"...on the run, porch in sight under a cloud of wintery sunlight / black cherries and mixed berries in tight embrace, in haste to win the race / around the edge and up the back, the iron wrought table spread with garden green snacks - orange peel, leafy greens - spears and beans / then the fall, the crack, the ooze spread loose into a familiar swirl of energized metallic beams within your cavity before the drips join the pulp spread from table's edge to splintered wood surface realm..."
A while back, with no real intent on creating a review, I wrote an entry on Jerome's rose wine of the same fanciful name and was clearly unmoved in the wine's expression yet torn by the visuals it was providing me. Now you might say looking back on that entry that it still seems nothing to gawk at, but I must argue that in hindsight it was one of the more rewarding visualizations I've come up with to date. Much of this has to do with the physical application and representation that the wine evoked, it was not smoothed out or made of washes, it was not a particularly delicate wine but not brutish in it's taste or profile, and so it came out with thicker and more generously used impasto strokes constantly evoking the push-pull between this very present "fogginess" I couldn't shake and strumming fruit-acidity trying to peel through from beneath; one might say it's a whimsical meeting of suprematism and impressionism.
I bring this up because I'm again at a similar impasse: you never quite know when something will take your fancy and inspire you to make moves, but that is how I felt while tasting Jerome's Miam Miam Rouge 2014 and it came about in an almost roundabout way. This wine had been opened at work and I found myself intrigued by it for some reason, it wasn't that the wine came off to me as some deep philosophical wine I should coddle all night but the sketchy impression it left me was familiar. I hadn't quite put the pieces together; the following evening, being given a bottle the week before, opened the bottle and found myself drawn back in. The wine nagged me, it began to appear more visceral, more thick in nature on the nose with this strange foggy void at its center that I couldn't quite shake and this seriously high tone acidity that raced along a gritty almost dirty track where warmth seemed to rise from the coolness; then it hit me, it was the Miam Miam Rose of a year-or-so ago except with much more character, the character that the rose seemed to be struggling to evoke. I hadn't thought about that rose or what was developing between my senses until the image of the rose came to mind and it all fell into place.
I'll go out on a limb and say that both these wines are Cabernet Franc. I mean this wine is Cabernet Franc but you never know with rose if they blend in a little something else. The wines are designated Vin de Pays du Val de Loire, which means that the styles encompass the whole variegated geography of the Loire Valley and the grapes used therein. On day two I was drinking a wine that evoked such strange interwoven fragrances such as orange peel/skin, potpourri, dark green peppers and leafy greens on the outskirts of the more domineering scents of black cherries and blueberries - bushels of tannic berries to be precise. It was really at this moment the image came together and I had the epiphany I was experiencing the other end of the spectrum of the Miam Miam Rose as a red wine.
Strangely, as I began to elaborate on paper in words and images, the Cabernet France, at least in this light, the acidic driven style that is so much what is expected I feel of the Loire, reminded me something of a cross between Sauvignon Blanc - that watery, mineral driven nature (think Sancerre) - paired with Malbec or Gamay - in the dark gritty traits they can easily evoke (think a Cru Beaujolais or dark Cahor or Argentine wine); these are more examples of the equivalent textural qualities I found rising out of this wine while the bouquet seemed to run to it's own drumbeat, or if you will, closer to a floral Beaujolais. This is certainly something to be explored later.
Would I keep this wine for a third day, no, it simply doesn't have the lasting power to be a wine of three days; at two you're doing okay but three you'll find the wine's acidic tones turn astringent and the alcohol rises quickly upon the back of the palate on the finish. The dark fruit is there but comes off as some temptation to the dark side, to draw you into a mouth cringing finale from what was once an otherwise delightful wine for the first two days.
I'd like to introduce this as perhaps my second truly "sketched" review of a wine for it's brevity; no history, maker details or otherwise geeky tidbits but just the immediate visceral experience of the moment. I'll have to work on this idea of "sketched" reviews since this one took me two months to get back around to, not including the painting time, after a month or so of allergy season, traveling to Portland and Virginia, moving (again) to a new apartment in Brooklyn and then just plain old living commitments.
Would I say that this painted representation is a complete success, yes and no: my intention was for it to be much more impasto but after the first day of painting I realized I succeeded in capturing the wine in all it's nervousness while maintaining the push and pull of the wine causing the more impressionistic final product. I had intended to go back over it, applying thicker strokes but found myself content with the final product. A thicker application might also imply the wine to be clunkier or treated in a heavy handed way or evoke unwanted traits (perhaps with oak or jammyness). This approach worked better for the rose because I was in greater conflict between the pervasive fogginess and those quieter aspects trying to reach through, which caused me to continuously reemphasize this tension.
It's been a struggle getting an image to reflect what this painting is in person.