I think I speak for just about everyone east of the Mississippi when I say I feel thoroughly saturated by the incessant rain. I only wish I had the instruments to divert a lot of it to the folks in Arizona, who’ve been hit with a monstrous wildfire. Yet I have been more than a little compelled to start gathering animals two-by-two and constructing an ark outside my townhouse. At the very least, trade in my Jetta for a Jet Ski.
Funny thing about Mother Nature – we have weathermen and weatherwomen who go on TV and “predict” the weather patterns for local areas, and more-often-than-not, they are dead wrong, or so it would seem. Mother Nature can change on a dime, but we always find a way to blame it on the weather “oracles.” We are at her mercy, subject to the whims of a woman who at once, clearly can’t make up her mind, yet certainly has a distinct vision for tomorrow.
Being so close to the Ohio River, we citizens of the Tri-State are always afraid of flooding, and when it rains like this – I’ve got a recycle bin at home on my back porch that is about 2 feet deep and over the past week, has filled to the brim – you think it will all float away.
I remember visiting Sonoma-Cutrer a few years ago, and my wife and I saw that aftermath of flooding that happened in the Russian River Valley area, with pumpkin carcasses that had been carried into Sonoma-Cutrer’s vineyard from about a mile away. I grew up outside of the town of New Burlington, Ohio, which had been flooded so many times, the U.S. Government took it over, and a dam was constructed, creating Caesar Creek Lake back in the late 1970’s. There was a terrible flood here in Cincinnati in 1937, and it happened as recently as 2011. Folks living on either side of the Ohio are always wondering, with a continued deluge such as it is outside my office window.
In the wine business, Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress. With anything agricultural, it is such. The fragility of what happens in the glass is breathtaking. I believe that a lot of that fragility is what drew me to this business, that delicate poetry in the glass.
While staring out the office window, wondering when will the rain actually stop, I decided to run through a few samples that had been gathering dust in the TPS Studios:
Four Vines Petite Sirah Lodi 2010. Grade=Good. Lots of blueberry, clove and bitter chocolate. Hits an herbal note in the middle, finishes with plum skin and blueberry compote. Pretty dry.
Lock & Key Meritage North Coast 2010. Grade=Good. Again with the blueberry, a touch of blackberry, grape skin, cocoa and espresso bean. Has some hints of black pepper and green peppercorn. Nice value.
Plungerhead Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi 2011. Grade=Very Good. Notes of tobacco and red flowers amidst some peppery cherry and blackberry notes. Lean, dry, medium-bodied style. New from The Other Guys.
Plungerhead Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2011. Grade=Very Good. Black cherry, blackberry, pepper and mineral, this is a lean, dry Cab. Only slightly herbaceous with hints of dark plum and cocoa powder at the finish.
I’ve been told time and again 2011 in California was not a great vintage – frost delayed budbreak, a rainy April and May, and much cooler than normal temperatures throughout the summer resulted in lighter, leaner reds, reminiscent of the infamous 1998 vintage, which wasn’t so much a bad vintage as it was uncharacteristic of California. 2011 reds remind you more of Bordeaux than California, with more acidity, less superripeness. Victims of weather? Or just a product of the old adage, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade?
Needless to say, rain still falls outside. And the poetry inside my glass continues its caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis. It’s days like these, I am glad I can at least drink some sunshine.