Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farewell, Marco

Vinu vecchiu ed ogghiu novu.

I never knew Marco DeBartoli. I loved his wines. In 2005 I visited his winery. But it was in 2001 on Pantelleria that I came across the magical place, Bukkuram, not far from where I was staying. And that was my introduction to DeBartoli and his wines.

He wasn’t but a few years older than me, but it seemed his time here on earth was done. I really felt his wines. Truth be told, I tried to sell them here in Texas and was unsuccessful. Not for any reason that the wines were lacking. But they are wines for a particular kind of person. Having Sicilian blood coursing through my veins, I fully understood. I drank more of them than I sold. They were liquid lust.


When I walked around his little winery, quirky, part museum, part abandoned auto lot, I felt there was someone for whom life was a mixing bowl in which all kinds of interesting ingredients were thrown in. But the wine had a real focus. Actually, the wine was just what it was – Marsala – or rather, an education in Marsala and the heights in which that wine could achieve. DeBartoli Marsalas were the Everest of Marsala. It’s really a shame they will fade into history, while we worship Prosecco and Pinot Grigio.

So a man, his life’s work, finished? Is that all to it? I wonder. In a week Vinitaly will begin. Perhaps at the Sicilian pavilion there will be the possibility to find someone who will continue the work, Maybe the son. Or a daughter. Or another family.

My very first encounter with Marsala, in Palermo. I was 20 and walked into a bodega where there were all sorts of barrels of Marsala – all the kinds that were so popular in those times with the local Palermitans. The aroma was overwhelming – a combination of being inside a chalice on an altar and inside the working bee hive. I will never forget that aroma.

And I will never forget the wonderful work and wines and life of a man who has now gone to join the Ancients. Bon anima, signore. Thank you for your time here on earth and the gifts you bestowed upon us.




3 comments:

Antony said...

AC,
You know I am a fan of these wonderful even magical wines. I am saddened by thought of the love and passion of Marco fading into the sunset.

TWG said...

I think LDM will be importing these wines.

Wine in Thyme said...

Liquid lust, know it well.

Real Time Analytics