The past few days in New York, walking paths I used to walk when I was 23 and New York was a much older place. Bleeker Street in January, it couldn’t get any direr for me. Walking past the Chelsea Hotel on my way to work, looking at the plaques of the dead writers, many who never made it to 40. At 23, that was almost half a lifetime away, but the winter of ’75 was a bitter halfway point.
Today on Bleeker Street, it was bright and breezy, a perfect 80°F, just the day for the last of the rosé wines, a Donnas from the Valle d’Aoste and a Rossese Rosé from Liguria. Add two glasses of Trebbiano Spoletino to go with the artichokes alla giudia for good measure. Almost 40 years later, New York is manageable. But as Thomas Wolfe said all those years ago, you can’t go home again. Not to New York. Not to California.
Nothing above me, nothing below me, shall I leap? Traveling across the galaxy at unfathomable speeds, who will fall? Who will catch? Who will notice? We still have Italian wines to learn about. This week in New York, it was the wines of Liguria.
I remember hiking among the vineyards of Liguria, some years ago. It was blisteringly beautiful, with the wild bees and the feral plants, grapes among them. Wines we didn’t see for years. Today we walk the canyons of New York, looking for wild and civilized in the same step. And the wines? They have taken the boat to America too, invading New York. Rossese and Pigato and Ormeasco, oh my.
Valle d’Aoste, similar feelings. Extreme winegrowing, now finding their way to America, Donnas and the wines of Voyat, resurfacing, so happy to see them. I forgot them, they came back home to remind me. Yes, I know we can’t go home again, but we can go back to Liguria and the Valle d’Aoste. Or meet them in New York for lunch.
While the world isn’t perfect and Heaven knows some Italian winemakers are far from being as enjoyable as their wines, let’s turn from the toxic world and embrace what is good about Italy and find your wine, before your most perfect weekend of a life is over.
Open a rosé wine, or a red or a white. Or all of them. Spend time with your friends. Or your family. And go home. Just this time. Again.
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