My winemaker sister, Katie, talking winemaker magic in Burgundy with Philippe Girard… (photo cred: our dad, Dan Madigan)
My winemaker sister, Katie, talking winemaker magic in Burgundy with Philippe Girard… (photo cred: our dad, Dan Madigan)
This MacPhail expressive told me to write more in a jazz tone, pulse and purpose. Bold but not overstepping any sensory lines, with floral voltage and personality, differentiation of chords and clefs, she wandered around my Personhood like a lost phantasm. She had me in a singularized and more sense-honed and sensual collection, meditation. I thought and thought about Pinot and my story, how integral and defining she’s been. Stopping by John Ash on the way home from a demanding day in industry, she was there waiting, brought to my table, just me and my notebook, I watched the still, placidly provocative puddle in glass, blackberry posture with edgy raspberry tint and talk. First sip and the narration started. There was no necessitated wait or needing her to “open”. She was on stage and recital-ready. I listened and more of the steps and ballet fray in my thoughts— realized vanilla walk with the fruit back-and-forth, oak hints but nothing intrusive or that blocked what she wanted to say to me, there staring out the window wondering the next time I’d converse with this bottle. I couldn’t fixate on that. I let Self fall further into moment there in chair, my out-the-window and Burgundy-brought stare. Concentrated, fixated, on everything she said. This precise composition and the degree to which it enveloped me, I had to note. Bringing out. My little pages and scribbling like Kerouac on the Road— “Rich, soft, commanding and purposed, clear philosophy and reasoning…”
Pinot and I have always be amiable, and noticeably amorous. Pinot is my Now, I thought while the people around me talked and paid no attention to what they were sipping, just talked and talked, which is lovely as that’s what wine embodies, the occasion. The Now… what you’re doing and who you’re with, what you want to say to that person, a right-then-and-there gala. Pinot punctuates wine’s most fundamental thesis— NOW. Though, MacPhail ushered such with unusual astuteness. With its poetic pagination and voice, coherence, way… I was transferred, with transcendental momentum and current. This character was, IS, the act of writing. Pages and pages, a narration, certain memoir parcel in one sitting, staring at vines and watching the people around me talk and laugh.. I was in immediate intersection, palate tryst. Why is this writer into wine as he is, with such bizarre and illusionary Wonderland-esque fervor, fever? For wines like this. That have me. Capture me. Lose me and find me, concurrently. Specific and jazzy alchemy. What do I do next, I thought, when near the end of my glass. Wrote, “Should I order another?” I didn’t. Sipped the last, stared at glass, the minuscule puddle and bowl’s lowest flat. This personification decided for me, where I’m going with Pinot, with wine, with these pages. Could still taste her, driving home… the verses halted none. I was, am, done… just replaying her son, stretch, texture-flown aria still around my sentences, non-scribbled musing, unedited page storm.
Pinot Noir like this reminds me of moments, their solitary value and flavorous vortex. ABV’s a bit higher than you might expect from a Pinot but, honestly, who cares. It doesn’t interfere with the palate or varietal identity even in the slightest and I’m pulled further into its containment and general expression. You want “notes”? “Nuances”? Fine…. Cherry, medium-dark.. mint… moist, thick, black and rich Sonoma County (“west county”, as they say) ‘forest floor’. This wine draw a promising prance into senses for a writer like I— And I blindly follow, I have no problem, and how can I with such tenure and texture and rile, playful pose and tangible accumulation. Meeker…. Meeker…. Why are our visits so out-spread? Why do you hide from me? Now that you’re here in this home offie with a writer, the quakes take place— slightly-sweetened cedar, wild freeness in pose and poise, immediate note of saccharinous pencil led and European cobblestone, plum-skin and granular salt…. All in the writer’s head and this Point want me to play with description, with paragraphing, with what I share with students in the classroom about their prose and truthfulness— a bottle that teaches me about me, and more than ‘me’ that intersects with wine’s actuality. I’m lost in what I want to say and not many wines can do such a thing, especially to a strong-headed, stubborn writer like me…. OR maybe I’m not stubborn, the Meeker’s persuaded me to ponder. Maybe I’m just devoted, and obsessive with my sentences and finishing a book, doing something great like Pinot has in the wine consumer aggregate structure, showing there is no prestige and there is not a status when it comes to wine. This moment, is stamped in my character’s sinew.. new ado.. More value than I’ve time to address. Poured self another glass, eve’s capping if you want to put it that way, and I’m in the couch, thinking about everything… typing and scribbling then thinking about typing more “notes”. And while some sommeliers want to flash that banal micro-pin the sport I’m focused not on me but this bottle, the Pinot, what it say and puts into its pages for any wine adorer to incur. Certain seraphic xanadu, poured and so visual it does more than lasso itself around my CNS, it tells me to write a certain way, with its foggy sussurus, decreeing plank of all oscillations– I get lost, I can’t find my way back and I forgot all my Pinot “knowledge”— but I’m re-placed and comfortably and invitingly place with this bottle. Meeker, a producer I’m not so familiar with, there on the Geyserville stretch, the small squinted street, Northern Sonoma County.
Final notes— night, coastal air… strawberry and strawberry seeds plus milk-chocolate dust and campfire embers…. I’m in a morning and a night, talking to old friends and friends I’ve never known but could have been friends. This Pinot does what all wines should— provoke you to entertain everything that you’ve crossed and met, lost and let…. Now I find my perplexing pausing pleasurable.. odd. What can I do, out of the tasting room but imagine I’m there, pouring for people tasting something like this and asking more questions than they need to, when they should just stand there in elevations of what touches their lips in a reserved and tip-toe-y advance… it’s wine… just sip—
Delusionally delicious in nose– rose, cherry, cinnamon, mint
Full palate but demonstrating restraint and animation.. damp soil, milk chocolate, mint, slight meat and toffee
Loving, rhythmic, singing, jazzy and feminine
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.
Reminded today that wine is about life— a tidal wave of vivacity and expression, music, love, and communication. Lunch with Paul M., sandwich I’d never before had at Dry Creek paired with that Pinot Blanc from Michele-Schlumberger, and the interaction that transpired, following more reflection in head that precipitated on ride to the delicatessen. My vision was full, as it is now, love and life in this log, this essay of a writing father trying to fit everything in— sitting on floor or living room while wife and babies upstairs sleep, me with this gifted Pinot from PM— huh, just realized, ‘PM’, time of day I’m most essayist, and most internally narrative. Haven’t seen my friend in over five years, we agreed, when I once saw him out on a town night in Napa of all places— and I say ‘of all places’ postured to me, as I’m never there, PM’s home enclave. Nothing abbozzo in my life, currently. All I sketch or paragraph I need release, not just from the interstellar adoration of wine and sentences, but from the commitment, my immovable sight in the atmosphere around me— from when I walk the vineyard on other lunch breaks to when the writer’s seated on the wood floor of his Autumnal Walking base, sipping a Papapietro Perry Pinot, listening to music at the end of an other wise carousel humdrum day.
Also reinforced with the 16th of août, my afflicting affection of so many things in being alive. All around me. As stated with those walks in the Chardonnay and Cab, and Rhône blocks, at Dutcher, wine directs me to certain certainties that are difficult to delineate give the qualification I’ve imbibed this eve. Love and living in this page, and all from where the writer lives, what he sips, the music listened— some mix tape from Thievery Corp’, if I’m not so off. Quiet down here for the writing father— another sip. This write is free, I’m free, and that’s my right as writer. Consider this a direct and staunchly tied reverberation from the conversation with my brother Paul. Sipping the Pinot again and as I tilt back and the light from this laptop extends to the bottom hemisphere of the Govino glass and into my eyes, hearing this obscure track, I think I’m on the Road, traveling, somewhere, writing about wine and all the yay-saying tellings of its voice and cultured angularity. “This doesn’t have to be a ‘dream’.” Wine says. And I agree. Wine with its love shoves me to a savory reality— romantic Hemingwayan notions and Plath pulses, my Feast so Moveable and my Bell Jar fuller than full.
And it’s again reiterated my the components of my moments that this is the mode I’ve chosen. Writer in and of wine. So.. recite more. Keying my notes for the next noted key in my fermented free. If I would have had more time at lunch, who knows what we would have webbed. But that’s a wish. Wine’s at my right, or left, or right, to actualize. No need to act in a guise.
Reaction: Loved the quiet persuasiveness of the property. No large crowds, just cozy buildings enveloped by Dry Creek’s floor. The tasting room is quaint and concise in its stretch. Jesse poured for me, starting with some Sauvignon blanc, then moving to Rosé and a sparkling. All the reds had voice and character, wanted me to like what they said, each of them, and I did, everything from the Pinot Noir to the side-by-side of the Block 4, ’13 vs. ’14. Just what I expected after all the vaunt I heard from people I know in the industry. I walked around the tasting room a couple times to further take in the atmosphere of that room— barrels and bar, bottles, the music, the pictures, everything. Just what I needed for a new experience in the valley.
Don’t want to simplify this label and its story down to “value wine”, but the price juxtaposed with the quality you experience in whatever bottle you open cannot be dismissed. The reds don’t see excessive oak residency, which is a relief. I didn’t want to leave, go back to work. I’m being honest, it was hard to return to my car. But, what I took away was not just a new story but a tempered approach to and presence of wine. The flavors were commanding but not bossy or offensive. Wrote in my little pages, about the ’13 Black 4, “Tasty amalgamated percussion”, but I could say that for the winery as a whole, each project in their lineup. Definitely musical, everything Jesse poured. This winery has an sizable audience, not too universal yet not too esoteric. Symphonically animated, everything about that room and its wines. Be back soon…
And I have the Pinot at left, selecting the random number of 93 to limit myself. Notice, yes finally, that I ramble and wander on with my writing— How much do you want to bet wife comes down and interrupts this session. Hard for the writing father-husband-adjunct-runner-blogger-entrepreneur-dreamer — But only cuz I think it’s “hard”. Embracing the YAY, as I noted earlier. Don’t anymore speak in nay. No more. Not a syllable. This Wild Hog Pinot commands me to be wild, and autarchical in my acts.
Had the Madigans over tonight. So of course, much wine. And me, the writer, so behind on things I’ve written and have to publish, or post to this blog. Sipping the rest of this Sheldon Pinot— remember meeting Mr. Sheldon, on a day they weren’t open and he being the welcoming chap he was, is, letting me in to taste wine, joking he was going to put me to work, help him carry the bottles over to a makeshift tasting area— feel like Kerouac about to finish novel— Wine, I’m realizing is more than just a thematic anchor— it’s all.