A new look
Welcome to my blog’s spiffy new look! I thought it was about time to change the its appearance. The old one was 2-1/2 years old and was getting a little stodgy. The photo of me was even older, about 4 years. So I set about changing things.
The new header was designed by Thomas Reiss, of Kraftwerk Design, in San Luis Obispo. I think Thomas and his team are the top wine label, wine website and packaging designers in the Central Coast. They’ve done everyone from Justin and Vina Robles to Eberle and Zaca Mesa, and you can almost always tell a Kraftwerk label because it’s so clean and elegant. Thomas did a great job with my header. At first, I thought it looked like I was standing in front of a jellyfish tank at the Monterey Aquarium, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it.
Thomas himself, who’s tattooed, had suggested my look: long-sleeved shirt, rolled up to the elbow, showing off the bottom of my arm. The actual photo was taken in the garden of the Santa Ynez Inn, with me posing in front of a rosebush, which I thought would echo the flowers in my tattoo; but Thomas chose to remove the background. The signature is similar to, but not, mine; Thomas explained you don’t want to have your real signature publicized, for legal and identity theft reasons.
The blog layout is a WordPress template. The actual work was done by Jose Diaz, of Diaz Communications, an old friend (with his wife, Jo). Jose listened carefully to my desires, contributed ideas of his own, and the result is this new look. I may have some additional surprises to add to it in coming months. We’ll see. In the meanwhile, I’ll be troubleshooting the new format for problems. If any of my readers experience difficulties, or have suggestions for improvement, I hope you’ll contact me.
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I reviewed Pinot Noirs yesterday and what a pleasure it was. I hated to pour the remnants down the sink, but what’s a critic to do? In my early years of reviewing, I’d take the opened bottles (which were almost full; I’d pour out only a tiny sip) around to my neighbors, knocking on doors, asking them to help themselves. They were pleased to, of course. I also told them to not hesitate to come around to my place, late in the afternoon after my tasting sessions were finished, to take whatever I had reviewed that day. No one ever did. I found it enormously puzzling. Here I was, offering them free, good wine, and they weren’t taking advantage of the situation. Then I put myself in their shoes, and figured out why. They didn’t want to seem like supplicants. I couldn’t blame them. So I started pouring the bottles down the drain. I still feel awful doing that when it’s a 95 point bottle, but there’s nothing that can be done, so I just do it.
Anyway, I won’t mention the brands I tasted yesterday, but they were all Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinots, mainly from 2008. Well, I will mention one, Merry Edwards. Compared to some of the lighter, silkier Pinot Noirs that are so good to drink right now, hers are dense and tannic, almost coarse. Of course, they’re too young. But there’s so much stuff going on, not just fruit, but earthy, mulchy, mushroomy things that remind me of long walks in the Autumn through fog-shrouded Redwood forests. Hints of wild, feral things, game, pine cones, fir needles, wet leaves, old fallen limbs. Very interesting and inimitable wines.
The ascendance of California Pinot Noir has surely been the most significant and satisfying event of my career. I cannot imagine another variety doing anything similar in my lifetime. I like to think that Pinot’s success was the wine version of the Manhattan Project, in which the nation poured all its resources toward a single end: the creation of the atom bomb. In Pinot’s case, it was all the resources of California, from the universities and laboratories to the young, ambitious winemakers and growers, as well as the critics and writers who, from the sidelines, cheered everyone on, creating a sense of excitement. Could that happen again? Probably not.
I hope you like my blog’s new look!