Sunday, March 05, 2017

A Good Horse - And an Even Better Saddle

The other day I got a late-pay notice from a government agency. I fretted over it for a while, imagining all kinds of economic burden to my little world. And then a picture popped up on the screen, of some crazed leader laughing with his generals in front of a high powered missile, capable of potentially sending a nuclear payload into my back yard. And I forgot all about my little problem.

There are many ways to look at things, in this age of disruption. We can bemoan the loss of freedoms we once took for granted, we can activate socially and make our voices heard and we can celebrate for our side. And that is what is being done in various quarters around the country and indeed, in the world.


In this country of Texas, where I live, there is a fierce independent streak. So much it can be seen as narrow, limiting even cruel. We have a low tax rate, and in return we have low services. Our local government congressional session operates for 140 days, every other year. So, for 140 days out of 730 they politicians are active. And for 590 days they are off wreaking havoc in the private sector.

For those of us who see survival and resilience as our goal, and wanting to move forward, I put up a mental picture, which evokes an erstwhile image of that desire for freedom that draws people to this place. The idea of a good horse with an even better saddle. And in the vinous mode of imaging, this applies as well.

Can Italian wine be the trail that I lead my horse down? Well it seems to have been for some time now, even if only in a metaphorical sense. I do see wine as the horse and the saddle, from time to time.

Right now, Nebbiolo is a great work horse. I find myself drawn to it in these times, for Nebbiolo really seems to have returned to its nature of being. All those years of struggling with dark, dense, chewy Barolos are over. Maybe they needed more time in the bottle, as we found out again, last week in Napa Valley. Maybe some of them should have never been made in that brawny overly- assertive style. And maybe, just maybe, the winemakers want to drink those Barolos and Barbarescos as much as some of us do.

I’m resigned with Tuscan Sangiovese being more emphatic in these times. Yes, the saddle is newer and shinier and the grain is tighter. I’ve had too many disappointing bottles of older Chianti, and Brunello. Maybe Tuscany is a little like Texas - in that a fierceness to its boldness is a symbol of craft, not detriment. That maybe, finally, the winemakers have seen Tuscany for what it really is – a place to make bold wines. Why not? It works out quite well for Napa Valley. There are plenty of good horses in Tuscany with handsome saddles. Give those wines 5- 10 or more years in the bottle and what develops might be seen in the future as a revolution, not a regression. I know, to some this sounds like heresy. I’m just looking out over the horizon and seeing the rainbows and the silver lining. Call me a dreamer.

And not just Italian wine. In the past week, there have been wines in glasses in front of me from Germany, from California from New Zealand. Those wines, like the people that come to America, made the trip, coming here for a reason. Maybe it was for economic purposes. Perhaps someone, far away, decided it would be a good idea - a goal - to reach these shores. Whatever the reasoning, they (and we) are here. And from the pleasant encounters I’ve had, I’d say this will continue. That is, if the mad little man with the funny hairdo doesn’t launch his missile. Nuclear winter as an antidote to global warming? I’m not praying for this.

I have no missiles, no rockets, no arsenal of mass destruction. All I can do is make sure I do have a good horse, and an even better saddle. With Italian wine, we’re in pretty good hands these days. Now we just need to go about setting the rest of the world right, eh?




wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

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