Freshly starched habits – When Sister Bernadette or Sister Claire came into the room, perhaps it was the start of spring. The days were getting longer, the air was still cool, but by mid-day the temperature would rise. When one of the sisters would walk into the room with a newly starched habit, one could feel the difference. Fresh, clean, crisp, slightly citric, an edge to it, with a faint perfume of lilacs and lavender. Not unlike the white wines from Italy. Take a fresh Verdicchio (unoaked) fermented in concrete and driven all the way out to dry-ville. No butter, no apples, no milk, no heaving breathing. These were no Portuguese nuns; these were by the book, old-school proper nuns.
which I am still giving up for Lent) but more akin to the basic red that defined a region. That was before the flying winemakers and rock and porn stars crowded the Tuscan stage. No these were simpler times and simpler wines. And sweeter memories.
Clay – accompanying oil cloth would often be clay. This was a magical combination. We lived in the desert and only saw clay when we dug down 10-12 inches and then it would be with so much sand mixed in with it. But the modeling clay was all earth, all muddy and slimy and smelling like a dirt path in the forest after a good rain. It would later remind me of wines from Abruzzo, especially Montepulciano. Or Negroamaro from nearby Apulia. Wonderfully earthy, almost sweet in its quality, a lovely memory and one of the reasons I probably still love Montepulciano and Negroamaro for everyday drinking. After class, of course.
Coenobium "Rusticum" brings me back to those glory days. Good times.
And there you have it, the second and final installment of the influences that shaped my early mind and made it search for wine and Italy.
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W