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.



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)

Glass Memory

When you learn in the wine world it’s different and much more punctuated I feel, than in other extensions.  The soil, the rootstock, the varietal clone the microclimate the trellising style, the adds (if any).  So much to it.  And listening to him speak of the ripening and the clones of Pinot and everything that’s to be considered as a grower/winemaker, has me considering and reconsidering everything.  I feel tireless, just like him.  Wanting so much to work those endless harvest hours.  but I pause and just watch again, seeing if I really could do that– well of course I can, if I put as much of myself into it as he did, does–


And I walk another block, staring at the hills and again realize there’s so much to this wine story of mine, of ours, all of ours in this world and business.  And the story that’s being told and narrated is not ending, ever.  Back in Bennett Valley, just up the Road from where Alice and I used to live, in that condo, which I find completely Literary in all its suggestive angles, and I still feel tireless, like I could write all night about wine and what I plan to do with it.  I’d pace back and forth, up and down that row if I could.


I follow.  Just a student again.  And I love it.  More than I can here tell you and certainly more than I have time to tabulate.  So I follow Glenn some more around the rows and look at the clusters, and one thing I do notice which he confirms is the uneven ripening, which could be negative or not.  But who knows, I guess.  It all depends on how the juice tastes, right?  So I want to study the business more and see what I can do as a winemaker, maybe, or just a wild wine writer that I already be.  My head’s everywhere, and I credit and blame the day, in those blocks.


A Morning In Out (some of day’s 3 pages)

IMG_7396Finally find myself freewriting, writing freely, free in my morning writing, starting the types at 9:12– writing for clients later when in adjunct cell, and grading papers, meeting with students at 6; optional session for them but I hope several of them arrive.  Didn’t make it to class last night, stuck in that traffic, and I hate feeling behind, but it motivates me so I should do well with the current current and the ebb of my electric written impulse.  Have to leave this Yulupa base, the Starbucks of course, at 10 promptly to make the appointment where Ms. Alice and I have the engagement to see our little Ms. Austen on the screen, make sure all measurements are well, and that all is as anyone would want it.  But I type faster and whirl in my written novelizing of Self and my career and the meeting I had yesterday at the Ad office, Napa, still very much in the writer’s brain.  And I realize I’ve a break, one that will benefit me and my story greatly, expose me to more wines and wineries and the experience wine brings with it and all the characters, in the industry and out–  forlorn never, and my gravity and brio intensify with each word.  And the novel grows even more, more for me and my family– the day’s practice of three pages, a true write making a life for himself, one that will be read, rebelling against the adjunct ropes and bars, cells made to keep us complacent and now I speak up and tell them, the Them, those devils in their cozy little, or not so little if you’re a Chair (not sure why that should be capitalized), office.  I just make it my own, knowing that no full-timer will ever write about or speak to me as that one did, at that one removed garage-sale-college.  Ha.. look at my rattle, and me slither toward the aggressor rather than flee.  Fangs.. here… look closer…..

Wine, and all its educational potential, and the Human approach to wine, antithetical to what sommeliers think you want to hear..  Wine should be appreciated as Art is.  As it IS Art.  And that I mean to capitalize.  And in this day’s three, I only reflect and revel in wine, and not so much the “educational” facet or dimension, but the appreciative, as I told my new partners yesterday in the office, not wanting to leave, wanting to talk more about the wine, a Merlot, we opened and just appreciate the moment, share what we detected in the wine’s momentum and Beat.  I have to do more than just “immerse” myself in this, this stream of rich wine chapters at this point in the novel stream, or memoir stride– but I’m here recording and about my jazzy reaction and reflection, thinking of those Roads, the pourings I’ll do in hotels, the travel and the trips, the overnights in hotels and the resulting writing.  So what’s the end to this, this series of books?  I haven’t a clue, frankly.  And I don’t want one.  One rile I embraced yesterday was a reminder to just enjoy, enjoy wine and the characters with whom you sip, and go from their, form your life and write it all.  ALL.  Don’t omit a thing!  OH, and Mom reminds me just now by social media’s mount that I need business cards.  Shit!  How did I forget that?  Also need to upload some photography and copy to the bottledaux blog.  And.. officially put myself on the cards as a client of mmc, “Mike Madigan Author” I have it dubbed.  So that brings me to three clients.  And how do I market Mike Madigan?  Uh.. blogger, prose writer, poet, performing poet.. think that’s it.  What else does he write?  What do I think he should write, as his agent?  Arduous thinking of myself as a writer, objectively.  I’ll have to brainstorm, not in this freewrite.

9:26.  Time to write nearing an end already, but I won’t dismiss or let that free wind alone, not even for a second.. young lady in front of me going through her purse for something while she waits for her coffee.  Looks like she may have come from the gym or a walk, maybe.  But she looks tired and not wanting to start her day, flipping her hair and slightly rolling her eyes.  I hope not at me, the peering writer.  Now she gets her cup and leaves, about her day, looks at me again before putting some sugar in her, what I think is that passion iced tea my wife gets– rushes out, to the day, to errands and probably kids.  But I’m free, here with these characters and words and diarist accouterment, my mea culpa, theatricality in my gaze, my typings.  Looking and using what’s around me, so I’ll always be writing– this place, a place for people like that lady with her tea, me with this mocha and moment, then some that just come here to have a coffee and read the paper.  That’s their peace.  Just like wine, and in the vineyard, different intentions.  I realize, I can’t with all I have going on make wine– and I don’t want to really as I want to cover it; film it and write about it and photograph every facet as I did in ’12 at K—-.

No more distractions from email.  I know I always say that.  Had a call from client 2 this morning, that he had a busy weekend with company and didn’t have a chance to read the email and draft I sent him.  I know the feeling, I said, and didn’t mind at all.  He, with his business, everywhere and so centralized and focused, and beyond successful.  That’s mmc, soon, you’ll see, and my novels will capture everything, like a photograph but with the regimented discipline of writing and with the painted scene and plate– woman working here going around wiping off tables, the crumbs and coffee stains and used napkins.  I envy her speed and devotion to a task that most wouldn’t want to do.  That most are just too lazy to bring to any finished roundness.

Now in the morning I see what the day’s remainder looks like.  Just me at work and working toward my office which I know is closer than it’s ever been.  And wine education: I offer you don’t overthink it.  And if you want to look further into the wine you’re sipping, then enjoy.  But don’t steal the joy from the puddle in the bowl, what you sip and what contributes to the story and the occasion, the music created by conversation, like jazz in the moment and not reversed not edited and certainly not over-planned, or thought, or measured.  Just leap into the wine and explore its character like a book and see what speaks to you.  And I put an exclamation mark at the end of that sentence then deleted as the emphasis is obvious.  Just go forward into the wine and how you want to know it and don’t stop and don’t be swayed by anyone.  Certainly not some loppy-witted sommelier that recites book babble to sound versed.  That’s a facade– not with all of them, but many, even most I’d say.

9:47– the jazz slows, the trumpet and the highhat, snare, then in comes a piano like a trotting tiger, but gentle, some unseen dance, and I just want to stay here and write the characters around me and imagine this is my café, my jazz/wine bar, that my children visit when off school, go upstairs to the office and do their homework.  Something like that.  Wine should be family-placed, or as I see it– not sure where that thought was headed, but I don’t think corporations when I think of wine, or the vineyard.  I think of a house, a table, dinner, a bottle or two in the center, and people talking about what they choose, smiles and laughs and memories and new stories.  Nothing sour or downing.  Just an aloft mood and consistency…

MOCK SOMM: Highway 12 Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County, Sonoma Red Blend, 2013

IMG_7063Again, delivered by dark reaches and suggestion– towering chocolate, symphonic spice, and an argumentation to its pervasive balance that I haven’t recently seen in a Merlot-centered blend.  Soft encompassing novelette of a pour, with its smokey dark fruit and dark chocolate shadows and hauntings.  I’m very much halted by this, one of the most convincing and directed, coherent red blends I’ve in months sipped.  This is my plain and preferred oeno-plateau, the Bordeaux-built blend.  Indeed, I’m here writing, more than just “inspired” but reactive and more crEATive than I’ve felt all day– with this soulful seductress of a dark phantasm, this layered palate performer.  Leather and plum, depth and ferocity to its form, just what any consumer hopes for in a wine.  But there’s more than the mundane humdrum mediocrity of a pull-and-pour bouteille de vin you get from the everywhere-market.  Distinction and accuracy.. sweet ember, royal, and refined, bulldozes any hesitation with blends that overlap regions, bordeaux and Rhône, and wherever.IMG_7065

I always fly and form to wines with a musical quality, and from the multiple varietals encased in this project, I experience several types, voices (not going to dumb myself or this bottle to “genre”).  It’s jazz, electronica, the chilled trip-hop I listen to on lunchtime writing rushes– I bob my head and maybe a bit jig in chair, but I’m eased and equalized, relaxed with sanity retained.  Thinking of all the blocks along Highway 12, the wine life here in Sonoma and its overarching generous narrative kiss to writers like me.  I can only be selfish with her, as the last glass is poured, no one will connect to her and listen to her song like me.  So, again with her piquancy, scent to tongue.. slow, ignoring time– just us.  So, I sip. 

With closed