A LITTLE BACKGROUND...
First and foremost my background is in fine arts: studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City for a Bachelors in Fine Arts, covering all the bases of painting, drawing and found object art only to settle into collage: mixed media painting, found objects, various papers and fine line drawing verging on automatic drawing. It was in this period that I decided to study abroad for a month in Barcelona where, during some of the quieter nights, I began discovering the wines at the local shop.
This excursion really opened up my senses, not that my memory can recall drinking anything spectacular, but being abroad, taking in the smells - something I now realize I was more aware of than I thought in my childhood - led me to jobs in wine shops which naturally fed my itchy curiosity for variability, which I sometimes equate to a collector's impulse for the plethora of possibilities and one that wine could certainly provide. At that time I certainly didn't consider myself a connoisseur but I wanted to taste them all. It's the same when you fall into books and realize, wow there has been a lot written and how am I going to catch up. So the further I went, the more intrigued I became with exploring the origin of wine and more importantly how to describe them in a way that goes beyond simple grading or cliched descriptions.
In this I found myself caught in a verbal bottleneck of redundant terminologies, faced with having to describe a wine to a customer or even trying to flesh them out for myself. It was easy to fall back on a list of key phrases and words that communicated what to expect, those gateway words now used in every text book and course, but this felt more like an obligation than inspiration where the description of the experience suffered and fell flat.
It took a lot of time, tasting and thinking to understand why something so interesting seemed to have been almost forced flat but eventually, like something you always subtly knew was there and only took a certain kind of spark to align, I knew what was wrong. Although the flavors and aromas awoke a visual variety of what I would call descriptors, I was locked into the verbal descriptors and eschewing this synthesis that was happening between sensory input and creativity: I was trying to pick out "spice" or "plum or "acid" or "grapefruit" as if they were operating like satellites orbiting the wine in some abstract place. So the goal became first to define what was happening as it was happening in a more unified way and then naturally follow this up with execution on paper.
This is when The Dionysian Spectrum came about, the focus of which was to flesh out in written form what was being experienced as a concise snapshot and then, or rather simultaneously, develop the pictorial form of what these experiences were impressing on my mind when they were happening. In this way those individual satellite descriptors or traits became intermingled with one another, they interacted and faded and became unified just as the wine was a unified expression of it's making.
I don't promise some grandiose tasting flights to be plucked apart, or give an extensive history lesson, or to purchase expensive hard-to-find wines that cause my bank account to whimper. What I can promise is an eclectic array of wines to be had, depicted and reviewed with honesty.