from today’s sessions

…vineyard walk this morning on Arrowood’s property definitely helped.  I feel so calm, this morning driving over here to campus with downed window, smelling Sonoma morning air notes and the fermentation around me.  Poetry and a real narrative that only I can interpret.  Wine was calling me, it always it now, and I answer– the dactyls and iambs and versed steps in my jargon now, momentary and evergreen, spanning this day and the next, and to next vintage when my tangible and immediate wine, all mine, is in true barrel.

Done grading papers for bbl 3.. or in winemaker speak, doing my adds and checking levels.  Now I get to write freely and think more of and grow from that vineyard walk this morning.. I love the jazz in my ears, and dread when 12 rolls to me and I have to take them out–  The wine I’m to sip tomorrow night, a Cab from Santa Lucia.  My first ever.. and I have ideas more, have to log them in the little black book and not here, just know the writer’s thinking about wine and in a language of wine– a savory jargon than we understand in Sonoma, and Napa, and wherever there’s a block to walk, be it Viognier like this morning or some Pinot micro-block on Arista’s grounds.  Everything this morning is wine, and the adjunct around me would envy my disposition…

MY Winery Story…..


A run earlier produced a few ideas as to what I call my wines, the projects themselves; both Literary and running references. And as the writer walked back to the Autumn Walk base–only walking as the heat stopped me right at mile 4–I thought of the balance of wine and Wellness, and how yes people should sip wine, mine or any others, but as well know what they’re sipping; not overthink it of course but just listen to their senses and what those receptors are telling them, and what the wine itself is telling them; what i instructs and confesses and casts….
Didn’t have much chance at work to research as I did on day 1, but I did notice as Kevin and I did inventory that inventory itself as an act can be made so lovingly and comfortably simple, simplified– no surprise drop-offs or organizations or re-organizations. And tonight for the winemaker, or writing winemaker, no wine; only water and a little leftover birthday cake as I need my thoughts atmospherically clear this eve; and to wake early in morrow’s wee-est of times to finish a short story I started. Yes about a winemaker. Yes based on both Blair and my sister. And yes, a vision of what I hope to be– no, what I HAVE to be– with my wines. Tasted a little at work today, just a little and this I tally as a winemaking study act: the ’13 RRV Pinot, the texture and how that transitions into the “finish”. And then I thought how much I bloody loathe that word, “finish”. Why would you ever want a sip and its echo to end? I mean, okay.. I know it HAS to end in tangibility. But what about thought? What about the reflection? The idea that was presented to you, like a short story, or novel, or memoir? Why can’t someone sip a wine and keep thinking about it, or discuss and if they wish deconstruct what they just tasted? Not bludgeon it with excess analysis, but simply communicate. Where is the “finish” there if the words continue, if the thought gallops on? And that’s what I want my SB & Cab, and in later vintages a couple projects in each type, to execute and birth; dialogue, a story, thought.
I’ll open something tomorrow night, but I’m not sure what, doesn’t have to be SB or Cab. Just a wine to study; its functionality and Literary qualities; the “palate narrative” as I thought today with that ’13 RRV PN. And with the narrative, I have to see intent of the wine, what it aims to state and the thesis it demands to deliver. And does it? Yes, I’m speaking of wine as a cognitive and interactive entity. The wine should have some form of rhetoric, and a certain shape and sequence to that rhetoric, revealing its truest of collusions.
A bit after 10, and I think of my tasting room, and the inventory and where it’s kept. Do I do ‘appointment only’ or open Room for the world to come sip? Or do I not do a TR at all? Over-thought… sure I’m not the only winemaker to do this…..


MY Winery Story…..


Till what? Till I’m making my wine and selling it. today, rough for the writer and not just with the pacing with all elements, nothing optimistic about me today– but then I realized what I want, when I received my gift from Blair, two bottles, one of each from his label; the Chard and Petite Sirah. So yes.. the winemaker’s path.. me.. but I need funding, and all has to happen within a year, 365 days exactly, and I’ll write the whole thing, so that emboldens more consistency in a writing project, a novel, Mike Massamen, and Madigan, doing something that establishes that Zen, that Equilibrium.
I’ve made proclamations and promises before, but this one’s different, far contrasting what before took place. So.. enough of this declaring, now doing. And my budget, ZERO. I’ll start on ZERO and fund the winery, ‘whoso cellars’, with the writing.. so the ‘yrownjoy’ project is heightened in terms of urgency. Tonight, I study the Arista ’12 Banfield Zin. Interesting but it lacks that stage presence that I look for in a wine, that lasting quality, yes it has a story and the visual is captivating and charming, but the sensory dimension once on tongue, on “palate” is coy and rushed, like it doesn’t want to be analyzed. Of course I wouldn’t say that in the TR, but that’s what I’m writing here. And what 2 wines will I master? Sauv Blanc… Cabernet. And from there I build. I’m looking for a way to get the Cab from Cloverdale to SFW, where my sister said she’d watch it. What I’m doing with this day and after this day where I inventoried everything in my professional life is decide, render my path; wine, making it, traveling with it and pouring it for people and writing along the way. Like Dad said, “You can always write.” True. So why not with a profession and stationing which only magnetizes material and more pages– wine, WINE, and making it, writing my tasting notes and my story and what I want people to see, and that voice is the sipper’s, what they want to see; this is about them and them enjoying the wine as they want, not as I want, not as I hope they do, even though I have that idealized construction. My thoughts entangle now and overlap and confuse me and I’m sure you, as I’m nearly done with the Zin I took home– just know I end the day with the yay, no more nay. And with wine, and my label, the winemaker, having an understanding of everything from the vineyard; rootstock and soil type and drainage to the varietals; clone, skin to pulp ratio, brix, maturation… Ah like I told my students, SELF-EDUCATION. And watch, readers.. WATCH! My label close, as is my fruit for this vintage, my last training vintage. And the wine, the wine that tells me to bring it to LIFE. And write it.

Didn’t think I’d write tonight, but I just realized it and what I have to do after the day’s deliberation and trying to shake myself out of a mood. So now.. no more distractions.. only this, only this project.. and I will only write of this, this chase and the wine and my obsession with the stories associated with wine..


MOCK SOMM: whoso cellars, Sonoma Valley, New Dad Cuvée, 2012

IMG_6158I know it’s extremely biased and uncouth to review my own wine. And I’m a writer, not a winemaker, so now it’s all the more skewed and beleaguering… But I have made wine, with a professional winemaker, Blair Guthrie, and I revisited a bottle last night and tonight and am more than wooed by the effulgence of olfactory and palate and the spanning theatricality of the taste-rhythm arrangement; maple-ized raspberry and wild earth honed by jubilant tannins and amorous acidity.. good thing I had Blair there. But I have to be critical.. this bottle SHOULD have a bit more texture and slow-tempo’d seduction to its sensory. But I’m wishing. And this is, was, what, the third wine I’ve ever made? What does this pair with? I don’t know. I’m not a swag-bellied skainsmste sommelier. I’m a wine lover, and writer, in love with wine but I have to say I’m not in love with this one, at least not at this moment in my home, at day’s end. Maybe, perhaps, yes, a tryst of sorts.. a certain sip excursion, delicious distraction.. deviantly wined act personified. Fine. I’ll take it. And that’s where the charm and gems lie, in the casual passing and interaction of the blend we made. And… well, maybe that’s it: I’m tired. How much sleep have his wine “experts” had when they review or respond to their bottles assigned, in their 50 or 60-word “writings”? This ‘whoso’ proprietor, needs more practice, needs more immersion in wine and winemaking and wine-study–
So do I have to score my own wine? Can I be objective– oh stop it yes of course I can.. IIMG_6161 would have had it in oak longer, and longer with the oak chain, but I remember making it at the Kenwood winery and being forced to rack it at a certain time and bottle it at one punctuated.. not as I’d have like it– but it wasn’t my winery. The ‘NDC’ is about New DADS, needing an accessible red wine for occasions any. There’s no incongruence with palate or nose or finish or texture, I just feel there could be more.
whoso cellars is about nonconformity, yes, but as well innovation and invention and the LEAP of winemaking vision. So did I succeed? I.. well….. No. There needs to be more here; more vocal, more scene, more éclat in its character weaving. I don’t know, but I’m not pleased. And I don’t blame Blair, or the hosting winery, the resources, no one or anything, no element.. I’m here sipping and learning, and knowing I AM a winemaker, well as a penman.
So let’s say I’m not me, I’m not a writer/winemaking whatever of this bottle, that I never met Blair and I never made this.. so then what.. well I guess my estimation would be sewn in another stroll. But I’m biased, rationally curved and cognitively curtailed, so I just now sip, and now sense and see there are improvements to be made in this winemaker’s crafting. He’ll be better with years, a few more harvests.. there’s promise, A promise here. We’ll just have to see what he does next; what singular varietals and what blends.. and just WHAT. Not sure who this writer thinks he is making wine, but it’ll be interesting to see what he promises next, what else he decides to put in Bottle.. this expository Ox.



Friday.  No lunch today.  So took home a burrito from the place just down the block.  Tonight, attention to blog detail.  Nice beer tasted at work, after work.  Tonight’s mission: WINEMAKING RESEARCH.  Everything I can find.  Going to bring that little black journal from upstairs, down here, to my couched station.  Maybe I should work upstairs, though.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.  Hoping to take a couple pages of notes; Then, write some verses, listen to my newly bought tracks.  Hungry, have to return to burrito.  Wonder if this’ll pair with that Woodenhead Carignane…  Or should I pull one of my Cabs from the little fridge.  Tonight, I’m deliberately planning to sip plentifully.  Remember thinking this in the cave today.  My writing, lately, I’ve found a bit dull, reserved, heavily sedated with predictability’s promise.  So, I need to be out of shell while still sitting in its fits.  [7:50pm]

Going upstairs.  No movies.  Only music.  What wine’ll pair most theatrically with the albums for me bound?  Definitely need more wine, that Carignane.  My lines are like soiled shellfish.  Need beats that kidnap me from normality.  Thinking maybe I might attack my friend’s Cab Franc, the 2010.  He’s a burgeoning winemaker.  Like me, but with more formalized, organized education.  But, even still, I want to, need to taste his inaugural bottle.  Hopefully it’ll give me a diamond well idea.  That’s what I need, I realized, talking to the couple on my only tour today about the Facebook purchase of Instagram.

First sip of the CF, it needs a little opening.  Staying downstairs, with all this clutter, my items.  Turning off TV.  This Cab Franc, telling me to relax with winemaking and writing efforts.  Be more fundamental.  Don’t attempt invent.  Just be, in your Creative keys.  Keep getting distracted.  No more snailing.  Need continue as the rattlesnake I’m known.  This Cab Franc, close to Earth with its herbal scratch, terrestrially tamed palate patch.  As a writer, this is the type of wine I’d be fine to design.  Not sure I’ll make it to my 128 roadside ink session tomorrow, if this author keeps Self in tipped sip.  MY winemaking research, other than this bottle, may have to wait.  As I need to keep writing.  And the other blog, the one with photos, video… on perpetual pause.  My law, one of scribed awe, aux.

My only tour today, the soon-2B-wed couple from AZ, soon moving to NC.  Surely  schooled in wine’s incline.  Engaged in moment, perfect welcome on this page.  Whenever I meet enthusiastic sippers, I’m ever more convinced I need to, EVERY VINTAGE, produce.  Would rather do it with sis, or brother Kaz.  But if I can’t, I’ll find ways to do it on own.  Like David the other day stated: “It’s a lifestyle choice.” Inarguably it is; One of utter, unfettered Artistry.  Getting another bottle of this Cabernet Franc, starting my research.  What should I tackle?  Well first, I should stomp upstairs to somehow find my winemaking “little night log.” I say “night,” corresponding its deeply dark shade delve.  Going to look for footage online.  Production, harvest, tasting; Cabernet, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc–  What’s on the whoso cellars tasting menu.  My varietals.

(5/25/12, Friday)