Friday, November 14, 2014

Once a tree

The stump was gone
What once laid in its place, held glory
for quite some time
Flourishing in the spring; its grand entrance
branching out from its wings
Showing off colors missing from previous months' season
Green, in its prime hour
The new always looks so pretty
Climates shift; breezes anew
We stumble across the hues of gold and red
It is warming and a mesmerizing display of a growth spurt
But last year marked its death
No longer did the view from my bench give me continual immense pleasure
as the previous years had gifted me
I knew the tree had passed
In its dormant progression, at a time I had not been watching
I arrived home one day, saddened that my neighbor did not waste any time in its removal
The produced stump caused me to capture its final existence
Then it was no more

November 10, 2014
2:27 p.m.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The special touch of Don Melchor

Recently I had the most amazing opportunity to taste through the seven parcels that exist in Don Melchor's esteemed Puente Alto vineyard in Chile's Central Valley Region in upper Maipo Valley.  The guest of honor was Enrique Tirado, sole winemaker and technical director for Concha y Toro.  Enrique, a reserved yet sincere figure, spoke with us regarding the winery, its terrior and the distinctions of the seven parcels that eventually will become the blend for the 2013 vintage, release date of Fall 2016.  Shortly thereafter, he blended the parcels and we tasted the special blend that was equally approachable as the 2010 vintage that will be released next month.

The beauty of this event was the unique experience of tasting each parcel individually, followed by its final 2013 vintage blend.  The varietals spoke differently to me as a result. I had gotten to know them first as a single player, then met them together as a team.  It was truly incredible.

Seven parcels of 2013 vintage.

Parcel 1 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  22%

This had an oxidized nose upfront that was quickly muted with a bowl of cranberries/red currants, bell pepper, bitter chocolate and nutmeg.  I liked the mouth feel the most -- it lingered for a while.

Parcel 2 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  4%

Interesting nose of potpourri, black currants, tomato leaf, clove, stony and dark chocolate pieces.  Tart fruit with a menthol finish.  It opened up after sitting in its glass, an imperative deed if consumed on its own.

Parcel 3 - Cabernet Franc (25 year old vines):  13%

Us wine snobs will contest that Cabernet Franc doesn't get as much attention as it so deserves.  This is quite true with this parcel.  The structure resembled one of a black tea's tannin profile.  The black berries, brown spice and clay participants are complementary. This is a wine I'd drink on its own with some age on it.

Parcel 4 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  17%

Mint, pine tree, stony and baking spice notes cascaded along the nose and palate. However, dried roses were the surprise in the wine for me.  The structure has potential, and in a very good way.

Parcel 5 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  20%

I fell in love with the sweet nose of ripe black berries, raspberries and currants - a wine that held a lot of confidence in every element.  Wet stones and its constant overturning of notes won me over.

Parcel 6 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  17%

Deep and full wine carrying a bit of each previous wine's characteristics, definitely needs to breathe in its glass.

Parcel 7 - Cabernet Sauvignon:  7%

As if Merlot had bitten its skin, this wine was jammy and inviting.  Almost euphoric, as my notes read.  Wow.  Wish I had a glass of it now.

Blend of 2013 parcels, to be released 2016

The wine was an elegant example of each child's strong features.  The balance of the parcels blended drank beautifully.  I could only imagine its ability to please upon its release in two years.  I must make a note to purchase its offering and compare my notes.

Additional notes:

The Don Melchor wines are aged in French oak barrels (mostly new) for 12-15 mos, with an additional one year in the bottle.  The Puente Alto vineyard sits at the foot of the Andes Mountains, on the northern side of the Maipo river basin and 2100 feet (650 meters) above sea level.  There are 127 hectares in total, in addition, Enrique grows Petit Verdot, planted in 2008 and Merlot, planted in 2006.  His favorite vintages of Don Melchor are 2010, 2008 and 2001.  He has a twin brother who produces Sauvignon Blanc and red blends under his own private label.  Don Melchor means Sir Mentor, the name referencing the namesake who began the winery in 1883, Concha y Toro.

In conclusion, I really like Chilean Cabernets.  For someone who doesn't drink red often, I was surprised that I had repeated after thoughts about wanting to drink Cabernet Sauvignon for several nights.  Only problem was:  I wanted the 2008 Don Melchor and I didn't have a bottle to open.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

untold story

Thus far, 2014 has been quite a life-changing year.  To start, I made big plans.  Set goals in motion, took on another opportunity and learned a different side of the industry.  I built endurance, speed and knowledge.  I signed up for an exam that I rescheduled once and was committed to studying every freaking minute I had.  On top of this, one goal -- to move out of the state -- forced me to finally get my house into shape in preparation to sell.  That is, until I decided to commit more time to the exam.  Neglected, my house grew chaotic.  I realized the truths behind having a middle school child, my first born.  This was emotionally the hardest - learning to let go, trusting my gut instincts, and being more firm than I've ever been took a toll on me.  I struggled with decisions and as a result of letting my guard down - I had the worse experience yet of 2014.  Even worse than realizing I didn't pass my certified exam.  And that broke my heart bad.

Trust is a funny thing.  You need it to survive, but it messes with you.  I think "to trust" is a sacred act.  I've tried to loosen the trust strings while standing on guard when dealing with an unfamiliar environment, but I strongly believe in giving those the benefit of the doubt until they've done you wrong.  Of course if and when that happens, it sinks deep and you get angry with yourself because you didn't put your guard up more.  You trusted them and they stabbed you in the back.  I don't take being accused of something that is the absolute false, lightly.  You can't destroy me with your words because I stood up for myself.  Of this, I'm proud.  And I'm more than happy now that I am reserving my talents for those that deserve it.

It is also funny how you really learn who your friends are when swimming through troubled times.  It doesn't exist if it's one sided.  Hey that's cool, I can take a hint.  Probably why Twitter is a safe bet cause it's non-committal and I don't have to wonder if you're going to respond to my text cause I don't care anymore.

I also learned that people with power are the most self-centered people I've ever met and that it's unfortunate that success has come at the price of being cold yet never realizing that your happiness will never be fulfilled until you realize how to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Finally, I learned the only person in the world who truly knows you for who you are and will always be there until the end, is yourself.  Once I accepted this fact, I began to find peace in my journey.

This is why I write.  It's my deepest form of therapy.  In fact, for many years I kept journals that helped me survive all the stages of my life.  I am learning to be content with the little things.  I confess that, prior to my revelation, technology had encouraged me to succumb to the immediate need for everything.  But now, now I really crave a simple, yet deeper life. One that wastes no time on negativity, lost souls, one sided friends, and employers that don't acknowledge your contributions and strengths.  I am urging you, whomever reads this, to reflect on you and who you are inside - there is an untold story in you and those who are worthy - should hear it.  They exist.  You know deep down who they may be and you know who they definitely are not.

In honor of a great writer who recently passed, Maya Angelou, I leave you with this inspiring quote.  I know I am not perfect, but I refuse to surrender to the negative influences that attempt to pull me away from the simple, yet profound life rule I really believe in.  To be polite and respectful.  And if you don't receive it in return, turn your cheek away.  Don't expend your energy on the unworthy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Introducing Sacy

I prefer to look at genuineness as showing real expression, whether agreeable to those around you or not.  I believe it to be honest in a sense of accountability.  In other words, owning up to whatever you put forth.

Loire Valley is a region within France that both illuminates and surprises me every time I brush up on the diverse appellations it showcases.  The Loire river is responsible for keeping the temperatures as nature intended, a few degrees warmer based on individual macro climates along the stretch that begins on the east side from the land of Massif Central, all the way west to the Atlantic coast.  At this time you may be wondering how the word "genuineness" comes into play here, alas, it has most to do with it.  It is because I believe if there's one word that had to be reserved to forever describe the fondness I have with Loire Valley, it would be genuineness.

What I have come to appreciate most of Loire Valley is the ability to offer every type of wine category.  It has sparkling, and tons of it.  After Champagne, it produces the most sparkling wines in all of France.  It produces aromatic textured whites from Melon de Bourgogne aka Muscadet and the dominate white varietal responsible for the famed Vourvay and botrytis-like wines and finally, the notable wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé which highlight Sauvignon Blanc in its finest mineral hour.  That is only to discuss the whites of Loire Valley.  But there's also lesser known varietals...

Sacy, the white varietal indigenous to the appealing wines of Saint-Pourçain AOP is known as Tressallier in the Auvergne region of Central France, located southeast of the Central region within Loire Valley.  Oddly enough, the dominant variety title in the encépagement belongs to the international grape Chardonnay, with an option of ten percent Sauvignon Blanc.  Some have compared Tressallier/Sacy to Viognier, yet I beg to defer.  I see a resemblance in the texture and structure profile of Pinot Blanc.  I bought the Domaine Nebout Saint-Pourçain 2009 last Spring.  I remember trying it back in 2011 and I wanted to revisit its progression.  What I witnessed in its first try was a mineral focused, funky and vague apricot nose that left me stumped.  The palate was developing and it hadn't won me over, yet.  When I took my second taste I decided that it would be more enjoyable five degrees warmer.

I suspect this wine style is enjoyed on a daily basis, but I chose to wait another year before indulging the bottle below for the second time.

100 percent Tressallier 

It matured really nicely, at five years vintage.  The nose subdued on the mineral front, retaining its funky tone with a pale golden hue.  There existed soft white flowers, caramelized lemon rind, dried fruit leather of apricot flesh and subtly wet pebbles.  I was in awe and bummed at the same time because I had opened the bottle I had no more chances of buying in this vintage.

But that's what it's about.  We must live for today.  What better region to sink your teeth into than Loire Valley.  It's real, it doesn't pretend.  And it most definitely lives up to genuineness.