...Mostly about Marsanne, in the end...

I've been meaning to write about white wines...but my rant engine seems to angrily gear up only to sputter & stall on any & all related issues-- the above video was a trigger to finally get me off my butt, but that particular rant (Mr. Brecher mentions at one point that 'even people who like Merlot' can enjoy the Argentinian Malbecs being showcased...) may have to wait for a later posting, at this rate...
To begin with, I have a nasty habit--'Deformación Profesional', as the very PostMod Spanish pun puts it-- of unavoidable critical solipsism: I am always searching for, questioning, testing & seeking to deconstruct & maybe reassemble the (un)spoken, assumed conventions & rules of whatever medium I am engaged in. Makes the pursuit & effective manifestation of creativity rather a chore...
To begin again, at (one of) the triggering incidents:
I brought a bottle of Marilyn Remark's 2004 Marsanne, purchased on a rather unfortunately timed visit to the winery (The owner-winemaker couple was away at a wedding) to Puerto Rico & enjoyed it so much with my faux, millet-based 'Cous-Cous' (...made as a stew, Merguez sausage & veggies all mixed in-- Algerian style, no raisins or nuts, harissa spices except caraway seed blended in with carrots, squash, some green olives & chick peas...) I wanted to codify the recipe for a chance to earn a case of the stuff when I found out the winery had a food pairing contest online.
Needless to say, I never quite got around to it.
As per my usual life-on-the-wing modus operandi, I have no tasting notes to refer to-- but I have the lingering, clear & intense sense-memory of a most superbly balanced expression of the grape: soft wildflower & stone fruit, mostly apricot in the nose, but a palate closer to subtle, slightly tart, contained white peach.
I want more, please.
However, one of the powerful pleasant pluses of the wine was an ABV level topping at 13.5%, and what I read of the '05 (& just released '06) bottling tells me this has bumped up to 14.5%. Not unmanageable, but...how come? Was '04 the proverbial cool, slow ripening year that made for nice phenolic ripeness while keeping sugar levels relatively low?
Reading further down on Dr. Przebinda's posting, linked to above, I find that'05 had just such a '...long and generally cool growing season without heat spikes. This long season resulted in extended hang times in even temperatures which gave the fruit good extraction but lower sugar levels.'
Can anybody bring some information on the 2004 growing season & harvest-- particularly in the Central Coast & that idiosyncratically laid out Arroyo Seco AVA where the Loma Pacific Vineyard is located-- to bear on my bewilderment?
(à suivre...)


Cross on Mendo Lake & Vine

Sounding radio fills the car
beating overheated air
hard against the windows
that keep out gusting wind blows
& knock against a rushing view--

row upon row of wine grapes hangs
unpicked & frozen dry
on twisted dormant vines:
another modern mystery folksong
unspools its tangled yarn--

stage is set in heartfelt mumbles
while Jesus hangs in shadow-wings
nailed between his myth & history

I might stop and look and listen
with better quiet care
as the winding tale seeps out
into clean & clear cold air

but I lean into the gas & I press on
--I floor pedal to the metal & drive on--

There's a motion at th edge of sight
that catches my attention--
maybe pulse of hardy wildlife
failing flight to tumble in surrender
down the scrub-harsh hill?

But it's too late in the season
& all that's left behind us
is the broken track we seek to own
in a trail of dust & twilight

--a blank blue heaven gives the lie
to our best-intentioned fables:
row upon row of wine grapes hangs
unpicked & frozen dry
on twisted, dormant vines



(I suffer from a horizontal mind--
too indulgent of my prone-active imagination:)

Grown wide awake as I lie down
I only nod out when I rise--
erect barely to stumble on
towards my unseen horizon

I only worry on my back
I only wander on my feet
I breathe easy on my knees
and sink back on my butt
to grit my teeth & weep

I only wander on my back
I only sink back on my feet
I worry hard on my butt
and breathe deep on my knees
to grit my teeth & weep