wine sketchez

Yountville Prose

The entirety of the collective offering was nothing less than declarative.  From the whites to the reds, both Cabernet Francs, the Syrah, and notably the Howell Mountain Cabernet, I was pulled from tasting normality.  It was a haunting progression of tasting wine that I’ve waited for for some time—  busy’s I am it’s arduous to find a plot of hours to go out, be a tourist— and if you’re in the industry you understand that, “What’s it like to be on the other side of the bar.” There was no bar here.  Joey with his calmed and decidedly conversational ebb sat me down and poured, talking about the wines in a way that aligned with how the wines wheeled their amalgamated thesis to me as the wanna-be tourist.  I sat at that rustic, cozy square table and sipped the SB, Chard, Pinot and Franc, Syrah, Howell Cab, and just sensed a separation from palate pattern. Each of these offerings displayed decision and animation in their thought folds.  I’ve always said that “a good wine is not only one you like but one that follows you.” Each of these bottles possessed that poise, that resilience to chase me back to the car, to make me meditate and postulate my relationship with wine.

It’s been years since I’ve found myself in the Cornerstone tasting room, but there I was, today, with my Composition Book and not able to write and reflect, react, quick enough.  Sitting at that table, I belonged to the wines Joey poured— I belonged to that view, the chair and the Syrah while I took my sweeter than sweet writer-time.  My aggregate counterpoise tells newfangled forms across varietals.  Cornerstone Cellars has decided its reality, clearly, and I was fortunate enough to be there, right there, in the Room for some disclosure and geographic sensibility.  I react to wine, but I have no reaction.  Cornerstone has me simply smitten.

10/18/16 – Tonight I’m writing freely, sipping

a new Cabernet from Napa, from a small but beneficent label.  One of those stories I only img_7711want to mimic.  Would have written earlier, but I thought it the need and the optimal for the writer to speed to vineyards, walk around an take pictures.  Be a photog’… or a writer that loves photography which is more the case.  I have thoughts in head and Mom told me not to be too wordy with my reactions to these wines so I won’t.  And she’s astute, my amiably-set mama.  She urges, more than her assertion of not being “too wordy”, to just be me.  More conversational about wine, no so syllabically analytical, or at least that’s what I read into and from her speak.  So these wines, like new characters on the stage— unexpected and theatrical, but not overstepping.  A Chardonnay, which I always have trouble listening to, no matter how it’s crafted and cared-for.  Then the Cabernet, which has that flex and broadness, but with unexpected Victorian angularity— romance, and a dactylic disposition you wouldn’t forecast for a Cab.

Tonight the writer’s in his wine mood and mode.  Wish I could play some Hutcherson, but the babies are asleep.  And wish I had the energy and concentration to get to a thousand words but the wine’s catching the writer.  Still, thought, this beatnik writeth.  I’m like Dean as he parks cars.  Sal, as he observes everything around him and listens to the jazz with Dean but doesn’t quite know what he’s seeing but looks anyway and writes about it later.  This is my maison, this book, this story, told in wine’s accompaniment— a movie and just a moment, not so Hollywood or theatrical but if you spent a couple days in a tasting room you’d see the stage, the act, the interaction, the dialogue that begs to be captured.  Yes, I’m more than liberated in this sitting with my Cabernet glass, here at the desk with barely any light above the writer.  Just the way I prefer it— like I’m in some dark bar, overseas, writing while everyone else connects to conversations that go nowhere, conversations I capture and use for my book— people in the corner playing pool, talking about what to drink next, but I’m writing, sipping wine and digging in my own brain for ways to make their speech more seraphic.

Evening, this, sovereign.  Still with a bit of Cabernet in glass.  Surprised and a bit proud of Self for not drinking it too speedily.  My book, narrative, begs wine’s involvement.  Stepping slow in that vineyard block today made it more than clear.  I’m under the lights with wine, in front of an audience, talking back and forth— wine trying to categorize me, me just sipping it but trying to sound like some expert or critic or voice that should be heard.  We frustrate each other, but can’t stay away from the other.  Odd love whirl.  Not so much wind, but ink from my urges rescinds.  Why.  Why need there be a restart?  Refocus on moment.  Look at images.  No act.

Creative Positivism, 14 — Vino Freedom

A vineyard walk often solves everything.  Shows you everything.  Gives you everything.

Easy to understand, as the vineyard IS everything.

At least today.

So I’m going out there.

To walk the blocks.

Smile with leaves and grape clusters,

saunter in colorful soil texture.

Wine speaks to me, as a consumer and just lover of the stories and the juice.  While walking the Petite Sirah block, looking at the morphing complexion of the bunches.  Last night’s Chardonnay still on mind, would love a sip, or taste, glass?  Need to chase, chase the bottles and their stories— in a mood to only research, become not just a more fervent consumer but a hunter of stories.  All creative, wanting to create something for their img_5010families and people with whom they can share that story, what’s in the bottle— more than sipping, or feeling of effects.  But an envelopment in wine’s sensory atmosphere and phenolic music.  I roll my eyes sometimes when I hear people conveniently using the Robert Louis Stevens quote, and I think I finally know why.  As much poetry as I read and write, teach to English students, wine spans disciplines, is more than verse and establishes its own discipline in our worlds, becoming inter-dimensional and intergalactic, defying natural laws and going to spaces in our existences that indubitably teach us more about our existences.  Like my vineyard stroll earlier and anything connected to wine and its development and elemental assembly, where I am now at my desk, staring out at the Sauv’ Blanc block, gifts me innumerable lessons.

The vineyard is definitely everything in this world.  Yes, there’s the wine and anything connected to consider afterward, but only afterward.  I had to walk where it starts, the ‘before’.  Going to the tasting room for a second, to taste something, taste a vineyard, a story, an effort, a project, an expression.  Just a taste, no glass…  And when back at this desk, I feel more for wine.  I can only grin— I’m here, in this world, seeing people come from so far away to where I work, live and leisure, where I create, everyday.  It’s humbling, more than anything.  Educational.  Enriching.  Spiritual.

I’ll educate myself more, more, the wine will help.  Wine, the professor.  Vineyard, a dean.  Me, waiting for the next assignment.

This, is Liberatory Pedagogy.



Just ran into old friend, from winery I used to work at, for— no, AT.  Nice to see her, always cheery and with a rich and believable smile.  One of the few wine industry people I have zero criticisms of.  Why?  She’s genuine, sincere and conversational.  MY time, Oakville, nears its end—  have to put myself back in traveler character:

He knew he had a meeting, less than 20 minutes.  Told himself he didn’t care.  But he did.  It was work, this could be his “big break”, they all said, covering a huge tasting of Napa and Sonoma micro-producers.


Courte Pause

It’s healthy to break from wine, as you might conceptualize.  To just take a break, collect yourself, make your senses miss the wine or to just pause in the sip consistency.. come back to it later with a revitalized curiosity and connection.  I’m beginning one of those breaks, or hiatuses, and for what reason other than to devote more to writing, and yes to tease my senses with thoughts of wine and follow it with the tangible void, then to weeks, or months later return with that rumble, that eagerness to be with wine and sip and further consider what it is I sip.

This morning I woke remembering all the reds I last night tasted (going over the notes internally, hearing that speechy auditorium echo) and wondered who I’d be if I didn’t taste, if I just observed, and wrote?  So is the caesura entirely for the writing, I don’t know.  But I thought about it.  What if I just momentarily separated myself, for un peu, imagine how much sharper I’d be and how much more renewed and reinvented fervor I’d execute and later at this desk typing if I just didn’t sipped.  Wouldn’t everything be heightened?  Would I be LIKE a sommelier with laser perceptiveness and dare I say even a bit more expert with wine?  I’m with wine because I batten and burgeon about all its messages and stories, personalities and inconsistencies, quirks and galaxies…   I want to be a more cemented and present character for the wine itself.

And what would wine have to say, my elected varietals and regions, producers and winemaking teams?  I’m not sure I need to know as this comes from me in such Literary and journalistic movements, pray these sentences more sterling and my narrative and columns more robust and convincing— more alive!  So… I stop.  Just for a bit.

While waking this morning as well I thought of my wife and how during the nine months she carried both Jackie and now nearly 4 weeks present-on-Earth Emma she sipped nothing.  Not a drop.  Not even a nosing of a pour I had on the kitchen island-counter.   Nothing.  And then my inner analysis flew, “Could you do that?” Not sure, as how intense my devoutness to wine is.  But I have to try, in such bashfully tentative leasts, and for wine, for my writings about wine, for all the people I work with in wine’s orbit and material discipline.  Wine coerces and orders me to halt, separate and collect.  So I will.

Today I’ll be in a Healdsburg tasting room, just off the square on Plaza Street, and if I don’t sip a single drop of Glenn’s reds I see my elucidations and vocalized personifications of the wines more appealing, more vivid and voltaged.  Then, I’ll sell more (which IS the goal.. and not just for Glenn’s business but for my wined role and pages).

This break will not tarnish my fealty.

I’m still with wine.

I just need time.  To be better for IT.

The wine.

And after tolerable time, I’ll again tilt a bowl toward my soul.

And write about it.



Matured in Vintage (wine/vino/vin principles, code)

cup 1
cup 1

5:54AM and at keys, no not as early as I wanted but I’m here typing, thinking about taking on other clients and if I do that how my own writing will suffer.  But enough of that now, the story for the day outlined and submitted, to ME, and I approve wholeheartedly.  Coffee already accompanying my movements and the wine ideas still very much building and fermenting and catapulting themselves at my thinking down here in this Autumn Walk hut.  Jackie still asleep, and me pressured by the pressure I put on myself and the timeline with my daughter getting here in the Winter, or late Fall (guess that’d be late Fall, early December).  So the end to these means is me writing much more, teaching less (meaning no more Mendo or Solano), and building my business.  I’m never leaving the classroom, certainly not at SRJC anyway.  Have to get deeper– or rather ‘further’ into wine’s story.  And how?  Go out there and get what the consumer or even local wine-inspired figure wants: the visuals, the story, the moment-to-momentness of wine itself.  I’ll find that today in Napa’s downtown.  And one more thing I have decided…  I am starting my own label, I will be making wine, next year.  If I did this year it would only be a hobby that would stress me out and I wouldn’t be able to monitor the fruit and the fermentation as I should, be there at the crush pad with it as Glenn was when the SB arrived last week, at that “Punch Down” facility right down the road from here, actually.

I have it decreed in my Comp Book, and now here, for this semester and forever, that my goal is

cup 2
cup 2

to make my own wine; a humbly organized label, maybe 3,000 css, 5k maximum, and only over a couple types.  I don’t want to make as many different wines as some do.. or maybe I do, that way they all, ideally, sell out.

And this would be a secondary business.  Not a hobby but like what Glenn’s winery is to his larger more mammoth vineyard business.  And my site wouldn’t be a wine “education” site, just a general sharing and through that sharing people would become privy, or “educated” if you will, on wine and what happens behind the scenes and in the trenches as I used to do for that factory winery in Kenwood– entertaining and engaging, all pieces short and to the point, truly using brevity as our boon.

Definitely going to Napa today to acquire material, images, maybe a couple new wines.  but if I can’t taste why would I buy them?  Going to have price and ‘value’ be my aims.  And only a couple bottles.  Have to watch all spending…  Just checked accounts, made CC payment, and I’m equalized, “golden”, more than stable.  In fact, financially I’m doing quite well, with the college checks to roll in at next Month’s beginning.  Need to launch my site sooner than soon.  And I’m thinking have it be a WordPress site and not a Weebly-based one.  Again, to think about, but I’m quite settled on WordPress as it’s a blogging site and I’m very much a blogger, not a web designer.  But…..

Jack still not up and my first cup done.  So next, this writing dad… make cup 2, go up and gently wake my little Beat, and go from there.. don’t plan so much.  And, just a Self-note: max clients, 4.  Not a page of paper or word more.  FOUR, no more.


MOCK SOMM: Benevolo Wines, Knights Valley, Merlot, 2010

IMG_7546I’m partial to Merlot, and always find myself eager to defend it, but this bottle doesn’t need my ardor, nor my soapbox.  And Knights Valley, no less, one of those I feel under-appreciated AVA’s that when treated properly boasts a vocality that others cannot, and should spastically envy.  This Merlot screams conviction and candor with all its palate elements; poetry and a certain syncopated palate saunter that even those vowing Merlot diffidence would embrace and in which suddenly become confessional and effusive.  This Merlot oration teaches the sipper not just about varietal, but about time, to stop or at the very least slow and enjoy, that life is curt at best and when you meet bottles like this you should throw yourself to its meditative ebb.

Initially, I’m greeted by darker more roaring fruit than I habitually see in the varietal, then a pattering calm that won’t leave, then continues its bewitching sensory jargon.  And as a IMG_7545Merlot follower, I’m smitten.  But even those with the for-whatever-reason aversion would want to listen to, taste, sip again and collect.  I’m at an intersection quite interesting with this 2010 Merlot, and am caused to collect my thoughts and perspectives on wine in general; where am I going and what I see and how I think about the Merlot across intangible and immediate treks.  It forces me to metaphysicality.  I confess to it and myself and the later suggestions that pleasantly confront me later in evening, after letting the full bowl take what oxygen it can, here at the writer’s desk, the glass surrounded by papers and notebooks, and camera cords.  I build a story with this Merlot, that was gifted to me from Liam, owner of Benevolo, and now I look at the bottle and all-the-more tussle with my wined vision, and my past with Merlot, how it was the varietal that brought me into wine’s scape.  And Benovolo has cemented that sensibility; with me, with wine, with Merlot, and at this table writing now with a bowl barren.


Haven’t yet posted last night’s material

but I soon will.  Jackie up and dressed but time thins.  Less than two weeks till my half-marathon, so I need a heft run today for sure, before anything; before writing and blogging and social media for clients.. run.  Then to Napa, client’s base.  Then back here for J’s swimming.  Tonight, not a IMG_7124-0drop of bloody wine.. not one..  Just writing and recording, networking and marketing– as a businessman or whatever I need to do that more, I know, market my services.  And the business cards, only yesterday did I get around to finally exploring designs.  So I’ll finish that today, as well.. Thinking of taking the long way back to Sonoma County, taking 29 up to Healdsburg, Alexander Valley, then to 101, for the material and the shots, footage and what’s out there for me.. all wine!  All images and stories and me on the Road.. it’s happening today, with this new routine of mine.

7:29– move quicker.. want to be on the pavement, running on Summerfield (launching from old condo) by 9AM.. 10 miles projected.. stretch!  Pace Self, and enjoy the run, forget the numbers..

(8/10/15 morning)