Sunday, November 12, 2006

Family, Friends & a Fiasco

Tonight, over a wonderful bottle of Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri, once again I was transported to somewhere between the Maremma and California. These places are twinned in their sunny disposition, their proximity to water and to a feeling of freedom and for me, nostalgia.

Today we were talking about what one would do if someone told you that from this moment you only had 10 years to go. What would you do, would you still work? Where would you go?

I don’t think I’d travel too much. And I don’t think I’d stop working. I know probably the first thing I’d do would be to give away a lot of stuff. Maybe spend 6 months to a year doing that. Aint that silly?

I’d spend time with family and with friends. And I’d like to get this Tuscany-Sangiovese-Chianti thing figured out. Not all the wines taste as clear as the Tua Rita. Sometimes Chianti and Sangiovese are really a fiasco.

When you think about all the wine producing areas in the world and then take out all the areas or wineries that produce only marginally acceptable wines, there really exist only a few special places on earth. So when I taste Chianti wines that taste like they were made in a factory I wonder about the people behind it.

I think about the folks in Texas or Mexico and what they wouldn’t give to have some of the growing and soil conditions that we have all around Tuscany.

When I was a little one, my dad bought a Packard. He was moving up in the world. I think the last car he had was an Oldsmobile. After the Packard he’d bring home an Eldorado. But that Packard was the beginning of a step up. He wasn’t going to drive a cheapo chianti-mobile anymore.

When I was in college and we didn’t have much money, we’d get one of our friends to bring home wine from their family winery. Sometimes it was Sebastiani and sometimes it was Heitz. We were barely escaping a war that had gone amuck, anything tasted good then. Poor and free, looking on it now, we were very fortunate.
A little Zinfandel, maybe something from the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Or a Petite Sirah from Livermore?

Someone came up to me in a wine store the other day, wanting to know what was the best Chianti in wicker. I directed the person to a little corner of my mind, where there is a little wine cellar and a cellarmaster by the name of Rod Serling. One person’s nostalgia is another person’s nightmare.

Heading back from the 1950’s and 1970’s with a little pit-stop in the 1980’s, I recall a wonderful Chianti Rufina from Selvapiana. It was a Riserva from 1977. Black cherry and roasted chestnuts. Velvet armchair. Beeswax on an antique sideboard.

Now furniture companies find it advantageous to market their lines with such angles as the “Hills of Tuscany Collection.”

Sitting in the back yard of an ancient Tuscan estate, I ponder on this Sunday night why we cannot arm ourselves in the wine world to collectively strive to succeed together to make the wines of Tuscany more understood.

It doesn’t have to be that people think of the lowly fiasco, the 2-buck chuck of its time, as the archetypical Tuscan expression of red wine. It doesn’t have to be that way, On the Wine Trail in Italy.

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Tracie B. said...

have you seen borat?

che baffo!


Travel Italy said...

understanding the wines of Tuscany and understanding the wars of religious fanaticism perhaps the answer is understanding what is really important. We take an image of quality created over generations and endless hours of artisan labor, place it onto an industrial product where the only purpose is to make money and destroy our culture and our understanding of quality, of personal achievement in the name profit.

I found your thoughts very insightful.

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Hi, I've been lurking around your blog for a while now, but when I saw that you also went to SCU (MBA '03 here) I thought I should mention we're both alums! :) I enjoy your posts and I'm a wine novice so I'm trying to soak up as much as I can!

EVWG said...

Keep fighting the good fight. We are behind you as italian wine lovers. The Tuscan/Cali connection is such a good point. Let's figure this out.


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