Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm Your Man

Do we ask too much from any wine? With the grapes long ascent through time, asking nothing from man, except to be held and loved and partnered in a glass, maybe with a little cheese and bread. But we want to triangulated it and take it apart, stem by stem. Both camps, the terroirists and the wine-stylists, want wine to be what they think it should be. But what does a grape made into wine really want? Maybe it just wants to be your man.

Swimming in wine and spirits, my kitchen, my home, my world. There are so many expressions of the magic. Small harvests, droughts, spinning cones and tuning forks, I ready myself for a trip home.

No, not to Italy, but to the place my grandfather brought my father and made their home, in the New World. Part of the youthful rebel inside turned me around, back to the Old World. And so it has been like this, walking, walking, all these years, back away from home. I strayed, but never got too far.

So I took the last thirty years in the service of the Old Country and her wines. Along the way, fashion led Italy to take on the mantle of the New World, only to cast it off as the fashions change. And those of us who never went to med school, but were expected to perform surgery in the field, without anesthetics, what was in store for one whose life took them in that direction?

All the many Italians we piled into our cars, and the French and the Germans and the Australians. They piled into the Mercedes and the Volvo and the Infiniti and now the Silver Bullet. They all came to look for America, searching for Eldorado.

Dallas today, tomorrow Atlanta. Chicago next week, followed by Denver, Phoenix and San Diego. Drive to Los Angeles; fly to San Francisco and down to Miami and back up to Boston, D.C. and New York. Every inch of America.

The cycles, the trends, the oak, the concrete, and every autumn the grapes would ripen and souls would pick them and squeeze them and let the fateful mystery cling to those rotten bunches and make diamonds appear. In the New World, a master of wine and war would fantasize in the darkness of the sunset, thinking about his Old World home and the maidens in the field busy with the grapes being born and dying. Planting by the cycles of the ocean and harvesting by the fullness of the moon. Grab a horn and blow the walls down. Dig a hole and drop the precious liquid inside it. And wait. Three months, six months, nine months or more.

And to what end? To end up on a wine list in some rotating bento box 600 feet in the sky, waiting for someone to pay $195 for a meal? Or $120 for a bottle of wine? And we send our best and our brightest up to man those stylites, fending off diners pleas for white zinfandel as if they were the advances of Satan?

And still we aim the Silver Bullet to the next call, to the Italian kneading the dough waiting for the fire to heat up the oven. Still hoping, still breathing, wishing for the light we saw all those many years ago as we entered the tunnel to expose us to the greater light within the clusters shining on the vines dripping with dew. I’m your man, yes I am.






Lyrics by Leonard Cohen

2 comments:

Marco Palatino said...

I like the live (originally typed liver!) version of this song. Bravo, wine, women and song woven beautifully together.

Do Bianchi said...

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

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