Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dry Creek Love Affair: Alderbrook



On a venomously smoldering day in Sonoma County, I venture to my cherished valley in Healdsburg. On Magnolia, surrounded by vineyards, I pull into the first parking space I see. My dash inside was a bit painful, as the heat was like an indignant entity chasing me. Once inside, I see my good friend Colette. She and her colleague Mona started the tasting flight with a boastfully complex and flavorsome Pinot Grigio, from the parent label, Terlato. Next, a gracefully crisp Pinot Gris, from my current placement, Alderbrook. Then, we dove head-first into the red wines from Alderbrook’s corner of the company. Two Chardonnays, an ’08 (California style) and the ’06 (French style, crisp and concise). I was also poured their Carignane, 2006, and Confluence Blend of Zin and Syrah, also ’06. Colette then poured the two Zinfandels she thought I couldn’t leave without experiencing, those being the 2006 Old Barn Zin, and, the Wine Enthusiast 92-pointer, 2006 Wind Machine Zin. Again, Dry Creek, undefeated. Another dauntingly delicious small production gem for us oenophiles to embrace.
After the tasting, my good buddy Colette took me on a tour of the grounds and facilities, I also had the immense pleasure of meeting Amber Capps Duval (Wine Club, Events, and Marketing Manager for Alderbrook), Karen McFarland (Director of Hospitality for the Terlato Group), and winemaker Bryan Parker, among many other members of the outstanding Alderbrook team. After meeting these gracious fellow wine lovers, Ms. Colette and I ventured into the heat. Didn’t notice the temperature that much, as she explained the production process at Alderbrook, showing me absolutely everything transpired, which was great seeing as it is currently harvest season. At the tour’s summation, she invited me into one of the barrel rooms on the grounds. The scent itself was amorously anesthetizing. The temperature, wonderfully tantalizing.
Dry Creek, continuing to lure me into a collaborative coma. I’m writing, again about this vixen of a valley, at Alderbrook’s instruction, those persuasive pours. Is this still a true love affair, a momentous elemental rendezvous? Absolutely. Alderbrook reminded me why I allow my Self to be puppeteered by this region. Like a dance I don’t want to diminish.
Where does Alderbrook rank, in my exploration of DC’s wineries? Alderbrook deserves more than a petty number connected to a “rank.” Frankly, this new discovery is in its own league, dimension. This winery is its own masterful stage. It revived my affinity--no, my obsession, infatuation--with this royal valley.
[Notes: 1) hula hoop option, love it; 2) patio and lawn in back, incredible. Perfect for relaxation sipping.]
Unfortunately, I had to leave. Back out into the heat, to my pained little car. On 101 South, I realized that I forgot to get a bottle of that Wind Machine Zin, and the Carignane, and the Confluence, and the Chards. I was too caught up in the surroundings, and all the information about this new enabler of my Dry Creek lust. Will need to go back, soon, to get a few bottles. I don’t care how hot it is. Alderbrook, the experience, hospitality, each wine, more than worth it. Trust me. Get up there soon! Sip, sip...



Lost in Bland

Late.  And, later.  Closing with the buttery Chard I so loathed last night.  Can’t believe I’m still awake.  Been up since 5am.  But, this is harvest.  As a wine “blogger,” I must keep pace with the deviceful maneuvers of the makers of wine.  This not-so-light white tightens my sight.  I’m fading, I’ll concede.  If tonight were to be my final manuscript, I’d be sorrowful.  Candidly, I shouldn’t be scribing.
My book, deprived.  This wine, worshipped.  Shouldn’t be a wine “blogger” anymore.  It’s not Literary.  Not tonight.  Because of me.  My error.  But how could it be erroneous when I so adore the wine, and my blog/log?  So I keep typing, thinking of my character, Kelly, and mine own character, charisma.
(Tuesday, 9/28/2010)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shadow Blend, Again

Mike sipped the Claret.  Humorously chipped away at his book effort.  He thought about how he could make tomorrow’s lecture exciting.  For himself, mostly.  He needed contrast, turbulence.  He needed his life to be as flavorful and complex as the blend before him.  The distraction would stop.  Tonight, he thought.  Only steps forward.  None astern.
Kelly would pull him to the vessel’s tip.  How?  He didn’t know.
“What do you want to know?” she asked.  “What exactly are you trying to build?”
“A straight line, of some kind.  You know?” Mike said.  He couldn’t believe his scene.
“No.  And, why would you want that?  A straight line?  Sounds flavorless.” she said, stretching her arms to the sides, behind her, allowing a discrete yawn to escape her nucleus.  Mike, still, saw more than pages.  He saw invitation, elation, delectation.  All was adjoined, like the Bordeaux, but more so.  He sipped.  Sipped...
“You need to understand something.  This, right now, this Now, won’t be forever.  Move.  Quicker,” she said, sipping her Chardonnay.  “Do you like Chardonnay?  Do you drink it?”
“Yeah.  Sometimes.  I get tired of reds.  I get tired of writing too, sometimes.”
“Really?  You get tired of writing?  What else would you envision yourself doing?”
“I think...something different.  Something out of character.”
“Like?”
Mike looked at the carpet, hoping it would provide dialogue, an amusing response.  He was an idiot.  His self-assessment.  His fold, old.  Change: beneficial, needed.  “Maybe an adventure.  Maybe I could make my own wine, my own blend.”
“Is that what you want to do?”
“I don’t know.  All I can think about lately is Paris,” Mike said, feeling joyous, and ill.
“Paris?  You should go.  We should go.  Together.”
This was something Mike hoped for, but never imagined his ears would savor.  “Yes.  Yes.  We should.  Now.  But how do we get there?” Mike asked.  He hoped she didn’t have a formula.  The shades perforated his stability.   If he had any.  Time for this scribe to retire, he thought.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Fiction

The next morning continued the session from  night previous.  His nerves, still in  a mode of clash, confrontation.  Mind, on replay.  This morning, however, told him something was different.  About him.  About his relationship with wine.  Everything.  He didn’t know what it was.  Didn’t need to.  He hadn’t fetched himself the morning mocha.  Not yet.
His office, somewhat organized.  Finally.  Was this part of it?  Was Kelly part of it?  She had to be, for as soon as her character and ghostly figure entered that small study, his discomfiture dissolved and his diligence mad demands.  She circled his senses, removed self-hindering fences.  Mike knew. 
(Friday 9/24/2010)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reflection: Nicholson Ranch

Scenery, wine.  This is what I look for, as a wine writer, as a Human who simply adores wine.  Enraptured by the pond, I’m sublime, more than fine.  In a reflective pause.  Tasted through two Chardonnays, both Californian in palate approach to finish, three Pinots, one Merlot (fruit from SoCo and Napa), and two Syrahs.  All steadfast and savory, impressively distinguished.  Always been meaning to stop by this beautiful spot on Napa Road, on the way back from Solano and/or Napa, but never had.  Glad I did today.  Great hospitality from Clayton and Tasting Room Manager Charles Whittaker, memorable experience, and pleasurable overall elementalism.  Enamored with all that’s around my stance.  Again, asking Self, why have I not stopped here before?  Even with the nearness to 12 and Napa Road, so much calmness, ataraxia.
One thing that really captivated (as much as I hate that recycled word) me, was the lawn and pond to the left of the tasting Room’s structure, and the protective hills.  Views, encircling.  I walk around, stealing moment after moment, stuffing them all into this camera.  I can see myself, or anyone in adoration of this wine world, sharing a bottle with a loved one, enjoying lunch, delighting in the wine life’s lights.
I walked outside, thinking of the ’06 Pinot I selected, wondering if I should call some close friends right at the very moment, beg them to experience this scene, this coastal, fruity elixir.  Thinking of an occasion to open it.  But I don’t think I can prolong.  Tonight, the very warranted inducement I need.  May be returning to this hilltop fantasy sooner than estimated.  Pictures, wine, obligingness.  Yes, soon.  Quite.  Should have snatched a bottle of that Merlot, all the Syrahs...yes, need to return.  Soon.  Quite. 
I’m wrapped in a transcending spread of tranquility and intrigue.  Why have I never before visited?  Not important.  Was cheerfully trapped in my moments there.  Bought a bottle of the 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot.  Oh I said that already.  Forgot, because I now it sip.  Definitely, visit this gem at 12 and Napa Road.  Sip, sip...


Friday, September 17, 2010

Napa Chick and SoCo Kid: Mission 1, Napa

We wanted to stick with small production.  Ms. Sattui had a vision for the day, and way for this project to pervade.  She discloses the itinerary, and I had no objection.  Elation, my only visible tremor.  Both of us parked near La Luna Taqueria on Rutherford Road, which is literally steps away from Location 1, Elizabeth Spencer.  Nice little tasting Room, with an even more sightly, not to mention relaxing, patio.  Our host Pamela began with a crisp Chenin Blanc, and finished with a bold Cab (Napa Chick’s pour) and peppery Zin (mine).  Danica and I had contrasting assessments on the last pours.  She leant towards my Zin, as I did her Cab.  Again illuminating the subjective seduction of the nebular wine universe.  Didn’t want to be too impulsive, so I withheld in buying, even with the impressively reasonable price point.
  


At Kuleto Estate, I was dumbfounded.  Both D and I couldn’t help but persist, nonstop, with pictures.  Everything was worth a frame or two, eight.  An enveloping scenic romance that I have never experienced.  A visitor is high atop the Napa world, surrounded by green, natural elements, and great wine.  During the tasting, our host Meg took us through a flight of impressive stature, Chardonnay to the last Cabernet.  She was even nice enough to pair the wine with delectable cheeses.  I couldn’t resist the compulsion to buy the ’06 Syrah, with its peppery intro and subsequent sexy scamper, and the ’05 Cab, providing a smooth syrupy sense, continuing gracefully with a cloud-like back-palate and finish.  Meg thanked us for coming, but we weren’t leaving.  Still more pics to capture.



Location 3, PiƱa.  Small barrel Room.  Stimulating and provocative.  Larry gently urged us to settle in with some of the 2009 Chardonnay.  Thick and complex, but not overt or audacious.  He then took us on a vertical flight of Cabs, ’06, ’07, and ’08.  Again, Danica and I contrasted in our respective proclivities, evaluations.  I was seduced by the ’07’s Gothic slither of a dark, voluptuous flavor profile.  D embraced the ’08, with its sweeter flutter of a note pattern.  I had to get one of those ’07’s, knowing my pocket book would scorn this whimsical penman in the coming days, perhaps on the ride back to SoCo.  Before departure, Napa Chick and I decided to walk around the property.  We stopped at a picnic area up a humble hill, to relax, and take in yet another Napa Valley view, the Silverado zone.  We both appreciated the moment, the surroundings that it garnished.  

Debriefing, Rutherford Grill, where the day ignited.  With a blogging partner, the exploratory experience of this multi-faceted wine dimension was immeasurably enhanced.  I was enriched, reminded that wine and the occasions it creates are more enjoyable when shared.  Wine is friends, new friends.  Another reality I appreciated whilst delighting in spinach-artichoke dip, was the grand and glorious valley of Napa itself.  A new experience, deliciously overwhelming, encapsulating.  Counting the days till my return.  So much to see.  Innumerable times to in this log trap.  Till then, I sip, sip... 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Character

I should work on my book, but I just want to aimlessly session.  What’s in my glass, Cab.  I know, big surprise.  Need another pour, be right back.
Vintage variation.  How am I changing with years?  For some time now, I’ve composed the Self as the calm Cabernet.  Am I confined by my own assumption?  Envisioning my book, in someone’s living room, in a reader’s hand.
My character, Kelly, back in scope.  I’m odd in the nearness to her augustness.  This session, sinking.  Shouldn’t speak of her anymore.  My readers would love her, too.  Paris traffic, cafe melodies, espresso.  Take me away, to veridical romance.  
With my character.  She calls...
(Wednesday, 9/15/2010)

Not Titled

After 12a, 15th of September, 2010.  What can I do but write?  I’m not ready for rest.  Sleep is the cousin of death, one once said.  Great day, this day, in Napa.   But now, I’m in full Literary swing.  Not concerned or unhealthily preoccupied with social media.  I’m typing my temperament, scribbling my sentiments.  I’m a writer, what else is this penman supposed to do?
Sipping a courageous Cabernet.  This bottled bravado would coerce even the most staunch to launch.  Wine surprises me consistently.  My poetry, flowingly controlling me.  One more sip, eyes fixated on odd shapes, in the dry wall.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My View and Pour

What is it about these vineyards that lassos me? The shape, pattern, color, invitation.  Will never take my eyes away, even if they develop minds of their own and tire of the vines.  What I sip comes from there.  It once had a home, there.  Laziness is warranted in front of this scene.  The vines want me to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
Sipping, I startle my Self.  With what?  The realization that I can’t enjoy this forever.  But I’m joyous, more motivated to sip, appreciate this view, all contents.  This Cab: sturdy with its tannic involvement; fruit, tenacious; earthiness, dallying but not obnoxious.  Great follow-through in each phase.  This vinoLit Life, extraordinarily pleasant and rewarding.  Sip, sip...
(Saturday, 9/11/2010)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pellegrini Family Blend, 2005 Sonoma County Red Wine, and the Sonoma Market

On the way home from work, I decided that I needed to go hunting for a great wine with a great price point.  Stumbled upon the 2005 Pellegrini Red Blend, a harmonious tussle of Zin, Merlot, and Carignan.  Bright red fruit with a sexy smoke string, medium body.  Slightly herbal and persistent.  The nose is a poetic blurb followed by a methodical palate approach.  The finish, relentless and unyielding in taste note solidification.  The sips truly tie together.  Paired it with a Greek pizza last night.  Piquancies intermingling with no turbulence.  Another wine with a versatile flavor profile, and only $10.99 at the Sonoma Market!  It would be wise to hoard a couple of these for yourself, keep a good cache at the ready...Sip, sip.

And, the location of purchase, the reliable and sophisticated, not to mention friendly, immaculately laid-out, Sonoma Market.  Top-notch meats, cheeses, produce.  Not to mention the impressive wine selection, and wine expertise on the staff’s end.  I was assisted by a Mr. Michael Short when considering the Pellegrini for the blog.  Vast selections of everything from cookies and crackers, to nuts, to beer, seafood to the best quality eggs.  Even gifts and flowers!  Encompassing, but not overwhelming.  I walked around, able to find everything (I was, in my head, assuming the role of a shopper...had a list and order, everything for character assumption).  Ingeniously organized and maintained.  Definitely stop by.  They can be located at 500 West Napa Street, Suite 550 in Sonoma.  Don’t forget your list!  



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And so...

Was going to broadcast tonight.  But I need to write, this night.  Sonoma County Malbec to the right.  Each sip, a wistful whirlwind, winding my ways and days.  I’m thinking about a lecture sequence, for responding to wine with literary posture and approach.  Would anyone be interested, invigorated?  I’d take such a class, at Stanford.  I’d teach such.  MY dream/s.  Can’t let that go.  I’m Literary, what can I say?
All this tech around me, here in the office, forces another sip, sips.  Moving Malbec, a chant to one’s wiring.  This wine is providing lines and signs in and out of mind.  Should I attach a pic to this entry?  Why should I have to?  To accommodate the lazy?  This log, where the oenological and belletristic amalgamate.  It requires mental vivacity.  If one finds that objectionable, they should pass.
(Tuesday, 9/7/2010)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Later, with a Semblance

8:23a.  Already writing.  Ready for 10a meeting with ad agency.  Sipping the morning mocha.  Creative madness in this Room.   Just had a structure-shaking wine writing idea.  Wow...oh wow.
It’s 11:23p.  I should most certainly be OFF at the moment.  Dormant.  My perception, considering the entire sequence of courses.  Change is warranted, for the sake of the Craft.  If I were a maker of wine, I would elect to shift direction with the current push.  But where does this poet go?
Why is time so consistent?  Why can’t it just halt?  My folds fold into turmoil and the vintage vile.  Shameful, nihilistic.  The other day, I thought about the wine bar again.  Decided it has to happen in the next three years, before this penman passes years 35.  I’ll meditate in hypotheticals and potentials...  
(Monday, 9/6/2010)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Night Note: Tight Rope

Sales great in the Room this day.  All troops rewarded with comp’d bottle of choice.  Me: 2005 Meritage.  Weather optimal, to be modest.  Couldn’t stop talking about yesterday, thinking about it.  The wine, people, scenes, interactions and concerted chef mastery.  My mission, one of them (of many), is to vehemently research wine food unions and correlations.  Why am I not using the simplistic tag of “pairing"? Because it is just that, too simple.  You can “pair” anything.  But does it sync, form some flavor union, create some consumable harmony?  That’s what these slicko sommeliers don’t adequately discuss when showing how much they know.  Most of them, anyway.
Sipping the ravishing Racer 5 tonight throws this penman again back to yester’s ideality.  I fumble in fantasy, shame on me...
(Sunday, 9/5/2010)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Reflection


Back from the Sonoma Wine Country Event at the ethereally startling MacMurray ranch.  Saw familiar figures, met ones new.  Looking through all my notes and pics.  Overwhelmed, just as this poet was upon landing on the artistically propelling grounds.  The world of wine surprises me continually with its vastness and wonder.  Food, the pairings with, and beer.  Yes, beer is a resident in the world of the grape.  Not to say that beer depends upon grape magic, but it is welcomed here.  If anything, we depend upon beer.  I know I do.  Was relieved to see Bear Republic on the grounds today.  Will confess to consumption of a couple Racers.


The marriage of cuisine and vino, more than extraordinary, is properly synced.  The chefs with whom I today chatted shared snaps of their practice.  How they prepare, their background, favorite dishes, what have.  Tonight, Alice and I will be scurrying to Rosso, an artisan pizza destination, and wine bar (!) off of Brookwood.  I will be noting me attempted pairing.  I always select this one Malbec on the menu.  Always seems to link with whatever pizza I take.
Now, I try to make sense of all the materials carried home.  So many pictures, so much literature, so many business cards.  But, more importantly and significantly, so much fun.  A great cluster of moments, sights, characters.  As one from the literary world, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend was a treasure chest of page contribution.  In addition to typing this entry, I scribble on scratch paper, a consciousness stream.
Winemakers a plenty today as well.  Hearing them speak about their opuses, the steps thereto, was humbling.  Need to interview another maker of the wine, I thought to Self.  They know about Craft, discipline, variables in the journey.  Today’s event confirmed, reaffirmed, that this wine country life seeps literary elements, artistry, universally.    
Wondering if I’ll ever open my wine bar.  I have to, someday.  Don’t I?  Keeping a detailed log of recently sipped gems, prospective candidates...
(Saturday, 9/4/2010)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Work Day

At the ad office.  Waiting for editorial remarks.  Currently, the principals and other more-anchored crew members are interviewing a prospective, I think, graphic designer.  Love this office.  The spaciousness, the decor, the constant musical delivery.  Currently, “Holographic Universe” by Thievery spills from the speakers.
Just got back from lunch.  Sipping my mocha, as I failed to get one in the AM.  Need to organized the home office, so I can get these ideas onto paper, with some pragmatism.  Thinking of advertising my writing services for the sake of print advertising, and copy editing/writing more.  Especially with the wine and food business, and hospitality.  The prospective and tentative name for such a biz...well, there’s two: 1) The Madigan Group, and 2) planetPLANET (may have told you about this one already).  
(Friday, 9/3/2010)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pub Construction

Thinking of a wine publication, a literary wine promulgation.  Feel, today, this morning, like I am making progress as a scribe, but not at the desired rate.  All this spare cash laying around, throwing into the vinoLit pub...hmmm, what a name,  vinoLit Pub [short for publication].  Usually people associate pubs with beer, so the dualistic placement could serve as a hook after the eyes connecting with ‘vino’.
This morning, I’m seeing a lot, much clearer than yesterday.  Why did this discarnate
ingredient decide to filter into my varietal today?
On the road in about 30.  Excited about the cruise east.  Ample invitation for reflection.  Stopping by the ad agency around 330p.  Day busy, motivating, so it’s agreeable.  The mocha’s implanted momentum keeps these tips prancing on weakened keys.  I can just hear them telling me, “Stop typing, already!” 
Glad I didn’t sip that much last night.  My balance, this AM, beautiful.  More and more, I embrace the typo.  Find it, almost, cute.  Winemakers intend on a certain flavor profile, and the liquefied being in the barrels develops its own cognitive bravado, stretching down another road.  Not that this serves as the best analogy, but it’s what comes to mind, for some reason.
Wine and writing, the Lit, belong together.  This pub will assure the union thereof, and in.  Dark in this office.  All this talk of wine makes me think of the vineyard visions, the recollections continuing with their reflective incisions.  Wine and food, news, reviews, interviews...brain in self-imposed cyclone.  True euphoria, utopia...
With this last burst of authorial acrobatics, I fall short.  Too much about me to focus, which is a positive, trust me.  Need time to simply think about all.  Selection of an expanded direction...
Only a couple minutes left before departure.  Sound like a pilot.  Still want to write that story, too.  Are the days collective enough extended to satisfy the totality of one’s desire? 
(Wednesday, 9/1/2010)