Wine Review: 2014 Riesling, 14 Hands Winery


It had been a long time since we tried a Riesling so I decided give 14 Hands another shot. What can I say? I’m a sucker for wine that has horses on the label.

Interesting factoid: a “hand” is a unit measurement equal to 4 inches and this is how we measure the height of horses. Measuring from the ground to the top of the withers, we say that a horse is x number of hands tall. What is special about the measurement of 14 hands is that it is the diving line between a horse and a pony. Under 14 hands is a pony and over 14 hands is a horse.

Another interesting factoid is that 14 Hands Winery is located in Washington State. I can’t help but wonder if my friend, Kricket, who does not like the taste of California, would favor the taste of Washington?

So anyway, back to the wine.


I read somewhere that the taste of wine, Riesling in particular, will change in accordance to the music that is being played. The blogger conducting the experiment was using classical music and concluded that, while everyone else in the room thought she was crazy, her Riesling really did taste better when she listened to Mozart.

Well, I dunno about that so I decided to conduct my own experiment.

First up, enjoying my Riesling with Pearl Jam Unplugged.


First impressions: this Riesling is pretty good, very crisp with lots of apple flavor.

When Xavier and I first started buying wine, I was totally clueless, but he said that he liked Riesling so that’s what we got. It was one of the segues that lead to our new hobby.

Wine is fine with Pearl Jam.



How would it be with Gillian Welch?

My honest opinion is that it was better with Gillian Welch. It is also no secret that I favor Gillian Welch over Pearl Jam in personal preference.

As for why this is, well, the science is subjective at best but I have some theories.

Ever heard of Masaru Emoto?

He conducted experiments on how water reacts to various types of stimuli like praying to it, saying nice or mean things to it, and even playing music for it. He would then freeze the water and photograph the ice crystals.

Sure enough, water from the same source would produce distinctly different crystals in accordance to the stimuli that it was exposed to.

Please check out the link above to see how the water was affected by different types of music.

Now, before you go assuming that Pearl Jam is just a lot of hard rock music so of course it would cause the water to be in a state of disarray, I would also like to point out that Gillian Welch will never write the feel good song of the summer. Most of her stuff is pretty dark in it’s own way.

In any case, wine is mostly water and so are you and I. It makes sense that one of the reasons why we would like a certain type of music or a particular artist is because of a harmonious connection between our dominant state and the vibration of the music. If the wine was also moving and grooving in a harmonious vibration it only seems natural that we interpret it as tasting better.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Midnight In The Ocean


I played a song as long as the highway. Which lover are you, Jack Of Diamonds?

“It’s very sunny in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should put on a hat.” And he grinned at my bright idea.

Hundreds of miles passed me by, until pink jet trails scratched the sky, and minor chords welled up that would not be subdued.

“Your messenger is here”, he said, “watching me from the window.” East Coast Ira was brought up to believe that reptiles were not meant to roam free in the house but on this special occasion he let it slide. Red touches yellow… he thought, hmmm. “Don’t think that because you just now saw it means it wasn’t there the whole time”, I told him, “because after all, no one invented electricity.” He reached out to click off the lamp so we could be alone.

I pressed on until the the black highway met the black sky and Ira sat in a black chair like midnight in the ocean. “It’s dark in here”, he said. “Well”, I replied, “maybe you should take off your hat.” And again he grinned at my bright idea.

“How fast are you moving?”, he wanted to know. “That all depends on your point of reference”, I said, but he had stopped listening.

I sat very still while the stars turned a circle and East Coast Ira began to shudder. Alone in the dark, but still observed, he found it very pleasing.

Just keep driving, I said to no one. Suspended in space and without concern, I considered the puzzles to which I was the missing piece and the various front doors that waited for me to come home.

The Way Down

   There is a painting of us somewhere. We just don’t know where. And it’s not really of us. Well, it sort of is. You’ll see.

     During the spring of another era, I bled to death in a cabin east of the Mississippi. My unborn daughter drowned in my womb and an owl flew down from it’s tree in the middle of the day. I never knew the person my child might have been. Apparently, she wasn’t anyone at all. A midwife was there but rags with ointment and hot water were no match for a breech birth. Dean looked on but there was nothing he could do. Finally the nurse turned to him and said “it’s no use.” She packed her things and left him with the mess. It wasn’t fair. Across the way, a young girl lived alone. She was crazy and blind, both her parents were taken with the fever. Her name was Unfortunate and she would sit in the dirt singing songs to herself. As the midwife walked away sad words floated in the air “that’s the way it goes, that’s the way…” Some endeavors just aren’t meant to be. It’s not true what they say about catching a cold. It’s children that’ll be the death of you.

     Dean, I don’t know what his name was then, turned to booze and whores to calm his despair. Five years later a woman with no last name woke up next to a man who had died in the night. She took his wallet on her way out the door. There was nothing in it.

     My car is little and efficient. It has front wheel drive and I like to take it places where it shouldn’t go. I snapped out of my visions and realized I was driving too fast down a steep mountain, on a winding dirt road, in the rain. Willow trees slapped the windshield. The voice from the stereo was mine but coming from someone else entirely. Her name is Gillian and, like me, she is the spawn of a midnight pact between a young woman and a drummer. “Some girls are bright as the morning” she sang “and some girls are blessed with a dark turn of mind.” The wipers swiped at the rain and then snagged a wisp of willow, smearing green across the glass.

     In Oregon the ocean washes jellyfish up on the beach. They are nature’s gooey land mines. Even the dead ones will sting you and the stringy fuckers are see-through. The crabs aren’t afraid of them though. Tiny hermit crabs, swimming in puddles around starfish, are not even the slightest bit concerned for the watery Christmas-light tentacles of the jelly. You can walk on the beach, down the line where the water meets the sand and see any given metaphor. I was walking and came upon a shell. The idea that one can hear the ocean in a shell is rhetorical. With the tide splashing salt water in your hair, what else would you hear? I picked it up anyway and, to my surprise, didn’t hear the ocean at all. I heard rain and wheels on dirt. A tired voice told me “Step into the light, poor Lazarus. Don’t lie alone behind the window shade” It may have just been my own thoughts but, in any case, the ocean had nothing to say about it.

     No matter how much rain falls, you can’t drive your car off the mountain until you get to the bottom. In the meantime, cars full of lonely guitars and dissonant thoughts only go down the mountain.

     Deserts are places where oceans used to be. They no longer have a line where the water meets the sand because the water left, leaving the sand to it’s own devices. When the moon shines on the desert, scorpions grow restless and break into a sweaty panic, often stinging themselves to death for no good reason. A scorpion is equipped with an arsenal sufficient to win any war, even if it’s grossly outnumbered. It’s a shame then how many scorpions fall victim to their own poison. My car rested on a sand dune, parked in the desert for so long the paint had turned to rust and the seats were wire skeletons. Once I had slept in the back but now a wild dog licked her wounds in my stead. A coral snake slid down from inside the bumper and caught itself a scorpion. Headless and squirming, the scorpion’s tail flew up and stung the snake in it’s eye. Two of god’s creatures died there under the rusty car on a moonlit night. From the dashboard came a tiny glow, static crackled and the voice of someone who wasn’t theremused “of all the little ways I’ve found to hurt myself, well you might be my favorite one of all.”

     I thought I should really pay more attention to the road. Being perilously close to the soggy shoulder, one false move could send me cartwheeling over the edge. I would still be going down the mountain, technically, just not the way I had planned. It was all so hypnotizing: the rain and the wipers with the songs and willow trees. Perhaps it was the altitude or maybe the Indian cigarettes. Someone else probably should have been driving, but who? I hummed along with the music “sunshine and sorrow, yesterday, tomorrow…” The car drove itself home.

     A southern woman I’ve never met keeps a painting in her attic. She keeps it because it was there when she moved in. The painting depicts a man and a woman sitting on a bench by a window. The new resident of the home believes this scene takes place in what is now her breakfast nook and that the people in the painting used to live in the original part of the house. Once, when the woman’s father came to visit he asked her “whatcha hanging on to that ol’ picture of them niggers for?” “Hush now”, she told him, “it’s not right to call them that and besides they look like half breeds to me.” The old man clacked his dentures with his tongue “sure are a lot of clouds in here. I think it’s gonna rain”. “Dad!” she knew he would never change but still… “can’t you see the woman has green eyes?”

** song lyrics in italics by Gillian Welch