wine sketchez

Ramey Wine Cellars – 2014 – Syrah – Sonoma Coast

Laid-back Syrah…  Just what I needed after a long day.  Light, foggy, coastal fruit with that flirtatious ghostly edge.  Something you need to just speak to you with light blueberry and caramel carousels.  I sipped and just thought about the day, honestly, and I have this wine to credit for that.  One of the few times where the wine made me forget about the wine–  It ORDERED me to forget, just resign myself to the Now I was in.  I heard the bottle’s dialogue sing and speak to me through light but convincing texture.  It’s a song, a saunter, charm and atmosphere to itself.  There was something there in that bottle, in that translation of Syrah, that calculated my consciousness and flew past and around my rationale with unusually understated but poignant dynamism and capability.  After three sips I noticed a cherry-like subtle smatter but then it away skipped like a coquettishly phantasmic vixen.  I kept sipping.  I was done with my day and more relaxed than I could have measured.

wine sketchez

Truett Hurst Winery – 2015 – “Queen Bee” – Gewurtztraminer – Russian River Valley/Sonoma County


I remember thinking, “A Gewurtztraminer?  I’m going to write about a Gewurtztraminer?” Well here I am doing just that.  This bottle has no sugar to speak of, or none that you can detect, and boasts with tropical and florally capturing chimes from contact one to any finish.  But that’s one dimension to this wine I found inspiring, is that there was no “finish”.  I tasted it yesterday before 11AM, I’m pretty sure, and can still recall every suggestion, from the apricot, to the line, to the wet stone, forest air, tangerine…  This wine just stays there and communicates with you.  Has not intention of fleeing.  Doesn’t necessarily demand a food pairing, but would welcome something spicy or with a little pepper, some kind of heat.  I know, you’ve never heard of such a pairing for Gewurtz’, right?  Well, just had to put it in my notes, maybe to remind myself.  But, honestly, the structure and pervasive placement of this wine is so playful and flirtatious that I would just leave it alone, or only “pair” it with something before dinner, like veggies and hummus, or some aged cheddar., or a chair on a porch, or by a pool.  But, back to what I said, I was smitten leaving the tasting room.  And it was a rainy day, and I kept thinking “This would be nice for just sitting inside with and sipping, feet up on a coffee table in front of a fire or to some Sonny Rollins.” But, had to work.  So, to more of the wine’s testaments, it had me fantasizing, wishing, envisioning myself with just a day off— me, a bottle, a view.  Simplicity, sequencing more seduction.  And from a Gewurtztraminer.  Huh…..

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.

#WineWednesday – wine sketchez

Fritz Winery – 2013 – Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley/Sonoma County

I always tell people about the weird relationship Zin and I have had, how we started ourimg_7071 association in an afterburner tryst, then galactic distance, where I refused to sip Zinfandel from anywhere, which lasted over 3 years.  Recently, talks and pours have been re-catalyzed, and this bottle being the most recent encouraging shove has me scribbling madly in my Composition Book to taps of Raspberry and maple, coupled with white pepper and sweet tobacco leaf, and a tangible rhythm that would make anyone, Zin pursuer or no, stop and meditate over their glass’ contents.  More the wine opens, atmospheric oak pervades and harmonizes with the varietal’s character and more amorous ebb— certainly more engaging and entrapping than your atypical Dry Creek ‘jam hammer’ Zin.  This is deliciously antithetical Dry Creek/Sonoma County mastery, improving my communication with the all-too-expected varietal, coercing me to pour glass two, take more notes, see what else this deific wine producer holds for this Zin skeptic, but lover, then again skeptic, but after this bottle a decided lover.

wine sketchez

Williamson Wines – 2013 – Merlot – Amore – Dry Creek Valley/Sonoma County

This is one of those Merlots I wish all venomous, and vicious, and virulent toward the img_6824varietal would taste.  Just to shut them up.  But this is more than just a quick pleaser Merlot.  Initially, the olfactory is wrapped in thickly thrown riles of chocolate and cherry, vanilla and relaxed oak.  As it opens and wakes the notes show a tenacity that may startle the Merlot nay-sayers.  Williamson does an incredible job across varietals and vintages, but this offering shows a composition and voice that easily rivals their more expensive bottles, Cabernet or otherwise.  Sure, you could pair this with some burger with caramelized onions or some cut of steak, a pepper-said pasta, but I say sip this one on its own.  Let it educate you on how gorgeous Merlot can be and what a prominent presence can exude and echo from the glass.  While on glass two, and the bottle open for just under an hour, all the flavorous winks further purposed their collective and individual harmonies, chords.  I was smitten, I was instructed, I was encouraged.

Framing All

Lunchtime freewrite.  Already walked the vineyard once and am now in my office where I usually am during week.  Quiet collection.  No noise.  Just a gathering of thoughts and I’ve reasoned that I won’t write after dropping off babies tomorrow.  Rather, just launch from their school.  Planning on 10+ miles, into the park and forest as I used to.  May even attempt a trail.  Don’t think I’ll get lost but if I do then I find my way out.  No big.  Had idea this morning of fiercely pursuing this idea of wine country running and fitness lifestyle.  Not sure how the business would shape, and how it would be different from #25fitwrit (which I still need to write specs on), but it would be its own entity, one with which I would lecture and speak on.  Mostly running, but cycling as well.  Have to buy a bike, first, find time to cycle, but when do I have time for that, this writing papa.  Who knows.  That’s what it always boils to, time.

No clouds today lingering like yester’ only a vocal sky and vines that want me to again walk them.  Again.  But I need to write.  Didn’t run this morning for 45 minutes as my wife and I conspired but I’m writing at least.  AND, I got in those pushups, some physical activity.  Should be eating lunch now but I assume the form and stubbornness of a disciplined writer, only wanting to tell my story of aiming for total Wellness and FREEDOM, owning my own business and eventually my own winery like Debra.  Thinking and taking notes in head, though after this “lunch” I’ll be with my Carpe journal, noting in between pours, notes on the wines and what I see out that glass door.  Oh this quiet, my newest of newly renewing and richly enriching opiates.  The views, pulling me and my declarative sentences toward me and toward them, all parts of Dry Creek, repeated as if some otherworldly strings connect with me, being puppeteered willingly.  I’m free in this writing, just know, and I’m not concerned with centrality, or any consistency, I just look out that window, stare at the Bella hill, those vines.  You know what, I will walk them, one more time before returning to TR.  Time passes me… have to ready for weeks lecture.  Also this morning thought, along with all my other business thoughts, that these two SRJC classes are their own business.  100 and 1A, Composition and a Creative approach to both, exchanging ideas, embracing wild creativity and having voice always return to freedom, the poetic, the liberating lawlessness of candid and unfettered expression.  This place, the vineyards, Dutcher Crossing and its encouraging story do this to me.  I knew today would be different, and I was more than with reason and accurate sensibility.

My inner seismology if more than yay-saying, it’s confirmed.  And, this wine life is not just defining me, it DETERMINES my stories direction.  It will take me to the Road, to my novels, my characters, speaking on the words entailed in the planted visuals.  All there, all here on this page, and in everything written by Mike Madigan.  Yes, needing another walk, more capture, more of my own code, more narration from I see and don’t.  Gripped, and I haven’t even sipped.


Ainsi, le Vin

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.



Maple Vineyard Reaction

Newness Hugged in Dry Creek

Was told the vineyard blocks and property was inspiring, but I had no conception or way to measure what was my way headed.  When vineyards surround you and chant an unusually haunting and encouraging chorus like the Maple Vineyard does, you stop and listen, look around.  Day was felicitous in that I and some co-workers and friends had such invitation to listen to Tina Maple speak about her and late-husband Tom’s property.  Only selling to four select wineries, they want the integrity of their fruit kept in tact.  There were so many seconds and minutes in Tina’s presentation where I wanted to break just for a second from our circle and take pictures, of the rows, of her dogs, the clusters, perceptive and vantage angularities looking up the hill, but no.  I had to listen.  This New experience had to be fully captured, however I was to do it— by observing, taking pictures, walking around shooting video, however.  But more than anything, I wanted to listen to the property’s owner detail the history and the soil composition and how the vines were cared for.

She disclosed that at the beginning, where she and Tom bought the property in the 80’s, they had no idea what they were doing, really.  But one discovery and fortunate transpiration after another, and Tom’s tectonic interest and curiosity about the their new property, they found themselves to have an opportunity to grow and replant some resplendent fruit.  While she spoke I did look around though, and the sight itself and how gripping every turn was, each image and rich specificity that greets your eye is poetic, musical.  This is a vineyard that I was meant to see.  I always say, “I’m always in the vineyard.  I have to be in the vineyard.” With the prominent atmospheric rhetoric and convincing entrapment of this property, now I know what I’ve saying to myself over and over is true.  But I know not many of the vineyards I visit or meditate in with have this celestial degree.

Not sure where the fruit is in its development and ripening, or maturation, its story, but each cluster looked and tasted prodigious.  Each its own paragraph and sonnet, line and language, speaking to me the pursuer and worshipper of vines, soil, site.  Sites like this give a writer more sight, more creative rumble about our thinking, urges, visions, where we see ourselves.  Tina taking the time to tell us all about her property as well as urging us to walk around and explore, taste the grapes, go check out the Alicante Bouschet in a parcel dubbed “Bill’s Block” could only be described as propitious.  Just as she and Tom had their dream, we should all have ours.  This vineyard’s uniquely instructional and an endearing shove for wine lovers, winemakers, wine chasers, or writers like me.  There’s no way the person who told me the Maple property was “inspiring” could have told me how much.  Because places like that can’t be contained to singular words, or thoughts.  A visit like this leaves you with an expanding reaction and reflection, sprinting forward into years just as the vineyard itself has— transcending in story and reach.  Taste from one of the four wineries to which they sell.  You’ll want to walk those rows, too.