Friday, April 20, 2007

Insatiable Is Not Sustainable

Tonight I went to a restaurant that has opened up since I came back from Vinitaly. It was an eye-opener into the collective psyche of this place we call home. I admit that, after almost 30 years in this town, I too, am a stranger in a strange land.

Who's Your Daddy?
Young girls in Bustiers prancing about, as if to keep me awake, blaring music, not even a soothing trance, but some sort of dissonant jumble of samples. “Break on through to the other side”, Jim Morrison, wails, but there is no other side. The world is flat, and this experience of going out to dinner is an amped up version of someone’s idea of dining with the stars, the Vegas syndrome. Tables of Doctors grabbing the 98 point Brunello and banging it down, before they head out to the ballgame. Young women, tossed and pushed up, and looking to make it out of the savannas for a season. Where do all these girls come from? Who is paying for all of this? This, a reflection of our self-centered narcissism, the hubris that surrounds this country and thwarts any cultural evolution. An insatiable scenario, no one will ever get enough, even when their bellies are full and their credit limits have been extended.

Unfortunately, it’s true. I’ll borrow from the words of Eric Burdon and say it. We gotta get out of this place. But this place might be anyplace and the fighter in me says, burrow down, build up your strength, and go out and fight another day, and another, and another. They all get older; they all have to face up to themselves in the mirror. None of us are spared the cycle of life and the time it takes to go around. Mantra: This will change, this will get better, it already has. And again.

Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously **
On the back of a car in traffic, a bumper sticker proclaimed, “Insatiable is not sustainable.” Water from Fiji Island, meat from Illinois, salami from Washington, wine from Verona. All guilty, all of it, all of us. And at the end, we drown a scoop of ice cream in espresso and call it an affogato, as if to wash away any last remnant of feeling we might have for this evening. Unless one would care for cup of Recioto for $50. Or maybe a single vineyard grappa for $35. Full, but unfulfilled.

OK, enough.

Wine Note ~ Why Not?
Most interesting wine that I would not normally encounter? Rousseau Chambertin, 1996 and 2000. I primed the pump by sampling a whole range of 2003-4-5 Moreau Chablis and 2005 Potel-Aviron cru Beaujolais. Somewhere along the line I got a headache, was it the new oak barrels or the new oak pollen, which was at level Red.

The Chambertins; 2000 was open and fruity and rich and smooth and deep and delicious. 1996 was closed and funky and tight and slightly volatile. At first. Over the period of several hours the 1996 opened up, smoothed out and blew past the 2000. Both wines were most interesting to taste. (Thanks to Joe Sag)

Note: The whole time I was thinking about Barbaresco and how that wine affects me. I have no idea why.

Sit On a Potato Pan, Otis *
Best wine experience I had this week: In San Antonio, at a tasting I was working. I had a whole slew of wonderful Italian wines. A young couple walks up to the booth, asks to taste a couple of my wines and borrow a pen to take notes. The woman was pretty and exotic, reminded me of someone from the mid 1970’s. Wrapped her little boy in a fabric around her body, slightly bohemian, very natural, a nice time trip for me. An engaged, unpretentious, comfortable-in-their-skins couple. They were interested in tasting wines I was interested in, a Muller-Thurgau and Traminer blend from Basilicata and a Rosato from Piedmont. Wines I liked, they listened, tasted and went back to the Cru Beaujolais and the Grand Cru Chablis tables. He also reminded me of someone.

Sore Was I Ere I Saw Eros *
I found out later they had a French inspired restaurant in town, very high level ( it had even been written up in the N.Y. Times and Gourmet). The cool thing was, I didn’t know who they were, they didn’t know me from Adam. And maybe because we have reached a certain level of expression in our trade, I felt a kindred-folk connection. It was like looking at myself 30 years ago. Thanks Andrew and Maureen, that was a needed moment. I must come and visit your cuisine.

Packed my bags....ready to go...

Vintage Images from PLAN59.COM

*Palindromes, just because I like them.

* * Thanks, Noam

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