Looking back over the year in wines, today I’d like to share some of the unknown wines from Italy that I’ve been told about. Some of these wines have been on wine lists, some have been mentioned from people I have met. I’m not making this up. One of these wines is not like the others. One is real, the others, it seems, were found on the Wine Trail in Italy, during 2006.
Over Crispy Duck and a bottle of Valpolicella Classico Superiore, a fellow looks at the wine we are drinking and asks me if I like Italian wines much. I tell him yes. He says he hates French wine because he hates all things French. I ask him if it is because of the differences between our political orientations (the French and the U.S). “That’s it”, he affirms. “Good”, I say, “next time you hate what a politician does punish the farmer.” He changes the subject to tell me how much he loves Barolo di Montalcino and then asks me to taste a blue 1.5 liter glass bottle of Australian Shiraz he bought for $3.99. That would be the equivalent of a $ 2.00 bottle, a “2 buck sucks” wine. Classy guy, a real big spender. He’s the only person I have ever heard from about the illusive Barolo di Montalcino, but I’d like to taste it, maybe next year? While we were talking another person leaned over the booth and heard our conversation. He had recently been reading about the introduction of Italian wines into India and China. His favorite wine was a Pinot Noir from California but he was very excited about a wine he had read about, a Primitivo di Manchuria.
Finally a wine to go with Peking duck! It doesn’t get any better than this, as they say in old Milwaukee. I get calls often, in the trade, from people looking to find a particular wine. Seems they know they can ask me even if I don’t represent the wine. So a good old boy calls me from Houston asking about a Super Tuscan he’d just had at a fancy steakhouse out in Sugarland, Texas. Something called Flatulentello, or something like that.
I could only hope this person isn’t a doctor or a lawyer or someone I might need to help me some day, to stay alive or out of jail. An email from someone who wanted to know where they could find this Sardinian wine that they had at a restaurant in Houston, near a shopping center, something called a Vermentino di Galleria. A white wine, from the vineyard of a restaurateur. In the immortal words of Joyce, "yes, yes, yes." I’m on it right away. Earlier in the year I got a call from my colleague, Guy Stout. Guy had a friend who was looking for a wine, made for an “adult film star”. Something called, Sogno Uno. Robert Parker reviewed it, gave it a 90 or a 91, why not? He couldn’t rate it a perfect “10”? A blend of Cesanese, Sangiovese and Montepulciano Probably my favorite, though, was on a wine list this week. A new trans-regional effort, a Valpolicella d’Abruzzo. A wine that embraces the northern tradition with the central-southern sunshine. Something to go with crudo or agnello. A wine for Berlusca, for the new Italy. Even if it’s in Frisco, Texas.
So, tell me which one do you think is believable? Comments welcomed, operators are standing by.
As for me, I think what Grouch Marx said to a cop in one of his movies is apt for my present state of mind. “Arrest me, I need a rest.” And that's all she wrote.