Sorry. Sorry. Disappearing act. Am in California. First stop was Los Angeles where I was reporting a wine bar story for my new position as the wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Then up north. Now sitting on my ass in Healdsburg trying to finish the story. So much for spending time in the wine library here. Next time? Bo Simmons reigns over the collection and the documents he has foraged and gathered is beckoning but, not this time. Deadlines are deadlines. What's more, only minimal tasting. Some eating. Strauss Dairy, a local makes tangy, lively yogurt. Had some delicious apricots and drinking Flying Goat coffee. Commonwealth Club was Wednesday night. Jon Bonn� did the mc-ing. Not only is he my editor at the SF Chron, but he's got a killer voice and impeccable stage presence. After I read, I almost fell on my ass walking off the podium. Now, didn't a friend of mine strongly suggest I get media trained? I see why. After the save, I sat in a comfy chair taking questions. Alice and Jon at the ComClub http://fora.tv/2008/07/16/Alice_Feiring_The_Battle_for_Wine_and_Love What to do with my legs? What to do with my hands? Am I saying 'um?' Should I learn how to wear my hair up? Could my brain please work faster? Media training. A scary thought but maybe it's not a bad idea? Weeks before I was to show up at the Commonwealth I asked about the wines they intended to serve and my red hair turned white. What to do? It just wouldn�t work to have wines I wouldn�t drink there. Bob Pellegrini of the eponymous winery outside of Healdsburg generously offered to donate the wines �for the cause. It was exceedingly gracious of him. I hadn�t tasted them but cleared the winemaking with their winemaker, Kevin Hamel. Yeasted, yes, but not with trick ones. No flavorants, enzymes, no acidulation. So I took a leap of faith and accepted the generosity, trusted and it paid off. Turns out the wine in its gentleness and ever-so-slight bitter element reminded me of the Clos Roche Blanche sauvignon. I was relieved that the wine was really very good, but not really surprised as Hamel is one of the few winemakers up this way who has the courage to make syrah and pinot (under his own label) without any new oak (or trickery). The brave man whose Hamel wines will never be reviewed by the points- slingers makes a combined 800 cases so there's some to spread around. Years back, after he graduated UC Davis, Hamel worked with the legendary Darrell Corti in Sacramento. I asked Hamel whether he felt Corti--who has a decidedly old-world palate--sat on his shoulder when he made wine? Hamel pulled his lips together into a crescent moon as he shook his head: affirmative. If you're in the Bay Area, my unmediated-trained self and I will be on TV--KRON on Sunday July 20th at 9:15. Tune in!