Interesting sense and bravado to this wine… decided, somewhat codified and shy, but that’s just what makes it a gem… full narrative and composition, poetic intro and conclusion, affirming its identity repeatedly to the sipper, making you take your time with it so you miss nothing. Soft texture with pronounced drum rolls of cherry and blackberry, spice and herb, dusty olfactory and palate rally the wine into more engaging and unique sensory rhetoric. I’d lay it down for a few years, as to let the more wooing and symphonious qualities appear. Right now, though, its assertiveness isn’t any kind of interference or intrusion. The current language of this bottle is cinematic and entrapping. A highlight in my month, my year. Certainly.
Get a grip.
Take a sip.
Napa Cab I bought earlier. About three sips into it, and I’m indecisive. How to spend these last remaining hours of ’16? And why dwell on it! Or even think about it. Just be in the moment. My mood, a bit low and sluggish, but I’ll repair somehow. Focus on the wine and all the wine writing to do in ’17. On new bottles, new vineyard thoughts, new thoughts organic in me about wine. My relationship with wine. How wine’s tellings are diametrically different in other where’s of the world. That’s what I want to get into– study, research, hunt. Be a student again. Self-educating, always chasing. Write only about wine in these remaining hours. Which are about 3… well, 2 hours and 59 minutes, some seconds to be fully transparent as I lean against the counter, right by the sink, staring at my glass, wondering how much the Freemark Abbey pour has decided to change, alter its voice and feel in the last few minutes. Sipping and… even more of that smoky chocolate beso. With some concluding cherry and minty-something ebbs… don’t know what exactly I’m tasting and why do I even need to have these sensations dumbed down and numbed down to some universally understood adjective? Wines more than that.
What the writing father of wine and other topics sips when coming home to the house, post 1 year-old celebration. On the floor, back to couch, xmas tree right, lit, night before dead week. Week before finals. Strangely, the Pope Valley Merlot tastes better from the paper cup. Could just be my exhaustion but that’s my present feeling, how I feel in this finally-still present. ‘Nother sip… the writer has his time, his moment to let wine speak to him, listen for those jazzy chords and motivating narratives to ready him for the week off-bow. More music from cup, the night to me.. kind, forwarding, telling, promising. May have a couple more of those mini-quiches wife put out for her guests. My daughter’s going to be ONE. How. Why did this happen? Yes, I enjoy watching her grow like every other parent on the planet, but… not easy. Done with first glass– I mean ‘cup’, with this topic. My little girl, shedding her littleness. And me, just the writing parent, observing with an empty Dixie.
A Merlot that is more than the stereotype, it negates the stereotype which is an unruly pin. From the dark smokey olfactory lean to the encompassing palate. Fruit and structure, conviction and demanding dialogue. Forget that it’s a Merlot, if you have an edge against Merlot. This was a voice from wine I needed to hear– sincere conviction, sauntering across and beyond my senses with melodic ardor. Near and distant, dark and light, a delicious dichotomy with syllabic syncopation in profile and its mise-en-scène sense. Rich and deep with presence and its beat continues into the next sip. Self-personifying in a way that most Merlots can’t be.
While finishing the first glass, before even thinking of pouring a second, I stared at the bottle, the artful adornment on all sides, varying colors and balances and suggestions. Was nothing but a savory spell, this 2012 from Meeker, a producer I haven’t sipped from or visited in a while. This wine defined the night’s writing session and how I closed the day. Just the story I needed, just the galaxy I wanted to meet, and the ghostly wave I knew Merlot could always bestow.
A Pinot that will haunt you. Refuse your disconnection. The texture and fruit arrangement are nothing short of bewildering alongside their brilliance and poignant approach, and landing. As it enlivens, the texture develops more believability and emboldens the cherry and chocolate, or cola spice, suggestions. A teller Pinot, from initial sip to final. Musical and jazzy, with temperament and a playful carelessness across its cleft. Just playing, jumping from note to note and voice to voice. You find yourself entertained and engaged and educated by this Pinot Noir’s general tempo and talk. It does more than just deliver that soft, “feminine” peersonification. This bottle IS contained and wandering art… Its own echo and ethereal edge.
Amphora Winery – 2012 – Mourvèdre – Clarksburg
Fun and funky little Rhône razzmatazz. Earthy and rustic, raw berry and spice waves surround your senses. This is not meant to be for the one who wants the regular, mainstream wine song. The beauty of this wine resides in its innovative precision and defined defiance. I found myself sipping this throughout the evening, last night, and it aligned like a swift jazz tune with the pasta with red sauce and blackened chicken. I’ll be back by the twee little tasting room off of Dry Creek Road any day, to pick up some more. Nice sipping wine— just what I would sip on a quite early evening to some Thievery Corporation, Miles Davis, The Doors— something to put me on edge a bit, make me think as this bottle does.
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.
Truett Hurst Winery – 2015 – “Queen Bee” – Gewurtztraminer – Russian River Valley/Sonoma County
I remember thinking, “A Gewurtztraminer? I’m going to write about a Gewurtztraminer?” Well here I am doing just that. This bottle has no sugar to speak of, or none that you can detect, and boasts with tropical and florally capturing chimes from contact one to any finish. But that’s one dimension to this wine I found inspiring, is that there was no “finish”. I tasted it yesterday before 11AM, I’m pretty sure, and can still recall every suggestion, from the apricot, to the line, to the wet stone, forest air, tangerine… This wine just stays there and communicates with you. Has not intention of fleeing. Doesn’t necessarily demand a food pairing, but would welcome something spicy or with a little pepper, some kind of heat. I know, you’ve never heard of such a pairing for Gewurtz’, right? Well, just had to put it in my notes, maybe to remind myself. But, honestly, the structure and pervasive placement of this wine is so playful and flirtatious that I would just leave it alone, or only “pair” it with something before dinner, like veggies and hummus, or some aged cheddar., or a chair on a porch, or by a pool. But, back to what I said, I was smitten leaving the tasting room. And it was a rainy day, and I kept thinking “This would be nice for just sitting inside with and sipping, feet up on a coffee table in front of a fire or to some Sonny Rollins.” But, had to work. So, to more of the wine’s testaments, it had me fantasizing, wishing, envisioning myself with just a day off— me, a bottle, a view. Simplicity, sequencing more seduction. And from a Gewurtztraminer. Huh…..
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.