Sunday, March 11, 2007

Follow the Yellow Barrique Road

The wine from the 2006 vintage rests in barrels. Winter is winding down. Next week Gambero Rosso hits the road and comes to New York, where it’s still cold. In a few weeks I’ll be walking the cellars of Piedmont and the Veneto, following the progress of the vintage.

Feb 24, 1983, Tennessee Williams died in New York at the Hotel Elysée. Two days later I checked into the Palermo Room of the same hotel. New York was coming out of its 70’s funk in 1983, but nothing like it would be 15 years later.

I’ve thought about his last moments in that hotel as he was choking on a bottle cap. Prescriptions drugs and alcohol were present. He was alone. He is now at rest.


In Piedmont the Nebbiolo vines are stirring from their long rest. In 1984 (when the next few photos were taken) there was a great deal of hope in the region. It was as if they were coming back from death, from a stalwart existence of polenta and black dresses, of dried hard salami and bitter greens. All quite wonderful when it isn’t imposed upon one. The region makes some of the great wine of the world, but we all flock to Burgundy and Napa, to Bordeaux and Tuscany. Everything has a season.

I’ve been reading a bit of the Italian wine blogs, folks deep in the thick of their world. The Italian bloggers love to use the word polemic, as if they were actually effecting world change. Many of them like to call their blogs “Taccuino”, like good little school children. Fallen giants like Armando de Rham, what would he think of all this?
We used to have these long discussions, then by telex, about the changes that were starting to take place in Piedmont. This was the center of a revolution, a polemic even, where all the notebooks were burned.

So when I think about all the chatter that is going on in Italy about micro-oxygenation or Vino-Camp, or corks or no corks, or barrique or no chips, I get to wishing it was New York circa 1983 or Alba in 1984.

And yet, I am just as guilty, in this meandering of random thoughts.

Have we have lost the simple welcome of a Paolo Scavino, or the intuitive sense of Armando, since we decided to follow the yellow barrique road?

1 comment:

Tracie B. said...

that perpetually swinging pendulum is coming back our way...i hope.

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