23 October 2011

Laughing Stock Vineyards Blind Trust 2009

Laughing Stock’s Blind Trust was my first experience with Okanagan Valley, BC red wine.  A Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, it could not help drawing comparisons with similar wines I’ve had from Napa or France.

It was a dark crimson color, with medium body and a very meaty, smoky, oaky nose.  On the mouth it provided cool fruits and powerful acidity.  The tannins were strong, bordering on harsh, but this was not surprising given the youth of the wine.  I suspect a few more years would have mellowed it considerably.  The finish had a lingering taste of licorice.

I enjoyed the wine with appetizers at Bistrot Bistro, a French bistro in Vancouver.  With the shallot compote and prosciutto it brought out sweeter fruits in the wine and more saltiness in the meat.  A similar interaction occurred with the Caramelized Onion-Maplewood Smoked Bacon-Gruyere Tart.

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Books: Just finished A First Rate Madness.  Have some books on grief and grieving as research for Into the Shining Sun

Bottles: Nothing of note lately.  Hope to remedy that soon.

Guitar: Working on new pentatonic studies as well as "My Hero."

Writing: Into Chapter Eleven-and-a-Half right now.  Closing in Shawn's death from Adam's point of view.  Hopefully I am getting some good stuff.  It's hard to tell right now.

17 October 2011

Nemea Boutari 2007


I encountered the 2007 Nemea Boutari at Stepho’s, an exceptional Greek restaurant in downtown Vancouver.  I had never encountered the wine before - in fact, I had never had the chance to sample any Greek wines before - and was excited for the chance.
A light ruby color with an airy body, it had unique herbal aromas on the nose.  I have a hard time describing exactly what it was like; they were aromas I had never encountered before in a wine and I had a hard time placing them.  In retrospect I want to say it smelled like bay or pine.
The first effect once I took a sip was the racy acidity on my tongue, slowly developing into mellow, slightly bitter fruits.  It was very lightly tannic.  The finish was another hit of those herbal notes displayed in the nose.
It was made from the Agiorgitiko grape, which I have never had before.  I found it to be very similar to Blaufränkisch.
My meal consisted of fried cheese balls (which the wine accompanied quite well, cutting through the fattiness of the cheese); an egg-lemon soup, made with orzo and chicken (which the wine did not accompany well); and chicken souvlaki (which the wine did not really interact with).  All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable bottle and a very memorable meal.

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Books: Finished The Sign of the Four, starting A First Rate Madness.

Bottles: Nothing lately.

Writing: More than half done on the rewrite.  Recently reread the second half to get back into the mindset of writing for Adam.  I feel good about it.

Guitar: Practicing some new 4- and 5-note exercises on the Pentatonic scale, also "My Hero" by Foo Fighters, and trying to get back into "Hey You" and "Young Lust."  Hoping to start on the third solo of "Coming Back to Life" soon.  Maybe also more on songwriting.

06 October 2011

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain


I am pretty sure I’ve read Tom Sawyer before, but since it’s been so long it was like reading it fresh.  It took me a little while to get into it - the setting and the language are both so remote that it took a while for me to identify with the world.  That said, once I got there, I understood it perfectly.
Twain did a wonderful job in relating with utter perfection the mercurial tendencies of the young.  Tom switches gears at the drop of a hat; gets distracted, excited, and depressed in the blink of an eye.  I also particularly appreciated the passages Twain devoted to Tom wondering how people would feel if he ran away, or died - how his Aunt would cry, how the town would miss him so.  Who hasn’t had thoughts like that when they were a child?  Twain captured that though process so well.
The narrative was quite enjoyable, once I managed to sort of assimilate myself into the world Twain presents.  Imagining going on a picnic by a cave, or chasing a criminal through the streets of a small town, took no small stretch of imagination, but it was quite satisfying once I got there.
I can see why this book is considered such a classic, and why it has succeeded in enthralling both children and adults.  I found it brought me closer to my own inner child in a way that I haven’t felt for a long time.

And for those who are concerned: yes, I know that Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

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Books: Finished Tom Sawyer and A Study in Scarlet.

Bottles: Nemea Boutari 2007, Laughing Stock Blind Trust 2009, Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage 2008.  The first at Stepho's (Greek food), the latter two at Bistrot Bistro (French).

Writing: Finished the first half of the rewrite of Into the Shining Sun.  The word count of the first half doubled.  I hope the second half doesn't increase quite so much, but I would like it to equal or exceed the first half in length.

Guitar: Nothing doing without an instrument to work on.