In a recent post from Italy and ViniVeri, a blogger referenced the poet/philosopher/wine writer Sandro Sangiorgi. Odd, in that I have been doing research for an upcoming trip to Sicily and came across Sangiorgi’s Ted Talk in Palermo. It’s one of the clearest thought pieces on wines place in one’s world that I have been exposed to in a long time.
I cannot bear to look at one more vertical of Sassicaia. I’m happy for those first-timers who just arrived in Italy with their distributor/importer. But dear people, you didn’t just discover Valtellina, or the Langhe, or Alto-Adige. Just like sex, it’s been there, for millions of years. Yes, it’s new to you and you’re excited, bravo. Take a deep breath, relax.
Lately, I’m not one for crowds. Unless it’s for gelato, I shun lines. And my re-entry back to wine is taking a little longer than I had expected. I’m not missing wine, nor am I craving it. Which is probably a good thing. Poor wine gets fetishized all too much in the new social media world we’ve come to inhabit. I reckon by the time I step foot on Etna I’ll be back to tasting and enjoying wine. If not, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
What I find fascinating about my new relationship with wine (can I say such a thing without it sounding so puerile?) is the new perspective I have for it and the context it has in my life. As Sangiorgi says, “Wine can't be the goal, it can't be the aim..When we want it to become our passion and consequently one love of our life we can't consider it as a goal.” Monumental.
Without limits, with a full view of the horizon in front of me, wine is no longer something to be conquered. Wine is not something that for the next four (or four hundred) days, I have to shove down my throat, analyze, sip, spit, note and be carried away by. And that’s a very liberating thing. I’m free, finally, from the tyranny of the power the wine has imbued upon its willing acolytes.
One could say, Paradise regained. For along with this liberation, the path now is clearly marked. Beauty, art, understanding, yes, but without the need for power. Sangiorgi quotes a poem from Borges, with these stunning lines, “Wine, show me the art of seeing my own history, as if it were already a handful of ashes in memory.”
No more do I need to “find” something when I take a glass of wine in my hands. No longer is it important to me to look for the scent of lychee in Gewurztraminer, any more than it is important that I solve the riddle of smell when I walk in my garden and go up to one of the roses in bloom. It simply is, now. It doesn't need me to figure it out. I’m not in charge of the destiny of the rose or the wine. I’m just walking down the path, meeting another life form, whether it is growing on a stalk or living its life in liquid form.
What I am in charge of is how I place my life regarding the perspective of things that are important to me. Is wine meaningless? No. But I see it differently now. I’m not the center of wine’s universe. Nor is it the center of mine. I’m simply a traveler, walking by.
How will that affect upcoming interactions? I don’t know. But I do know that I am very excited about the future. I no longer think that I “get” wine. I don’t need to and wine doesn’t need me too, either.
So, if the wine is rose’ or it isn’t, isn’t important anymore. If the wine is sweet or dry, I no longer ask why. The battle between Prosecco and Franciacorta, or Trento DOC, sayonara, it’s in the rear-view mirror now. All those things, bio-dynamic, clear wine, rusty wine, manufactured wine, all of it. Out of my control.
What remains in my control is to find fresh, uncluttered ways to perceive what wine means in the greater framework of our life. And to not give it undue importance (and pressure) to be something it shouldn’t be. Like Sangiorgi says, “three important elements…white, red or rosé.”
Angela Cotton dispatches this from Summa: “Fresh air, warm sun, good people. This is wine.”
So, where are we? The sun is shining above. The wind is blowing lightly. The air is cool but not too cold. And the path is laid out. And wine is not the goal.
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