Archive for December, 2010


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-six (Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2005)

Geyser Peak Block Collection Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2005It’s about three-and-a-half hours until my fifth collection of poems, The Oldest Stone in the World, is released from Amsterdam Press. While I wait, I’ll be drinking the Geyser Peak Block Collection Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, which last night when I opened it was horrible. I mean, the nose was good and it tasted pretty good on the palate, but the finish, ug, it destroyed everything. This seems odd to me because the last time I had this I thought it was damned good. Sometimes a wine is better the next day, and that’s what I’m hoping for. Wines are never good the third day. Yuck.

The nose is still good. It’s big and dark with dark currants and some cherries. On the palate it’s pleasant, but the finish is still tart, but better than yesterday. It’s also dry on the finish, which is fine. I think you have to acclimate yourself to this wine because the tartness is going away with each sip.

The palate has cassis or anise, too, which is probably what is exploding on the finish.

I think this might be a bad bottle. I liked it before. Also, because I was wondering if other people liked it, I did some research, and other people liked it, too. The Wine Enthusiast gave it 91 points.

I think this is a bad bottle, especially when you consider the other reviews and my previous review here.

Perhaps it’s time to open another bottle.

Happy new year to all of you!//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-five (Monte Antico Toscana 2006)

The new years is almost here, and so is my newest collection of poems, The Oldest Stone in the World (Amsterdam Press). With a release date of 1-1-11, it will be the first book of the year. But that’s not what I want to write about. No.

Jimi Hendrix Newport 1969

Jimi Hendrix Newport 1969

I want to write about two things: Jimi Hendrix and Monte Antico Toscana 2006. I’ve been listening to Jimi again. I always knew he was good, but now I think I’m getting him. No, it’s not like an intellectual getting when you talk through your nose and say something like, “Mm, yez. I certainly do dig this fella’s music. Yez, bravo, young chap. Quite good. Quite good, indeed.” I’m actually just feeling him. His music feels good. I don’t think he’s playing the guitar. I think he’s just making sounds that sound good to him and everyone. I’m listening to him live in Newport June 22, 1969 – the first part of the All Star Jam. He’s exploring the songs he already made masterpieces. He’s making them new. What else can you expect from an artist. But there’s more than all of that. It’s his presence or the presence that surrounds him. There’s an ease around. A peacefulness and a playfulness. It’s a bit similar to joy. I could on, but I won’t get any closer to describing what I’m saying. Needless, Jimi is awesome, and I have always underrated him, and I had always rated him high.

Monte Antico Toscana 2006I have similar feelings about Monte Antico. I’ve been underrating this wonderful wine. I’ve always liked it. Always being less than a month. Since December 3. Even in the Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs. Monte Antico Toscana 2006 battle, I knew it was good, but I underrated it. In fact, since that Toscana battle, where the Modus won, it’s not the Modus that I’ve been returning to. Nope. I’ve been returning to the Monte Antico Toscana 2006. And I’ve been returning to it often. Part of that, a minor part, is the $10 Mahan’s sales price. Man, this is an amazing wine for $10.

In the last words of “We Gotta Live Together – Feels So Good,” Jimi sings:

Let me drink that wine. Feel it. Feel it in my bones, baby. I feel so good.

He knows what’s up. He’s talking to me from the beyond.

I love the jammy nose of the Monte Antico Toscana 2006, on the palate it has heavenly, juicy fruits, berries, and plums, and it finishes with caramel. It’s bright and alive. The Monte Antico Toscana 2006 pairs well with many foods.

As Jimi says at the beginning of the 1970 Randall’s Island concert:

You know the same old rap. Forget about yesterday and forget about tomorrow. We’re just gonna have fun tonight, right? Let’s just get it on tonight.

I think that sums up the Jimi Hendrix presence for me and what I’m going to do tonight with this wine.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-four (nine stones barossa shiraz 2008 vs. Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2006)

At last. The day has finally arrived. No it’s not Xmas Eve. It’s the day of . . .

The Battle of the Shiraz

Tonight’s battle will be between Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 and Peter Lehmann of the Barossa Shiraz 2006.

Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 vs Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2006

What can we expect from this battle. Well, the other day we saw the first appearance of Nine Stones and it displayed some major tastiness. I loved it. You can read about it here. Peter Lehman should be a worthy competitor. I have not tasted this wine in some time, and maybe never vintage. All I remember is that it was big.

So let’s get to it, but first some introductions.

Coming in with a screw top cap and at $11 on sale at Mahan’s is the Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz. It has received ratings as low as 92 from Wine Spectator and as high as 94 from the Wine Enthusiast.

And in this corner with a screw top and at $12 on sale at Mahan’s is the Peter Lehmann of the Barossa Shiraz 2006. The Lehmann has received ratings as low as 89 from James Halliday and as high as 91 from the Wine Spectator, and Wine Spectator said it was a Smart Buy in 2009. Still, Peter Lehmann comes in as the underdog.

What makes the battle exciting is that they are both from Barossa, Australia.

Barossa Valley, Australia

Let the contest begin.

All right guys. Clink glasses and come out drinking.

The glasses of wine come out slowly and present their colors and menisci.

The Nine Stones is black cherry in color and 98% opaque and it has a deep meniscus. The Peter Lehmann has a similar color but it’s darker but not much. They are almost identical, but the Lehmann has a taller meniscus. The meniscus is the only way I can tell them apart.

Round Two. The Nose.

Round Nose

Here come the noses. Peter Lehmann leads with a dark, musky nose, but with some sweet plums, or plums and vanilla. And there might be a hint of cola, too, as my girlfriend nose says.

The Nine Stones nose is much different. It’s earthier and hardier, but it is also sweet but with sweet green apples. There also might be some cloves and something like cantaloupe or a light citrus. (Maybe it’s a tomato.)

As I rapidly go back and forth between the two, they actually share that same earthy, muskiness. Is that the odor of Barossa?

I think I like the Lehmann’s nose a bit better, but not much, and only because it’s more floral. There is nothing wrong with either nose.

Round Three. The Tasting.

Round Drink

Finally, all that matters – the tasting.

Oh the Nine Stone is so yummy. It’s drier than I remember, but it still has the three-part finish: pepper followed by tannins followed by fruit, maybe something like an orange with cloves like a traditional Xmas present (my girlfriend picked up on that). I also pick up raspberries and dark cherries before the finish  – you know, in the mouth. And there’s a hint of chocolate. Last time this wine was fruitier and there was more chocolate.

Now, the Lehmann. That’s as I remember it – big, dark, and tart. It’s not at all like the nose. The finish is quite bitter. This seems closer to a typical Shiraz in body and size. The Nine Stones isn’t nearly as big and is small for Shiraz. The Lehmann has blueberries up front and there is dark, baker’s chocolate on the finish.

How can these wines come from the same valley?

I like the Lehmann. If it wasn’t in the Battle of the Shiraz, it would seem good. 89 points good. But in this battle, I’m digging the Nine Stone much, much more. The Lehmann’s is almost too much for me. Maybe it needs some food to tame it. I like the Nine Stones fruitiness much more.

Nine Stones easily wins this one for me. 93-89.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-three (Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008)

It took me a long time to remember where and why I purchased this Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 from “north of Adelaide in South Australia,” but I figured it out. I picked it up in the Hannaford Farms in Rutland, VT, the day before Thanksgiving. It must have had a note that it received 90 or more points from some place, else I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. I always to try to pick out new wines, especially when I’m out of state, and this one jumped out at me. It doesn’t seem to be jumping right now, but that might change. I hope.

Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008

Anyway, I did some quick research. It received 94 points from the Wine Enthusiast, 92 points from the Wine Spectator (according to one source) but at the Wine Spectator website HS gave it 89 points, and Stephen Tanzer at the International Wine Cellar gave it 92 points.

Ghost WritingHopefully, this Shiraz will give me some energy, because I am neither awake or asleep.

I think a ghost is typing this, or at least there’s a ghost in the machine.


Wake up! Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.

Now that’s a quote from a ghost buried in Paris.

Jim Morrison's grave

This evening’s entertainment will be new with a wine you can barely see through. It’s dark and ruby. I think it will taste rather groovy.

It’s nose is alive with dark berries and vanilla. Oh, I think this wine will be a thrilla. There’s quite some more going on with some chocolate and other mocha spawn. Indeed there are cherries, too, along with some juicy fruit. And if my nose is indeed clever, it picks up on some white pepper.

Oh, I love this nose. It’s a wine I’m glad I chose.

Now to the give the wine a taste. Oh, it makes my mouth a happy place. There’s fruit up front and juiciness in the middle. I am covered in many a goose pimple. (No, really. Not for the sake of rhyme.)

It . . . is . . . frickin . . . delicious. I have to break the rhyme. It’s absolutely amazing. There’s so much going on. Even the finish has three movements: pepper followed by dryness followed by a joyful juciness like smooshed fruit. And it’s clean. And the texture is so smooth and soft.

I am in love with this wine.

Do I have to drive Rutland, VT, to pick up more of this wine? I’m dying over here.

I feel like I’m out berry picking, but really, like all berry picking, I’m eating more berries than picking. In fact, this wine would be great for a picnic after berry picking. Berry pick. Eat some berries, cheese, and bread. Drink this wine. Lie down on a blanket with your lover. Look at the clouds. Fall asleep. Wake up and realized there’s still half a bottle of the Nine Stones Barossa Shiraz 2008 and realize life is damned wonderful – enough to base a movie on.

This indeed is the Jim Morrison of wines. (A younger Jim Morrison.) It’s what Dionysus would drink. It’s a drink of love and vitality.

If you want a lively wine, a spirited wine, a playful wine, this is the wine to drink.

I’m melting in its flavors. Can you really give a wine like this points? If so, I wanna say at least 92 and maybe 94. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

And now I’m awake!//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-two (Château Beauchene Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007)

Alright. It’s still my birthday week, so I’m celebrating. Right now I’m listening to Joe Cuba Bang! Bang! Push, Push, Push.

Joe Cuba Bang Bang Push Push Push

Château Beauchene Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 Grand Reserve

"Château Beauchene Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 Grand Reserve. This is the best picture you will find of it on the Internet.

The first song is dynamite. It’s getting me in the mood to drink this whole bottle of Château Beauchene Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 Grand Reserve.

Well, maybe not the whole bottle, but much of it. It is my birthday week still. The Friday of my birthday week. Oh Yeah.

We’re goin’ to a party,
So put your red dress on.
Ain’t nothin’ to fancy, baby,
So don’t you get to sharp.

Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey.

It’s in the park.
It’s getting dark.
It’s on the roof.
One hundred proof.
You’re looking good.
You’re looking fine.
No one can tell
You’re getting blind.

Hey. Oh Yeah. Hey. Oh Yeah.

One, two, three.
You’re looking good to me
(Yes, you’re cute.)
Four, five six.
I’d like to kiss your lips.
Seven, eight, nine.
Hey, girl you’re lookin’ fine.
Eight, nine, ten.
We’re gonna to do it again.

Hey. Oh Yeah. Hey Oh Yeah.

Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah.

Hey. Go get it. Hey. Go get it.
Hey. Get it. Hey Get it.

It’s in the park.
It’s getting dark.
It’s on the roof.
One hundred proof.
You’re looking good.
You’re looking fine.
No one can tell
You’re getting blind.

Hey. We’re gonna get it.
Hey. Get it. Hey. Hey.

One more time.

It’s in the park.
It’s getting dark.
It’s on the roof.
One hundred proof.
You’re looking good.
You’re looking fine.
No one can tell
You’re getting blind.

Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey.

I think those lyrics are correct. If not, you can listen for your self. But before you do, get a drink and prepare to dance.

Now, that’s the meaning of life. And so is this wine.


It’s a dark, shiny ruby. It glimmers with vitality. It’s meniscus is miniscule, and I like miniscule menisci. Ay yi yi.

It’s nose is also brilliant, but dulled a bit with some earth,  tobacco, and leather. But it’s not dull. No. It’s still bright because of the raspberries and spice.

Hey. Hey. Sock it to me.


This is the weirdest, craziest wine I’ve ever tasted. There are so many flavors all over the place. It’s dizzying. It starts really tangy. Then, did I get a cherry pie somewhere? (My girlfriend says a cherry-rhubarb pie.) There are a lot of sharp berries in here. This is delicious.

Where did I get his. Oh yeah. The liquor barn on Route 93 one hundred yards into New Hampshire when coming from Maine.

The finish is sweet and spicy and long and yummy.

Despite all I’ve said, it’s a well mannered wine. It’s so polite and at ease, but it’s not shy. It wanders all over my mouth. It introduces itself to  every part of my tongue and gums. It’s says, “Hi” in such a way that everything inside my mouth smiles, and so do I.

Damned good stuff. 92 points I say.

And the album is done. I listened to whole album while writing this, and a few songs a few times. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.//


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy-one (A to Z Pinot Noir 2008)

I’ve got all this great wine on my rack. Yay. I’ve been saving up for my birthday weekend. Yay. And today is my birthday. Yay. I think I have a cold. Boo. I don’t know if I’ll be able to appreciate any wine. Boo. I think I wasn’t really able to taste those Toscanas the other day. Boo.

A to Z Pinot Noir 2008But it’s my birthday today, damn it, and I’m going to give it a go with The Wine Spectator’s #75 wine of 2010 the A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir 2008 from Oregon and rated at 90 points.

The color is bright and alive. So light. I can see right through it. This will be refreshing from all the Cabs I’ve been drinking.

It’s nose is even bright and is infiltrated with pepper. It smells like Oregon terra firma.

I get some cherries and a hint of raspberries. Way back, I get a hint of cantaloupe, too.

The nose is filled with grins and pleasant sighs.

Oh, that’s delicious and pleasant and smooth. And juicy! A thin juiciness. A long finish. Mmm. It just lingers in prettiness with just a hint of tartness. But it’s so bright. There are blueberries in here, too, but mostly cherries. Bing cherries. Oh, it’s delightful.

And after a while, there is a hint of dryness. Like dust. Like dust from the paths they drive and walk on while carting the wines.

This is a terrific wine. It’s like 92 points terrific.

So why A to Z?

The 2008 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir is blended from wines made from at least thirty different vineyards representing all of the Oregon AVAs that grow Pinot Noir. We take great care to craft one cuvée each vintage, creating a complex blend that embodies The Essence of Oregon.


And damn it, they have. Like I said, it tastes like Oregon, and Oregon makes the best Pinot Noirs.

And it’s organically grown, too. ( So double bonus.

Plus, an awesome slogan: Aristocratic Wines at Democratic Prices. Triple Bonus.

This is good stuff. //


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day seventy (Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs. Monte Antico Toscana 2006)

Tonight there will be a battle. No blood will be spilled nor any wine, but much wine will be drunk. This challenge comes in the wake of the announcement of the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010. It fact, this battle is really a battle with Wine Spectator. It’s David and Goliath battle, but this time David has a grape.

Tonight’s giant coming in at 96 point and #25 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010 with a price of $35 (on sale for $19.99 at Mahan’s) and wearing a wine label over a cork is the Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007. Woo woo.

And in this corner a little Italian wine that no one has heard of and with a low, low Mahan’s sale price of $9.99 and wearing a screw-top top is the Monte Antico Toscana 2006. Yay yippie.

Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs Monte Antico Toscana 2006

Ruffino Modus Toscana 2007 vs Monte Antico Toscana 2006

As you can see these are both Toscanas, so it should be evenly matched, but let’s look at the numbers.

The Modus is 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot.

The Monte Antico is 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot.

The Modus will have a bigger body, but the Monte Antico will have the bigger rustic spirit. At least that’s what the odds makers are saying.

All right guys. Clink glasses and come out drinking.

(But first a disclaimer. Last night I opened another bottle of the Modus. I think I had a cold when I did, but it didn’t taste like it should. It tasted dark and earthy and tobaccoy. The tobacco can be expected from the Sangiovese, but not the rest. Oh, and I’m wearing my new glasses, too. My first wine post with my new glasses. My first pair of glasses.)

So here we go. Allons-y.

The glasses of wine come out slowly and present their colors and menisci (the plural of meniscus).  The Modus has a shorter meniscus and with more color. Oo a jab to Monte Antico. Monte Antico counters with a brighter top color. Below the menisci, both wines, however, are solid purple in color and equally opaque – the Modus, though, is about 98% opaque and the Monte Antico is about 95% opaque. The first round goes to the Modus with shorter, deeper colored meniscus.

Round Two. The Nose.

Round Nose

Monte Antico comes out smelling like bacon, flowers, and carmalized sugar (my girlfriend picked up on the latter). And there is some jam, too – strawberry jam. That’s good a solid, berryful comeback for the Monte Antico.

The Modus challenges back with a deeper nose of tobacco and leather and with a bouquet of flowers, more flowery than the Monte Antico. These flowers are like lilies, Easter liliers says the girlfriend. This nose is more balanced, too.

When I returned to the Monte Antico, the nose wasn’t as delightful as before. The Modus gave an upper cut to the Monte Antico with its lilies. The Monte Antico seems a bit stunned and is a bit wobbly.

Ding ding. Monte Antico has been temporarily saved by the bell.

This round goes to Modus, too.

Round Three. The Tasting.

Round Drink

The Modus comes out with a swagger and leads with dark berries (dark cherries and cranberries) and finishes with tartness, flowers, and a dry finish. This wine is getting excited and styling as it’s showing off its long, clingy legs. The taste reminds me of an old, sturdy, rocky, bald mountain under a clear blue sky. From its peak you can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Can the Monte Antico counter? Does it have what it takes? Can this David stand up to this Goliath?

Tasters clean their palates, and here comes Monte Antico. (Tip on cleansing the palate: Use water at room temperature. Don’t dull the taste buds with cold water.)

The tobacco nose rushes out of the glass before I even begin to taste. The nose has recovered. It’s stronger, faster, better. It seems bionic. It seems six million dollars.

Six Million Dollar Man

The Monte Antico is completely different. It leads with some sourness then turns quite juicy and finishes with caramel. What a counter. It’s body is a little lighter than the Modus, but what a little spar it just had. It’s delightful. It makes me think of a fair with cotton candy. It makes me think of the movie Big when he is at the fairground and right before he leaves to go get his wish from Zoltar.

Zoltar Speaks in Big

Ding ding ding. That’s the end of the battle. Who wins.

The girlfriend scores it 10-10, 9-10, 10-8. The burnt sugar and finish of the Monte Antico won it for her.

This judge scores it 10-10, 10-9, 10-9. The complexity and depth of the Modus won it for him, but he sure loves the playfulness of the Monte Antico.

For price, the Monte Antico wins. For quality, the Modus wins.

I’d say the Modus is like 91.5 points and the Monte Antico is like a fully loaded 89 points, and probably 90 points. (I just looked it up, and the Wine Spectator gave it 90 points, too.)

Now, I’m going back and forth between the two and it’s getting nasty. I need food interruptus. I need bread and onion-fig jam.

Wait. Hold on. There’s an after-the-match scrum with the onion-fig jam and ciabatta bread.

Monte Antico comes out swinging. Oh, it’s a wonderful complement that smooths out the wine and brings out the onions.

Modus counters and says, “Hey, man I ain’t that dry. With this jam I’m chill. I’m a complex mo fo.”

That’s it. That’s it. They are both winners.

And aren’t we all when we drink good wine.//

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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