Archive for November 4th, 2011


in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day 101 (Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon 2009)

It’s been too long since I’ve done one of these tastings, but that’s what happens when you have a full-time plus teaching Introduction to Creative Writing at the state college, which takes another 15-20 hours of prep work for a three-hour class.  Work, school, students, girlfriend, dog, food, sleep. Ug. It’s overwhelming.

Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Click the image to make it bigger so you can read it.

Ok. enough whining. On to the wine.

Actually, I’m going to do an experiment. The next Introduction to Creative Class will be on poetry. It will be the first poetry class. In this class I plan to focus on abstractions and images. Why do young writers have such a hard time distinguishing between the two? I know I did. Why do young writers try to write poetically instead of just writing? I know I did. Anyway. This review will be like two reviews. One review will try to describe the wine with abstractions. And the other will try to describe the wine with some images and concrete stuff.

Tonight’s wine is Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Napa Valley. I got it for two reasons. The first was the label. The second was that someone or someplace gave it 89 points. Had I not seen that rating, I would have backed away. But here we are. Hop on board.

But first to get us in the proper mood – Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” from Blues and the Abstract Truth:

Abstract noseNow for the descriptions.

New rules. I’ll describe the wine with abstractions, and the girlfriend will describe with images.

Abstract Color: It’s the color of a newborn’s thought when seeing fall for the first time. Hmm. There are two images in there. It’s the color of an interpretation.

Concrete Color: A dark plumy color with some red.

Abstract Nose: The nose smells like the middle of the solar system. Near the asteroid belt. Hmm. No. That’s too many images. It smells like the berries of time. Ah. There we go. No. There’s still berries. It smells like the dark times before the eruption of change. It smells like a sad smile before a birthday. Ha ha!

Concrete Nose: It’s a little cranberry-like with some spices and perhaps some nutmeg. She says it smells like Christmas spices. And that it smells dry.

Abstract Taste: It tastes like prehistoric earth just after the lava cooled. It tastes like the steam rising from the lava. No. Those are images, too. It tastes dry. It tastes like red. It tastes like the edge of death but in a good way. It tastes like the last words of a famous painter. It tastes like a Paris tavern in the 1920s with Hemingway at a table writing and staring at a woman he wants to put into a story. Damn. All images. Arg. It tastes like the edge or certainty and the corner of joy.

Concrete Taste: It tastes alcoholic. It’s juicy. It’s like biting in currant berry that explodes in your mouth. It started interesting but became boring and unnoteworthy. (Ha. There’s the abstractions!)

I agree. It start off with some gusto. It has some talent. It’s like a boxing match. Talent, fine clothes, and experience vs. youth, impetuousness, and rags. It’s trying to be a real good wine, but behind it, perhaps the abundance of alcohol, there’s a thin layer of cheapness.

I’d say 88 points.

But you know, as the boxing match goes on, the young, cheap fighter is starting to falter. He’s fallen to the mat a couple of times. Talent and experience are winning out. The first rounds it came out strong, stumble a bit in the middle rounds, but is finishing the match strong. I give 89 points.

Most important. This wine taught me that it’s best to describe a wine with both concrete and abstract terms. A good poem does that, too, but the abstractions aren’t the dominant. They just appear every now and then like Miles Davis trumpet in songs from his later years.//

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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