The end of the year is near, and so is my most prolific poem writing year or nearly most prolific poem writing year. On December 26, I realized I wrote 92 poems and two poem translations this year. That seems a lot, at least for me. But it seems like previous generations of poets wrote a lot more. You hear stories of how they work up each morning at 4 a.m. and wrote for a couple of hours into the sunrise. My generation and the ones following my generation are not at all like that. It seems, however, I should be able to write at least 100 poems per year. You know, two per week. That shouldn’t be that difficult. I’m mean, especially if I’m a poet. But lately (over the past few years), it seems one poem per week is a good pace. But since I was close to 100 poems for the year, I tried to write and get there. I’m at 96 poems and two translations, now. I’m not going to make it to 100. It’s not that I can’t write, but I don’t know what to write about. Nothing is coming. Maybe it’s just because my three years of writing Paleolithic poems has come to its end, and I’m having a hard time remembering how to write a standard poem. The 96th poem I wrote was a blank verse sonnet (unrhymed sonnet) titled “Coda.” I woke up with it. It came out quick and easy. And it might be the last Paleolithic poem I write. Even though I thought I had stopped writing them in November sometime, they keep popping up. I still would like to move on.
Since I’ve nothing to write about, I’m going to drink and write about it. I am fully aware that a drink cannot fill the emptiness of an unwritten poem, . . . but the writing about it can be a temporary fix. Bonus! I’m going to be drinking what I hope is very good wine: E=MC2 Quantum Reserve Relativity Vineyards 2007.
I went looking for images of this wine, but there’s not much out there, and there’s not much written about, either. It is a blended red wine. It is 15.4% alcohol, which is a lot. I found someone who claims the blend is:
zinfandel, petite syrah, syrah, charbono, gamay, cab, and malbec, selected from excess bulk wines provided by some more well-known and unnamed vineyards.
I did take this picture of the cork. You can click it to make it bigger.
The label is hard to make out. But the in embossed in black near the label’s top, it reads “E=MC2“. Below that in red, it reads “RELATIVITY VINEYARDS”. And in the red band, it reads “Quantum Reserve”.
The back of the label indicates the wine is from Saint Helena, California.
Enough of the surface stuff. Let’s get the bottle’s insides. Let’s get to the tasting.
E=MC2 Quantum Reserve has dark cherry color. It’s about 85-90% opaque.
It’s nose is delicious. There’s vanilla, plums, raspberries, dark cherries, black currants, and a hint of strawberries. I think it going to be jammy.
It’s oddly salty, especially on the finish. That’s weird. I’ve never experienced that before. I wonder if Saint Helena is near the ocean. (I just checked. It’s about 60 miles inland. I doubt salty ocean breezes travel that far.)
I pick up cantaloupe on the taste and maybe a hint of chocolate and a hint of raspberry jam. It’s hard to pick up much. This would be a really good wine if it wasn’t salty. It’s less salty each sip, but it is still noticeable . . . noticeable on the finish but not in the mouth. I think the salt is some how related to the Malbec. There’s also cherry Kool-Aid on the finish.
What a weird wine.
I’m going to give this 87 points. Without the salt it could be an 89, but it’s difficult to be sure.
I definitely over paid for this one.
And now for a haiku I wrote earlier this year:
Everything I do
Means I want to love you squared –
Come with me and prove
Has it come to this already? Boxed wine? It has. But I didn’t take this route blindly. I’ve been casually looking into it for a year or so. It seems there are some good boxed wines out there, like Wine Cube and Black Box Paso Robles. The wine stores didn’t have either of those, but they did have Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon Valley Central Chile 2011.
Even if this turns out to be an 87-point wine, it will be a good investment. If it’s below 87 points, then I only lost a few bucks and I have something to cook with. So it’s a good gamble.
The best and only corkscrew anyone needs – the server’s corkscrew or the double stage corkscrew. It’s perfect and easy.
Already I miss the adventure of the bottle, though. The whole ritual of peeling off the foil or capsule, inserting the corkscrew into the cork at a slight angle, denting the top of the cork, twisting, pulling up with the first stage, pulling up more with the second stage, slowly stopping before the pop of the cork, the slow pull so as to not spill wine, the clutching of the cork, and the unwinding of the corkscrew. Then the examination of the color on the cork, which doesn’t really mean anything, except cabs tend to leave darker colors, and it’s always fun when it’s really dark and inky and I try to stamp the backside of my hand with it as if I’m about to enter a bar. And then the slow accumulation of corks. There are about 10 years of corks at my sister’s house. There might even be enough for her to build an additional room to her house.
And then there’s the pour. The slight-angled pour and the arc into the side of the glass, and if I’m lucky, I catch a whiff of its nose. In the least, I can see its color and vibrancy.
And I’ll miss the joy of the watching the level of wine decrease in the bottle. But I won’t miss the guilt at the end of the night or the next morning when I realize I drank a whole bottle of wine while I was carrying on with the things I was doing. So boxed wine is guilt-free wine. However, how will I be able to tell how much wine I’ve had? This could be dangerous.
So here it goes. I’m going to give this wine very deliberate attention.
I pushed in the half-moon of cardboard cutout, pulled back the rectangular cardboard cutout, pulled out the tab, turn it bit so it will pour down, secured the pourer into place, and poured. I did not smell anything. It poured straight like an old man drooling.
But it had color. And the color looks good. It doesn’t look thin and cheap. It’s dark purple and kind of inky and 90% opaque.
The nose has melons and lots of alcohol, but it’s not hot with alcohol, but it is dominant. It smells musky in its deep recesses and a bit moldy like a British cheese.
I just had a taste. It’s not bad. I’ve certainly had worse bottles of cab. However, there’s not much flavor. It tastes like wine, but I’m not really picking up any notes. It’s mellow.
The finish has some flavor.
It’s not that it lacks flavor. It has flavor, but it’s nondescript.
It certainly needs some food. This would be a good wine for a barbeque, especially if something is cooked and marinated in barbeque sauce. The closest thing I have is natural smoked Gouda I picked up at the Whole Foods in New Orleans two days ago.The cheese actually complemented the nose. They had a little spinning dance together, and then embraced. And it did help the wine along. It brought out a hint of plummy cherry, but, very mild.
I think I can honestly give this wine 87 points. I know what other 87s taste like, and this comparable, and perhaps better because it’s half the price.
It’s not hard to drink at all, but I could get bored of it very easily. It does get better with more air time.//
It’s the first day of December, which means my birthday is nearby and, most importantly, my first semester in the Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Mississippi is coming to a close. And it was a very trying semester indeed. So relief is on the way. . . . Well, some. I still have to layout and edit the next issue of Redactions, a chapbook for the winner of the Palettes & Quills biennial chapbook contest, and do some prep work for ENG102, which I’ll teach next semester. But, you know what? For one fraking month I won’t have to use a fraking alarm clock!
I do have two papers that are due soon, too, but one paper just needs to be proofread and the other 80% complete, so it’s time to pre-celebrate with McWilliam’s Hanwood Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. I hope it’s good.
It’s color is a deep inky black/purple. It’s 100% opaque. The meniscus is underdeveloped.
The nose is filled with cassis, sour cherries, plums, and vanilla.
Already, I’m thinking a steak would go well with this wine. A steak cooked on the grill and that’s slightly charred on the outside but medium rare on the inside.
It essentially tastes dark. It’s just a big dark taste. Nothing is coming through. It’s a black hole of flavor. No. It’s a flavor singularity.
The finish is dry and sticky. It’s presence remains on the tongue for some time in a chalky manner.
This wine wasn’t worthy enough of a pre-celebration, but I’m glad I got to make the “Black Hole of Flavor” picture.
Some of you readers (I’m so grateful that you stop to read what I share) will notice I have not been posting much. I’m always going, going, going either with my own school work or with teaching, but tonight I’m caught up and I actually think I’m ahead in my work. So I’m finally taking time to do a wine tasting because I need a break of some sort. So I’m going (there’s that word again) to slow down for the night and take a deep breath of Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. And then I’m going (again with that silly word) to have some macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. (Did I mention I’m a poor college student . . . again . . . for the fourth time in my life. Some people go straight through a college career. I play hopscotch with attending college and being in the working world.)
So here’s to day 123 on the Juiciest Wine tour.
My glass is a foot away, but I can smell some berries. After I bring under my nose, I smell vanilla, currants, cherries, plums, and jamminess.
Work. Work. Work. Fantasy football. Work. Write. Grade papers. Grade papers. Grade papers. Work. Work. Work. What’s wrong with that list? It doesn’t have wine in it. Well, I gotta fix that, and so I will with a bottle of Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 Lodi Appellation.
I only picked up this bottle because it’s an old vine Zin . . . and because I could afford it. Transitioning to poor college student again is going to be challenging. I hope I can do it. Be poor that is.
When I poured this, it looked really thin. It appeared almost as thin as Pinot Noir. A Zin should be deep and juicy looking. It should almost be black. It should not be this 60% opaque, rosé colored wine. Oh boy.
The nose is better than the color with a floral bouquet and some light cherries and some wood. (I usually can’t pick out wood, like cedar or oak or whatever woods wine drinkers pick up, but this time I do, but I don’t know what type of wood. Oak I guess.) And lots of spicy vanilla. Real vanilla. Not that imitation vanilla. And maybe some rum, too. Wow. Rum and wine. If you had that on you alcoholic daily double, then you hit the jackpot tonight. I think there’s a hint of tarragon in there, too. (Isn’t there an upset stomach remedy that includes soaking a vanilla bean and some tarragon in rum . . . or is that just something that sounds tasty?)
Wow. It finishes really hot. This must be loaded with alcohol. It’s making my eyes blink. Maybe there is rum in it afterall.
When drinking it, I can catch a bit of lovely jamminess that usually accompanies a red Zinfandel, but it last only for 2/10 of a fraking second.
There’s not much body with this.
I usually think Zins go well with pizza or pasta in red sauce, but I don’t think this one will. However, it seem like a hard sausage would be a good complement.
The more it opens, the more the jamminess appears and the longer it remains in the happy zone of taste buds, but then the hot finish takes it away. This means I have to keep drinking and drinking and drinking to maintain the jamminess. Drink. Drink. Drink. Ah. I just had a hot flash. Wait, can men have hot flashes?
This wine seems like it might lead to heart burn in the morning.
The more this opens, the better it gets, but the finish is a party pooper. Without the finish, this would be a thin 88, and maybe an 89. With the finish, it’s a thin 87. Meh. There are better wines and Zins for the same price.//
Tonight concludes the first week as student and teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi. It was only a half week, but, man, it felt full – for sure . . . and busy. So this evening, I’m just going to relax and recover, because this all starts up again tomorrow morning when I make syllabus plans for the next week of teaching ENG 101.
Tonight’s wine is Ergo Tempranillo Rioja 2009. Bonus, I will use the decanter for the first time in my Hattiesburg Hacienda.
When I was looking for images of this bottle, I kept finding returns with “Martín Códax Ergo Tempranillo” or variations on the order of words. I just looked on the back of the bottle, and “Martín Códax” is there. I think it is the vineyard. According to Wikipedia:
Martín Códax was a Galician medieval jogral (non-noble composer and performer — as opposed to a trobador), possibly from Vigo, Galicia, in present day Spain. He may have been active during the middle of the thirteenth century, judging from scriptological analysis (Monteagudo 2008). He is one of only two out of a total of 88 authors of cantigas d’amigo who uses only the archaic strophic form aaB (a rhymed distich followed by a refrain). And he also employs an archaic rhyme-system whereby i~o / a~o are used in alternating strophes. In addition Martin Codax consistently deploys a strict parallelistic technique known as leixa-pren [. . . ]. His dates, however, remain unknown and there is no documentary biographical information concerning the poet.
And then a little more research tells me:
Bodegas Martín Códax was founded in 1986 and was named after the most known Galician troubadour whose medieval poems, the oldest of Galician-Portuguese language, are preserved. In the poems, the troubadour sings to love and to the sea of our coastline (http://www.martincodax.com/en/bodega).
Sweet: School. Decanter. Wine. Friday. Poet. It’s on baby. It’s on.
The color is dark maroon with hints of light purple or pink. It’s about 80 percent opaque.
Thee nose is spicy and with dark berries and with some dirt. To me it smells like what Spain would smell like near the Atlantic Ocean or the Straight of Gibraltar. Yes, I’m actually picking up salty sea air odors, and I picked up before using that quote about who the wine was named after. Ok. . . . A little more research shows me that this winery is in northwest Spain and right close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley
The winery is in Cambados, the capital of the Salnés Valley.
A little more research suggests the vineyard is closer to the Mediterranean Sea and in northeast Spain.
But if I think about it some more, Rioja is in central northern Spain.
Ergo, ha, I don’t where the hell this place is.
Arg. Nonetheless, it’s near salty water and I can smell it. It’s in there, damn it.
I had this wine the other day, and I thought it was okay. Today it’s a bit more tart and drier than I remember. The berries taste lighter than they smelled. It’s not as fruity or fruit forward as I thought it may be or remembered. There’s a bit of dark chocolate in here somewhere, too. And some plums.
It’s a pretty good wine. Certainly it’s 88 points, but I don’t think 89 points. It’s a good everyday Tempranillo. Have some. I think it might go well with some spicy shrimp sushi or well-cooked barbecued chicken.//