Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who Died and Made You Dr. Zaius?

This was supposed to be the follow up to the last post. But I need a break from serious. So let’s have a little summer camp, eh? Besides, I have these wonderful pictures that are so timely.

Italy loves the paternal, the overseer, the luxury of primacy, when it comes to culture, food, fashion and sometimes, wine. But let the administrators in and you might as well let the monkeys run the place.

Not that the good ‘ol US isn't straining under its own weight of dominance these days. Our Hummer mentality is crashing into wall after wall, the gas tank is nearly empty, and we still want to call all the shots. And we probably will until they pry the power from our cold, dead hands.

Meanwhile, Montalcino has decided to upstage Spoleto, unveiling their operetta about “the little red wine that coulda-shoulda-woulda.” What a mess they have made of this Brunello business, to the point that the US has had to scare up a tomato scandal just to get a little ink.

So now we’ve had inexcusable mozzarella in Southern Italy, dubious red wine from Tuscany and wayward tomatoes somewhere in the Americas. What will we eat? How will the Commedia continuare?

And we worry about a wine list and its relevancy. How can one be so vacuous, so insensitive?

We worry about endangered grapes from Ischia and Cadenabbia. And our levels of certification. Really?

From Zardoz to Zaius
I’m taking a break from Zardoz and hangin’ with Dr. Zaius for a post or two. Is that a Nehru seersucker suit, I wonder?

Anyway, seems that the administrators have wrestled the monitoring of the Brunello appellation from the Consorzio.

Steven Kolpan of NY, commented in Decanter that “Brunello di Montalcino is one of the world's greatest wines, and it makes no sense for its producers to shoot themselves in their collective foot. Perhaps one day the world will find out exactly what happened to create this scandal in Montalcino and beyond, but something tells me it's not really about the quality of the wine or the commitment of Brunello producers.”
Look, it might not be all that wrong to appoint fellows like Dr. Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, president of Federdoc (National Federation of Voluntary Consortia for the Oversight of Italian Wine Appellations); Professor Vasco Boatto, director of Enology, Department of Agronomy, University of Padua); and Dr. Fulvio Mattivi, director of the analysis laboratory Istituto di San Michele all’Adige (the institute of enology, province of Trento). Still, the way it is being delivered seems like it comes straight out of the playbook of paterfamilia.

Eric Asimov blogs from The Pour about this. One thought he finished with resonated with me. He said, “Internal politics, local animosities, rivalries and disputes that may have little to do with the actual public issue may all be playing out behind the scenes.”

It just seems that there is a byzantine process in play here, and outsiders, of whom virtually most of us are, can only speculate.

Odd, that in California they can add Syrah and Teroldego to Pinot Noir in an effort to boost the profile of a wine that in places like Burgundy and Trentino they rest on their own. Odd especially for Trentino, as Teroldego grows with Pinot Nero in proximity to each other. And two different wines are made and appreciated for their own merits.

Curious, that Bordeaux can grapple with their image and make changes. And they who have much to lose from making the wrong change.

We will see. But I wonder, will the world really care about Brunello once they’ve let their little operetta play out? Already we are seeing Brunello sales going soft. Again, the 2003 vintage won’t be considered a classic by many of us out here in flyover country. Then again, in flyover country it seems there are other concerns, like the corn harvest. And what to do with all of these tomatoes. And soon all those darn melons. It’s just too much for man and ape alike.

Where’s Barbarella when you need her?

Maybe I need another vacation; this time a quiet place with a beach, perhaps?

Still photos from the film, Planet of the Apes, with an occasional exception or two.
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