Thursday, December 10, 2009

See What He's Drinking - Cakebread Chardonnay 2007

Image, they say, is everything. What "they" don't mention however is the everything that image conveys. Ponder that statement reader while I'm take a sip of wine, making sure not to gulp, but rather; allow the juice to linger on the palette. I want to experience the complexity of the flavors, in the same manner one should appreciate the nuance of image.

In our consumption driven culture, flashy is the "go to" image. The short-cut people choose to achieve their "everything". Glitz, glamour, all eyes on me; keep the focus on the surface and avoid the complexity (or lack) of what is beneath. Besides, people are so busy consuming, who has the time to get beneath the surface anyway. Standing out with flash seems like the only option.

I have breaking news for you; beauty is only skin deep, you can't judge a book by its cover. The image one conveys therefore should be more than just attention seeking, it should be attention grabbing. Take Cakebread Chardonnay 2007 for example. On the surface, a simple yet elegant label, enough to catch your attention but at the same time subtle enough to not overwhelm the senses. (The second part is the most important) Elegant subtlety, conveys much more confidence than screaming for attention. And confidence is this wine middle name. Priced above an average bottle, this wine drinks in a manner above even its aggressive price point. Yet for those who've enjoyed this wine's purity and harmony displayed as succulent, ripe peach, yellow apple and lemon zest flavors, they would eagerly pay more for a second experience.

Image is everything, so of course words like purity and harmony jump to mind when discussing a Cakebread wine.  That is exactly the image the label portrays. Not flashy, because flash warns that something else is lacking.  The label is subtle and the price point high because the winemaker is inviting you to discover what the confidence is all about. Drink that idea in, followed by drinking in this wine I was sold.  So until wine labels actually blink, flash and verbally speak to me I'll continue to explore the sexy juice beneath the understated labels.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks - Thanksgiving is Great

Drink wine, eat turkey and be merry... then drink some more.

Thankful for another wonderful day among family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tip of the Glass - Thanks Vets

I walked to the store tonight and bought a bottle of wine, simply because I could.  

I sat on my deck and enjoyed that wine, happy to be relaxing at home.  When two thirds of the bottle was gone I picked it up and poured the rest out.   I watched the red juice first puddle, then spread across the deck.  

I didn't pour the wine out because it was bad, but rather because for the price it was pretty darn good.  In fact, I poured the rest out because I realized how lucky I am to be at home, able to enjoy a nice glass of wine simply because I was free to do so. 

Across the many generations of this great nation, people of all classes, races, sexes and sexual orientation have sacrificed.  The least I could do was pour out a little wine out in their honor.  Happy Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Drink or Not to Drink, That is the Question

I have guests for dinner tonight and thankfully they have made themselves comfortable.  I, on the other hand, have a problem.  Looking over my personal wine collection a few things have immediately come to mind.  First, at a glance it isn't much of a collection any more.  The ever decreasing size tells me, that much like my bank account, I've been making more withdrawals than deposits.  Second, I have good taste in wine.  This leads directly to the third and most troubling thought.  Of the remaining wines, what is good to drink?

Years ago, when this blog was in its infancy I wouldn't have grasp the complexity of that question.  Even though I knew some wine can "mature" with age, I hadn't yet to experience the difference.  Even further back in my history, prior to this blog, life was much simpler.  If I was thirsty for wine and if a bottle was in reach, the only debate I'd have about a wine's readiness to drink was if a cork was still in the bottle's neck.  Of course, with the wide distribution of screw tops these days life gets ever easier.  (But that leads to an even bigger debate.)  As I examine each individual bottle remaining in my collection my concern is; is this wine ready to drink or not to drink.

One of my guest, noticing me frozen in thought, hands me an open beer and prepares to listen to the details of my internal debate.

In attempts to bring my quandary to life, I site a few examples from current events to illustrate my point.  On this evening of fun, with good friends and delicious food, I could easily throw caution to the wind.  I could frivolously opening the first bottle to find my hand, all the while thinking, drink it young and enjoy.  Wine for goodness sake is made to be enjoyed not deified.  In fact, their is no better example of celebrating the joy of wine for wine sake than the third Thursday of November.  The day which marks the official arrival of new wine, Beaujolais Nouveau.  However, one must remember for every action their is an equal and opposite reaching.  One need look no further than tomorrow's Sotheby auction to understand the value of patience.  Wine is about passion.  It is not an indulgent tramp to please one's fancy.  Wine was created to enlighten one's experience.  A good wine will make a meal more enjoyable, a great wine makes moments monumental.

After hearing me out, my friend cracks us a couple more beers so we can continue to stare at the wine collection.  As I take a sip I wonder what my other guests are drinking.

OMG - Drunk Dialing Made Easy

As a wine enthusiast, (drinker) I find I'm have tons of interesting information to share, hence I started this blog. (I'm a dorky know it all). As my sphere of influence has grown (I have too much time on my hands) I've noticed I have tons more to say (apparently I'm starting to believe my own Bull$#!%). Now, in addition to blogging I also tweet. (I'm so hip) But the problem I've come across lately is finding time to text, let alone type. (when you always have a drink in hand it hard to deal with those little buttons)

Finally, someone has invented something that really saves time. Welcome to the world of vlingo, the fastest way to get things done on your phone. Sure, to a simpleton (you) vlingo sounds like a voice activation app. However to a "business person" like myself, vlingo is a whole new world of possibility. When I first discovered vlingo I was compelled to crack a bottle of Sumarroca Brut Reserva, to celebrate.

This fine spanish bubbly was the prefect expression for how I felt when I first came across vlingo. On paper I'd describe the wine as intense straw yellow, with fine bubbles. The aroma showed good intensity, with notes aniseed, white fruit and bread. On the palette the mouthfeel is medium bodied, great acidity and fresh, with some persistence. But in average joe speak, (for you the reader) I was excited. At such an affordable price, this wine has endless possibilities to impress. Just like my new favorite toy, my vlingo app.

In fact, with glass in one hand and bottle of Spanish cava in the other, I able to send texts to all my friends about how great Sumarroca Brut Reserva is. Their is nothing so sweet as texting with ones voice. No more wasted phone minutes waiting for my turn to talk. Thanks to vlingo I can just speak my thoughts and my lucky friends get to enjoy my extraordinary insights. Don't worry I'll say it for you, viva vlingo.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Crush with Plenty to Do

I'm feeling surrounded, but for good reason.  Wine, wine everywhere, so much good stuff to drink.  This is a great time of year.  It's crush time, time to harvest those grape and enjoy last years vintage.  Problem is where to begin and then of course when to end.  Luckily harvest is a month long process so theirs plenty of time to enjoy, drinking it all in.  (and I do me all...)

As an optimist, I've been able to leverage my lingering "extended vacation".   I have ample time to indulge in the joy of this time of year. Like Kane from Kung Fu I envision a month of drifting from vineyard to vineyard soaking up whatever life has to offer.  And if my wisdom, calm demeanor or fist of fury are needed I will do what I can to positively impact the lives of those in need.  Otherwise, it just me and my flute, well not some much a flute but actually a fine piece of stemware.  That's not true either, it will likely be a crappy glass just nice enough to get the job done, but I promise it will get plenty of use.

On that note, off I go for a month of juicy good adventure.

[this post was written a month ago but in my exuberance to tour wineries I failed to hit the publish post button until now, I'm sure you all missed me]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Taste of the Past - Antinori Villa Toscana Rosso

Finally deciding to address those old boxes of stuff in corner, I open a bottle of Italian wine to help motivate me. I settled on Antinori Villa Toscana Rosso 2005, a very approachable Tuscan blend. I can't help but think about my time in Tuscany whenever I enjoy a glass of Antinori. As fate would have it, in one of the boxes, I came across a long forgotten travel journal from my time in Florence. Pouring myself another glass, I allowed the journal to open randomly, reading the first passage to catch my eye...

A four piece band strikes up in the middle of the Piazza della Repubblica. The passing people couldn't help but stop and takes in the Italian folk tunes. Looking up from my writing I see a stunning vision standing with her back to me. Her red heels may have caught my eye or perhaps it was the large floppy hat she had worn to subdue the intense Tuscan sun. Now however, as the sun was setting the breeze picked up.  At times she has to reach up and hold her hat down. I enjoyed drinking in the long elegant lines of her body. Loosing my train of thought, I ignored my writing to take a long sip of wine, waiting (or perhaps hoping) for a sign. A slight tap of her foot was all I needed. Slugging down the rest of my glass, I leave my seat in the cafe.

Without words, I approached her. Grasping both of her hands, I greet her with only a smile. Sliding my left hand down to her waist, we began to dance. She laughs, I smile wider now and our dance continues. As the allegro tempo slowed more to a waltz, I pulled her close and she lay her head on my shoulder. A gust of wind finally succeeds in pulling the hat from her head. Looking up suddenly we catch our first intimate gaze. In that moment we might have forgotten the hat all together if it weren't for the yelling. I turned my head towards it to see a waiter at the cafe waving my journal as he shouts in my direction. She turns in the opposite direction, hoping to spy her missing hat. Our connection breaks, each tending to our own business.

After unsuccessfully trying to explain my actions to the waiter, I finally give up.  I shower him with more euros than he deserved so I can turn my attention back to my dance partner. I scan the crowd for those beautiful red heels.  They are pointing directly at a pair of
black leather dress loafers. The man who's feet are inside is taller than I. The suit he wears is a conservative cut, nicer than any suit I had ever owned. A finely pressed white shirt accented by a deep ocean blue tie rounds out his ensemble.  It conveys an aura of seriousness, (hardly the demeanor to complement such a whimsical beauty as the woman in red heels).  In his hand he holds her floppy sun hat.  She on the other-hand holds his gaze.  It appeared she was doing some explaining of her own. Grabbing her hand, he turns and begins walking her from the piazza. With my notebook once again firmly in hand I stood alone. She glanced once over her shoulder. I gave her one last smile but doubt she ever received it.

...another sip and the wine's silky tannins bring me back to the present. I may not have this girl, but I'll always have her memory imprinted on this seductive Italian red wine

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Cab by a Different Name - Picchetti

Inevitably, a friend returns from a visit to the Bay area and I know the conversation before it takes place. We cover the basic tourist attractions: Alcatraz, Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, wine country, bla bla bla. In fact, the conversation is so predictable that I often begin to wonder why I haven't written a tour booklet for the region. Not because I know so much about all of these interesting places, but because I've been lucky enough to experience other things of interest.

Every city has them, untouched gems that tourist seem to miss. Perhaps that's why I haven't written my Badass Bay Area travel guide, I like that fact that my gems remain gems. Free from the bastardizing touch of the stereotypical ugly American tourist. (It's not all their fault of course, locals happily go out of their way to invent ways to separate these tourist from their cash.) Once people see theirs a buck to be made it gets ugly quick. Does anyone remember the gritty customer service friendly style of old Vegas, or the down-to-earth happy to see you farmers in Napa prior to this recent wine craze?

For my gaming pleasure Vegas is seldom in the cards anymore. But for down-to-earth wine tasting we still have options. Luckily, the country is still blessed with a few fun growing regions that consistently produce great wines. One such AVA is short drive southwest of San Francisco to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Incorporating parts of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo this region is full of unique and well established vineyards. Speckled with boutique wineries, one can easily spend a week exploring all the fine juice this region has to offer. Plus, you save yourself from the crowds, hassle and expense of the more famous tasting regions to the north. It can be hard to find many of these wines on at your local supermarket, but that can also be the fun of the trip, the discovery. One of my favorites, the Picchetti winery, dates back to the 1800's. A walk in the vineyard will reveal tree trunk sized vines (just beware the rattle snakes) but save yourself the walk and just enjoy the comforts of the tasting room.

The Leslie's Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a treat. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from our Estate Vineyards on Montebello Road. This wine is beautifully balanced. Rich and intense in color, the nose is tremendous. A classic Cabernet, luscious and bold with deep flavors of blackcurrant with a hint of chocolate. Decant now and drink or allow it to age beautifully over the next 20 years. It will not disappoint and neither will a visit to the Santa Cruz Mountains growing region.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Thanks For the Poppies

As the speed of activity from the summer begins to slow into the fall, I find myself looking around my world. What am I committed to, what to I care about, how am I connected? So much of what we do in this society is done for the "me" in all of us. Seldom do we address the "we" unless it is an indirect benefit of taking care of the "me" first. Slumping deep into my chair, I meditated on that thought as I took a gulp of wine.

Peter Michael "Les Pavots" 2006 is an amazing blend I was luck to receive as a gift. Almost black with a deep red edge. A profound bouquet of black cherry, licorice, black currant, blueberry pie and blackberry, combined with chocolate, vanilla, coffee, black tea.  The nose is almost overwhelmed.  Subtle spice notes of cloves cinnamon first great the tongue. Very full-bodied-concentrated yet graceful. The same rich, ripe fruit impressions from the nose dance on the palate with spice black truffle. The massive mouth feel is round with silky tannins with hints of mocha leading to a very long finish.

As a blend it is a beautiful balance of what each grape can bring to the glass. Some more than others bring on the deep color, others the wonderful nose, each adds to the harmonics of the palate. Alone no grape can make this wine. Each grape asserts characteristics from a micro climate it came from, bring the best of what it could produce with the conditions of the 2006 growing season.  Now together, this blend of grapes brings great pleasure to me as I struggle with my thoughts on disconnectedness.

Turning to my computer, I wondered what could be possible if we worked to create balance though connectedness. Imagine how delicious that world could be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time to Reflect - Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon

The gentle cords of the guitar lead in as I break out. On the open road now, I came for the space to clear my head. I drive and it feels good, windows down, volume up. The lyrics lacing in, grabbing my attention before helping me drift freely with my thoughts. The piano break bring me back briefly. Just long enough for me to acknowledge I have no direction planned. I have just over 100 miles left on this tank of gas, a tent, a change of clothes, 67.23 in cash and a bottle of wine.

When its time to pull over, I'll know. That's when I'll look for a nice: river, stream, or "crick". Finding a spot on it's bank, I'll pull up a log and sit. No need for a glass, I'll drinking straight from the bottle and listen for the coming dusk. The last bird songs in the trees over head, the breeze as it passes through the leaves, the deeper tone of the lapping water as it seemingly grows heavier with the dropping temperature. I anticipate peacefulness.

Away from the calls, away from the sorrys for my lose, away from all the stuff that comes with the death of a close relative, I will have time to be with me. Selfish as it maybe, I knew this morning I needed to take time for just me. My goal was to find a quiet spot were I could enjoy bottle of 2005 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. I want time to reflect on all that has passed. What a year it has been, what a year.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Scarrone - Simple Blend, But At A Price

It's early, at least it feels that way to my aching body. Through the lens of one good eye I scan the room. Empty wine bottles and glassware liter the room but no one insight. It takes all my strength to sit upright. I'm not yet prepared to move beyond this point, so I sit back and allow myself to sink into the couch. My head is pounding. I close my eyes and think back to what got me here...

A blur of good food, friends and tomfoolery rewinds in my mind. Once at the evenings source I play it forward. A ruby purple color pours slowly into a glass, unleashing intense aromas cherries with vanilla and hints of brown spice. At first sip refreshing acidity and rich tannins excite the pallet. Great complexity, excellent balance give way to a long lingering finish. In instinctively I wet my lips. It is as if I am once again sampling this fuller-bodied Barbera.

Damn you Vietti, your Barbera d'Alba Scarrone got me again. Such a beautiful wine. It is easy to find yourself giving in to her temptations, allowing the nights merriment to carry on until daybreak.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Different, Yet Still the Same - Sagelands Merlot

I haven't visited this city in years. I walk familiar streets that no longer have a familiar vibe. New shops in old spaces, buildings grown out of once open places, the old neighborhood is filled with fresh faces. I come to discover my favorite dive bar is now a hip coffee shop. I feel lost in my old town. Unable to take much more change I give. Settling for a outside seat at this hipster hangout, I need a drink. Thankfully they have more than just coffee on the beverage list.

With no stand outs in the wine list I resign to enjoy drinkable merlot from my past. As soon as my glass of Sagelands Merlot 2006 arrives I take a generous sip. Like visiting an old friend the wine fills my pallet with familiar notes. Lots of ripe berry fruit, accented by bitter chocolate and hints of leather. That's the good stuff that I remember from my last visit with this wine. A smile has finally returned to my face, I allow my eyes to close as I enjoy a second sip. This time I become aware of nice touches of smoke, fresh herbs, and a hint of leather. A new wrinkle in my memory of this wine.

Just then I hear the sweet tone of a voice almost forgotten. Opening my eyes, I see my surroundings differently now. I hear her voice again, this time it calls out my name. Turning, I see her for the first time in years. Different now, she is still beautiful. I invite her to join me for another glass of Merlot. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm in a familiar spot, with a familiar wine, enjoying the day and happy to be just were I am.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

You Said it Man - Happy Fourth

The words of our fore fathers continue to ring true..."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Soaking in the sun from my seat at the lakes edge, I pour myself a glass of wine. Hours from now, a massive display of fireworks will explode over head. Thanks to all who have fought and defended my right to party. Another Great Birthday USA.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Breath It In - That's a Goode Wine

Sitting with this beautiful blond, I realize just can't get enough of her. Constantly drinking her in threw my nose I am overwhelmed. A kiss from her honeysuckle fragrance gives me pause. A close my eyes to meditate on her; all that she is and all that she will be once I allow her to meet my lips.

Opening my eyes now I stare at her in the glass. The juice of the Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc 2008 displays a bright blond color, but it is her alluring aroma that holds my attention. With another deep inhale a crooked smile crosses my face. The pleasant taste imparted in my nose just might be enough. Too often we rush to the palate before we learn to appreciate the sensations on the nose. Like only experiencing half the love, the pleasure of the juice on the lips is nothing without the first enjoying the tantalizing bouquet that fills the nose.

Still, I could only tease my senses any longer. Prior to allowing the wine to pass my lips, I take one last long breath in. From the sweet scents of honeysuckle, my senses are quickly overcome by bursts of citrus and tropical fruit. The glorious blend of texture, bright notes of grapefruit and hints of tangerine fill my mouth. The moniker of Goode fits this wine well. Allowing the flavor to linger in the back of my throat I imbibe the nose once more. I'm in no hurry, my time with this beautiful blond will be savored.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Milbrandt Sauvignon Blanc - That's Workable

A cool breeze rustles the leaves as the trees sway along the bank of the canal. It’s a weekday so most of the water-craft traffic is of a working nature. Still, a few of the passing boats appear to be out for a pleasure cruise. A tour ship passes full of out-of-towners, their eyes fixed on the passing scenery. I stare back. I'm content here in the park, not trapped aboard a floating tour. I grab my glass of wine and take a sip. (I know I shouldn't be drinking in a public place but sometimes it feels good to break the rules.)

Today is a lazy work, at least for me. Rather than slaving behind the computer I'm working on a bottle of Milbrandt Sauvignon Blanc 2007. A Washington Sauvignon Blanc, this wine leans more towards fresh fruit rather than the herbal flavors found in some renditions. The nose delivers melons, apples, mangos, oranges and kiwis. On the palate the wine is clean, bright, fresh, lively and crisp. On a warm day like today there are few beverages more refreshing than a cool glass of young Sauvignon Blanc.

A couple friends arrive by bike to help finish the bottle. We have a ride planned, but for now we will enjoy the waning moments of the workday.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Give 'em the Bird - It's Summer

Gaming has always been a cherished pastime of mine. A passion with roots that run deep in my blood. So whenever the opportunity arises to place a bet, I often do. A friendly wager just makes things more interesting… sometimes very interesting.

I admit to not know much about horse racing or even horses. In fact, when it comes to equine most of my knowledge is based on Wild Horse wines. My current favorite being Wild Horse Verdelho 2008. One of the vineyards estate-grown bottling, this wine pairs beautifully with light summer dishes, hot summer weather and good friends. A refreshing summer wine displaying bright pear and ruby red grapefruit tones. Perfect for a Belmont stakes BBQ. I got very familiar with Wild Horse Verdelho during the pre-race festivities, some might say a little to well.

So with a lack of knowledge and a slight wine buzz, my limber mind and I decided to make the race more exciting by placing a small wager. Digging in the recesses of my mind I recalled a horse named bird was favored to win. And on such a warm day it was clear to me that the bird was the word, especial since the name was Summer Bird, or so I thought...

Friends, eager to take advantage of my apparent weakness jumped at the chance to get a piece of my half cocked wager. Soon the Verdelho fueled confidence took over, easing me into bets beyond my normal comfort level. (At this point I was still unaware of my misinformed choice of horse.) As the gates opened a large roar erupted among our modest group. As the horse began to sort out their positions, a cute blond leaned in to complement me on my bold bet. From her I soon learned that another horse named bird was actually the favorite and she thought I was crazy to bet against him. I could feel my drunken jaw drop open. This could be an expensive afternoon I thought, good thing I'm enjoying the wine. Not sure if she caught the expression on my face I decided it best to covered my tracks anyway. I turned to her, smiling as if perched in the cat-bird-seat, I laid a big wet kiss on her lips. Pulling back I exclaimed, "That's just me, bold."

The race was now in the final stretch. We locked eyes, I smirked and she smiled. The crowd around us went nuts as the unthinkable unfolded, Summer Bird took the Belmont. She leaned in to kiss me and I realized who the big winner was today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thinking Wine - I'm A Smoking Loon

Raising my glass to take in the sweet scents of floral and nutmeg I paused before allowing the straw colored juice to touch my lips. Then just as I began, I reverse. I set my glass down as I examine headlines...
'Idol' voting controversy
A corporate sponsor confirms that its employees helped Kris Allen fans send "power texts."

$100,000 for birthday party
Celebs like Tom and Katie go to extremes for their kids' bashes.

Genetically engineered monkeys pass green glow to offspring

...Its good to have important things to ponder I thought, as I again raised my glass. This time I hardly considered the nose as the wine approached my lips. I take a generous sip. My attention is fixed on the news rather than my drink. Of course, I could likely guess the description of the wine prior to tasting. Smoking Loon Chardonnay has a way of remaining consistently pleasant from vintage to vintage. Another thoughtless sip pass as I browse more of the important news of the day.

Now fully inspired by the world around me I take a moment to ponder. Complex flavors of green apple and pear with hints of oak which lend a butteriness with touches of vanilla. One more healthy sip, held briefly on the palette confirms my assumption. I continue to ponder; what was I thinking last year.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Two - Four Eh!

Belated of course, since we are now twenty-six years removed from Strange Brew, but for me the Two Four celebration just began.

After the conclusion of this evenings "Sixty Minutes", I discovered wine still in my glass. In an effort to entertain my now limber brain I began surfing channels, with little luck...

The NBA playoffs were on but the Super Sonics becoming the Thunder was the last straw, no more NBA for me. Sunday night baseball couldn't hold my attention so I passed. The Devil Wears Prada may have been the only movie of interest I could find but I had already seen it. For a time the "Fantasy Factory" held my attention but quickly the commercials brought an end to that. Once I resumed my search it seemed all I could find were shows about the illuminati, I guess I should see Tom Hanks new movie. Clearly the current state of television did not mesh with my current state of mind.

But in that realization I discovered a new option. A different way of thinking was needed. Off to the CBC for my answer, to which Canada replied with a rerun of the Two Four Tribute to Bob and Doug McKenzie. I was sucked in. Tom Hanks can wait, I hear the call of a different movie...Ka-roo-koo-koo-a-koo-koo-koo!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

After a Fine Wine I'm Still Tortured by Torture

I've always enjoyed Hedges Three Vineyards wine. This blend consistently perks me up at the end of the day. The wine has an intriguing nose of blackberry, plum and cherry with hints of cantaloupe in the background backed up by a chorus of toasty oak spice. Medium-bodied with velvety tannins and balanced acidity, the wine delivers the complexity of its bouquet on the palate. For the value, it has yet to disappoint or let down a meal. So, before diving in, to explore our latest hearing on torture, I thought I'd pour myself a glass of Hedges Three Vineyards wine to keep me company.

It wasn't long before I was disappointed. Not by the wine, but what I was reading. Rather than bang my head against a wall of partisan redoric, wallowing in the guilt of our nations moral failures and longing for good old fashion American ideals, I decided I should enjoy what their is to enjoy. (What has happened to the America I know?) I decided to turn my focus to the open bottle of wine.

Immediately closing my laptop, I grabbed the phone as I walked toward my fridge. As I dialed a friend as I opened the refrigerator's door. "Come on over and enjoy some dinner." I replied as my friend attempted a simple hello.

Without missing a beat he asked, "What are you offering?"

After a long stare at the nearly empty frig I answered, "Pizza. Pizza and wine."

I heard him say something about being on his way as I hung up the phone. It didn't matter, I knew his answer and I needed to make another call. Taking another sip, I let the velvety fruit flavor linger in my mouth slide before I spoke. "I need a large for delivery..."

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Bottle of Wine and No Whine

Home now, I am tired. To fatigued to search for a glass, I drink wine directly from the bottle. It feels good. With every sip I let go. Relaxing ever deeper from thoughts of work, lose or pain. I melt into the couch as my mind drifts to a distant shore.

Stuck somewhere between steady employment and permeate vacation, life is surreal. Freedom leads to fun which gives way to fear only to be tempered by increasing funds which ultimately limits freedom. So we chase our tail back to the beginning only to find ourselves at the end.

Another sip and I place the empty bottle near my feet. I am struck by an image that is crawling out from the recesses of my memory. Once, only an interesting composition, the painting suddenly speaks to me. I am in the image walking along this new shore.

I close my eyes to explore the possibilities. As I drift off I hear myself whisper, "Happy birthday Salvador, happy birthday."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If We Took A Holiday

As the fun of previous day subsides, I look back and ponder what was discussed. Sometimes when friends, fun and wine are gathered, crazy agreements arise out of such joyful moments. Therefore, it is always important to review the events of a day to honor the integrity of a plan and especially ones word. Yesterday, on April 20th, it appears a half bake plan was created. This plan is a holiday of sorts that now sounds to good to stop. Yesterday gave birth to the idea of an epic road trip...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Things We Do For Fun

Playing with tea bags seems like a waste of a sunny day in April. Tea is a glorious beverage to enjoy with friends and heighten the tone of a otherwise drab conversation. Tea is much better than a prop of a false protest, but then again tea in a bag like wine in a box is far from the good stuff, but I digress...

So rather than waste a beautiful sun drench day complaining, I invited a friend to meet at a patio. I thought we could share some wine while we watched for protesters. I'm betting the under on crowd size.

Monday, April 13, 2009


The rains of today have washed over me, unable to dampened my spirit. It has been another beautiful day in the world. The string of current happiness reaches back now for weeks rather than just days, hours or, as it was for a time, only minutes. Though the scares from the new year remain, and the hurt still lingers, I realize much of the pain from that time is buried now under the rebuilding efforts. Those efforts, finally taking hold, breath life into me.

My senses, dormant for a time in order to protect my heart are now re-awakening. Simply recalling the name of last nights wine, Antinori Tignanello 2005, brings on a vivid memory. I recall the perfumed, well-articulated aromatics in the glass. The wine's distinct scent melds into a soft, generous core of ripe red fruits is complemented by smoke, mineral, tobacco and spice overtones that fill the air.

To call this a rebirth is to not understand the process underway. The tragedy of the experience that brought me here has not gone away, nor will the wisdom that grew out of this time. I am not new, rather I feel alive once more...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Afternoon Delight - Brunch May Have a New Meaning

You never know what you might stumble across when surfing the web. Like unlocking the bowels of the human mind, everything and anything can be found inside. So when I discovered a previously unthought of use for bacon flavor I can admit; a little shock, no much surprise but a touch of curiosity, as in "why?" came to mind.

Allowing the brain to wrap itself around the idea, I guess I can envision how such an idea might work-up an appetite for a little "afternoon delight". Especially if that afternoon is merely the breakfast feast from an extended evening encounter the night before. (A good bottle of wine is know to bring people together in many ways, and how better to end such encounters then enjoying a nice breakfast.) Which is when it occurred to me that everyone loves bacon. So my thoughts changed from "why" to "why not".

Of course, allowing the thought to linger a bit longer I then wondered, what were the inventors of such a product snorting?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Message In A Bottle

While sharing a bottle of wine today the complexity of the banking industry sunk in, let me explain...
I found myself sitting at the bar at a small bistro, snacking on food but focused on wine. Rather than drinking glass after glass I cut to the chase and ordered a bottle. Next to me sat a well dressed man, who after a offer to share some wine, felt compelled to share his story. He was winding down a 30+ year carrier in banking. A journey that began when he was fresh back for our nations last tragic war, Vietnam. With a young family just beginning, he needed a job that would be stable, reliable and allow him to make decent money. Bank seemed to fit the bill, and for the majority of his life he was right. By working hard, not taking risks and conservatively investing his disposable income he was able to build a small fortune. As retirement approach he saw his net worth reach beyond 5 million dollars. It seemed that soon he and his wife would be able to relax into the sunset as the regal grand parents always financially able help a family member in need or spoil the grand kids when they wanted. As the son of immigrants he felt like he'd achieved the "American Dream". The dream that drew his parents to risk everything many years ago. Hope in the future of their child, this banker, was all they had to go on. No guarantees.

But now this man, who still wears a suit to work everyday (while the rest of us get away with jeans) was sitting next to me at the bar, with hope the only thing left in his eyes. Work for him is so slow that no one noticed that when he chose not to return from lunch. His bank, like many banks around the country is in trouble. So bad in fact that he may not have a job in a few weeks, much less a retirement. Additionally, his investments in the market have evaporated. This one time multi-millionaire now has a few hundred thousand in the bank. Just enough I figured to last out his uncertainty but no longer the empire he thought he'd created. His honest hard-work was now gone all because others were rewarded when they took shortcuts.

Still as we talked I felt no bitterness in his voice, only sadness. Sadness not for himself, but sadness for those around us. Unable, unwilling, unsure how to share their story. Tough times are ahead, tough times for us all. But as we sat and shared our wine I found hope in our talk. Together we'll find a way to get by...

Friday, March 20, 2009

It Begins Anew

Spring is here. A new season for growth is finally underway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green - But It Can Be

Right about now we all could use a little green, but today is not the day for worries. Instead, wear a little green. Drink something green. Celebrate because you can. Rather than being green, live happily and you'll discover that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Eco Nomics - Dude

If you're an American and you love wine, you must know it was California that helped make it all possible. Like it or not, before 1976 wine was not on the consumption map in the United States. Before that, good wine in the US was an underground delight known only by the few who sought it out. Now, wine making grapes are so readily available that California often experiences a grape glut. An unthinkable thought before that fateful day back in 76.

With the current struggles of the World's economy new pervious unthinkable ideas are starting to surface. California's own personal mess has this trend setting state contemplating a radical idea. Will this be the dawn of a new green economy?

We've heard it before, it is time for change. The problem is when are we going to listen. Perhaps we all need to take time to relax and alter our thinking.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Alone in the woods, I slowly made my way back to the car. The sun was just setting as the parking lot came into view, the serenity of my hike would soon be over. Rather than returning to society I decided to linger. Finding a perch on a fallen log, my new vantage allowed me to take in the many colors of the retreating sun. Believed I'd be taking in a few more moments of peace, I pulled a "water" bottle from my pack. it still contained a few swallows of wine. A choice Merlot, a winter sunset, and a chance for quiet reflection, I can't think a better way to end a day. Little did I know the events of this day in 1876 would shatter my hopes for a quite moment with the setting sun.

Back on March 10th, 1876, Thomas A. Watson heard the words that would forever alter human communication. A machine conveyed the audible thoughts of another person in a different part of the world. In that case the other room. The magnitude to the moment may have been lost over the years, especially now that we can easily share our most trivial thoughts with people on the other side of the world. But how different life once was, when it took human contact to pass along our intimate thoughts. Now we've grown accustom to the roll of machines in relaying our messages.

As I sat, believing to be alone, on that log with wine in hand I heard a muffed beep. Pulling my blackberry from my pocket I read the thoughts of a newly delivered text. " -- come here -- I want to see you." Apparently Mr. Watson was not to be the only one summed on this day.

I left my thoughts behind with the sunset and return to the car. Thanks to my phone the stress of society was back.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Buzz Killed - Have a Glass of Prosperity

When sudden prosperity slips away in the ether of just a prank, perhaps their is nothing better to wash away the pain then an affordably drinkable bottle of wine. Cheers to Prosperity...

Still, $500,000 would have been nice.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Take'n Her Easy For All the Sinners

I needed to roll. Back in the states and still jobless, a distraction was in order. Over a few glasses of wine, I convinced some friends that time at the bowling alley knocking pins around would help take the edge off the day. Strikes and gutters, life gives you both. The key is to just keep rolling and eventually something comes along that will make you smile.

Bowling has a way of cheering up the soul, but on this day it was the encounter we made that gave us that day's smile. There, practicing in the lane next to us was a guy preparing to bowling for a higher purpose, kids; in the hope of inspiring success and encouraging dreams. We all could use a little of that nowadays, so we gave him a few pointers and donated to his "Little Urban Achievers". I hope you do the same,... I'm sure the dude would.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Tuesday and I'm Fat

A week of sins can really take a toll on the body. No wonder Catholics give something up for lent, it is the only way to recover after a week of Mardi Gras celebrations. Red meat, alcohol, swearing, all list topers of things to give up for lent, and for good reason. When I sober up in the morning I'm guess abstaining from one, if not all of those may sound like a good idea... Of course a little red wine in moderation (aka - the blood of Christ) is not a bad idea. Even lent should be handled in moderation.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Welcome to the Baja

Cold beer in a hot shower, I taste of salt. Sometimes wine isn’t the right beverage for the occasion. After a day of chasing dolphins, swimming with sea lions and watching a grey whale partake in dinner, I’m back at home relaxing. Now clean, I can enjoy a feast of my own. Beneath a starlight night a plate of nachos and a few margaritas will do. It’s a perfect end to an almost perfect day. I feel happy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Take Me Away - Bring Me Wine

Finally aboard my flight, the last leg of travel is underway. Vacation will soon begin. The beverage cart arrives at my seat and the inevitable question is posed, “Anything to drink?” Before it becomes clear to my head, it is obvious to my mouth. I hear myself say, “A glass of wine would be nice.”

A plastic cup embossed with the word “Horizon” is placed before me. The white wine within emits floral notes with a hint of honeysuckle. Breathing in the wine’s bouquet, I feel the tenseness in my shoulders relax. It is only mid February but already the New Year seems long. This vacation marks a rebirth for me.

I toast myself with a glass of unknown wine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost in Transition

During the brief break between announcements I have a moment to think. However my focus is soon broken by the next broadcast, perhaps this news pertains to me.

Stuck between flights, time drags on with anxious anticipation. People moving in all directions, everyone has somewhere to go. Each of us wondering are we on time, is it delayed, am I in the right spot, do I have what I need, how long until I get there, when can begin to relax.

The promise of vacations feels so distant while trapped in the airport terminal. No one here is at ease. Instinctively the most nervous among us migrate to the bar in hopes of finding normalcy and escape from the masses. To me it feels like reaching for a crunch, a way to dull the senses. Still, I like the other I now share space with have come to the bar for a drink.

Here, in one of the distant outposts of LAX, my beverage choices are limited. I stare at the wine selection hoping that I’ve overlooked a gem, praying a suitable wine will soon reveal itself; no luck.

Rather than succumbing to disappointing juice I resign to lap the terminal once more. As I set out I’m greeted by another PA announcement, "Horizon flight 2603 has been delayed". It’s going to be a long walk about the terminal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stimulus Package

After another long fruitless day of searching for a job, I like many Americans sought relief. A knock at the door jarred me from the web and pulled me back to reality. Stepping away from my computer I went to answer the door. An old friend had come to visit and to make sure I still found joy in life. We sat down for a nice long talk...

I realized that through all the tough times and disappointment I can count on the joy of good friends. Life can feel hard but as long as we have friends it is worth pushing onward. As my pal departed he left behind a few choice bottles of wine. "I hope they help to inspire you in the future." he said as he turned to leave. Looking over the package of bottles I knew this delicious assortment of juice would fit the bill when the time was right.

Good Friends, good friends,...what more is their to say but THANKS.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Beating

Woe ho here it comes... In a couple more hours it will no longer be a surprise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Appreciation of Pink

Under the strain of tremendous change I've abstained form drink to dull my pain. Recently a wise friend convinced me it was time to relax my worries and dull my wanting mind. Initially I was hesitant to partake, especially when a bottle of "Pink" colored sparkling Italian Rosa was placed before me. But eventually every heavy heart needs a little love, so I was seduced to undress the bottle and drink in the beauty within...

Rosa Regale for me unleashed more than just stream of small bubbles bursting into aromatic hints of rose petals leading to a fruity floral flavor. Like a psychedelic drug it expanded my thinking and reopened my heart. Suddenly, from the back of my mind poured out the soft sounds of a new mantra,
na-na-na-na na-na na na-na-na-na na-na
na-na-na-na na-na na na-na-na-na na-na

The wine allowed me to look pass my personal guilt to see my pain..."I gave you life, I gave my all, You weren't there, you let me fall.."

I still except the effects of my misguided actions leading to this woeful change but the experience with Rosa Regale remained me that in every relationship two are to blame. And now removed for the intoxicant the sobering truth still lingers..."I've got a brand new attitude, And I'm gonna wear it tonight"

na-na-na-na na-na na na-na-na-na na-na
na-na-na-na na-na na na-na-na-na na-na

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change and the Unknown

The world is different today. Full of promise, full of hope, full of anticipation for a new future. I however find my mood tempered. What should be a joyous day is a somber moment. The lose of one's personal future can cloud the hope one has for the planet.

I known not where we are heading as a nation. I do know it will be a tough road. Eventually though we will weather the storm and the good times will return. That I know to be true.

I know not where I am heading. I have greater fear in this journey. I mourn the lose of my past that held all the hope of my future. But eventually I too will weather the storm and the good times will return. I know I must believe that to be true.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another Year Over

...A new one just begun. Like a tidal wave 2009 rushed in suddenly wiping out all signs of 2008. Indiscriminately it has cleansed me of all the baggage of the previous year, stripping me clean. Everything is gone, everything. I'm am vulnerable to the newness of it all and longing for the good things that were sacrificed with the bad. I hurt.

Have a drink without me, but please enjoy.