Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big Week On the Wine Trail

This is going to be one crazy week. Going from the sunny seashore of Southern California, where we are celebrating the wedding of Jeremy Parzen and Tracie Branch, to the Vino 2010 events in NY, where the forecast is for cold and snow and more cold and more snow. I’ll think about my coastal run this morning when I am trudging through the canyons of Skyscraper National Park.

But it should be fun.

I will be moderating the panel on Gaglioppo, with a handful of winemakers from Calabria alongside the esteemed Attilio Scienza. I am a huge fan of the work Dottore Scienza has done in the Maremma with my friends at Petra and on the island of Pantelleria , where I have spent some time. Dottore Scienza is one of the great wine gurus of Italy and this is a dream of mine to share the time promoting the wines of my dear Calabria. My mother’s family came from Calabria and settled first in Texas and then on to Sunny Southern California, where I am sitting right now looking at the Pacific Ocean, sharing the sunlight with a family of seals.

To properly prepare for the event, last week I sat down with James Gunter, who is a wine giant in the company I work for (and a friend) and Guy Stout, who is our Master Sommelier on staff, also an old friend. We tasted through some Calabrese wines to “prime the pump” for the event next week in Manhattan. I have to say the folks down in sunny Southern Italy will have some surprises in store for the attendees of the seminar, which I am told is “Sold Out.” Needless to say, I am “pumped!”

In local news, the wedding of the decade between Do Bianchi and Tracie B is going to be underway in a few hours. I will save the details for Dr. P to elaborate on, as it is his and Tracie’s special day. But suffice it to say, we are in full celebration mode. I am here to stand next to Dr. P as his best man ( full disclosure: I suggested they "friend" each other on Facebook a little less than two years ago - the rest was up to them). Yesterday the rehearsal went off without a glitch and all parties seem to be calm, collected and in control. Now – cue the constant sunshine and chill the bubbles – take-off @ 15:00PST.

Before getting to La Jolla, I spent a day with my 95 ½ year old mom in Newport Beach, where she lives. We spent a great day together and she cooked me her signature manicotti. I paired it with an Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Ilico” 2005 – it was, in the words of Dr.P, “a killer combo.” My mom is famous for her manicotti – when we lived in Palm Springs when I was a kid, my dad would bring home all kinds of Hollywood royalty for Mom’s Meatballs and Manicotti. She was an icon of Italian cooking long before Mario Batali, at least amongst Hollywood's Golden Age Glitterati. Way to go, Mom, I sure love your cucina casalinga!

That’s all from here- more later in the week when things aren’t so hectic. Raise a glass to those who are starting a new life, and to those who cannot be here with us, who have gone before and are waiting for us at the gates.


Jeff Siegel said...

To absent friends --

spume said...

Great post, Ace! I'm sure you're enjoying San Diego right now -- see you in New York, although our panels run at the same time (which sucks, because I wanted to hear your take on gaglioppo!).

Anyway, I'll be on the transparency in Italian appellation squad over in the other room. Sure to be a hot one!

- wolfgang

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