Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review of Muscardini Cellars, 2007 Sangiovese, Monte Terra Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County

“More Than Just a Safe Sangio’”

Rich nose, a cultured and bright aroma, blanket of notes. On the mid-palate and throughout the feel we have focused fruit and controlled tannins. I love Sangiovese, in general, its character and presence, delivery. Bottles such as this magical Muscardini masterpiece, a flawless handling of a classic Italian varietal, further cement my affinity. Cherry, raspberry, other bright red fruit, a set of cinnamon stripes that give each attribute a shine that makes each sip more lively and gripping.
This bottle does more than just satisfy the fundamental mandates and requirements of a Sangiovese, it’s a risk taker, and I say that with hardy admiration and praise. It’s a bold character, beautifully boastful, a tenor on stage, one whose chords and proceeding melodies keep you in your seat. I’ll stay seated, thank you, sipping. Maybe this is just what I need to finish editing my book...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zin Blurb

Am I a Zin guy? These old vines, magic in me, mystifying. Writing for wine, or for me? My palate, compromised. These keys, bullied by fanatical fingers. Sip, delicious. Again, the same. There’s no discovery, enlightenment. Feels wrong.
Revisiting my Master’s thesis, “Apocalypse in Wonderland,” makes me reflect on the tasting Room, and these sips, bottles, how they change us, those in enological delight. My character, morphs when red contacts the palate. Alice’s essence, immediately rearranged with the entry into Carroll’s illusionary terrain. The notes in each pour, how they change over the hour, the experience, the moment, shaping my sense of Self. The correlations continue to compound. Exploration, developing with gorgeous peculiarity, or maybe it’s just the OVZ.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Room Notes: Struggle in Eyes and Consciousness

How am I going to last the next 5 hours and fifteen minutes? That’s my question, to you, and my Self. I could fall asleep on the counter, on the floor, out on the grass. It’s not busy today, no one would notice. Jack approaches me with a slight simper. “I read your blog. You’ve been up since 3:30 this morning? What’s wrong? You okay?” he says, walking away then loading boxes into his car to take up to the shipping area.
“I’m alright, just couldn’t go back to sleep. Can barely keep my eyelids up, bro.” I say.
“Were you really considering drinking an energy drink?” he asks, laughing like he’s caught me in scandal.
“No way.”
“Well I’ll be right back, man. Gotta take this stuff up the road,” he says, closing the heavy glass door behind him. My thoughts go back to the long slab of struggle ahead. There’s no way this day could be like either one of the barrel tasting shifts. Can’t believe I survived that. Wait, it wasn’t that bad, yesterday.

Man from Tennessee, back with wife. He came in yesterday, wife didn’t as she was sick back at the hotel. He’s a nice man, completely unfamiliar with any spec of specificity concerning wine. He’s in town for a cotton convention. A cotton convention, what?

Alice made cookies, brought them in unannounced, for the crew. Hopefully I’ll get some, one, maybe two. Oatmeal raisin, my favorite. Need to get away from the bar, steal some before the Room’s crew devours more than a few.

Viognier. Taking a sip. Probably shouldn’t. May make the author more fatigued. Sip one...lovely. Spilling the rest out. I shouldn’t.

Jack walks into the Room. He looks annoyed, maybe frazzled, or drained. “Shipping is officially not of my favorite things in the world today.”
I nod, look at the people entering. “Hi, how are you?” They barely smile, acknowledge my positive hospitality. You know what, I hate greeting people as they walk through the door. Sounds so scripted, forced. Come to the counter, I’ll greet you then.

Young group, four girls. 20-somethings. All are sure of their presence, royalty. I have to pour for them, and I will, as I am beneath and should be thankful for the honor. One of them, with a fold to her face affirming superiority, lets me know that she is Elli Vendingher, daughter of the “elite” Vendingher family, proprietors of Vendingher Winery & Vineyards. I’m glad she told me, frankly. Now I have a face to associate with mediocre wine.

Looking at the clock. Stan saw me. He says, “I’m right there with ya, buddy. Five o’clock yet?”

Lady approaches counter, with a guy about her age, mid 30-something. “Hi. How are you? I’m a club member and I was wondering what you have open...” I pour her solely artisan wines, red, many of them blends and Zins. She laughs frequently, and repeatedly relays that our wines are the best in the state, in the country, world. “I don’t even know what to say. You know, three of the girls that work with me at the Ritz are club members here too.”
“Oh, that’s great. You should bring them up next time,” I say.
“They don’t ever come up here, too hot.” Not really sure what to say to that, it’s like 71 degrees on the other side of the doors, no clouds. How is that objectionable?

4:33p. All gone. I don’t believe it. They ate my wife’s cookies. I know she brought them for the crew, but I only delighted in one. Deconstructing this tires me. Moving on...

4:49p. How did I do this? Jack walks up to me, eating a cookie he hid, I guess, informs me that the promo’d bottles have been entered, and that Mark and Stan affirmed we’d be separating from the Room in no more than ten minutes after 5. I sip the Vio’. Again. Again. Yes, one, two more tips of the foggy glass. Why is this glass foggy? Not thinking straight, so I’ll sip more, hoping it gets better. What am I doing? I shouldn’t. Pour out the remainder.

Bell rang five times. As I wrote in one of my stories, “DAY OVER.” Not sure how I feel, now that this seemingly simple struggle has suddenly ceased. When home, no wine. Just stillness, me and Alice, and hopefully a new group of cookies. Don’t think I’m in the mood for wine. Will probably wind up spilling out the other night’s Barbara.

Still recalling moments from the barrel weekend. The man and woman by the barrels, pouring for themselves. Stan said something like “Where’d you get that wine, folks? I don’t see a bottle.” The man was so sloshed he replied, “What bottle?”

Need to wipe down counter and take out bottles. Everything heavy, even this paper towel. Till the shift next...

At home, finally. Loving the Barbara, and oatmeal raisin morsel. How’s that for a pairing?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Poetry, about me, crawling over my shell-shocked carriage of a corpse. Wondering what will send me to heights, to the shelves. Is it the union with wine, or just these spontaneous purges of personality? Now, I feel as bold as this tannin bomb of a Cabernet, marveling at my words like children at a tannenbaum. This log is like an unconventional Cuvee. Hear the wind outside. Nothing obnoxious, just noticeable. Songs in each push. Leaves descend to their end.

Char 4: Accountant’s assistant, 23, ferociously fearful of aging, already. Bitter with work, as his hours were chiseled to nearly nothing. Thinking of going back to school, getting an MBA, CPA, or both, or neither, maybe do something different altogether.

100 Before Cocktail Hour

Thursday 3/25/10. Thinking of my agenda next week. Forgot that school will be Spring Break’d. Can get even more writing done, writing and tasting, then writing about the tasting(s). Planning on buying some bottles in the coming days, but not too many. Money, like a declining water level, a bleak reservoir. Must be careful with spending, more than careful. Want to, maybe, cruise up to Russian River, or back to Dry Creek. Wine & Lit, my mission. Truthfully, it’s all I’ve been entertaining in vision, and how to fictionalize it, with different approaches.
Just stubbed my toe on the tub of old writings. Okay, that’s it ... I’m going in. (4:53p)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Evening 100: How Am I Still Up?

Good question. Probably just a refusal to submit to exhaustion. Nas said “Sleep is the cousin of death.” Agreed. So, I continue. Speaking of poetry, just scribbled some odd rimes. My focus on rime, unconventional connections therein, has intensified in recent days. This log/blog, with a focus on wine, yes, but more so a focus on life, on me. And so what? I love wine, I love writing more, and I love life even more, much more. They overlap. I’m forced to clap, elated. Poured the Barbara into the sink, but not before I shot more into my core. Lovely, the union of VJB and me.

Who/What Does the Author Blame?

It's possible, yes, that I could be done with the Room, for now. But not the industry, never! Wine, and Wine with Lit, have exposed dimension over dimension of the grapes' brilliance, effects on us as sippers. A new intrigue I have with Chard, and other whites now. Might go to Landmark tomorrow and taste a couple of their sophisticated Chards. Have heard nothing but praise, and lots of it. Another dimension to the industry that befuddles me is the limitless options when it comes to pairings. I am convinced you don't need sommelier certification to attain expertise in and around, and about, this facet.
Woke up this AM at around 3:30. Still a long one ahead of the author. I'm triumphant. Will be, I'm hoping. Woke up as a result of a certain uneasiness attributed to the employment situation, and turning 31 this year with no full-time post. That'll change shortly, I assure you, readers. I will write my way out of any pit, ready to sustain hits.

Sipped the VJB Barbara again last night. What a great red. Need to journey to Italy someday, explore their Rooms, wines. Can’t stop yawning. Was it that I had wine too late? Twenty minutes till my next class, eyes heavier than they were at the beginning of this entry. Need to rush to the cafeteria and get caffeine, in some form. Any will do. Coffee, Diet Coke. I’ll even settle for one of those nasty energy drinks, can you believe that?

What will happen in the Room today? This weekend tapped my inner-propeller. Almost want to call in. No, can’t do that to the crew. Just realized I left the little notepad at home. Now how will I write my way through the day? Peace, Madigan, peace. You speak of nothing. You’ll be fine. Am I talking/writing to my Self? I’m losing it…

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Past, Passed

Sunday 3/21/10. Barrel tasting, behind. Thankful. Can’t believe I have to do the hellish Monday after such a weekend. You know what else I can’t fully grasp, I’m sipping Chardonnay presently. Me. In mode of reflection, realizing today was much more manageable than the previous. Unruly sippers, the boozer and carouser, should never be welcomed into the Room. Sounds harsh, but you try helping these people. They don’t walk through the doors to experience wine, they enter to get “fucked up,” as I heard some guy shout yesterday to his girlfriend, calling her out at the highest of decibels. Other visitors looked at them as if to say, “You’re in the wrong spot.” Even better, Stan and I caught some stragglers pouring for themselves as we were closing up. I told Stan I saw them out there, slow and slurred, and was going to tell them we were closing and that they needed to leave. Stan said, “I’m right behind ya.” After a short skirmish, they had no response to a demand from Stan as to how they had wine, a full pour I might add, in their glasses. They left like unmasked thieves. And that’s just what they were, crooks. Barrel weekend taught this penman much. No thanks, to doing it again, unless I’m on the other end of the marble. I represent sincere appreciation of wine, its elements and “essence,” as Lonny says. The tipplers I observed, break my balance, blemish the beauty of the Room.
Chardonnay, you’re an interesting creature, character. Buttery, vanilla toast, a polite palate host. BOOK ONE, need to print the pages, get to editing. Why am I so demurring, disinclined? Afraid of how many errors I echoed in the entries. Need to write the Self through and out of the blandness. So start editing already! Need a brick on the store’s shelf...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Now What?

Truly my state of affairs, internally, now. One class in the summer. The Room, tiring of it, its characters. I feel too confined there now. The purpose, its purpose, served. Time to move on, but I can’t. Reliant on that cash. Tomorrow, barrel tasting. Sunday too. My Equilibrium this evening, thus far, unequal, uneven. Will write my way through it.
Thinking, again, of a wine shop. Wine and Literature, saving my life. Love the adventurous, and strong, blends. Wine, to me, I see, is more than a series of sips. It’s blissful tranquility, harmony. The classroom, ambivalent, exhausting. Don’t place blame on the young minds, the fault is mine. Wine and Lit, the only brick that in this wall I’ll let fit. Haven’t played basketball in a while, or ran. Where’s my new routine? My New Year’s reso that I kept chanting to Self? Maybe I should go running now. Right now. Too eased here in the castle. Tuesday, I’ll start then.
Been writing the most unconventional, but charged, poetry/spoken word I’ve ever scribbled. Before I boast my victories on those pages, I have to pause, prepare Self for this weekend. Want to be on the other side of the counter, once. Would love to be such tomorrow. Yes, I think I’m done with the Room. What else can it do for me? If I need new characters, for Room Notes, I’ll just make them up. I’ve seen enough to construct, concoct, any scenario needed for a manuscript. Not going to think about BOOK TWO yet. No way.
Characters on mind: firefighter, pilot, winemaker, Philosophy Professor, barista at coffee shop (not Starbucks). Thinking of giving my log/blog more of a character focus, maintain the note-taking vignettes. One character from the Room recently, a wrinkly white lady in a tacky turquoise poncho, asking questions about everything. Everything. Even why other wineries produce the varietals they do, why wineries are named what they are. Her questions about the wine club, even the basic tasting flights, I thought were going to stretch to closing. She bought two bottles, a Sauv Blanc and a Sonoma County Cab. Exhausting. See? I don’t need moments like that, I can make them up. “Liars prosper.”
Have all these rimes on a yellow sheet to my left. Need to formally assemble them. Maybe BOOK2 will be a journal, chaotically beautiful tapestry. Can’t think about it, not yet. Spring begins tomorrow. Impact on me? Don’t know. Travel on the mind now, the food that accompanies...
6:44p. Now I feel like I’m just typing to type, hoping 1k will find my way. Going to pour some of that Cuvee in a tic. So conditional am I, in the moment. One day, I’m consumed by A, the next by Q. Maybe that’s my genre, my unique angle.
Char 1: 22 year old girl, Mikaela. Psych major. Overwhelmed this semester. Single. Her last boyfriend was short-lived, as she found out he was an immature drone, lacking both personality and general social compatibility. She can’t wait to be out of school. Can’t wait to be done with the ridiculous homework load, and have the 9-5.
Char 2: 45 year-old winemaker. Wants to start his own. Boutique, 1000 cases/year, may 2 or 3k. He can’t stand the corporate culture of his winery. He’s fine with the pay cut he would see. “Price of freedom,” he thought. His employer wanted rushed bottles, he believed that quality bottles deserved time, attention, more than just a deadline.
Char 3: Actor, 33, who hasn’t had a gig in some time. Sees himself acting, but he’s not sure in what precise capacity. He thinks movies, but he’s too afraid to audition, terrified they’ll laugh at him. Had a semi-hit series about five years ago. He may have to get a “real” job. He’s terrified as his residuals diminish as the year forwards.

Opening the Cuvee in a little. My wine shop would be Bordeaux focused, but I’d offer other characters. Rhones, Italians, Spanish, Hungarians, who knows what else. It’d be an adventure owning a shop. How do I get started? Research. Need a bottle of Carignan to write about. But, need some tenders for that. Payday from winery, one week from this day. Need to push the poetry. Hate relying on these devils for dough. Time for wine.
7:57p. How did it get so late? Time, a bully. As a character, I think time is one that even I as the writer can’t like in any respect. It has no agreeable attributes. A dark chewy cobbler character in this Cuvee. Almost tastes better tonight than it did the last.

Char 4: Independent chef, Aaron. Runs catering service and works the line at an upscale bistro in St. Helena. 29, freaking out about turning 30. One day wants to be a personal chef, with a client list that would determine his future with mystical merit.

8:15p. How is it after 8? Hate time, seriously. This wine is speaking to me, in ballads, massaging melodies. Freeing me from chains, flattening my pains. When will I have time to edit BOOK ONE? Need to take another taste to even the Equilibrium...
A little better. Was just reading about a Merlot that won, I think, nine contests in the same month. What a sense of ascendency, nine, with Merlot. Winemakers are like divinely dictated alchemists. One target before my End, to make my own wine. A Zin, maybe with 8% Carignan. What that would do, I don’t have the slightest. I just want to bottle uniqueness, nothing template, or of mimicry, predictability. Maybe Char 2 and I should partner up, see where it goes.
8:25p. Starting to get tired. Woke up this AM at 4:40-something, and couldn’t fall back into sleep. Tried taking a nap this afternoon, unsuccessful. Barrel weekend, maybe it won’t be a negative in any form. Won’t have time to write, capture the characters. So my memory trap must be at the readiest of readies. Have to be like Char 3, get into character, play the role believably.

(Friday March 19, 2010)

Almost an Almost to Toast

Thursday March 18, 2010. Sipping a Napa Cuvee. Amazing. No formal review for this one, just going to let you know I’m happy. But you know what’s more important that wine, or Had the best time tonight with Mom, Dad, and Katie. Why I’m of such blessing, no idea. Just acknowledging I delighted in the occasion. Wine, a wondrous world, I realize, especially when I hear my sis talk about it. A winemaker’s perspective is fascinating, and invaluable when flooding into the ears of writer like I.
Can’t believe BOOK ONE is done. Now I have to edit. Hate that part. Sip...
“Profanity lacks precision,” Dad said tonight. While engaging and polemic, I have to disagree. What type of profanity are we talking about? Is it in excess? If so, then I would agree. Indiscriminate vulgarity lacks target, focus. Dad, the philosophy major, always vocalizes something that has dissertation potential. I’m moved, provoked. Do I speak that eloquently? Need to get out of the community college classroom, and into Stanford’s halls.
Need to be more meticulous about my note taking practices, habits. Dad used some word, and I can’t remember what it was (when he was talking about how he made his workbench in the garage). Tomorrow’s lecture will wow the class. I’m going to jolt the bodies in the chairs. If wine is Lit, then we are all varietals. What am I? A tannic bully of a Cabernet. My appellation, California. I’m everywhere, all over this territory. I am my own genre, like Poe, Pac, Plath, just as each winery is its own genre. Wine is Lit!
My socks are bugging me. Talk about a random address. What will BOOK2 be about? Probably the same thing, me. But there has to be a controlling and creative contrast. Market my duality, my inner pluralism.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review of Eric Ross, 2008 Marsanne-Roussanne, Russian River Valley, Saralee’s Vineyard

“Beauty Bottle”

A character of elegance and excellence resides in this bottle. Nutty apricot and a peachy peace with a honey-honed finish. Crisp, flirtatious, and fun. Wonderfully blended and balanced white. Sip on a hot day, or into night. Her character reminds me of a visually stunning belle from the South, or Manhattan, or Paris. She walks into the cotillion, or Parisian jazz cafe and all stay agape. Flavorful, with each sip. Even for those who don’t like whites, this might ignite inner-lights. Would pair, with immaculate brilliance I’m sure, with a light pasta dish, like Mom’s linguini and clams, or a crab casserole, a light chicken plate, anything mild and with calm spice, herbs. Can see myself, personally, sipping this on a balcony, right when the sun is punching-out, angling the class to my lips with tempered pace. This bottle, a find! No, a true treasure! Go get a bottle, or 12, be with Beauty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wired, but Still Tired, so I Inquired...

Sipping what remains of the KAZ Sangiofranc. Thinking about everything 2nite. Everything. Have one class for Summer. One. What am I to do with that? It’s a section of Composition. I wanted the lit class. She knows, the chair, I teach that better than anyone, that that is my true passion. My ebb, toxic. Wrote several rimes that even have me impressed. Will do something with them 2morrow. Not going to let my financial chains keep me indoors tomorrow. Supposed to be Heavenly here in the wine country. Might visit a Napa, and Sonoma, winery. Be adventurous, irresponsible. Like a good friend/colleague of mine shared, “Misery is optional.” I’m opting not be one of disharmony. Smiles on this author. Wine, sunshine, tomorrow is mine! Peace. Long Live the Log!

(Wed. 3/17/2010)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Untitled Purge

Type keys. My pages I might please; find keys, refined
reads. Clutching sacred beads. Studying like
a crazed scholar. No option but to save dollars;
I scathe collars; Cab Franc, I stand staunch, but can’t want.
My band flaunts expertise overseas, sing my sober
keys; Pollution, I wheeze; no intent to please; 3
me’s. Talk to trees; walk, true freeze. Select, elect,
hardly discouraged by governmental neglect. Watch TV, no.
My friend stocks CD’s, so...I’m critical. My disdain,
visible, the conditions, pitiful. Try to make sense, I take
dents. Another sip, my brothers flip over these books.
Compose unorthodox hooks. Put my manuscript
in the desk, unless I’m stressed. Tear your test, duress.
Screen screaming, my team leaning, towards war, adore doors
that lead to fortune. Collude to contortion of
laws. Like one of the swimmers in jaws. Start curt brawls
in church halls.

(Tuesday 3/16/2010)

Still KAZ’d

What a refreshing place. As I sip the Sangiofranc, I am motivated, inspired by Mr. KAZ’s admirable attitude to dispose of convention, and just leap. I know I said that gets me into trouble occasionally, but I won’t know the results unless the soles leave the soil, and I’m flying. Back to KAZ, who has left me in a KAZified state. I love the tasting Room, like an artistic garage, a genius’ workshop. 1000 cases a year, with such acuity to administer. How does he/they do that?
Love the names of the wines, the wordplay. Again, refreshing. This a Human place, for real Humans in admiration of savory bottles. In the Room, you can taste from a barrel, and bottle from that same wood. Had my favorites, but I enjoyed each pour, more so than most wineries I visit. Each was its own victory, nothing sluggish or weak. How did this KAZtastic crew execute such?
Ah, my Sangiofranc...notes still as distinct as the first stage. Outside the Room, in back, you are greeted by a “down-to-Earth,” scene and arrangement, as Mr. KAZ put it today. Tables for picnicking, or just sipping. A little pond with a colorful colony of fish. So relaxing, refreshing. A slice of Humanity supplemented by supple sophistication. I’m in a KAZ coma, experiencing disbelief, wonderment and relief. How?
This bottle converts me to KAZology, as I am KAZ’d by my own KAZery. This spot is situated just down the road from Landmark. Secluded, thankfully, and stimulating with all the sights, visual accompaniments, and your host Mr. KAZ. Try everything, from the 2006 Machismo (Counoise) to the 2006 Moo Vedra (you guessed it, Mourvedre), the ’06 Melodrama (Malbec) to the 2007 Klown’n Around (Petit Sirah, my 2nd favorite...check out the label on this one!).
To cork this entry, a fun place with more-than-quality wines. The artistic merit of this winery and its projects are inspiring and beyond impressive. How did they do this, by just leaping, I’m sure. Acting from heart and not a preponderance of meditation. Art is a product of heart, which is surely why I value this new oasis of mine. Time to refill, enjoy my KAZticness, my KAZmatazz, the KAZy craze...

Review of KAZ, 2007 Sangiofranc, Ricci Vineyard, Sonoma Valley

A Sangiovese/Cabernet Franc blend. At first I thought, “What?” Feathery boldness accompanied by a fruity tapestry. Strong, fluid, and structurally sound. Nose to finish and back-palate, genius, adventurous and successful. Earth knotting with various threads: cinnamon, vanilla, humble floral fingers and notes. I taste escapade, as the character of this bottle is a thrill-seeker, adventurous, a party to which I was invited by my new friend Mr. KAZ. Flavorful, fantastic, fulfilling. She makes me want to keep the part going...
75% Sangio, 25% Franc, with a 13.5% AC makes for a smooth cruise. Pair with anything, or nothing. Great sipping. Continuously jubilant flavors and aromas. Defiantly delicious. Cheers, peers!

North Light Books & Cafe

“Quiet, Cozy Corner to Collect Self"

So how long have been walking through these doors now? 11 years. You feel invited, welcomed, at home. As if you’re at a close friend’s house where residents are always in wait of your presence, eager to make you feel comfortable. Aromas of coffee, artistic decor, a surprisingly sizable book diversification for the public and SSU students the same.
If you want to just momentarily escape reality, to sip and turn pages, collect yourself, North Light waits. Behind the counter and register, only smiles, information, and human conversation. No roles, insincerity, recited sales scripts. Don’t see why I won’t be gliding through this cafe’s doors for the next 11, 22, 44 years. Cheers!

(Tuesday March 16, 2010)

Monday, March 15, 2010

P.M. 100, Pt. 2

The Room, so interwoven into my everything. Was going to write “into my vision,” but the candid slate discloses a much more inextricable union. Had a character today ask me a question about every element of the wine stage, the life and exploration of Sonoma Valley, every element that she could then conjure. I answered as aptly as able, but then she demanded elaboration on every facet of each wine club option. I thought to myself, “she’d make a great club member, with all these bizarre probes, advances.”
Sipping a Merlot. Been away from this varietal for a block of beats. Thankful to be in the smooth atmosphere again. Ending this P.M. calmly. Needed, after the unrest of the Room.

(Mon. 3-15-10)

P.M. 100

In the late night...
Back from a couple with my man Stan. Someone the other day said I should just do the wine and restaurant review on this log/blog, that I should leave out the other entries, the more personal purges. Really? Well, this may jolt you, but I don’t give a fuck what you think, devil, especially some non-artist chatterbox. I do literary wine reviews, and the pieces I wrote on “the fig cafe” and Meritage were ideas and praise that I thought worthy of record. Critics slither under my skin like tenacious ailments. You can’t infect me, devil. Many of my students today spoke of Mr. Van Gogh, his ethic and catalog, and instability. Maybe that was the engine of his genius, lunacy, unorthodoxy. Maybe such is the fuel of this Anti of the pen...
I do want restaurants and wineries, and hotels, businesses, that I review to note that I am an artist, and when I write about a staple in the industry, whether the valley be Sonoma or Napa, I do so as such. I praise Enkidu, Meritage, Imagery, St. Francis, as an artist, not a hired writer. Those spots, those treasures really, deserve praise. I do it of my own volition, not because they me paid. I do not write for hire. And if I do, it will cost. Integrity of literary fruition shall always be maintained, revered. Conformity, not forging me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Midday 100

Instrumental done. Some lines, rhymes, recorded. Playful indeed, with this artistic, intrinsic, speed. Had the Trinitas Cab last night. Amazing. Am I becoming a Cabernet kid? I don’t know what varietal is mine. Maybe all. No solutions at the end of the 65k. Grateful, because I want to keep exploring, playing. Plans are like blistering strands.
Just noticed’s quite here in my home study. No music, TV. Love it. Can hear myself think, the cars outside, think that’a an airplane...
Getting hungry. What are we having for lunch today? We should be saving money, but Alice and I have agreed that being bad is much more fun...

Midday 100

Made three copies of the spoken word CD. My comrades in the Room, many of them, have vowed to purchase a copy. Quickly drew up a cover. Need to write and record more poetry. That is my lifeline, now. My check from the winery, funny. What type of artist do I want to be, the rich, or at least comfortable, or poor?
About to make an instrumental. Miss music, how it charges me, motivates my pen to erect odd syllabic arrangements. Need to see where readings are being held, in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties. What if I pass around 1 page, front and back of poetry/spoken word, just to keep the lines out there? Heavy this brain, with thought. POETRY4EVER...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Midday 300: Meritage Resort and Spa

Stayed last weekend for Alice’s 30th. Easily one of the best hotel experiences of my life. Cozy, refined, appeal from angles all. Weeks before check-in, I ordered a bottle of champagne to intercept our arrival. A young gentleman greeted us at our room’s door, chilled bottle in a dark, elegant bucket, two classes, and of course the Happy Birthday note from me. The cave tasting of the Trinitas flights was incredible, especially with the generous and informative crew on the other side of the counter (try the 2006 Oakville/Napa Valley Cabernet!!!). Didn’t take advantage of what the spa provides, but everyone I spoke to said it was “incredible,” or “fabulous,” or “phenomenal.” Sienna, the hotel’s restaurant delivered a dinning experience that was sui generis, memorable, truly remarkable. I had steak while Ms. Alice had a chicken dish. Both were beautifully presented and fantastically flavored and arranged. The hotel has a shuttle available for excursions to downtown Napa, which came in handy for our 7:30pm spot at Celadon. When I received my checkout bill, I was muted. How could a hotel of this caliber be so reasonable? Shock shot through my system upon viewing the total, truthfully. This oasis is a must for anyone visiting the wine country, whether Napa Valley or Sonoma. There is no invitation for disappointment here, only enjoyment, smiles.
If I can go on for just a few more words, I loved the design and decor of the interior. First visuals, the fireplace, comfy couches, the expansive and visually stimulating outside patio by a gorgeous pool area. Makes you want to explore all the grounds, every corner and corridor. There is this dark, luscious, sweet emanation that pets your olfactory sense with a serene gentleness. So comforting and appealing, but I can’t accurately deconstruct or discern its identity. This was one of those few times on holiday where I, frankly, had trouble leaving. Wine, food, scenery (which I forgot to amply address in this entry). Why would I want to leave? Missing Meritage...

Review of VJB, 2007 Barbara, Mendocino County

A strangely comforting light red. Velvet, smooth color with a breezy, enticing nose promising ghostly fruit to inhabit the palate. The character of this wine sits and relaxes with its sipper. Sedated tannins, and luminous red fruit complemented by an agreeable acidic aesthetic. Admiring the color again. Light, lovely, and lively. The finish is spell-like, forcing me to sip, sip. Subtle earthiness supporting fruit, propelling the longevity of the finish into the early stages of next sip. Truly well-rounded and delightful in composition and delivery. The suppleness of the notes does not even minutely squander or crumble. Impressive and inspiring consistency.
VJB has not once disappointed me, so I was not surprised that when I sipped this classic varietal from the Old Country I found myself addled and enamored. Sip, sip...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

P.M. 100

Had a great time at the Enkidu “mixer.” I continue to praise them, and will do so with this entry. The staff: pleasant, informative, accommodating, genuine. The Room is small, but comfortable, not overwhelming with trinkets and flyers with microscopic print. And the wines...oh, where do I ignite my adoration? Hope they don’t get sick of me, as I conspire to return, again, again...
The appetizers provided were more that ambrosial. I had trouble refraining, honestly. I was almost concerned that I took steps back to the table too frequently. What a conjuring tide. Thank-a-you, Enkidu.

Words Wined, Recited, and Invited

Sip Chardonnay from Burgundy, off to orate on
Bourbon Street. Rime whatever I can. Time,
wherever I plan. No longer stand. My own fan, carrying
contraband, on the tran only to be banned, can’t
understand. Exhausted from this deceptive game board,
not sure I can play more, decided I need to relish the day more.
But what can I do anew? Wish the machine adieu. New
bullion, off and on to pursue the true. Refuse to pay
due to a rouse. The bastion lacks yoke. How many readers
can I really reach if I get lost in my own speech?
Cursory brilliance. Murder me, still win, I do. Why
you? ‘Cause I’m me. Why flee from this secrecy? No
critic dares to bother me. Victim of robbery, possibly.
Madigan pedagogy, a stronger thing. Profound offering. Sing
through verse, even if it hurts. This is the duty I’ll never
shirk. Dirt in gun, maybe too hurt to run. A fallen son. Done.

Cote du Rhone, sipping. Own thrown, clipping wings
of those that oppose and chose me for artistry rivalry.
Take time with rime and sign no line. Too much, almost
broke the glass. Cloak too fast with this juice. Repeat
myself, delete my wealth with vigor, poise. Too much
noise. Television and guns, no time for such toys. A new
day, Tuesday, only three left to regret. Unhinged
fringe, a certain binge, of the pen man. The then-man, again
when I ransack, attack, propel intentional flack. No foe
escaping through cracks. I’ve been taping through maps,
in search of what, not sure. Perhaps something impure. What if
I have a fling on tour, reading volumes in tall rooms?
Four more lines, score more fines. Dismiss the cops, the
journalism never stops. A leopard in trees, I’m like
feathers in breeze. Devils tease. No ‘please’. My
manuscripts expand across land like disease, fire or freeze.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Midday 100: “the fig cafe”

Meant to devote a praiseful entry to this chic little Glen Ellen eatery, but never sat to scribe. The ambience, immediately upon entry, is comfortable. Upscale, but quite humble. The menu offers everything from eggs to steak, salads to a burger (one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, I might add) for brunch, my recent dining time. For dinner, which I’ve had several times, they have outstandingly flavorful calamari, that same burger, artisan pizzas, salads, chicken, mussels, along side other temptations. Another aspect of this little spot on Arnold Drive is that their wine list is comprised of strictly Rhone varietals. But even if you’re a stubborn Bordeaux bull, bring a bottle of your own. No corkage! The service, more than pleasant. Always a caring and charismatic cafe.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Review of Imagery, 2005 Pallas, Sonoma Valley

“My 70/30 Saint”

Pallas Athena, goddess of wisdom. A warranted name tag, I assure you. Inventory quantity frighteningly low, this goddess, boasting a blend of 70% Cabernet and 30% Malbec, shares a sexy structure and playful persona. Erotic hue, night-like in the glass. She’s mellow, but, no surprise, wise. Curing, alluring. She’s my 70/30 saint. The nose, deep, rich, but not exceedingly flamboyant. The mouthfeel and mid provide dark fruit, slightly aged leather, oak and cold earth. Mint hint? The finish is somewhat short, but still enjoyable in all notes. My 70/30 sweetie, warranting composition and dissemination of a new myth. She’s made me a follower. As Imagery embraces art, so does this bottle, its contents.
Upon succeeding sips, she discloses a spicy side, slightly herbaceous, more even in finish’s tannins and layers. The back-palate also gyrates and maneuvers more playfully, antagonistically than in prior tastes. She was dancing, but now sits to speak to the palate. How could I forget this Cab/Malbec net? Her balance, now established. I can appreciate both varietals in this blend, their corresponding characteristics. A sound and consistent character, demanding attention from the sipper. Notes of vanilla now flutter. Smoothness harnessed to the goddess. Her wisdom continues to twist me pleasurably. The sexy saint now provokes reflection, introspection. In the presence of a goddess, how do I appropriately evaluate delectable divinity? So animated as I sip and scribble, I have my Self entangled, magically mangled.
Wonderful balance, start to end. She’ll make you want to sip again. Worthy of the goddess name. Could be paired with anything from a slightly spicy pasta or peppered steak to a seasoned fish dish. Celestial indeed. One of the more solid Bordeaux blends, containing only two grapes, with which I’ve recently collided and coincided. Want to sip more, but don’t. Having a glass or two tomorrow would be a treat. How will she change? How ever she wants. She’s a goddess, in control.

(Review Composed on Tuesday March 9, 2010)

Midday 100, Pt. II

Back from a drive in the valley. Chose another wine to review. A new chosen bottle in cue. Delighted. This’ll be my first “official” review in a some moments. But, I’m thrilled to do so. Spoke with a lady in the Room of the chosen bottle’s winery about different varietals, the upcoming barrel weekend, Napa. She made an interesting point about Cabernet lovers, and how particular they are. Hilarious, and surprising, because I’ve for a while been noticing the very same. I guess you could call this generalizing, profiling, stereotyping, but it appears to be startlingly accurate. Pinot drinkers tend to be in love with the varietal solely as a result of its recent climb in acclaim. Wine writers, like myself, just like to hear themselves talk.
Tired. May have to race off the radar for a while...

Midday 100

Went to The Wine Emporium, in Sebastopol. Picked up a Bordeaux blend that I’m hoping to deconstruct today. Or tonight. That little, or not so little, wine shop is a truly comfortable, and quite Human, diamond in an industry otherwise stroked by arrogance and salivating salespeople. The shop is owned by an old buddy, James. They were actually closed to the public today, but opened their doors to me, to aid me in my Bordeaux quest. I could see myself owning a little Room like that, maybe. Not sure if I could emulate the masterful job of Mr. James, and his accommodating crew of versed wine admirers. Before the trip to Sunriver, I bought a Malbec there, per the suggestion of the associate there today. Easily in the top ten of my Malbec cannon. Off to look for more wines to review. Boutique, think small prod, specialty, underground. Where will this take me? Feeling charged today, propelled. Poetry in my person, voracity in my version...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still Sipping the Meritage ...

Monday March 8, 2010. For the most hellish of days in my week, this installation unfolded rather pleasantly. Don’t expect this to be a lengthy sitting. Sipping the Meritage from last night. At the end of the 65k, I want to be on that NY Times list of bestsellers. But realistically, I merely want to continue, and to have produced something engaging for readers. Went to grad school to be a professor. Past. Do I want to work in a tasting Room now, full-time? What do you think? Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it just isn’t for me. I deplore serving. Going to be 31. Time to do what I want. Time to be defiant, a true ANTI.
The Room today, like a nothing-flavored wafer. Time, drained, wasted, strained to pure plain. Good to see Stan and Jack. Other than that...
Another tip of the bowl toward lip. Flawlessly woven blend. This bottle from Mayo, a titillating tapestry on palate. Energized, ready to record what through the mental corridor travel. Refrain. Ready to retire. Bona sera.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An Idea, for Now

I’m in the hours of the night before Monday. What am I thinking about? Nothing much. Just thinking about he weekend in Napa. The wine tasted, food consumed, sights savored. One of the employees, actually the hostess at the restaurant last night, refereed to Sonoma Valley as “the other valley.” In jest, she spoke, but I nonetheless found it valuable. The rivalry between the counties seems contrived and meritless. Someone recently compared the rift to something, but I can’t recall what. Goddamn it. It was really poignant too. The Napa culture and that of Sonoma are like warring tribes, bickering family factions, like the rivalry between the north and the south circa 1860.

Wine, how do I go forward with it, besides the “Wine is Literature” stance? I’ll figure it out. Graded a pile of poorly proposed papers today. Saving the rest for tomorrow. Tonight’s mine. So what do I do with it? Think of a life without papers, ungracious and disingenuous students, a “profession” that lacks professionalism. Should I have a glass of vino tonight, or should I stick to this deep, dark, beer? Might jump over to a Meritage that I bought the other day. Which is appropriate, considering Alice and I spent the weekend at the Meritage resort in Napa. The excursion gave me the idea to interview others in Rooms, in both valleys.
Account balance, bleeding, injured. How do I write about wine when I struggle to afford a bottle to review? Thinking of writing a review of the Meritage Hotel and Resort. Bit of a spoiler, it’ll be all praise. The surprise will be how I assemble my prose ode. Everything from the olfactory web in the lobby and halls to the fountain by the pool, wonderful. Want to go back. I could get in my car right now, drive there, charge a few nights. No. No, no, no. Not without Ms. Alice. I have one recurring character from the weekend: the person going to or coming from the spa, in a white robe. Just looks odd. Why not put the robe on when you get there? Why do you have to parade with it, march around like your an elite on holiday?
Time for a stroke or two of Meritage. Need to live with wine, breathe it, if I am to write it. Wine is literature, because literature is us, and we are life, and why go through life without wine? Attempting to gauge my alacrity. Okay, I’m stable, joyous. Time for a pour...
Just sipped the first mini-fall of this Cheval Blanc-styled Meritage. Lovely, a beauty. Want to review another wine. Should pick one. Cruising through the pages of Wine Spectator. Don’t stuff too much stock into this publication, as I find it pretentious and pompous, but it’s a place to start, I suppose. So much to know about wine. Where do I start? Zins? Malbecs? Bordeaux blends, like this Meritage? Why do I have to have a focus? Focus is boring, predictable. Why not just jump in?
Took some notes this morning at the resort, while Alice was still slumbered on the floor third, over a cup of black steam. How can I look forward to a sense-sucking classroom tomorrow when I spent a succulent shot of life among the grapes, the full bowls of libations and liberty?
The colors stand out, still. Justifiably confident greens, yellows. Barren branches eager for spring, their offspring. Seeing a correlation with the delivery of manuscripts. Poetry, about me now. See a fence, again, between the old entries and other writings in that plastic box and me, my Now. Need another sip. My way, that resembling Hemingway.
Odd being away from the Room today. Almost missed having my elbows in curious miniature ponds. That magnificent marble separating me from the visitor, the barbaric invader. Miss the rude characters that peer at the flights on the menu. Why is that? Easy, the literature in this wine world. So many pages, characters, scenes, developments. How can I not be compelled to propel prose, poetry?
The Meritage now assumes a dark, commanding role. Curious as to what awaits, further into these red waves. The lines are jabbing my time. I’m stunned, fall.
The cartoon sparks soon. My tunes part moons. See? I’m truly unruly in this entry. Can’t help but rhyme. The Irish Carl Jung, sell my signs. Acting irresponsibly, with these poetic purges. The goal of the 65k is to land somewhere, on a profitable path.

Room Notes.
-Man not wanting to taste anything I suggest. He actually said I had a bias. Bias in what regard, I wanted to ask him.
-Write write write this Room. I’m still confused. Not an expert. These visitors expect me to know everything about wine. How is that reasonable?
-I look at all these wines behind the bar. What do I do with these, in terms of reflection? I feel like I’m too used to these inventions. No longer wooed. Bored. Like Will said, “house palate.”
-A lady just said to me, “You look like Jeff Gordon.”
I said, “Oh, is that good or bad?”
Her friend, which I later learned was her mother-in-law, said “Don’t you know who Jeff Gordon is?”
“Yes,” I said, hoping for an actual elaboration on her statement. But no. Their attention swerved. Jeff Gordon drives cars, right?
-Need a sip of something. Maybe the Syrah. No, had that too many times. Panicking. Trapped in this Room.

Writing for my life. I stayed like the blade of a knife in a full sink. Instead of brandishing guns, I’m standing in ink.
See? There I go, in word spoken. I’m a slurred token.

What an unexpected session, this evening. Had enough of a catapult, with this weekend, with Ms. Alice. I feel, re-collected, re-planted, re-branded. Like poets in days me behind, I’m isolated, confined to this sheet, screen. My catharsis at the end of 1k, a barbaric but beauteous bravado. Purgation, this situation.

One last conveyance: Death to critics, I stress wreck to your guilt-ridden gimmicks.

(Sun. 3/7/2010)