We are now officially in the dog days of summer around these parts. Italians are flocking to one vacation or another, cell phones are not working, email is down, fax machines have melted into the past. The Italians never forget August.
The whole country is vibrating on many levels right now. Many people are on vacation. The world has stopped for a brief moment. There isn’t much going on anywhere. America is having town hall meetings so that idiots can rant about a future they don’t want, which is inevitable. I have never seen so much misplaced anger.
Yesterday, instead of taking lunch I went to see a healer and a friend. His office was packed with fretting and worried people along with the most delightful pride of children who were lying on the floor and reading. Not one battery powered game among them.
In the room where the healer works on the energy patterns of folks who come in with back pains and such, there was quite a psychic stirring. I was off to the side in a private room, really his office with a low table. I fell asleep. When I awoke I heard a women weeping. My healer friend is leaving today go overseas, where he conducts seminars. He came into my room and looked spent. I could feel it. It drew me out too. There is a lot of pain and suffering and anger in the world right now. There is also a tremendous amount of connected emotions. Tielhard de Chardin, the Jesuit paleontologist hinted at that connectedness with his theory of the noosphere. Right now the noosphere has a few kinks to work out of the fabric of its being.
This wine (and life) thing distills to these two coin ends, anticipation and consummation. We want to try this Soave or that Barolo; we want the ’68 or the ’07. We want the orange wine and then the older rosé wine and then the sparkly wine and then the ancient red wine. We want the young girl in the second row with the long flowing hair, and then the red haired mat cutter in the frame shop and then the long haired blond in the restaurant and then the dark eyed beauty in the jeans. We want, we want, we want. Anticipating some immeasurable pleasure or revelation. Desire, desire, desire. We are all hungry little wolves prowling the grasslands looking, hunting, needing.
In Italy hotels and restaurants have been reserved for weeks, months, years, in anticipation of another August holiday. The whole country goes into a collective orgy of sun, sea, mountains, food, wine, lust, sex and satiation. Only to wake another day and start all over again, year after year, generation after generation, century after century, epoch after epoch. It’s quite exciting to think about thousands of people eating and drinking and laughing and loving all at the same time.
When I was a young boy, the town I lived in, a resort, filled up for a holiday, I remember lying in my bed on a Saturday night. I was all of 10 or 11. I swore then I could hear people making love, I could hear their collective screams of pleasure on those spring nights when the world was blossoming in my head.
How does this relate to the wine trail in Italy or anywhere? It’s a similar yearning and longing for something not quite within our reach. It might be for that bottle of Brunello when there is only enough money in the wallet for a Rosso di Montalcino.
It might be for that wine to not go away. It’s not like a painting. Once the genie is out of the bottle, all that remains is the memory.
It is energized and fed by the anticipation of something special. Wine, like passion, when bottled up, can only wait so long. Knowing when to open it up is the key. Waiting can be as much fun as what it is one is waiting for. If you buy that bottle of 1985 Sassicaia and hold on to it for 20 years, the pleasure of anticipation might be as rewarding as the consummation. It might even be better. If the wine is corked, isn’t the last 20 years of thinking about that wine all the reward one could expect? At that point it would. But how bad would that be? Has any one wine really made a critical difference in one’s life?
I still have a few bottles in my wine closet. Some of them have aged with me. I am not sure I want to open them up and end our long journey together. I have more recently and the final act has been wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But then what? Le commedia finite? O comincia?
Long live anticipation; for Italian wine lovers it is a dance of seduction that is better than any blue pill.
Vintage photos by Vittorio