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.

Leaving soon

for comedy show.  My feeling today, universally optimistic.  I’m not fretting about a thing.  Nothing.  Literally nothing.  Finished my article on the TFG wines, shot a quick video earlier, have a new client for ‘#mikemcreate’ that I’m muted in excitement about.  I will let no negativity in.  None.  Thinking ‘bout next thought, next move business-wise.  Tomorrow it’s not optional, I HAVE to wake early to get started on writing for new client.  Build MY brands…  Feeling creative, in my yay-say quake.  I’m getting closer to where I want to be as a writer, creator, artist, photographer…  Wait, AM I a photog’?  Maybe a little.  I mean, I’m alway shooting the vineyard and every wine I sip pretty much.  Wonder what wine they’ll have at the Oracle Arena.  If that’s what it’s still called…

wine sketchez: Three Fat Guys Wines

Three Guys, Two Wines, One Obsessed New Fan

Chardonnay.  Cabernet.  So how are you to be bedazzled or even a little taken by varietals that so many producers bottle?  Easy.  When they’re done to this stratospherically savory extent.  Before I get into the wines my and Three Fat Guys’ vin ami, Wes, sent me, you have to examine their story, which starts with genuine tempo and color.  The elevated interest and tireless curiosity for and in wine.  Tony Moll, one of the Guys and Owners of the this playful yet prominently tasty enclave of a label, tell me his fascination with wine started just before starting Three Fat Guys with partners Jason and Daryn.  He tells me that in the off-season he’d go to local wine bars in Sonoma and just immerse himself in everything about wine.  Oh and that’s another facet to this brand I find immeasurably interesting and encouraging as a wine consumer—  all three played professional football, and those journeys together on the Road for the game is what actuated their chasing a more oeno-centric story.  When home from the season, Tony would find his favorites, what he liked and didn’t like, and intensify his fondness and acuity in wine’s world.

He knew he wanted to create a “premium wine,” he tells me.  Well, if I’m to react to such a remark, he failed gloriously.  The Fat Guys’ wines are anything but premium, in my language—  Words I’d employ then immediate deploy to this page are ‘cosmic’, ‘inspiring’, ‘vocal’, ‘inter-dimensional’… inexplicably delicious.  The Chard and Cab Wes sent me were anything but template, anything but expected.  Yes, the common consumer would note their “premium-ness”, but I find myself in uncommon sphere and state tasting these wines.  What I tasted was something of a quality that we consumers wish for.  You can find a simple “premium” bottle on the shelf at Safeway.  This is different, another planet and page, story, narrative.  What was in the bottle was true fermented magic, a lively literary quality that educates a sipper’s senses, like I jotted in the Composition book, “Moriarty-esque reflective madness”…  But, again, more on that in a bit.

This is a small producer that’s not on the “I’m a small wine label” self-anointing chariot.  What you have in your glass with TFG is three gentlemen who love wine.  That’s it.  The fervor of their fondness translates to what you sip, exponentially.  You can only be smitten and seraphically instructed with their bottles.  Tony tells me that he loves the reaction when people taste his wines, when people merely look at him and utter in tremor, “WOW.” Remember, these are offensive lineman, put on the field to protect the quarterback, to block, to be firm and stern.  And how serendipitous in how they don’t care about notoriety, awards, scores, or any other kind of pseudo-prestige.  They just want to be known for wine, wine that is “damn good wine” as he tells me.  Well, with this motion, he and his Guys succeed ad nauseam.

I started with the Chardonnay as you might expect, the other night, hoping that I would taste something new from Chardonnay’s all-too-frequently harangued identity.  First nudge of fragrance after opening bottle, smelling cork and then into bottle’s neck, was pair and vanilla, apple and a cinnamon-sewn pie crust.  On palate, I was greeted with tame acidity coupled with the apple and pie crust, vanilla and almond, a little toast… lavender?  There was a that jazzy weather I dream I’ll one day taste in Chardonnay.  Finally encountered, finally taught something new.  And as the wine invited and later fully embracing the temperature of the room, the texture became more sensual, the apple and pair soupçons more immediate, more visible and believable.  The Chardonnay took on a haunting and persuasive, bewitching quality I’ve never experienced in a Cali’ white Burgundy.  This was a new experience, and I was renewed as a wine lover.

I’m a “Cabernet guy” you could say, so I’m exceptionally welcoming and nearly a bastard critic with Cabs I’m sent.  Like the Chardonnay, TFG’s Cab had a dark personality and widely-erotic electricity to every parcel of its palate.  This is the wine that had the personality of Dean Moriarty, his wild charisma and irresistible allure.  The fruit that spoke to me was in the purview of blackberry and dark chocolate-adorned cherry, then cocoa powder and espresso, a wink of mint and black licorice, smoke.  Doing both its vineyard site, vintage, and varietal a marathon of justice.  There was a rare coherence in this bottle, a bewildering synergy of all parts and personalities, measures and clefs.  If one of these wines sends these gentlemen to some unseen notoriety, whether they want it or not, their Napa Cabernet offering will cement such.

Three lessons learned for the writer, here.  1, Chardonnay is the most extraordinarily effusive and gorgeous white varietal, if done the way these lineman have ordered.  2, if all Cabernets were done this well, I would not drink anything else.  All other varietals would be hit with a preference asteroid which would tie them in certain extinction.  And, 3, the focus of any small label—rather than telling everyone they’re a small label, or artisanal label, or some cult wine producer—should be to just make some damn good wine.  Well decreed, Mr. Tony.  These wines are unlike any expected palate presence of Chardonnay and Cabernet.  Par conséquent, their unique beat, their instructional quality, their haunting stubbornness in anyone who sips.


10/18/16 – Tonight I’m writing freely, sipping

a new Cabernet from Napa, from a small but beneficent label.  One of those stories I only img_7711want to mimic.  Would have written earlier, but I thought it the need and the optimal for the writer to speed to vineyards, walk around an take pictures.  Be a photog’… or a writer that loves photography which is more the case.  I have thoughts in head and Mom told me not to be too wordy with my reactions to these wines so I won’t.  And she’s astute, my amiably-set mama.  She urges, more than her assertion of not being “too wordy”, to just be me.  More conversational about wine, no so syllabically analytical, or at least that’s what I read into and from her speak.  So these wines, like new characters on the stage— unexpected and theatrical, but not overstepping.  A Chardonnay, which I always have trouble listening to, no matter how it’s crafted and cared-for.  Then the Cabernet, which has that flex and broadness, but with unexpected Victorian angularity— romance, and a dactylic disposition you wouldn’t forecast for a Cab.

Tonight the writer’s in his wine mood and mode.  Wish I could play some Hutcherson, but the babies are asleep.  And wish I had the energy and concentration to get to a thousand words but the wine’s catching the writer.  Still, thought, this beatnik writeth.  I’m like Dean as he parks cars.  Sal, as he observes everything around him and listens to the jazz with Dean but doesn’t quite know what he’s seeing but looks anyway and writes about it later.  This is my maison, this book, this story, told in wine’s accompaniment— a movie and just a moment, not so Hollywood or theatrical but if you spent a couple days in a tasting room you’d see the stage, the act, the interaction, the dialogue that begs to be captured.  Yes, I’m more than liberated in this sitting with my Cabernet glass, here at the desk with barely any light above the writer.  Just the way I prefer it— like I’m in some dark bar, overseas, writing while everyone else connects to conversations that go nowhere, conversations I capture and use for my book— people in the corner playing pool, talking about what to drink next, but I’m writing, sipping wine and digging in my own brain for ways to make their speech more seraphic.

Evening, this, sovereign.  Still with a bit of Cabernet in glass.  Surprised and a bit proud of Self for not drinking it too speedily.  My book, narrative, begs wine’s involvement.  Stepping slow in that vineyard block today made it more than clear.  I’m under the lights with wine, in front of an audience, talking back and forth— wine trying to categorize me, me just sipping it but trying to sound like some expert or critic or voice that should be heard.  We frustrate each other, but can’t stay away from the other.  Odd love whirl.  Not so much wind, but ink from my urges rescinds.  Why.  Why need there be a restart?  Refocus on moment.  Look at images.  No act.

Quiet, end-day

Last night, looking through photo albums with Alice… Time, monster heartless…

Work today, people’s thoughts on wine, some wanting so obviously to be seen as ‘wine people’, someone who knows about wine, whose opinion should be fucking heard.. yeah, okay…

The rain, finally coming down with some kind of impressive momentum.  Made me think.  About travel.  What rain feels like in other rounds of the world.

La vie. Être heureux.

In office, watching rain outside door decorate the scape.  Not in the mood to work as much I am to just write.  Goal for day is 3 pages and one salable piece.  Chipping away at the 4-shot mocha, and thinking of where to take the morning’s urges next.  Think I’m trying to start too quick, too quick.  Not a problem as that’s part of learning your writing pace and piece as a creator..

This morning is entirely about understanding where I am and that I have my health, that I’m alive and will stay alive for my wife and babies, take care of them in all parcels of reality, finish my books, continue this Ox’s blog and be alive forever in some creative tumble.  Listening to a Thievery Corporation remix.. and I think— MUSIC.  Not DJing, but having music be more part of what I do, keep track of what I’m listening to, playing, new artists I discover, and how I am one of them, those artists, with my spoken word pieces that I’ll soon read.  And that’s it, music brought me to another realization— the salable piece today will be a poem, 3 pages, intermittent riming, written to something either by Hutcherson or Coltrane.

Mother-in-law told Jack how she woke at 4AM, already has 4 walking miles under her belt for day.  Not that she was, but I felt she was poking at me, encouraging me, telling me something like ‘See, Mike, if I can do it you should be doing it as well.’ If that is was part of her cogitation, then she’s right.  But even if it’s not, which it’s not, then I learn further, the boon in waking at a cruel hour like that, get so much done before the day even thinks of starting, before it has any type of chance to get ahead of you.

Breaking for a bit to get some work done.  Will return to piece in a bit.  Have to jet to downtown Healdsburg to get some collateral, and while down there I’m sure I’ll envision and imagine where I want my office.  Right on the Square, or just off?  MY, office…

Back from the trip downtown, and folding some collateral into small envelopes, doing as much as I could before going completely mad, the writer’s back at his laptop for just a breath, before more winery work.  Not raining right now, and I would be ever thankful if that way it stayed, so I could get in a vineyard walk, take some pictures…  Music back on, ideas for courses fly through my head like birds racing each other.  Hear nothing but this music and the typing of my own keys… look down at all the cords on this desk, the two laptop screens.  Wonder if the owner would let me keep this office when mmc, “mikemadigancrEATive”, really gains altitude.  I’d be happy to pay rent.  Just thinking, and writing down whatever comes to the writer’s thought plate.  Happy in this office— reminds me of my answer when people ask me, “So what do you write about?” Life.  Being happy.  Before ‘writing’ itself, or wine, running, parenting (even though my babies are well over 90% of what makes me happy, and love life as I do).  Just “Life.  Being happy.”