MOCK SOMM

Interntervals of Sip Sanity

Decided something today, and with a serrated fervor: I’m writing about wine the way I wish, not the way I think would be marketable or received well, accepted or even rejected.  I’m just going to write about wine, and about the wines I wish, and how I wish.  My MOCK SOMM column, taking new form and mold.  The wines that I wrote those poetic or versified blurbs about, racked over to another project— and now, I sit on the couch in my house, one kid asleep the other feeding with wife and I don’t have much time, and that’s much of what sequences and summons this new “style”, if it’s even a style (What would Vonnegut say?).  More a decision, and declaration.  Of what?  Me.  Wine.  That union…  MY img_2002union with it, and that I have the fearlessness and confrontational disposition to do so.  “Confrontational?” I can hear a reader saying, “That’s not a good thing.  This is a small industry.” Something they always love to say.  but I’m not concerned.  At all.  This wine writer loves fallout and thinks the industry and wine world itself needs a bit of a cleanse.  Tonight I’m sipping the Merlot I made in ’12, at Kunde.  I don’t remember this one of the two I made that year tasting this floral and poetic; precise and promising.  Reminds me of other wines I’ve tilted a glass with recently that have made me think, made me order to self “oh, you need to do a wine review to this one…”.  But not writing “reviews” anymore.  Just about wine, wines, wines I love and need to again sip, wines I’ve only met for a brief time perhaps sipping one that someone  brought into the tasting room and I just thought, not analyzed, but thought, appreciated, loved.

img_1956A 2012 WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Meunier, Willamette Valley, that I had the other night, Easter actually, at Mom and Dad’s paired with a ham reminded me that I need to travel up there, to my other home state of Oregon and explore my varietal adore of Pinot and its neighboring identities.  The wine was darker in complexion and affection than I measured, and with a charming coherence and reverb that told me to travel, explore, disobey the industry’s orders and just love wine, love what it does and how it makes you feel, what it encourages you to do, write and speak to your audience.

img_1919Another, a ’14 Quivaira “Refuge” from Dry Creek— luminary flavor maelstrom.  This is also a wine that teaches the sipper, and encourages wine writers like me to care less but care more about wine itself, just enjoy what you sip and know that wine is more than a simpleton’s listing of 2nd grade adjectives and “descriptors”.  God I hate that bloody word.  I sipped this in the tasting room, couriered by a friend’s girl friend who works at the winery.  Kind of her to share, and more impactful than I’m sure she ever thought would result.  I decreed something internally when sipping it, just never paginated the emancipation till now, on this couch, while my babies sleep.  Wine and I have written a business play and plan, a life model and mode.  And tonight is merely the inaugural inoculation.

How much of my ’12 is left?

MOCK SOMM: Kosta Browne Visit — a critical reaction

IMG_0983Yes I’d heard things, and I’d read, and kept reading, and was conceptually clasped and captured by the stories of Dan Kosta and Michael Browne. Mr. Browne had welcomed me to his Sebastopol production domicile for a 10AM visit, and I knew I was going to see ‘it’.. IT.. that materialized vocational utopia he’d created for himself as a wine character and presence and producer. One of his staff members, Joyelle–a gentle and cosmically celestial character that had me eased and encouraged after just a couple inaugural words of greeting and a sweetening handshake–welcomed me in and told me a bit more about the KB story and the new facility, new vineyards that they’d acquired and were working with, among so much.
Then, il entre, Michael Browne, with what I expected, that being a IMG_5941-0positive attitude that nearly muted me; the energetic and personified paramount of ‘It’, the dream reached, and in full fruition. Browne poured me a little of the ’13 ‘ONE SIXTEEN” RRV Chardonnay.. and of course, I’m proven wrong about Chardonnay, but not all that I try winery to winery are this acute with flavor encirclings and texture accuracy.. nice apple and slightly creamy pair with an evasive wink (meaning you want to chase it, keep sipping) of pineapple, maybe enriched apricot.. charmed and already fantastically trapped, we motioned for the magnum room, an artful and treasuring tomb of notable bottles, most of which are large formats intended for charity functions, which I found is very much an aorta to Michael’s vibrantly reaching charm and empirical character. There we talked about the charities and why he’s so “big” on them and why it’s essential for this to be part of his dream, his métier xanadu… AND! I saw it! The last of the “John Ash bottles”, as I called them. “Yeah, that’s the John Ash bottle,” he said. My thoughts were everywhere–minced and

The last 'John Ash bottle'...
The last ‘John Ash bottle’…
mystified and focused and varied.. “I’m looking at it.. oh my god… it’s possible,” I thought. And that’s much of what brought me to the Sebastopol acropolis, to see this tangible accomplishment, to see the result of the story, the journey, Michael Browne’s Road. And yes, the Professor in me shared the Kerouac/Paradise quote of “The Road is Life”. “Yeah, man,” Michael said, then sharing the thought that it very much continues, that his story is still being written, there’s more Road, there’s more, more… And we on sauntered…..

In the production facility we sipped what remained of our Chard splashes and went about the barrels, being cleaned and then the lab after the catwalk stroll– And let me stop there. Browne showed me the philosophy, the intricately meticulous methodology and practice behind punchdowns and himIMG_5949 knowing intimately how exhausting it can be for the interns, then showing me the punchdown device, or tool, contraption or what be that’s extended from and guided by a thorough and pristinely placed rail system, even letting me navigate it a bit. But, do note, I was so eager for more story and more expository immediacy of the Kosta Browne chronicle that I let him continue in his talk and demo.. then to the barrel room.
IMG_5952 Here, we surveyed the ’14 Pinots, both from the KB label and his new chapter-set, and Pinot genre and interpretation, “Cirq.” Michael handed me a new glass and a little, I guess you’d deem it, ‘spit cylinder’. And it’s a wise offering, as I would have sipped and let each thieving fall into my center. His ’14 understanding across all lots and mico-climates and maceration styles was more than apexing in talent and fluency– I was fabulously dumbfounded, and I now knew, and could see, feel that this oenological bastion stood an apex of mastery. And with Pinot no less! And where did he start.. the service roll, at a restaurant, saving those stray 1’s and coins and securing some fruit of his own– I kept thinking of the bottle, the ‘JA bottle’ he pointed out just a bit ago.. “Wow,” I thought sipping the whole cluster thieving. Can’t remember the vineyard’s name, and I don’t need to– it was the character that he interpreted and was so eager to share with me and talk about and how he elaborated on wine as colors– the offering and quite concrete a thesis that wine’s exude color in their tactile and gustatory placements.. Fascinating, I thought as a writer and professor, yes, but just as someone loving wine, and loving Pinot, and loving expeditious and daring, and simply fun twists on the problematic and often pugilistic varietal. “Different expression,” Michael intoned, sipping right in front of the writer, in a thin alley of new oak, swirling his glass, “same clone, different vineyards…with the goal of making a complex, well-balanced wine.” And what I sipped was more than meekly ‘well-balanced’. No. The pours were profound, instructional and intimate in their collective palate presence, and universally musical. And we talked about the quite a bit, wine as music, which I don’t have the time to really address here, just note it was brought up and again I saw that elevating passion and fervor’d Craftsman in Mr. Browne. I could only smile, plainly, and know it could happen, this can happen. He made it happen. “There’s color there, right?” he said before leaving the barrel room. “It’s just a cool way to look at it.” Agreed. And refreshing. I’ve always affirmed that wine should be fun and all his expressive theses aligned with such. Their own, and his own, pedagogy, if you would. Again, compelling. Gripping. Charming. “And that’s kinda just how I look at it,” he concluded.

IMG_5951 Jean Budrillard wrote that “…once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.” And Michael Browne very much knows who he is. And now I do. Finally. I had waited for, as I told him, over 4 years to learn more about the story and SEE it, experience it, and learn from it. And I did, there in Sebastopol, about the barrels and the lab in that cozy waiting room, where our meeting closed, and where he said, after I asked him “Who is Michael Browne?”: “I’m just a dude riding the river of life trying to do the best I can in everything I do…and understand what’s going on around me…and live life and enjoy family…let the adventure continue… I guess that’s me. I don’t really know.” But I think this writer knows: A kind, demiurgic, winemaking and vocational sage.
And this writer, or wine lover, or whatever I am, so grateful for the day, for our shared sips and time.

(5/7/15)

5/6/12: Album/Book Co-ferment

Clocking in, 8:35a, on 128’s side.  Five minutes late, but I’ll let it go this time.  Wasn’t going to bring laptop, after posting over, well over 1000 words to blog last night, and not getting one “Like.” It’s my fault, completely.  Shouldn’t be throwing that much “product” away, into a blog.  That should have gone into a book.  In fact, after this check-in session, I’m going straight to my latest book effort.  Going to blend in a little of BOOK1, here on desk top.

Lots of bikers out today, cycling up hill, eventually to drop into Alexander Valley’s heart.  Can’t let mySelf stop talking–I  mean writing.  This mocha, really working.  Morcheeba playing through phone.  Spent close to two minutes getting music cued through that evil little tech piece.  So, would have clocked in earlier.

New schedule at AV Winery, having Thursdays & Fridays off.  Much better having two days of rest, WRITING, adhered.  An even more sizable cyclist squadron passes.  Today should be hot, giving the leaves, vines, eventual 2012 fruit more rudder.

8:41am.  Just opened BOOK1.  See some passages that I could use for this latest book effort.  With my “branding,” coupled with the reality of Self-publishing [in other words, me paying for everything from paper to binding to all else…] keeping all my releases under 100 pages.  But over 50.  And, I want every release to contain between 40-50k words of content.  That’s what I’m thinking, right now.  And I know I keep saying ‘I need to get serious about releasing writing beyond these blogs’.  But this is different.  I want to rebel against the expectation that I’m going to “blog” something. [And I didn’t know “blog” was a commonly accepted verb…  Just my point: what social media, the immediacy of the internet, wine’s greedy INDUSTRY, and bloggers (those without conviction, confidence to Self-publish actual pages) have done to language.]  I want to be seen as one always releasing publications, all Self-funded, sold.  Meaning, all consumer direct.  Like painters, other Artists.  Like Kelly.

Beyond what I told mySelf I’d do, in terms of word count.  No matter.  Well, actually it does, as this is all being “posted” to my “blog.” It’s fine, I keep telling Self.  I want to share these moments, with those willing to read them; with those who actually READ.  More cyclists.  Never seen this many on a weekend morning before.  This has to be suggesting…  What?  That I need to be outside; That I need to be mobile; That I need to escape; That my writing needs to escape [DEFINITELY]; That I need to be truer to Self, as Kaz suggested; That I need to…  WHAT?

My music stopped.  Ugh, now I need to remedy the stall, which will eat into my typing time.  Why I can’t just enjoy the quiet, this new office spot of mine, here on 128’s side, I don’t know.  Maybe these cyclists are telling me  I need to drive around, look for another spot.  Okay, now the quiet’s getting to me…

autonomy meditation — 4/9/12

Put a little more money in my startup stash.  Not touching it.  And not adding anymore.  Using all current funds to keep bills, balances inline.  Refusing to spend 1 cent on writing.  Literally rejecting the whole notion of overhead.  Going to start from less-than-scratch.  Well, that’s not entirely true, as I’ll be upgrading one of my blogs for video footage’s purpose, and my pandora account for uninterrupted sittings.  What should I do with this cash I have upstairs?  One thought was to buy a new camera, but I want to scale back the amount of visuals into this “blog.” As REAL books and logs, diaries/diarist writing, don’t have pictures, I don’t want these writings to in any way be trumped by a photograph, no matter how beautiful.  So if all I want to do is write, why do I have to save any money, especially with the poetry, spoken word, verse?  Will write my way to an office of my own, soon, so that’ll be paid for by writing that cost nothing to produce.  Business cards, hardly an impacting expense; Actually, I paid for the last 250 ordered [new version] with change I had accumulated in that big beer mug Mom and Dad bought me in Germany [think it’s from Germany].  Still can’t think of any overhead I’ll need to seriously consider.  Pens, paper, Comp Books, memory sticks…  Yes, overhead, technically.  But enough to have hide-away rolls of bills?

Not sure what to do in my quest for Autonomy.  You could argue that this is ignition funding, to get my wine-themed biz in the air.  But how?  What?  In what shape?  Me, at loss.  Going to forget about that money upstairs, consider it spent, GONE.  Going to stop writing about, meditating in its topic.  Neither in sight nor mind.  I’ll come back to it when fate so intends.

Going for a run in a matter of minutes.  My first in weeks.  Need to run more before driving to Alexander Valley, set up routine and time schedule quite serious.  Early A.M. jaunts would be great for entries, spoken word verses, or just speeded poems.  Write about my runs, as I used to in mikeslognoblog.  Speaking of the inaugural blog, or log of mine, I’d like to someday soon return to its moments, see what standalone’s I can pull, gather, perhaps for performing, reading at mics nearby.  The song I’m listening to right now, a remix of “Take It All Away” by John O’Callaghan, has little Jack completely stunned, interested, enamored.  He continues to sound at me, as if to say, “This is the type of music you should have in your Wine Bar.” So, should I research more, starting a Wine Bar?  Not sure that’s wise right now, to be honest.  And frankly, I’m hesitant to engage in anything that’ll take away from writing.  I see Self-subsistence as a scribe, first.  Then, when I have my own office and all monies have stabilized, excelled, then I’ll look at such ventures.  But, I won’t stop thinking of my tasting Room when I hear these songs.  So motivating how my little friend in front of me reacts to them, dances with cooed confidence.

2DO 2NIGHT:  1) Finish verses in Comp Book; 2) Print 3 standalone’s; 3) Enjoy thoughts, dreams of Autonomy, possible usages for upstairs cash; See Self THERE …

blending noises/crashed cuvée [Comp Book entriez]

4/3/2012 —

Time, like medals invaluable, now.  No to little, and back to no, time to write.  So, just think about the wine I’m sipping.  ’07 Cuvée.  Calm, musical.  It’s telling me to relax, not to take any of this with excess seriousness.  Can’t believe I made it through the day, to be honest.  Not much sleep last night, and today’s tasks hardly charged my sight, space.  But, probably because I had that state in my head, didn’t push mySelf.  Need the travel for the writing.  Something.  A new varietal of day, more frequently.  Now, not in the mood to write.  Why, I’m guessing, is because I’m too comfortable.  Too much around me’s familiar.  To force mySelf into a beach kissed cabin on Hawaii’s big island, or Tahiti, or a small resort in Italy, would revive my motion on pages, in their sentences.  If I wake up earlier than I usually do tomorrow, like I did that one morning, that’d be like stepping on stages unknown, wouldn’t it?

Another city on list: Brussels.  Have heard enchanted descriptions of those roads.  The food, Life, visuals.  I just want to hear as much language I can’t understand as I can.  That’s what I need, roller coaster writing.  Whims atop leaps covered in randomness.

4/4/2012 —

Today, a mocha, scribbles in the Comp Book, first thing for morning.  Two tours today, one of which I met a brilliant photographer from Atlanta, with an encouraging and heartwarming specialty, the other introducing to me a nice newlywed couple from Southern California.  Both tours brought curiosity, love for wine.  That Human dimension that I aways write about.  That I have to write about.  Still sipping last night’s ’07.  Makes me think about this morning’s writings at the estate, in the Comp Book.  Still haven’t counted the stash, yet.  Tomorrow morning, going to commit to waking even early than “box time” (6:20am).  Right now, too much activity.  I need silence when I write, I realize more than I ever did.  Only exception, the Wine Bar instrumentals I find mySelf igniting just before pushing a single key, scribbling a single sentence.

Picture taken by Alice, Jack's mom ...

Playing with descriptors today, with both groups.  One of the gentlemen asked me, rather directly, what certain varietals are “supposed to do.” Finally someone voices this dialogue for me, my pages.  I’m also thankful to this gentleman’s question, as it points out just how artistic wine is, continues to be.  It’s subjective, as there’re different interpretations of varietals.  And that’s more than “okay.” This character, who I’ll call “Nick,” asked more questions, showing genuine interest alongside his wife, the camera-toting artist.  The other couple, a young lady nurse, and her husband, a fellow educator, and one of the nicest gentlemen I’ve ever met since working in the wine industry.  They were accompanied by her mother, an adorable, and quite wine-astute, woman from Massachusetts.  We sipped, after a tour I feel I may have rushed, talked about wine, life, time with loved ones over nice wine.  I talked about the “sibling rivalry,” as I call it, between the ’07 and ’08 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  I compared them to different music types.  And before I could voice my comparative waves, the gentleman’s wife, whom we’ll call Teagan, said it was like the two versions of Leila by Eric Clapton.  I couldn’t believe her speak, as that was precisely the analogy I was about to web.  But that’s what wine’s world and centered interactions bring–surprise, ones rhythmically pleasant, memorable.  There is no script in the bottled life.  At least not for this Bottled Ox.

As I was frustrated with the blogs last night, and quite a bit of yesterday, I didn’t think–no, I didn’t plan on writing for either of them tonight.  But after today, the characters, crisp AV weather, minimal clouds, this wine, my little son laughing tonight, smiling irresistibly, uncontrollably, and now these wine bar beats…  I have to.  My concentration’s in sectors, altogether scattered.  Beautiful.  Perfect for song, poetry–the real writing into which I love to dive…  Another sip, the wine tells me to buy this song before it ends, add it to the aesthetic atmospheric arsenal.

Dying to know how much I have in the stash.  What am I stashing for?  Not sure.  Just to stash, or save, I guess.  thinking again of publishing something paper, again.  But not going to leap.  Going to sit.  Write about the thoughts, the turmoil, the indecisive weights in authorial perceptive anvils.  Oh this blend…  Making me sing.  Need to bring the Comp Book to this desk, scribble more.  Looking through my pictures, the recent ones; Little Kerouac, smiling for whomever’s in attendance.  Wine and its elements, gripping me like songs from followed artists.  Now, I’m in song, my songs, my material.  Writing for my Life, so I can continue to have Writing 4ever in my Life.  Sip scene…

sipped scene: frame sane

The Cabernet, musical, more so than last night’s Pinot throws.  Tonight, while bed writing, I might force mySelf to scribble solely in Kelly notes.  She’s my only character.  And, I was thinking at dinner, maybe I only need one championing character.  That’d be her.  It has to be.  She’s been with me since 2010.  But, I have to ask Self, alongside this ’08, “What does she want?  What would she do?” The thing about Kelly, she doesn’t think this much.  She just acts.  Creates.  Her curiosity, her commander.  I’ve been over this before, so no more exhaustion.  This wine, like a flavor cloud, aim with palate rain.

Had something else to say about today, at AV Winery…  Yes!  The racking of barrels, what I saw the production crew doing.  Incredibly organized, their method, processes.  And, for the writer, fascinating to watch.  Like moving entries, paragraphs, from one project to another.  And then back, after doing a read-through, finding the new placement doesn’t contribute any coherence, flavor.  So now, I’m thinking of all the entries in which I mention her.  Should I go backwards, do some collecting, then blend into a present project?  Or, just write in present.  Forward in forward.  Kelly would say, “Just move on, write from now.” I know that’s what she’s telling me to do.  Well, urging me to do.  She’s far too melodious to tell or order anything.  She’d sweetly suggest.

10:17pm.  Little Jack, asleep.  But then dancing unconsciously, only to suddenly freeze with shut eyes.  Funny to see, but fascinating.  Want one of my speaking assignments–on writing, wine, writing about wine, or writing while sipping wine…–to be in Maine.  Or Boston.  Want to visit colonial America.  Need more history in my days, in my Now.  The Cabernet’s telling me that patience will deliver wishes.  How does it know, this orating ’08?  Last night’s Pinot, joking at me, while tonight’s Bordeaux slaps me with sagacity.

Now in bed, realizing I may have to hop over to the desk to charge this little monster.  Haven’t picked up the Kerouac book in a couple days.  After I post to blog, I should read for a bit, take notes.  Re-immerse Self in scholastic habit.  Still no rain.  Only miss it when I don’t have to drive through its jabs.  Going to listen to some Wine Bar beats.  Thought: What if I didn’t get a mocha tomorrow morning?  How would that affect my character?  [Just thought of how many times I’ve misspelled “affect” as “effect,” and viced versas, on this blog, and the others, in other writings.  Unnerving now won’t mend any typos…]  I could make my own coffee here in castle.  But it won’t be the same.  Resolution: Only using change I find for mochas.  No cash, no debit swiping.

Also tomorrow: Type spoken word, song.  Want such pieces put to use, not just aging in my notebook like some forgotten wine in a stuffed-away barrel.  [3/28/12]

extended wine couplet

3/17/12 – 9:46am.  Barrel tasting, Sonoma Valley.  For sure this time.  Feeling tired from the wine I had last night.  Mom brought over some incredible Chicken Cacciatore-esque dish over.  [See?  I said “over” twice…  Too much bedazzling Sonoma County wine.]  Paired well with the Pinot they brought, but even better with the 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay.

Glad the rain’s gone.  Wasn’t at all enjoyable driving to the offsite pouring in Fountaingrove with the drops screeching down on my windshield, vengefully.  Can’t remember the last time I saw it rain that hard.  Was nice pouring for those guests, though.  From all over the country.  Kansas, North Carolina, just up the freeway in Sacramento, Alaska, New Mexico…  And again, that’s what wine’s supposed to do, bring unfamiliar characters to the same stage.  Didn’t have time to write at the hotel, but I did scribble quite a bit of valuable notes into the mini-pages while at St. Francis.  Have  a new article for 1Stop, that I wrote between pours.  Speaking of which…  Think I have another new idea.  Need to write it down before I forget, before this slight hangover disrupts my attention’s reach, further.

Looking forward to the crowds today, and I will have my video camera on me, for capturing glass tilts, conversations, my co-workers in their roles.

11:14pm.  Now, just thinking about the day, the wines, the characters.  Kelly, consistently on thought.  Why don’t I just write her a novel?  My Creative attention span, maybe.  Can I change it?  Tonight’s Chardonnay, leftover from last night, calms me.  No hangover tomorrow, I’m sure, as I’ve stopped responsibly, enjoying the transference from early sips, the Burgundy brilliance.  Me, finally free.

3/18/12.  9:54am.  More barrel tasting frenzying.  Writing rushed.  Don’t like this time squeeze, but then I do, very much.  Last night’s Chardonnay, produced by Prof. Katie, has me, the writer, thinking of an article on Chards; what the styles are, those trending, pairing potentials.  Think that’s the first Chardonnay I’ve sipped here at home, and for night’s cap, in well over a year.

May buy another Comp Book, make a project out of it.  Just notes, scattered paragraphs, whatever the ink paints.  I have too much reliance on this little monster, my flashy, “pretty” laptop.  No one would need to borrow it, ever, no one could hack into it [speaking of the new Comp Book, if I lost you], it would be REAL writing, not a preponderance of types.  That’s what real writing is–PEN, PAPER, INK.  Just as graphic design is not real drawing, or painting, at least in my mind.  What if your computer crashed, then what would you do?  I know, back everything up on a stick or whatever, or an external hard-drive [is that hyphenated?].  But what if that fails at the same time, or shortly after?  What if you lose you memory card, or stick, or chip [have no idea what people use, think I may have one somewhere here in the desk’s innards].  Either way, I’ll stop by the drug store just a block from base, snag one on the way home.

Tried finding my memory piece, but can’t.  And I don’t want to throw away time on a frivolous excavation.  But do you see what I mean, about technological dependence as a writer?  Now I’m completely frazzled, with concentration severed…  Dug one more time into the overwhelming clutter of one of my cupboards,.  Found it.  Going to “back up” [right phrasing?] my writings.  I’ll be typing later, after the barreled stage.  Wonder what Kaz is pouring.  The Lenoir?  That ’07 Syrah?  Or will he break out the Tempranillos with the contrasting yeasts?  Excited to be surprised.  Still love his wines, his approach to winemaking, his views on wine life.  Profoundly and universally Artistic.

Sun, struggling to get through clouds, through the blinds in front of me.  Had a thought, but lost it.  About wine…  Kaz…  Tempranillo…  Can’t remember, have to move on, type on.

Now I remember.  No wine tonight.  Although it massages me into a spirit freer, it also excellerates my relaxation, intentionally or inadvertently blending it with the purest form of laziness and exhaustion I know.  I don’t take back the Chardonnay sips last night.  But, if I would have ahad one of my sparkling waters, or a Diet Cherry Coke instead, I wouldn’t be so behind on my writings.  Haven’t updated my word log in days.  Shame.  I criticize the box for all its ridiculous policies and Stalinist statutes, but They made sure our logs were done each day, no fail.  I’m further shamed typing “no writing logged” for a span of 3 days when I know I wrote.  Maybe that’ll be an effective motivating mechanism.

7:08pm.  Back from winery, tasting a few barrels.  Loved the wines, as did everybody else.  My Kaz crew and I even engaged in a little blind beer tasting, which was my first if you can believe.  Kazzy had a couple wines so new that even I had never even heard of them.  One of them being the 2011 Pinot/Sauv Blanc Rosé, which was amazing, like nothing I’d ever before sampled–EVER, anywhere.  Was hard to get past the intense cold, only made more fierce by the indignant wind’s chill.

Luke and I kept pouring, with me shooting footage, taking pictures, and tasting what he recommended.  One urgency he had was to blend the ’07 Syrah with the ’09 Petite Sirah.  Hypnotic, naughtily, and it’s wonderfully entertaining to play with the percentages.  Was in more of a Literary mode today that a journalistic one.  Met new friends from the Wine Truffle Boutique, and saw one of my favorite Sonoma Valley chefs, Mr. Steve Rose, owner of Vineyards Inn, just down the street.  I mentioned how much I love his calamari, and sure enough he only a few minutes later brought some by for us all to enjoy.  Never get tired of it.  Before the barrel event began, he had some paella prepared with some sauteed garlic clove internally-garnished bread, pairing magically with the ’06 Red Said Fred.

The wind kept with its vision of chilling us all to our skeletons, so Kaz called us all inside the tasting Room, where we poured the featured wines of the day plus others we usually put into guest glasses.  I spoke to a few guests about their favorites.  No surprise, all over board.  No consensus.  It was as though each of Kazzy’s wines had their own loyal militias, I remember thinking behind the bar, only minutes from 5p.  Then, thoughts of the writing, of my character, this new Comp Book, my wine in tis barrel, invaded my concentration.  What do I do with her in pages?  She’ll tell me, when she’s ready.

A tasting Room, of my own.  Thinking now only 2 varietals.  Sauv B and Cab.  Don’t know if I’m connected enough to Syrah to produce one.  In fact, many times I find Syrah an aggravating varietal.  Too loud, too wide on palate’s mid, and just too attention-seeking; Not much seduction, most of the time; little finesse, swagger.  Thinking the money I set aside for Self-publishing the chapbook may be put towards a purchase of fruit.  Is that what I should do?  Wine, controlling all my thoughts, all my writing.  I’m obsessed.  I don’t want to be an “expert,” as the learning’s intoxicating in a way the wine could never be.  I want to remain an invigorated novice, always on a mission to decode my adored bottles.  Right now, day’s end, sipping Racer 5.  “Wined out,” as some tourists’ll tell me.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll pop something, give mySelf a set of tasting equations to solve.  Like that ’09 Petite Sirah today.  From nose to its formulated formation of a finish, I’m a newly and freshly-motivated Me, like after reading a Joyce novel, or a Plath poem collection.  Tonight, in bed, going to write till I pass out.  Tomorrow, a day off.  So I’m in no rush to fall into sleep.  A joke, a waste, this whole sleep concept.  It’s a hole.  A close relative of death.  So why would I rush to it when I can write?  I’m thinking all pen2paper when with the pillows, sheets.  Clocking out, returning for a push to 3 pieces, 3000 words.  Nothing else more I want that to write.  Well, Mr. Jack’s well-being, total merriment tops any of my aims, facilely.

Journal — 3/16/12, Saturday

A day of wine journalism ahead of me, with this new “storm,” landing in SoCo’s borders.  My day’s destination, St. Francis Winery.  At about 5pm, or a couple minutes prior, I’l be packing up for the Fountaingrove Inn, where I’ll be conducting my first offsite pouring for SFW.  Not sure which bottles are scheduled to be poured, but it really doesn’t hold that much impact, this case’s unknowns, as I’m more than familiar with everything they produce.  That, and their wines truly sell themselves.  The House of Big Reds, as its called, has a following so loyal, and a reputation so entrenched in the wine world and industry, that I’ll literally just be pouring.  And if I do talk, it’ll be nothing more than expected introductions, basic fundamentals on the wines.

Yesterday, hosted another tour at Lancaster, then to WineBizRadio for my appearance.  Always fun, and quite informative, spending time with those gentlemen.  One note still in my head from yesterday: the two verticals I poured on the tour.  Well, mini-verts.  ’07 and ’08 for both Cuvée and Estate Cabernet.  With the Cuvée, I prefer the ’07, with its 15% Merlot content, whereas with the Estate Cab I turn head to ’08, with its darker characteristics and endless echo of a finish.  So, this made me think about vintage variation, and how consumers (myself very much included) will speak in convenient generalities when it comes certain years, and then specific varietals in those years.  2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, evidenced.  There’s no Napa Cab from ’07 that’s anything less than biblical, right?  No.  Each bottle, yesterday’s tasting reinforced, is its own presence.  Then, you have the discriminating palate, which we all have, atop that.  So, it’s entirely irrational for one to say they’ll always take one year over another in all circumstances.  The group for which I yesterday poured, pretty much split down the middle, when it came to which Cuvée and Cab were their preferred’s.

Can still taste those wines Christophe brought last night, to the show.  Something from Argentina with an encouraging nose but a decrepit palate presence, then an ’05 white, I think a Sémillon.  The latter bottle, like dusty formaldehyde.  Too old.  And I do remember a little discoloration.  He brought it in simply for educational purposes, and a bit of targeted humor, but it was an experience, all same.  Now, I’m cuing my equipment, charing my devices for the rainy day of wine pouring and blogging, JOURNALISM, ahead.  Wrote some article topics into the Comp Book yesterday at work.  Need to put them on a list as not be removed from sight, especially mind.  Each idea forgotten or wasted, is just that.  Which means, no pay.  Back to prep…  (8:50am)