April 29, 2012


Recently I heard a report that a well known wine writer had tried one of my Pinot Noirs and called it "focused." We'll see if the wine actually gets written about, but no matter. I love that descriptor and understand more than ever how much I look for focus in wines, mine as well as others.

Thinking about focus, I'm reminded of a sort of obscure book that I read a couple years back and recently reread. It's When I Whistle, by one of my favorite authors ever, Shusaku Endo, a Japanese novelist of the mid to late 20th century. I recommend him highly, though you may not find his writing as appealing as I do.

Endo writes simply, with a poetic focus that charms you while slowly revealing the heartbreaking depth of his characters and plot. Even in translation, and surely something is lost from the original Japanese, each word is precise, intentional, mise en place. He writes fiction but everything is non-fiction with Endo. He writes what is real and true.

That's how I want my wine. Focused. Non-fictional. Precise with an ease about it. Specific to a place and time. Enduring, I hope. And perhaps a bit haunting, so you don't forget it very easily. Like Endo.

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