Wine Talk

Snooth User: outthere

"Meanwhile, The Bolinas Winemaker"

Posted by outthere, Oct 10, 2014.

D, you'll like this one.

Replies

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 10, 2014.

I know who removed the last sign CalDOT put up, and I used to know where it was.  Statute of limitations has passed, but there are codes more important than the law. 

I just bought the latest Pleiades.  One of the few kitchen sink wines I buy because, after all, it's interesting, it's really good, it's affordable, and it's Thackrey. 

He would never have a cavil about using a condom to contain the CO2 if he thought it would work.  And I've seen many "crazy" things--ask GdP about the last winery we visited in Barolo.  Dipping our glasses right into the vat, the stuff that was on top to prevent oxidation.  I'm pretty sure some ashes from the proprietor's cigarette fell in, too.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 10, 2014.

Thanks, OT, yes I do. Unfortunately I've seen that 'Try Everything' approach in too many parts of Asia.

Fox, I had earlier PM'd OT about a bottle of Pleiades I had some late night in Tokyo, of unclear provenance, that started gangbusters (nose good, palate promising) then 1/3 of the way into what I'd expect of something that started that way fell straight off the table and splatted on the floor--the flavor profile, that is, not the wine. Not just the 'finish' but 2/3 of the wine disappeared into some black hole. I figured bad travel & storage damage, but who knows, maybe too many quivers of arrows and rolls of duct tape fell in.  ;-(

I've always liked the Bolinas sleepiness. Can't be fussed to Google now but I've had good meals in a couple of restaurants out there, too. Nothing like places that always have Thackrey wines  on the list. Love the smell of the Eucalyptus in the fog out there (perhaps because a barranca  behind my house in SoCal growing up was a magical world of that smell with the stripped bark and acorns all over its floor, mourning doves cooing in melancholy, swallowtail and monarch butterflies flitting in and out of the dappled light, and so much more). I'd swear I can smell and even taste the Eucalyptus in his wines....

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Reply by outthere, Oct 11, 2014.

Open top fermenters, under eucalyptus trees... Yeah, you should be getting that in most of his wines to some degree.

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Reply by GregT, Oct 11, 2014.

And a healthy portion of bird crap. Yum!

His wines are uneven but I always appreciated his efforts. Haven't had one in years though.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 11, 2014.

"I know who removed the last sign CalDOT put up, and I used to know where it was."

Signage collector? I used to know (and assist) a couple of them in my bad old days in CA....

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 13, 2014.

When the fog lifts Bolinas ain't a bad lookin' place at all...

 

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 13, 2014.

In the background of the top postcard is the Bolinas Mesa, with its point jutting out.  On that point, at the end of Kale Road, there was a place called Thomas's White House Inn, owned by the wonderful and amazing Jackie Thomas.  It was an Inn, nominally, but mostly Jackie would host weddings.  My wife and I were married there in 2001.  She only allowed one wedding per weekend, so you had the whole place to yourself for both days.  It was on the westernmost tip of the mesa, and when the fog lifted during our ceremony, you could practically hear the gasps as San Francisco appeared in the distance. 

The sign went missing because residents didn't want outsiders to know how to get there.  If you make the effort and someone invites you, everyone's pretty cool (esp compared to the old days), but they like their quiet and outsider status.  I used to know the streets there about as well as any non-resident; we almost became residents a couple times, but never found the right place at a price we were willing to pay. 

Yeah, probably some eucalyptus oil gets in there, but funny how wineries near roads don't talk about all the diesel fumes (actually present at almost all wineries) and how they affect the wine.  Or, as GregT pointed out, the bird poop.  As a crazy blend, the Pleiades is always going to reflect whatever Thackrey's into or has around.  I consider it a fun experiment that only sets me back a couple ten spots and sometimes makes me sit up and pay attention. 

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 13, 2014.

Great memories, it would seem, Fox, from a unique place. Not as difficult to find in the days of Google Maps and GPS, tho.

I still see addresses posted for the Inn, though apparently Ms. Thomas has passed. Does it still exist in some form?

Here's an interesting article from a decade ago in SFGate on the community and its place in the greater whole. Notice the attitude of the outside world dealing with the burgeoning excesses of that Administration, and how the world was changing its view of US politics and culture--and this was before the 2007 crash which further changed even business-people's views....

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 13, 2014.

Yes, I saw that article by Jan Morris.  Just a couple years ago, I picked up a hitchhiker on 1 who was headed to Bolinas.  He was living at Larry Ferlinghetti's son's house.  We had a nice talk before I had to drop him off with one ride to go. 

The Inn is no more.  We went to a party up there a couple summers ago--I brought some PNs that Snooth sent me and ran into the winemaker form Furthermore. He and his wife and at least one other couple at the party were married at Jackie's place--most of the folks at the party were Bolinas summer people, I recall.  Jackie sold the inn quite a while ago and we thought about trying to put together an offer, but it was too rich for our blood.  We would have run the business end of it and had investors, but the romance of inns is quite out of proportion to their profitability. 

Herbert Gold wrote a story about Bolinas's inhospitability called "One Way to Bolinas."  It appeared in Playboy in April 1972.  Of course, lots of places were inhospitable to one side or the other back then.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 13, 2014.

Can't find Gold's article online, unfortunately. April '72 was just before I stopped reading that magazine, so I may have read it back then, while living in Berzerkley. H.Thompson was more my thing for friction at that moment, tho....

 

 

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Reply by GregT, Oct 14, 2014.

And what a timely post. I bought a coffee today and the blonde with the nose ring who made it for me seemed to have an accent. I noticed she was reading the biography of Hunter and I asked where she was from. Denmark, and they don't have people like him over there, she replied. Only Americans produce people like that. She was fascinated by him and asked if there were any other writers who were similar.

Off the top I just couldn't think of many. There are MANY who try, but they're always very derivative in style. Then there are others who have lots of personality, but they're not necessarily as crazy, e.g.people like P.J. O'Rourke. But not every gonzo type is a writer - Sean Thackrey for example, does wine.

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Reply by dvogler, Oct 14, 2014.

Greg, there's a few on the forum too.

Ken Kesey is my fave.  Vonnegut also.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 14, 2014.

They may not have a Hunter Thompson in Denmark, but they do have Hells Angels. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 14, 2014.

Oh, and my Vonnegut story, ask me at the next gathering.  Sorry, I don't have a Hunter Thompson story, and if I had a Hells Angels story, do you think I would share it? As I said, there are codes above the law. 

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 14, 2014.

Fox, found a new opportunity for you over Bolinas way--smaller scale, maybe easier to swing? But don't ask me about ROI... ;-(

 

 

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 15, 2014.

Yes, D, my wife saw it was for sale a while back.  We gave it a pass.  It has unrealized potential, but there's some not so great history and, if experience shows anything, it's that the Bolinas folks don't want to let someone take over their "institutions."  The previous owner of Smiley's put his house on the market a few years back and our then-realtor had us look at it, but it came with tenants and we were told that actually getting them off the property or charging them reasonable rent (whatever reasonable rent for unpermitted, not-to-code structures is these days) was pretty much out of the question.  After all, Smiley's is an institution and all the things associated with the owner, including his tenants, are pretty much sacrosanct. Running Smiley's as a business to make even a nominal profit from the local trade (and the occasional tourist who dares to come in) would be far too exploitative and uncool.

That is the downside of Bolinas.  (Okay, also the number of those unpermitted structures and non-code buildings--so bad that a contractor we know who did work there couldn't find enough workers who knew HOW to build to code.) Plus it would be very inconvenient to try to grow grapes anywhere else if I lived there--getting in and out is no picnic.  So we've backed away from those plans a bit. And now that I've offered even these tepid criticisms of Bolinas, I'm probably persona non grata there.  Oh, well.

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Reply by dmcker, Oct 15, 2014.

Can't say I'm surprised by anything you're describing, Fox. Thus my disclaimer regarding ROI....


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