wine sketchez

 Pellegrini Visit (Spring ’17)


First day of the semester catalyzing well I decided to treat myself. Leaving campus heaping with creative and reflective propulsion, I needed the vines. I needed to visit… somewhere… somewhere either new or that I hadn’t been to in years. Pellegrini was the first character materializing in mind so I sped down Piner to Olivet, to West Olivet. There I was, on the sensory stage I’d been wanting to again taste and saunter around for years. Finally there, I could hear the tidy 40-something degree gusts wrapping themselves around the Pinot and Chardonnay blocks all sides of me, walking to the tasting room. Forgot that Pellegrini was appointment only, so when DTC reine Erika mentioned their tasting practice reflexively, and with no bitter intention, I apologized cumulonimbusly. She told me not to worry, to just enjoy the flight.

We started our run with a luminous and dashing Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County. I know what you might be thinking, “Wait, I’m sorry… what? Lake?” Yes. And what does it matter? This wine had all the complexity and dexterity and palate rhetoric you’d want from any wine. Barrel fermented, do note. This bottle missed nothing with flavor intention and acumen. She then took me through a Chardonnay from the Olivet Lane label, then through a few Pinot Noirs each speaking in their own beat and meter– I knew I had a complication, unanticipated with how the day began, lecturing in class like this day was my last with nothing but purposed ardor to offer. My complication? Which of these glassed vixens doth the penner home take? The wines and the eminent amity pouring them were more than symphonious for this first day of the semester. And I felt a student again, tasting in Russian River, just down the street from my home studio where I felt a phylum of certain thoughtful fervor for wine.


Pellegrini is wine’s intention encapsulated. And by more than just the magnanimous and stirring set of oenological facets. Walking around after the tasting I had one of my expected meditations, starting at the dormant vines and thinking about what I just tasted– How wineries like this change people, no matter their “expertise” or familiarity with wine. Erika instructed me to, again, and inadvertently, just let the wines speak to me and recite their intentions—their pasts, realities intermingled with plausible and fruitful futures. Me echoing in observation, noting, welcomed this first day of the Spring ’17 term… The semester that’s meant to send me somewhere, on the Road, into some angular and precipitous humeur where wine helps me write more of my wine story and helps me understand its irradiating enclosure.

My visit to Pellegrini determined an already determined day. Set a certain musical strain for the semester. And here I am, sipping that first pour, the Blanc. As well brought home a bottle of the Chardonnay and Hurst Vineyard Pinot, but colluded to save them for day ‘nother. Anyone coming to Russian river ought cement this into their plotting. The wines avow to convince you of their identity and amalgamated statement, their punctuated prominence—wines that speak from place. I’ve always thought “place” as an audibly remedying word. This winery boasts ‘place’. And not just a sense of, but immediate tangibility. If you love wine, are curious about wine, love Chardonnay and Pinot and don’t want noise around you pulling your senses away from what you sip… If you’re hunting for engagement as a wine consumer, to be taught about wine without being taught or lectured to… see yourself as arrived.

The day starts with a rile.

Something different.  Not sure what it was, and still is at this late hour, 22:34, but I’m here, quite presently.  Forgetting what it is to write, because of the laptop being out of some kind of commissioned commission.  No more, though, after the walk at lunch along the creek bed, seeing the steelhead try so sharply to get up Dutcher Creek.  I watched, and took so as instruction, the not-so-little fish telling me to swim against the current, create my own currency.  The day started with a rile but after the event today he sits here, the writer, rather tired.  The semester starts the day following tomorrow and I’m prepared but strangely nervous.  Why.  I always ask myself that.  Do I have something to lose, as an adjunct?  Am I afraid of something?  Not being received well, in the lecture?  NO.  I’m just here, maybe thinking too much, but I’m thinking.  Again, “strangely” nervous.

Babies asleep upstairs.  Both.  Emma, walking all over the house today according to Alice, and now sleeping in her crib.  All the way down the hall from our room– or, just twenty feet or so.  AND, the little priestess decided that today is her day of autonomous saunter.  YES, the little poetess is walking.  How and why I ask my self as I just continue to get old, old, me so old.  I’m nuts, not at all perfect, just that aging daddy, here with no wine but knowing I need some.  Fuck it, I think, I need some.  Alice watches an old episode of ‘Sex and the City” and I sit here in this swivel chair not swiveling and thinking about Tuesday– day one of the semester.  Hunter S. Thompson talk and the whole getting-to-know…  Riding through the syllabus, and me trying to be the “professional” adjunct.  But what’s “professional”?

Tangential, that’s what I’m aiming for, typing on this keyboard that’s thin and odd; not mine and just weird.  The Merlot from sister’s winery tasting like it’s more instructional than that steelhead.  Walking along that creek bed and just watching the water told me to be truly tireless, not just think and talk about it in some timeless cognitive perambulation.  The wine has answers, the bottle has decision and speak.  It speaks to me with certitude with wandering grandiose layeredness.  Need to be more tangential and you should be, too.  With everything.  And I mean, really everything.  What is normality?  Something I want to avoid.  What I peg as “just weird” is acutely something I should chase.  Dance to and after.  Sure of one thing, the story need continue and never close– the Merlot develops its ferocity and refuses to halt, even minutely.  It sings with true angularity and throws its new pew.  No weather outside, no fair, so I just harness self and speak to this most recent tangent.  Like this morning, how it started, with newer than renewing new fire.  This new year, now new, but I set something never-before-seen to its pre-set scene.

The adjunct just wants his nightcap before his client meeting tomorrow morning.  Part of me growls, “Why can’t I just have a day off?” But that’s join of those thoughts I should have just kept a muffled thought and now put to page, but here I did, I did–  The light of similarity is too bright, I write too much mirroredness.  So I need embrace this theatrical tangential.  Did I not study HST?  I have no Fear, and I only love, no Loathing.  My babies upstairs have a daddy downstairs who still grapples with his meditations.  But, that, now, stops.

Been a day, you

could say.  Hear Emma crying upstairs, Alice not feeling well… rain outside.  This could be a night.  I sit on floor, legs out and crossed with laptop over lap.  Listening to what rain does fall, either from sky or down the drains on the sides of the nearby houses.  The laptop nearly didn’t open when I entered my new code or password and I thought, “You fucker.  Don’t do this to me.” Finally it opened.  But I could swear that Tuesday was still set on sinking its goddamn fangs into me.

Hear Alice coughing, I message up, if she needs help, no response, so I sit here writing feeling guilty— useless husband with his laptop and writings that circle themselves like cognition with attention deserts.  Could use more of that Pinot, the one I opened last night and barely had a glass of.  No more crying from Emma, which means Alice feeds her, which only drastically elevates my guilt.  Yeah, I need a glass.  Sip it fast.  Return to the keys’ cast.

Stopping for a second I hear a herd of frogs somewhere outside, then Alice cough, the those croaks.  Is there a creek nearby?  Shouldn’t I know that?  Rain, back.  Then gone.  Then again audible just to fuck with me.  I get frustrated, “I’m having that wine NOW.” I say to myself but unable to pull self from keys.  The semester coming up will see this writer and teacher and fiery speaker sequence in his meant chapters.

The day ends the way I want it to.  Bugger off, Tuesday!  Sip wine, come back to writing spot, feel full from the tacos Alice made.  The Pinot taking on more of a dark and ghostly dote than I remember it campaigning last night.  Day, done.  Rain, tomorrow hopefully to certain sun.

wine sketchez

Had last night, while out to dinner with wife at Monti’s, Santa Rosa.  Telling red blend with a passionate flavor pulse– musical and musing and beguiling with a wild wheel of fervent flavor.  Red fruit and scented, accented phenols.  It’s one of the wines that shows you how inspiring the melody of food and wine can be.  Narrative and noted in my notes that night, when wife left the table for a moment I let it speak to me, revealing that Sonoma County approachability and intricacy. The wine opens to woo with more sumptuous climate and angularity, more resonance and focus, for us as sippers more reflection.  An unexpected boon on a night with wife…  Driving home I kept reinterpreting and re-reinterpreting what I tasted, how it aligned with the rotisserie chicken.  Only cinematic and memorable, haunting and holistic.  Where does the writer get a bottle?

I won’t lie, I’m excited to a sort of point of lunacy

img_0142that the laptop is functioning, that I’m typing now on the keys here at this Starbucks and not on my phone like some superficial blogger or teenager or early 20’s troll here in the corner.  No judgement, or maybe a lot, but here I am… with a working laptop.  Have to make this week more than the most fiery and creative ever.  I’m going to say ‘no’ to things, and people.  I’m only going to engage in what I want to, and for however long I want to.

Listening to a track by Karrin Allyson, “Samba Saravah”, a song I’ve herd I don’t know how many times— has me thinking about my traveling and lecturing, or speaking, or talking, in other countries, hopefully one day back in my city of Paris.  Ça me ferait si heureux.  (That would make me so happy.)  And I want more music that takes me away from patter, away from the predictable pulse that too many just resign and subscribe to.  On the Road I’d only have a Composition Book, as I’ve told you I don’t know how many times— but the link between music and travel today becomes clear in a way that I pinch myself for not earlier realizing.  Now, one of those chill electronic beats I listen to most often in the car and during bathtime with the babies.  Today ends well for the writer, and not just from the laptop development (have to stop mentioning it, I know.. pardon), but my time with the kids and the mood that precipitated from it, watching Jack and Emma just play and not care about anything but playing with each other and spending time with their daddy…  Their focus on the moment and the explosively joyful simplicities of the day-to-day is more educating than any class I took, grad or under’.

Never written here this late, or at any coffee spot this late.  Have to say, think I prefer it to the rushed and frenzied and long-line-prone jours.  There is a man sitting behind me, on his laptop, his back to me, so the usual writer paranoia of ‘Oh is he looking?’ Doesn’t land on my nerves and on the brain branches.  The rile in me persists.  And I don’t see it slowing or slouching.  Then I start brainstorming… the branches blowed and pushed around like some reverse-apocalyptic front.

Then, “It Takes A Thief,” of course by Thievery Corporation.  I see a wine bar.. me in it… me owning it.  Putting some new releases on the shelf, tasting the ones I have open before opening.  Nearly noon… have a couple more things to do.  Register, notebook ready, just wait for people.  Cue playlist… songs like ‘Thief’.  Write about the day, all about it.. note what people say about the wines and which ones are bought… the brain keeps with its storm, painting more pictures of me in my shops with my sister selling wine, preparing for our next business trip, visiting clients in other states…  This week, this actual week, from this sitting and Starbucks Hopper and on, constructing a NEW wine story.  All written.  So what do I open tonight?

Wine Point 6

The wine business is a business, yes… and I guess a lifestyle, and a career, and bla bla bla-bla… But it’s happiness, more than anything. It’s life, more than it is a business. It should ALWAYS be positive.