WINE IS NUTRITIOUS. Don’t forget that premise. Most of the nutritionists that I know drink wine....Celebrate Life!
WINE IS NUTRITIOUS. Don’t forget that premise. Most of the nutritionists that I know drink wine....Celebrate Life!
My life is full of Rhetoric. Is yours?... See what I mean? Questions and comments that are not expected to be answered. So many comments, questions, or statements are directed toward me that I don’t have time to answer. (That’s my story anyway). It takes me a while to process the comment and formulate a return so I stay behind. By the time I have a response, I am already behind by two more. It never seems to matter though. No one is actually listening to my response. They just want me to make one.
This situation is never more evident than with Anne, my wife of 89, I mean 39 years. You notice that I did not say when I am talking to Anne, or when I am around Anne. Being in a conversation or even in the vicinity of my lovely wife is not a requirement for her to be communicating with me (thank you cell phones, texting, emails, social media and telepathy).
When Anne talks, she often does not want my input regardless of whether she is asking a question, making a statement, looking inquisitive or talking to the dog. However, she wants and deserves my full attention when she is dissertating. She can monitor my attentiveness while expounding a subject and transition into the next before I comprehend the first. What gets me is that I still fall for the notion that she wants me to opine. It is a losing proposition.
Actually, many times, I do not respond and then I get in trouble for ignoring her. Then when I do respond, I am wrong. As David Cooley quotes, “If a man says something in the woods and no woman is around to hear him, Is he still wrong?” Can I get an Amen?
My kids ask me things out of respect for the elderly. They humor my answers as early onset senility. They will accept my instruction how to change a flat. However, on life issues, they know best at a much younger age. They, like the rest of us, already have the answer. They are just making polite conversation. Either that or they are bored and looking for a good laugh.
If I answer a general question that may have been posed to the room, I get a look like I am interrupting a private conversation. The look can also be interpreted as “What in the world are you talking about? Is that really your solution?” It reminds me of my older brother’s position on all of our childhood conversations; “If I want something from you, I’ll beat it out of you”.
If I respond to a comment, the similar look might say, “Mind your own business and keep your opinion to yourself.” Followed by the real answer which is so obviously not worthy of challenge that even the dog knows it. I look at the dog and he raises his brow and turns his head or looks down his long nose at me as an inferior being (which I surely am).
As for me, I often speak to people who cannot hear me. Consider people on the TV or radio for instance. I express my opinion and they do not need to respond. I know that I am right. Other drivers on the road who do not respect my preferential right to the road get addressed frequently. If they could only hear me (I am careful that they can’t), I would probably regret it very much if either of our windows were open. They obviously do not recognize me in my vehicle. Otherwise they would give me the right of way, get over and speed up. Traffic signals and speed limit signs also get addressed. I look at all of them as if I expect a response. However, if one of them (not a sign) glances my way, I just smile innocently.
I am still trying to figure out when I am supposed to respond and when I am to remain silent. I am to look concerned or at least interested which is hard to do when you are actually listening to the news. I have learned that I should hear and respond to a comment made from another room on another floor behind a closed door with the hair dryer running and the stereo cranked up while I am preparing a report for a client in my office. I should have known that she would be talking to me. The other day, I heard some muffled comment and traced the sound to the kitchen where Anne was preparing a delicious soup for a cold day. Not looking my way, she asked a fairly easy question and paused. Being the good husband and proud that I knew the answer, I responded quickly and obediently. Anne turned and faced me with a look that told me she was on the phone using her Bluetooth. She was not talking to me. The one time I heard the question, knew the answer, and responded appropriately; and she was not talking to me! Maybe next time. I’m sure I’ll get another chance.
At M6 we are always looking to the next vintage. We listen to you to determine what you want to see in future wines. We get excited with each bottling in anticipation as to how the wine will mature and present itself.
Soon we will be releasing our first Signature Red. We have labeled this as Vintner's Touch. Vintner's Touch is a Bordeaux style red blend. I realize that I say this about all new offerings, but I am particularly excited about this one. Blending wine is like art. The vintner's empty bottle is much like a blank canvas. Even with limited production, a world of options is available for one to choose from varietals and proportions. What aromas and flavors do I want to accent? How is the color holding up? Presentation, mouth feel, bouquet and taste also are factors to consider. I look at the unfiltered wines in the tanks much like an artist might look at his tubes of paint. Which ones do I want to put on my palette and mix to create something exciting?
The process is like any worthwhile endeavor. It takes time and perseverance. A little creative thinking does not hurt. A willingness to take a risk is essential to finding something good or even great.
First I have to do some research to avoid obvious mistakes. Then I have to decide if I will stick with proven blends or attempt some variation. Blending our wines will still create a unique flavor profile. However I might create something a bit unusual that wine drinkers will embrace. The path I choose must begin with some idea and a (flexible) plan.
Blending and tasting is the fun part. I use a journal to document all efforts in detail. Recording my response to each effort is critical for reference later. Experience and advice has taught me the best time of day to do my tastings. I always try to taste fresh wine. I taste more than once looking for the characteristics I want to stand out to the drinker. I consciously consider all of my senses for the best presentation. OK, maybe not sound. But visual, taste, mouth feel, and aroma all come into play.
When tasting, I allow plenty of time to make my decisions. The process should take several weeks or longer, depending on how breadth of my initial spectrum. Limitations exist because there is only so much wine I can taste in a sitting. Spitting helps, but there is still a limit. I try to set reasonable goals and then go about the rest of my wine business. I have to then set all aside to resume the blending research the next day.
Favorite blends ultimately rise to the top of my chart. I choose the top few. I blend these again and do a comparison. I reaffirm my favorite(s) based on analytics and personal taste. Then I ask trusted staff and friends to weigh in on their favorites. I strive to listen intently to their comments and ask for honest feedback. I realize that the responsibility and final decision is mine, but I also want my blend to be accepted in the market!
My next step is to make my decision and not look back. Even then, the consternation is not over. I then have to bottle it up and wait for the bottle shock to stabilize. I pray that I have chosen well or that it cellars well (in case I have to drink it all).
Bottle shock is real and often makes me wonder if I have bottled hundreds of gallons of something undrinkable. So far, a few weeks of settling down have been rewarding. I still get impatient and have to test wine before it is ready. Wine will not be rushed no matter how inpatient I am! When it is (finally) ready, I get to present it again to select trusted tasters for confirmation. (This is just a formality because at this point it is going on the shelf in the tasting room.)
The foregoing is basically the process that Anne and I went through to blend our M6 Vintner's Touch. Our first Signature Blend is a bold red blend that pairs well with roasted, smoked and grilled meats; especially grilled Ribeye, T-bone or lightly seasoned Filet Mignon. Acidic sauces like marinara bring out the pepper finish. Aged strong cheeses also pair well. After dinner sip with gourmet dark chocolates. Vintner's Touch is also a rewarding flavorful experience enjoyed without any food at all!
We have a limited production of 70 cases of Vintner's Choice. Call me conservative. I hope that I regret not making more!
Friday is Veteran’s Day; a day we set aside to honor those who have served in the armed forces and, by doing so, protected the freedoms and honor that we enjoy as Americans. Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. I can’t say enough about these brave men and women who have served. I’ll not diminish their service with inadequate words, so I’ll not try. Please know however, that they (you) have my respect gratitude.
My Dad served in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict.
Anne’s Dad served in the US Army Medical Corps in Germany post World War II.
Last Weekend, The Bullard Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Bullard sponsored its annual Red, White and Blue Festival honoring Veterans in downtown Bullard, Texas. Tracy Barnes and her crew of volunteers organized another great event for these special folks. Kudos to them!
M6 Tasting room hosted an opening reception for local Bullard, Texas artists on Friday evening, October 14, 2016. The cultural event was organized by Don Bristow and featured photographic renderings by Don and Mike Provencher of the artists in action as well as works of these several local Bullard artisans.
Proper planning and an eye for decorating made preparation for the exhibit a quick work.
The artists participating in this event and their medium are:
Don Bristow - photography
Mike Provencher - photography
Myranda George - wood and metal sculpted furniture
Theresa Cheek -decorative arts
Cissy Boyd - pottery
Dana Adams - oil and watercolor
Elaine Oosthuysen - oil/acrylic
Billy Joe Tarrant - wooden bowls
Greta Faulkinberry - collage
Debbie Willbanks - various mediums
Jeff Kuchinsky - watercolor
In addition to the visual art, musical art was also on display for the evening. The talented Miss Tommi Jo Harris performed some of her original works outside on the Vinery Patio for the event.
Many of these pieces are available for purchase. The artists are also available for custom work.
Although still considered to be newcomers by many, we have been a part of this Bullard Community for 20 years. We are excited to add M6 to the community and to host such cultural events. We are all about relationships. We want to encourage art and talent in this thriving community whatever the medium.
This current exhibit is only a sampling of the talent and resources in our community. Come see their work while the exhibit remains on display at M6 through Saturday, October 29, 2016. Maybe one of them can do a rendering for you.