Wine Review 11/17/2014

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Arthur Earl, 2007,  Tempranillo, California Central Coast

This wine has two sides; one side you meet in the street, the other side you meet behind closed doors. Though one side is more revealing, both are fairly discreet and full of mystery.

The initial top notes of this wine walk me out into the middle of the street in a small, humid, central Alabama neighborhood.  I fill my mouth with the fruitful liquid and begin to feel the black pavement hot under my bare feet. The hot sensation moves up my legs and intensifies as it comes to a rusty, iron, gothic point under my tongue. I walk to the middle of the street. The tar that has been used to fill the cracks in the pavement is warm and malleable under my toes. My big toe and second and third toe curl around it and try to squeeze the soft material. My foot relaxes as I begin to swallow. I walk from the street towards the woods that seem to endlessly surround the neighborhood. Then something fills me up and I begin to run. I run into the woods and take a leap off a low bank and into a lake of cool, murky water. I notice I’m holding the hand of a stranger. Our simultaneous splashes cloud my vision. As my head comes up for air I realize I am not in a lake but a 50 meter pool. The murkiness slowly subsides and the pool water becomes crystal clear as if this is Heaven’s 50 meter pool. My jumping stranger-friend has disappeared and I think perhaps he wasn’t even there to begin with. All alone, I take in a long slow streamline sip of the Tempranillo and my arms begin to feel as if they are moving through water. Heaven’s hands begin to gently comb water into my mouth as if the hairs of a river need directing and additional momentum to flow.  This feels only slightly funny. I catch a lemony taste which prompts me to swallow and I  smile with my head above water, feeling the cool breeze move through the trees across the water and onto my face.

I climb out of the water onto the banks of the lake and sit on a rock. I open my eyes and breathe in the aromas of the purple liquid now before me. I ponder the crystal clear pool that was just surrounding me. I inhale again. This time something specific, something clear, and of a natural material reduced down to its chemical makeup comes to mind. Perhaps what I am smelling is minimalist art. It is a long jump from the swampy woods of Alabama to the chills of  minimalism. But it’s true, this wine smells like Larry Bell’s boxes…Larry Bell’s boxes inside an igloo.  Water molecules, perhaps the ones that make up a droplet of moisture trapped inside one of Larry’s boxes (God forbid) linger on the roof of my mouth. The specific object now forming inside my mouth stays quiet and has yet to reveal it’s provenance. East coast blood? West coast blood?  It’s on the edge of transformation. The mystery of taste again travels like the Tennesse River from my mouth down my throat and across my collar bone. I realize the flavors of this wine have put me on a see-saw. I intuitively travel back from planes of plexi glass to the middle of Alabama, and now it’s Antebellum Alabama. I notice I’m not outside anymore. I am inside a quite room, with oaky wooden walls, on a small bed, under a handmade quilt that seems to want to talk.

There are 200 years of secrets within this wine. And the light weight quilt that is now my tongue is feeling dangerously close to letting them all spill out. Its pattern speaks of tart cherries and and its worn edges speak of wilting marigolds. I am hushed by a smooth, shadowy and meaty smelling authority figure who keeps quite about all that he sees and knows. His shadow remains in the open doorway. I smell the damp earth, its Fall outside and the cold is creeping in. I take another sip and the final notes of buttery warmth sooth the chill of history. I leave from the back door.  I am reminded again of my feet as I step into the grass; my souls feel wet and cold though capable of caring me through the morning.

This wine gives my mind, body and soul  3.5 blind-folded mind tongues.

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