All this sprang from a little conversation I was having with my barber. I called up him up, his name is also Alfonso. “Hello, this is Alfonso,” I started. “Yes, this is he,” he replied. “Alfonso, this is Alfonso, do you have time to give me a haircut?” He answers, “Yes, this is Alfonso.” “I know it is you Alfonso, it is me, Alfonso, I just wanted to come in for a trim.” “Of course it is me Alfonso; yes we can fit you in. Your name please?”
I got there and the place was steaming hot inside, like Etna in August. I asked him what the deal is. He said there were gangs roaming the streets for copper, taking apart air conditioners. It sure was making it real difficult in this place without any air conditioning.
Meanwhile, all things Italian were also heating up, we had to go find what we had been missing. It had been too long. Ready or not, we were going up. The scouts hadn’t radioed back in months; the surface of the planet was getting hotter. We had to find her and bring her back, dead or alive.
The scouts were supported by all the New-Age efforts, Slow Food, Demeter and even the USDA Organic group. They were looking for her, in all her pure and simple way. What they used to call traditional. Now we think of traditional as just something they did back then, and put our ways upon the times. But back then, they had integrity; they did it in harmony with nature and the world around them.
Then something happened, they took Mother Nature for a ride and held her hostage. There she was, off in a corner of the Milky Way Galaxy, tied up like some combatant, like some Guantanamera.
This was our new Crusade, to find our unspoiled red wine and bring her back to prominence. Not some overmatriculated Sangiovese posing like it were some garagista on vacation in Tuscany. She was our Holy Grail, our Mother, our Source and our Saving Grace. She was our sister, our aunt, the girl next door, our first love. She was the quintessential red wine from Italy and we had been led astray with so many Shiraz’s and Malbec’s and Bonarda’s and Zinfandel’s.
Now we would return to her and huddle close to her bosom, soak in all that is good and pure and right with wine from Italy. She was our caldera, our mountain top, our Xanadu.
My only hope is that we aren’t too late. I hope we haven’t abandoned her to the fast talking salesmen in the white linen suits. You know the type; they hang around the hotels in Rimini in the off-season. They find ways to fill up milk tankers going south and bring them back full. No one wants to talk about it; nobody returns the phone calls when they know they’re going to be asked those questions. But there is hell to pay for cheating on her and she will extract the fitting price.
The consequences for going against the Holy Mother of Italian red wine, the Source, our Naima? Hell hath no fury. Cancelled orders. Close-outs. Closed doors. Anyone remember the Italian wine scandal of 1986? It took years to dig out from the fallout. Now there is talk of great and noble wineries being implicated in Tuscany.
Back in 1986, who were the six who were suspected of shipping tainted wine? You might be surprised to recall the names: Baroncini of Solarolo, Ravenna; Biscardo of Calmasino, Verona; Cauda of Cuneo, Piedmont; Mascarello of La Morra, Piedmont; Ricordi of Piave, Treviso; Tombacco of Trebaseleghe, Padua. In 1986, people died. In 2008 with a war torn world and a stumbling economy, this is not what Mother Nature wants to hear. The ride is over, she is breaking her bondage. She will return the volley with a vengeance. Look out.
Luca Brasi’s got nothing on this 50 foot woman.