, but even still it feels planetary being so acknowledged a writer, a Beat.  Bed nears, and my patience with the semester is queered.  But what can I do but behave, be a good adjunct and do my job.  Till I’m making my wine, that is. 

Alice goes upstairs, I say goodnight and tell here I’l soon be up but I don’t know if that’s true as I’m in a certain literary film tonight with my recall of day and my wined dreams, and last night sipping the Devil Proof with Mom and Dad, then the Lancaster ’11.  Wine is every turn and cliff in my story and all skies, rise and tries.

Books all around me, a picture of Jack on the day he was born, in the hospital being held by Alice’s mother–  And I know, think, appreciate and wonder at, “3 years ago.. no, more…” How?  Time with its evil intent, making us all age and move on.. Grandma telling me before she died, “It’s YOUR life. You have YOUR choice.” Echo, echo…  And I have to act if I’m to see the world and write about it, taste wines in Italy and France, return to my Paris.

And I find myself being distracted by life.  By messages and moments, the papers I have to grade, this empty IPA bottle left, the little horizontal slices of the street I can barely view through the blinds– the fan in Jackie’s room I can hear from my chair here, that picture again of Jack on top of my Fall ’15 Comp Book (the book I’m supposed to be writing over this semester before my daughter arrives but I’ve been very much slippin’, to use Godfather talk).  I’m a mess this evening, frankly, but one beautiful, one confident, not caring about what happens in the morrow hours as I know what will happen.  I’ll wake whenever, have of course the poet’s coffee, the write a bit, ready Jack for school take him to school then come back and ready the papers for passback.  Then.. write, on this blog and in the book, finish the poems gathering.. be more and more a writer.

The quiet of this home office, making me think I’m in a hotel room while on the Road on some book tour, having to lecture tomorrow about wine or writing or writing about wine but I don’t care I pour myself another glass and write in the Comp Book, notes, not full sentences but singular words, thoughts, expressions and impulses.  I’ll go to bed thinking of my lecture, what I’ll say and the next city I’ll visit.  I’ll talk about words and there expansive qualities with wine, and how wine is a story, it IS literature, telling us something about its creator and what we’re to do after experiencing it, like after reading a text.. the author wants us to do what?  Nearly where I want to be, actuality and paginatedly.  Still hear Jack’s room’s fan, and Alice upstairs, slight sniffle.  Life moves far too quick, and I keep thinking of my babies one day reading this in college, or something I write, wrote, about drinking wine and the life and voice, narrative I find in it. 

And then what–

Latest St. Francis Visit, 9/29/15

IMG_8885So I finally had the opening in my schedule to visit St. Francis, the winery I’d argue that started everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  My passion for and relationship with wine, my family’s involvement with wine, and everything wine in my life.  I walked through those enigmatic doors through and under the bell tower, and to the bar, where my old friend Ronnie was pouring for two or three sizable groups and managing everything with a fluency and assiduous momentum that anyone in hospitality would envy.  My flight took off with the Sauvignon Blanc, a 2014 which showed all the versatile and vivacious qualities I look for in an SB, a bottle with not just a peculiar persistence to its form and fold, but as well food-pairing capabilities and a stern collusion of tropical qualities and texture.  Then the Estate Cuvée Blanc, a white Rhône blend which I’ve always enjoyed an not just from taking to white Rhônes perhaps more than others in Sonoma or Napa do– it’s just a finely revolving and musical white wine, with that acidic subtext and slight oak influence that grabs the sipper and instructs on a different way to converse with white wines.  Then the Chard which I always love, then a storm of reds Ronnie insisted I taste.  I tried to stop him but he wasn’t hearing it–  the IMG_8889RRV Pinot, then the ever-famous Behler Merlot, the Lagomarsino Cab, Rockpile Red– everything telling me I need to fall deeper in love with wine and its story and stay close to St. Francis as  a winery and why wouldn’t I as it’s always teaching me something new about wine and certain blends and varietals, and something even more rewarding about me as a wine-riled writer and how to see wine in my life.


St. Francis started out as a dream of founder Joe Martin and his wife Emma.  I’ve always found their story and path compelling and telling to me, one always scribbling alongside what I sip and intersecting me with magnetic and encouraging people like Ronnie, and all through this industry– only the positive and the love and family-sewn story that brings people over that small bridge from the parking lot and through the doors under the so-known tower.


Once the tasting was over I walked around a bit, out on the patio and to the lawn, and around the parking lot a couple times, just thinking and remembering all the family moments precipitated here, and where I am now with my wined life, and how it all started in that tasting room, on both sides of the bar.  When I used to pour with Ronnie and now just as an obsessed patron; one with a near-cult paradiddle to his ideations and speech whenever St. Francis lands in the conversation.


While finishing my entry here and remembering my latest elbow-on-bar scene I sip the Merlot, the ’12, one you’d find at several stores in this area and elsewhere.  Dad used to tell me whenever he was on a trip and he wanted a bottle of wine he’d go to a local wine shop, always look for a “Frannie red”, he’d say.  And it’s obvious why.  Nothing nears this phylum and forward of grape interpretations, red or white.  So I take another sip, find my Self in and on a new flight.