June 2005

So I’m a bad blogger. I’m a very bad blogger. This summer was going to be bad; I already knew that. One of my parents was scheduled for knee surgery; and the recovery was likely to be time-consuming for him and anyone wanting to help him through the rehab process…

Then my mother broke her leg and ankle while she was visiting from her home in Florida, and that surgery turned out hinky and it took two months before she could fly home, and I had already volunteered to be the one to fly her home and try to get her set up…

And then we moved – the house, the office, the whole works. I knew about that in advance, but it didn’t seem to help in the planning and preparation, at least not to an impartial observer, I would think.

And my eldest daughter entered college. So we had to get her set up, buy her things for the dorm, the usual bit, if you’ve done that bit before….

So, I have excuses. But it’s disappointing to me because apparently there are three or four of you who actually read this. Why, I’m inclined to ask, but never mind. And there were some great wines tasted this summer, a great trip to Greece, things that I should have written down.

That’s why this blog exists, to be honest. I can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less a month ago, and the blog creates some sort of record. I have a few friends (really, I do) who can keep up with my scampering on-line, and people I don’t know give me feedback about wines I either missed or misunderstood.

The blog has been a place for me to talk about wines that I’ve tasted and been intrigued by, even if they don’t fit into some larger article or idea. For instance, back in June, I tasted the Feudo Arancio Grillo 2003 IGT from Sicily and found it deliciously bland. That’s how I feel about wines such as this. The wine is fairly austere but never astringent or unpleasant. Orange and lemon zest notes, a few green apple and green pear hints for good measure, a trace of almond at the end. I’ve always argued with myself about that almond note; most of the time I decided it was simply evidence that the wine was already tiring or had been exposed to some heat.

But that wasn’t quite fair. Some grapes, especially Italian whites, show a bit of almond. I’ll admit that I don’t know why. But I really like the Arancio Grillo, I really do…

Aspen Food & Wine was its usual zoo. But I got to see so many friends that it seems de rigour to attend. Bob Lindquist(one of my Syrah heroes) of Qupe is at one of the many parties. It’s always great to talk to him, though it was too noisy and I was too eager to try to get some sleep (what was I thinking?) to spend enough time chatting.

Bob asked me if I had his Marsanne lately. I replied no but that the sample bin is always accepting wine. He noted that I probably needed to try one of his older Marsannes, considering that I had written that California Marsanne doesn’t age. What was he doing, actually reading what I wrote?

And why am I writing this stuff down, where people can call me on it later? Oh, well, it sounds like he’s going to send me an old bottle. That could be very cool.

Marsanne, of course, ages brilliantly (if maddeningly) in the northern Rhone. But in the New World, it has struggled to retain acidity, at a minimum. I still haven’t seen that bottle of older Marsanne, though. Guess I’ll have to straighten out my cellar and find the bottles I threw down there ten years ago.

In June I find myself staying at the Christian Lifestyle Institute Inn (or something like that – don’t even ask, someone’s idea of a practical joke, I’m guessing) and everyone is dressed up. There are lots of people in tuffeta and tux. This is where people come to do their BIG parties, their weddings, reunions and graduations, it would seem. This is the South.Outside young men in black tie cluster for the photographer, leaning in circles, without smiling. Staring into the lens. As if they were rappers, or boxers, or serious businesspeople caught in the middle of a big deal.My bathroom wallpaper is of the colonial Americana bent, estates, countryside, lighthouse on beige background. Only four figures feature. Two women, watching from the shore in capes and bonnets. One man in tri-corner hat, standing on the pier, surveying like an owner. Some yachts and fishing vessels are tied or buoyed out across the wall. Lost amid the beige is a solitary black man in a dingy dinghy. At first I thought the white man was looking for the black guy. But then I noticed that the black man was right under the cute little noses of the white female cyphers, an agglomeration of brown and blue and green squares. They were ignoring him. He appeared to be fishing. He hadn’t caught anything.