Rubber cantaloupe skin
Red kids marker
Street lamp plastic bulb guard
Closet-stored Eastern European wool
Rubber cantaloupe skin
Red kids marker
Street lamp plastic bulb guard
Closet-stored Eastern European wool
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.
Schug Winery – 2012 – Merlot – Sonoma County
Easy-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.
Via Guisti Winery – 2015 – Vermentino – Carneros/Sonoma County
Not really one who chases Vermentino, but I found this one on a local wine list, at a local restaurant while out to dinner. I didn’t know what to expect but I was irrevocably riveted by all sensory approaches, the paradiddles that sang to the palate… vanilla and orange, lemon and banana, pineapple. This was not a wine that was trying to be safe, or mainstream. It wanted to be honest with its narrative, tell a new turn in Vermentino’s volume and place, character and voice. I kept sipping till dinner, nearly ordered another glass but had to refrain. Been haunted ever since. Wish I would have had just one more glass. What I remember most was the texture of the wine and how it so luminously complimented the flavor complexion. Maybe now I will hunt this varietal, but I’m fearful. How could any other interpretation have this magnetic degree? I don’t want to obsess over that, just want to remember what I tasted, how it taught me something about Vermentino and myself as a wine pursuer. Easily one of the most pedagogical and enveloping white wines I’ve ever encountered. And I have to laugh, as it just found its way to my life, my story, my writing. You can never know what to expect in this wine stage, and Via Giusti’s enigmatically ethereal bottle reminded me of just that. I left the restaurant more than enamored. I was in longing, curious, writing in my head what I’d do if I had a bottle when back home.
Frustrated with myself as I wanted to post a piece I wrote about Emma, earlier, but this evening is about a vent, a shelling of sorts. Nothing negative, just that needle-esque candor. Right now on floor of bottom floor of Autumn Walk Studio sipping night’s cap and thinking about day, how crazy it was at the winery. How I love and loathe such momentum in tandem, how people that ask the dumbest, most self-absorbing probes of wine perturb and infuriate me— one lady today feeling the need to ask a question then use the answer as the foundation of her grievance— example: “Did this see any oak?” she asked about the Chardonnay. “No,” I riled, “we wanted this to be clean and bright, expressive and charming.”
“Well,” she said, spilling the remainder into the pour ceramic in front of her, between us, “I like the oaky Chards, this is too thin. Why didn’t you use new oak?” I dodged the question and told her something that made her feel more empowered so she’d shut the fuck up. ‘It’s wine for fuck’s sake’, I thought. Why do people get like this over wine, and I have to be honest it’s less than a percent of people walking through that front door-set that have such demeanor and lean. I always watch from behind that bar, writer I be, to see what I see. You have these presuppositions at times, we all do, but you never know.
Already I can feel myself getting lazy on this Studio’s bottom floor, and I haven’t even lifted the night’s capping of captain cappings. So now what do I do, with this time to myself, after getting up when I did with daughter, then soonafter son— the writer’s a pretzel, self-promulgated in prose promiscuity, yodeling from this idea to that, and I get more frustrated with self. So how is this helping. I think of the vineyard walk I took yesterday, how if I were the owner I’d be doing the same thing as the current owner. True acuity and familiarity with the property, telling a story. It’s all a story, a zooming and tangibly scenic story-set. I’m relaxed but not, as I see again how life’s shortness motivates us. I’m angry, but then I’m not. I refuse to smoke from negativity’s cig. I’m here, now, downstairs, the fridge going mute, and me finally having a whale upon which to write. Yes, each moment I can write while having two babies is like joyriding a whale, in the middle of the Pacific.
I’m okay now, with not touching the Emma piece. I’ll get to it tomorrow. Typical writer procrast’— So now harm in my creative skin or waves, telling tide. What’s going to happen tomorrow at the winery, who will ask what? WHAT? Feel like I need to know now so I can have some witty fucking response. The wine industry’s like a circus, then like a business, then like a riot, then like a war. Which facet do I better like? Not sure. You know what, curtly, I’d rather write about my daughter.
Yoakim Bridge Vineyards and Winery Reaction—
Again exploring my valley, Dry Creek, and en fin decided to stop at Yoakim Bridge Vineyards and Winery. Quaint and contained tasting room with a gentle atmospheric allure that someone like me can only take to, be eager to taste through the flight and further settle into the property and story. Was auspicious enough to have Virginia, one of the owners pour for me. With convivial smiles and bright wooing dialogue she poured the first offering, a 2013 Dry Creek/Sonoma County Zinfandel. Already, the narrative was paginated, that this is a wine producer that couriers not just a ‘sense of place’ as people say about their own wines, but truth of varietal, valley and county, the winery’s inviting octave. Then the same Zin, 2012, transitioning to an ’11 Petite Sirah which has the most resplendent and magnetic initial attractiveness of I think any PS I’ve ever tasted. Then concluding with the Merlot. A 2010 which has a distinguished tasty ardor and accent to its notes and song, general poetry— and oh did it convince me. Had to walk away with a bottle before walking around the vineyard, checking out the Zin vines just outside their little tasting room which felt more like an artisanal boutique of some kind. There’s nothing template about Yoakim, only romantic echoes that will follow you home. And their wines will age, if you’re the character to lay your bottles for a few.
I plan on opening my bottle tonight, I’ll be frank. And what will I write to it? One side of me says ‘Has to be poetry” while the other hemisphere screams for inexhaustible paragraph deluge. Anymore, it really is a strain to find any winery that will provoke me to write, buy a bottle take it home and scribble or type further. This little preeminent spot succeeded, with jitterbugging exponents. Could be back tomorrow, who knows… But for tonight I’ll concentrate and center my thinking in the bottle I bought, the stories Virginia told me about her partner, David, how tirelessly he works in the vineyard and during harvest time (her story from ’03), her family and what brought them to Dry Creek. I think of what brought me there, which was all the praise I’d hear around the valley and county, how what I heard aligned not even a little to what I experienced— what transpired between Virginia, Dave, and I in the tasting was so much more enriching. I wasn’t being sold, I wasn’t being taught, I knew people with the same fermented fervor and love as me. And a new place which has beneficially emboldened my wine story and pursuits. Merci! Merci beaucoup!
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…