When I saw Giulio tonight he looked more tired than his 35 plus years. He had been in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego in three days, then back to San Antonio and rural Boerne for a country wine dinner. Before he made it to Dallas his entourage flew to Oklahoma City for a wine dinner. He brought with him Francesca Moretti and Roberto Barbato, an owner and the commercial director for the Terra Moretti Company.
Everyone was tired, including myself. But here we were at an Italian restaurant. Showtime.
Inside the swank little spot on the edge of Dallas’ Park Cities, one of the wealthy safe deposit box neighborhoods, we were led to our table in front of the pizza oven. Front row and center. We passed by a client and one of the friendly competitors. The competition was everywhere, these days. Nowhere to hide.
Chef Jules seemed to love us and that was all we needed, after thousands of miles making flights, renting cars, late nights with clients and winemakers. Yes, this is the life we chose.
This isn’t just about Giulio. He is an archetype. It could be about Andrea or Lionello or Paolo or any number of people in this boat, all of whom have a similar life. All who have chosen it or have had it chosen for them.
No complaining, we are all looking somewhere over the rainbow for our little piece of the Emerald City. Or Kansas.
Giulio had a bottle of Francesca’s Tre Bicchieri winner, 2004 Petra, accompanying him on his recent travels. Roberto brought it from Italy in his luggage. And here we were, finally, opening the wine to try and with luck to enjoy. Francesca apologized with her big brown eyes, excusing the wine for its frequent altitude adjustments. But even though she would have preferred we let the wine settle for ten days, it opened up like a champ and was brilliant.
Plates started appearing at the table, and here we were again. No this wasn’t San Francisco, nor was it Hollywood. It wasn’t Verona; that was still a few weeks off. This was Highland Park and the place was Nonna’s. And it was just perfect for all of us tired wine ambassadors.
Chef came over and offered a pleasant welcome. Here’s a young one, with the future waiting for him and what he has to offer a hungry world. Italy is just beginning her ascent into American mainstream culture and the wine from Francesca with the food of Jules is where it is going. No cell phones or computers needed to figure that one out.
Roberto surprised everyone by ordering a second chocolate dessert. He is mistaken for an Italian movie star in elevators. Women love him. Everyone loves Italians. Life is good.
Tomorrow we tackle Texas BBQ and Patric chocolate cake.
Just leave the espresso machine on in the window.