Archive for July, 2010


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-six

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2005I’ve been laying out Redactions: Poetry & Poetics lucky issue 13 for most of the day today. I’m nearly done. In the issue is a wonderful poet from Napa, CA. I was jealous when I saw she lived there, but now I’m going to make her jealous. I’m going to drink Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Napa Valley, CA.

The other day I Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, and I fell in love. It was the best wine I’ve had in a long, long time. I was going to get it again, despite the price, but when I saw the last bottle of 2005, I changed my mind. I had to try the 2005 and compare it with the 2006.

I like the red, wax-stamp blotch on the label. That, as far as I can tell, indicates 2005. The squiggly lines or intertwined grape vines indicate 2006.

(Reminder: This Hall is Craig and Kathryn Hall. It’s not Robert Hall.)

So here we go with the 2005. I doubt it will be as good as the 2006, but here goes.


The meniscus is not transparent. That means it’s mature or close to it. The wine itself is dark purple that’s about 97.5% opaque.

It has a nose of menthol and cigarette smoke. Hey, who was smoking when they made this wine? I also get ripe cherries. It’s such an interesting nose. There’s one dominant smell I’m trying to identify. Nutmeg. Figs. Musky. (My girlfriend says it smells manly and like a cologne.)

It’s spicy. It’s thin for Cabernet Sauvignon. And it’s slippery or oily.

Spicy and tart finish. The finish is reminiscent of the Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, which I tried the other day, too. And on the long finish, a bit bitter.

This certainly is not as good as the 2006. It’s on par with the just mentioned Rutherford.

It’s definitely not worth spending $40 or even the $30 sale price currently at Mahan’s. For $10, it’s good. I just don’t like the finish. Maybe it will change with more time and food, but, I’m meh on this.//


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Please DonateRedactions:  Poetry & Poetics is preparing to release its next issue.

If you can help us in the endeavor, please donate and help us keep placing poetry and beauty in the world.

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Thank you for the support.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-five

Tcherga 2006I’m going to try a Bulgarian wine tonight. Tcherga 2006. It’s 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Mavrud. Mavrud is unique to the Thrace region in Bulgaria (so says Wikipedia), and this wine is from the Thracian Valley Region in Bulgaria. Tcherga, by the way, is pronounced ch er ga (so says the back label). The back label also says, “Tcherga . . . waiting to be discovered.” Well, that’s what I’m going to do now.

The color seems ordinary to me. I can see through it. It’s like a dark Pinot Noir but not as pretty.

I like the nose quite a bit. It has white pepper and dark berries. I feel distracted and can’t get into its nose anymore. Hopefully, I can concentrate on the taste. But then again, this lack of sleep is getting to me.

It’s thick and earthy but not too earthy because the cherries are saving it. I think there might be some green apples in the background, too. It tastes bigger than it looks or smells. (My girlfirend picks up chocolate covered cherries, and once again, she is correct!)

It has a slightly spicy finish on the front of the tongue.

This will probably go well with steak and red sauce pasta or pizza and, dare I say it, chicken wings and blue cheese. Oh chicken wings. I haven’t had your love in about two years.

Anyway, this wine is $7 at Mahan’s in Brockport. It’s worth the price.

I imagine wine critics would give it 86 or 87 points.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-four

Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2007Yesterday’s Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley was awesome, so I’m going to try another. This time Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

This will be quick. Allons-y.

This has a thick two-layered meniscus. Clear up top and pinkish on the bottom. It’s not as opaque as I would expect from a cab. I can see through it from top to bottom, barely, but I can. But if I add those two perceptions together, I conclude with a wine that is probably still a bit young.

Nonetheless, it is open. So allons-y, again.

There is some pepper on the nose. There are juicy cherries and plums. Red, bright cherries. Way back is some bacon, too. Salty bacon.

At this stage, about 15 minutes, it is also like the Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 was 15 minutes in – dry and juicy.

A cab usually has a bigger body than this, but I can deal with the body. It resembles a Merlot body to me and Merlot texture.

It has a tart finish.

The nose is definitely the best part of this wine. I like the texture and it tastes good. The finish is tart and a little distracting.

Another 15 minutes passes. . . .

The bottle has been open for about 30 minutes now. The tart finish is fading away but is still there. This is much more enjoyable.

This is getting pretty good. I’m starting too like it. I’ll probably get this again because the nose is beautiful, and in the mouth, the body, texture, and taste are enjoyable. I’ll ignore the finish.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-three

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006Today was a good day, though expensive with car repairs. To celebrate I will drink a $40 bottle of wine. If you are going to spend a lot of money in one day, you might as well spend a Lot of money and enjoy it. (Pssst. Don’t tell anyone. It was on sale for $30. Virtual high-five. Whap! Thanks Mahan’s. You rule.)

What is the expensive wine? Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from Napa Valley. This Hall is Craig and Kathryn Hall and not Robert Hall.

It’s got a whole bunch of things going on in the nose. Dark berries, caramel, vanilla, melon, leather. My girlfriend gets a bloody steak or steak tartar.

It’s juicy and dry at the same time. Yes, juicy up front and dry after the finish. The flavors harmonize well in the mouth, which to me means it is hard to discern what is going on. However, it is delicious.

I think there is some coffee in there. Like a Guatemalan coffee. Guatemalan Huehuetenango? Maybe.

I also get plums. I love plums especially in wine.

Slightly peppery finish, too.

It is dry on the gums after the swallow. Some cheese is necessary, but, man, this is an awesome wine. I love it!

Okay, that was true for half an hour. About 45 minutes later, it’s a clean finish. It’s beautiful.

I did a little research. Wine Spectator gave this wine 94 points.

Whatever. It’s damn delicious wine, and it gets better the longer it is open. I’m falling in love, but it will only be a one-night stand. (Pssst. Don’t tell my girlfriend.)//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-two

Belle Vallée Pinot Noir 2007I thought about Oregon Pinot Noirs today. I love Oregon Pinot Noirs. They are the best, especially from Willamette Valley. Erath is my favorite Oregon Pinot Noir, but tonight it will be Belle Vallée Pinot Noir 2007.

This will be a quick entry, too. Allons-y.

It has a translucent body, as an Oregon Pinot will. It’s light purple, I suppose.

It has a big nose and smells like western Oregon. The nose also has dark berries and one yellow flower on the periphery. Maybe some pomegranate, too, as my girlfriend noticed. It also smells tight, which concerns me.

It has a bigger body than I expected, and it is not tight.

Once the wine hit my tongue, it gave me an internal smile. It started off juicy but didn’t finish as juicy. It had juicy strawberries up front and finished with raspberries.

This is quite delicious.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day thirty-one

Right now I’m trying to design a cover for William Heyen’s next volume of journals, volume 2. He is so prolific. He writes more than Joyce Carol Oates or Stephen King. He’s got like 50 or more collections of poems, a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m not going to list, and his journal. 600+ pages per volume, and the first one was about a 9-point type size. He’s got about 20 of these. Anyway. I’m designing a possibly cool cover for volume 2, but I need a break. Actually, I need a drink.

Plungerhead Lodi Zinfandel Old Vine 2008So tonight it is Plungerhead Lodi Zinfandel Old Vine 2008. I’ve heard this is  jammy. I heard the vines are 100 years old. I’ve heard the grapes have been purposely stressed out, which is a good thing. It makes the grapes taste better. The vineyard also, as I understand it, uses a wild yeast. If this wild yeast behaves as it should and the wine maker knows what he or she is doing, then you will get very good results.

Let’s talk about yeast for a second. There are two yeast than can be used: wild and cultured. When a using a cultured yeast in the wine making process, the  cultured yeast ferments the grapes without much trouble – it begins fermenting right away and finishes fermenting. It works from beginning to end. Fermentation is what turns grape juice into wine. With a cultured yeast, the wine will be 12% to 13% alcohol. With the cultured yeast, the fermentation process is more controlled, and it won’t get sticky.  There will be little hassle with the cultured yeast.

With wild yeast, the fermentation process does not begin right away, as it does with cultured yeast. With wild yeast, the fermentation process begins whenever it finds sugar, and then the wild yeast might act as it should. If it does, it will turn grape juice into wine. However, sometimes wild yeast can end up being sticky. If it does, then there is a lot of work to save the wine. When the wild yeast does act correctly, then you will get a wine with more depth and dimensions that could be had with cultured yeast. Oh, and most important, more alcohol. Up to 16%. The Plungerhead Lodi Zinfandel Old Vine 2008 has 14.9% alcohol. So, yay!

What does Lodi mean? It’s a region.

Zinfandel is California’s favorite son. Unlike the classic French and Italian varietals, whose history in the New World is well charted, the origins and history of Zinfandel remain mysterious to this day. Research at the University of California, Davis, has uncovered clear genetic links to two European grapes: Italy’s ‘Primitivo’ and Croatia’s ‘Plavac Mali’; but wines produced from these grapes bear only a passing resemblance to California Zinfandel. It seems that Zinfandel, regardless of its origins, is truly a California phenomenon.

Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and dozens of other European varietals which first entered California at the port of San Francisco in the mid-nineteenth century, Zinfandel appears to have come to us by way of a New York nursery in the early part of the nineteenth century. It’s virtues were immediately apparent: prolific producer of large clusters, up to three flowering cycles per season, and juice capable of reliably producing very good wine. It is no wonder that this varietal was esteemed above all others in California for red table wine in the nineteenth century. Zinfandel vineyards sprang up in Sonoma and Napa Counties, in the Sierra Foothills, in the Central Coast, throughout the Central Valley . . . and in Lodi.

There are more old, head pruned Zinfandel vineyards in Lodi today than in any other region of California. Since Lodi had been upstaged by other regions until late in the 1990s, few consumers had even heard of Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel. Worse, the distinguished fruit of most of these fine, old vineyards was sold to large wineries, to be blended with fruit of lesser quality.

Today, Lodi is undergoing a Renaissance. . . .




That seems a good description to me.


Is Plungerhead a superwine hero?

So we got stressed out old-vine grapes from Lodi, a fermentation process using wild yeast, and a dude with wine barrels for thighs and a plunger on his head. This has to be delicious and fun.

Alright, so lets get to it. Allons-y.

It’s bright and deep purple with lots of legs, because of the wild yeast yielding 14.9% alcohol! It has a thin meniscus, particularly thin for such a young wine.

It has a jammy and spicy nose. A big nose. Vanilla. Cherries, like cherries from a farmers market. Like those cherries that are closer to ruby in color than red, and with a seed in the middle.

Oh my, I love this texture. It is really jammy. Like raspberry jam, but without the seeds. Oh, it’s so fun to swirl in the mouth. There might be some plum in there, too.

I think there is bacon on the finish.

I can’t stop tasting this wine. And oddly, I think I can taste the terroir of Lodi. I have some Lodi Zinfandels before, and when I drink this, I recall them. It’s in the back of the mouth right before I swallow, a second or two after I swallow, and in the nose as I hold the wine in my mouth.

This wine is so fun to drink. There’s a juiciness to it like the juiciness from biting into a mushroom.

It’s delicious.

Oh wild yeast, how I love you.

I’m glad “Zork Dork is back!”

Get a bottle, and you will understand that reference.//

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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