Archive for October, 2010

24
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty-two (14 Hands Merlot 2007)

I must share pictures of the pumpkins my girlfriend and I carved yesterday. They are pretty awesome.

Our Pumpkins

14 Hands MerlotNot bad for two amateur pumpkin carvers with only four hands. The one on the right is supposed to be screaming, but I think it looks like it is yawning. Maybe we took the picture too early in the morning.

Anyway.

To the wine – 14 Hands Merlot 2007. If you like Washington Merlots, you will like this one, especially at the sale price of $9.

It has a dark purple color that is 75% opaque. The nose is very mild, but it has cherries, plums, and vanilla. My girlfriend gets freesia.

It is juicy, but it has a semi-dry finish. It tastes like dark cherries and currants both of which have been lightly dipped in chocolate.

I would call the shape of this wine round. And might I add full.

The finish has some bitterness, but not much.

This is a good everyday wine. I’m going to give it 88 points because it put me in a good mood.//

18
Oct
10

Atomic Lit and Quantum Lit – Literature for Facebook and Twitter

I accidentally invented a new literary form the other day: Atomic Lit. (Surely, this has been done before, but I don’t know of it or its name.)

I wanted to write a story that would fit in a Facebook post. That’s 420 characters. And so I wrote the story “The Invention of Night.”

While writing it and trying to fit the title and story into the 420 characters, I had thought about using “1” for “one” and “1st” for “first” to save on character space. However, I thought that was cheating, so I made an additional rule: no abbreviations. You cannot use “1” or “1st” unless it’s grammatically correct to use “1” or “1st.”  There will be no using abbreviations like “w/” for “with,” or “b/c” for “because”, especially the latter because that’s a stupid abbreviation.

So the two rules in full are:

1. You are allowed 420 characters for the story or poem and the title.

2. You  must use the natural word. No abbreviations.

Here’s my first Atomic Lit story.

The Invention of Night

This was in the days of giants, when mountains were molehills. It was a very hot day, & a giant was looking for shade, but the trees were too small. The giant grew angry under the hot sun. He needed a cool spot to rest. The heat got to him. He punched the sky right in the cloud. The sky blacked out & filled with stars. This pleased the giant. Soon he fell asleep under the first cool night sky.

As you can see, I broke rule two twice by using “&” for “and”, but I have long held that the ampersand is a word. You can make your own decision.

Now that I think about it. Rule three.

3. No semicolons.

That’ll also reduce cheating. So use “, and” or “, but” or “, or” instead of the semicolon. You shouldn’t be using semicolons anyway.

You could use this Atomic Lit form to write poems, too. Somehow, I think it works better as prose because of the visible tension for the reader – “How will this story end? There’s not enough room to end.” And the writer gets tension by trying to fit the story into 420 characters. Poetry already has enough tensions, so it doesn’t need this one, but go ahead and do it anyway, if you want.

I’d like to see a good Atomic Lit story. One that is better than this one, anyway. For me, my first draft, which was far too long, was better than the final Atomic Lit piece above. The first draft had more detail that contributed to the story’s tone, movement, and feel. Plus, it had a good rhythm. A fairy tale-like rhythm. That rhythm is now lost. This current Atomic Lit story  can be expanded so much. I imagine they all can.

For now it’s a good exercise in condensing.

But by writing more of these, you or I can figure out what the new form wants to do and how it can be a successful way to tell a story.

So why Atomic Lit? Because it’s small. It gets down to the constituent parts of writing. If one felt inclined, then one could get into an smaller form, which I’ll call Quantum Lit. That’s a story with the same rule two as above, but rule one is limited to 140 characters. Quantum Lit is for Twitter. Atomic Lit is for Facebook.

And then let’s add Quark Lit. Quark Lit is a story told in six words like Hemingway’s saddest story ever told: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I think this from already exists under another name.

Please share your Atomic Lit, Quantum Lit, and Quark Lit stories in the comments below this blog entry.

Have fun. Allons-y.//

15
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty-one (Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2007)

Odfjell Armador Cabernet SauvignonTonight is Odfjell Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2007.

Cube PlanetI love that the consecutive letters D F J are in its name. D F J. It sounds like a string of letters in an alphabet. Like an alphabet of prime numbers and consonants from a planet in a different galaxy where there are no vowels. Surely this wine comes from the planet Dfjg3klmnpq5. It’s probably a cubed-shaped planet, too.

It turns out I’ve had this wine before on day nineteen of the juiciest wine tour. Luckily, I have forgotten everything about this wine. (I though the label looked familiar, but after a while, the labels blur in my memory.)

So, this is a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Chile is so hip with wines right now. I expect a lot from this one, even though it was only $9 on sale.

It looks big bodied as it is 95% opaque with a dark purple color. The meniscus is of average size with the middle layer a sunset pink color. This pink color will complement the muted grapefruit nose. Some one commented somewhere that it was passion fruit, which it may be. My girlfriend picks up whiskey or bourbon on the nose. I also get cigars, figs, and blackberries. It definitely has lots of alcohol and legs that don’t move.

This goes down easy as its cool and smooth. It tastes similar to the nose. I also pick up a cola, which is always fun. I also get earl greyer tea.

The grapefruit or passion fruit is just getting in the way of what could be a really good wine.

Now, when I reviewed this on June 17, I got a completely different tasting on this. This time it’s like a fru-fru mixed drink and last time it was like forest of funk. It was better last time. Much better. That’s just bizarre.

This wine is put together well, but because of the nose and how that nose lingers, I’m giving this 86 points. Get rid of the nose and how it lingers, and this Chilean cab is 89 or 90.//

14
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty (Apothic Red 2008)

Apothic Red 2008Tonight’s wine is Apothic Red 2008. It’s a blend of “Flavorful Syrah, Rich Zinfandel, and Smooth Merlot,” so says the back label. More specifically, “it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.” That’s what Robert Parker said in his review. More specifically he said:

I am breaking my own rules about only reviewing Napa wines in this report simply because this is one of the greatest bargains I have ever tasted from California. Made by the Gallo family, it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that comes from primarily Lodi as well as Sonoma, the Central Coast, and Napa. Discounters will undoubtedly have it for even less than $10. A hedonist’s dream, this fruit-bomb exhibits loads of berry fruit, pepper, and spice, silky tannins, and an attractive mouthfeel. Neither heavy nor overly alcoholic, there are 15,000 cases of this beauty, which will provide enormous relief for weary, recession-challenged wine consumers. It should drink well for 1-2 years. Bravo to Gallo!

Damn. That’s a fine review. It makes you want to go out and buy a case.

Now, it’s not that I don’t trust Robert Parker, but I want to share my sensations. Oh, I do hope this is the juiciest wine. After sixty days, it’d be well worth it. So here it goes.

Allons-y.

Black Forest CakeWell, the nose definitely a fruit bomb. I’m drooling. I can smell the Merlot and some vanilla. It kinda smells like a Black Forest Cake.

Already I’m thinking they made this wine just for me.

Alright, what else is in there?

I think there might be black berries, too. I can’t get anything else, though there is definitely more in there.

Let’s taste, shall we?

Wait, I just looked at this. The meniscus is almost non-existent. That’s so rare to find. It’s so, so thin and of one color. Usually there are two or three layers to the meniscus, and the top layer is always clear. The clear layer on this one is hair thin, and the pink-purple layer below it is three hairs thin. Well, maybe six. It’s thin, man. Thin. Usually that only occurs with older wines.

Matured WineHas this wine matured? Oh my. I’m giddy.

Let’s taste, shall we?

It’s peppery up front and of sweet and sour cherries on the finish. It’s a sweet wine. Not like Finger Lakes sweet or Red Cat sweet. Just sweet for this type of blend. It must be coming from the Merlot.

Actually this is kinda thin for a blend with so much Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cab.

I’ll agree with Robert. It’s good for $10. Though the sweet finish is getting bothersome. It would go good with a curry or many Indian and Thai foods. This would go good with shrimp in garlic sauce from a Chinese restaurant.

Alone, the sweetness is getting to me. It’s not too bad. I’d say 87 points.

If you like a sweeter wine, you’ll like this. If you tend to the dry, you probably won’t like this.

Now that I think about it. This is like a desert wine, but thiner. Serve it with ice cream on the porch in the summer or with waffles and syrup in bed some Saturday morning in December during a snow storm. Then go outside with some hot chocolate and catch snow flakes with your eyelashes.//

12
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-nine (Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006)

Tonight is my girlfriend’s birthday, so I am making Spaghetti Puttanseca with Flaked Tuna sans Olives. With it I will serve, Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006.

Kevin Smith in MallratsThe name does not inspire much confidence because I immediately think of Kevin Smith in Mallrats as he tries to fly through the mall in his Batman outfit.

Chateau Malbat Bordeaux 2006A little research tells me this Bordeaux is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

A little research also tells me there aren’t any good pictures of this wine and none show the whole bottle, so here’s the best picture on the internets.

The first thing I smell in this 75% opaque but spirited purple wine is the Merlot. It smells like a wonderful Merlot from Washington. So cherries, green apples, a little cola, and some caramel or vanilla. The Merlot dominates the nose. There are also currants and maybe some plum.

I think my favorite part about any wine is the nose. It’s so evocative in sense and imagination.

This tastes nothing like its wonderful nose. It’s not bad, but it’s not wonderful. I get cloves on the palate and tobacco on the finish. The acidity makes me think it will go good with tomatoes. Maybe the spaghetti puttanesca with tuna that I ‘m serving.

There is a definite battle going on between the Merlot and the Cab Franc. And the two disparate tastes aren’t jiving well. It needs an alimentum interruptus. It needs red alimentum. Or maybe a few more years.

This wine is okay. By itself, it’s 86-87. With some tomatoes in spice and garlic, the tobacco really comes out, and it flies like Kevin Smith to 88.5 points. And like the flying Kevin Smith in Mallrats, it comes up a little short.

Yet, with the tomatoes, it is still Yum.//

11
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-eight (Val de L’Ours Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2008)

Languedoc RegionTonight’s wine is Val de L’Ours Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah 2008 from the Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) winery. Val de L’Ours, according to the back label, translates into (Valley of the Bear). This wine, also according to the back label,  is from the “mythical Languedoc Region” in France, and it is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah.

This has a deep nose that parallels the depth of the dark, dark ruby color. The nose also comes with plums and dark cherries. There is also some earthiness down there. And something sweet like a pie or a spring afternoon near a lake. And now it’s getting flowery.

 

A Faun by Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse

A Faun by Hungarian painter Pál Szinyei Merse

 

I’m getting images of a mythical faun playing a pan flute.

Let’s get to the drinking of this not so mythical wine that is already making me drool.

This has lots of alcohol. And it’s definitely an old world Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. That means it’s thiner than a new world Cab and Syrah. I much prefer the bigger new world versions.

It definitely tastes like a $9 wine, which is ok.

It has a lingering taste of a very young wine. This needs some bread and cheese. It needs olive oil and balsamic vinegar. An 18-year-old balsamic vinegar from F’Olivers.

It also needs a few more years in the bottle.

Overall, I’d say 87 points.

Remember, my point scale is comparative. So I rate this in comparison to other wines that wine raters, such as Wine Spectator,  have rated 87 points.//

05
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day fifty-seven (Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek ValleyThree Vineyards 2007)

Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards 2007Tonight’s wine is Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley Three Vineyards 2007. I went to the vineyard’s website to find an image. While I was there I saw that this wine isn’t all Cabernet Sauvignon. Here’s the technical information:

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley Composition: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot Aging: 12 months, French and American Oak barrels Alcohol: 14.4% Acidity: .622g/100ml pH: 3.62.

(http://www.pedroncelli.com/wines/wine.asp?p=380)

And it’s three vineyards because:

Three of Pedroncelli’s estate vineyards provided the fruit for this wine. Comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, these varietals develop exceptional character in the vineyards sites situated on the Dry Creek Valley bench. This area receives the right amount of sun and cooling fog which develops optimal flavors in the grapes. Careful vineyard management during the growing season defines our style even more.

(http://www.pedroncelli.com/wines/wine.asp?p=380)

So we got a balancing act between three grapes, sun, cooling, and vineyard management. Let’s see how it goes.

Allons-y.

It’s 75% – 80% opaque, which is quite transparent for a Cabernet Sauvignon. And the color is a bit light for a cab, too. However, it has the fat legs of a cab. And it has the nose of a cab – deep, dark, and complex.

On a deeper inhale, though, it doesn’t smell like it is from California. It smells like a Finger Lakes cab. More specifically, the Cab Franc is taking over the nose. I don’t much like Cab Franc, unless blended as it is here, but this one smells like a Finger Lakes Cab Franc, which tends to be pretty good and very earthy – upstate New York earthy. In fact, I’d say the west side of Cayuga Lake and near the middle.

Strong InteractionThere’s a tension in this wine between the Merlot’s sweetness and fruitiness with the Cab Franc’s earthiness and sourness. It’s like the Cabernet Sauvignon is holding it together. It’s like a nuclear wine. In the nucleus of this wine’s atom are the Merlot proton and the Cab Franc neutron and the Cabernet Sauvignon’s strong force is holding them together.

If you like Cab Franc, you’ll like this wine. It’s tasty and well balanced.

I like this wine a bit, but for me, it needs less Cab Franc. I wouldn’t buy it again, but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me.

The Wine Enthusiast gave this 91 points. Despite my recent distrust of the Wine Enthusiast based on it’s very generous rating of a Bare Foot wine, I understand this high rating. Though I think it closer to the 88-89 range.

The more I sip this, the more I like it. It gets more smooth.//




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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