Friday, July 11, 2008

Red Letter Day

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

Busy time here, in refried country. Wine people from California to Montalcino have been joining us in the sun-baked trenches of the last market that makes sense. Italian wines are alive and well and this week gave proof to that preposterous assertion.

And what is the secret, the magic ingredient? It’s leather and the lack of it in certain places. It relates to the street and the tenacity of those who have joined us in our quest to take on the final frontier. Italy has gotten a hold on this state which is larger than Italy, as large as France. This is no easy task, but we are going to bristle and mow our way through the year to prove to New York, Chicago, LA and San Francisco that there is competition for the fine wine segment of the Italian wine market. This week was just the beginning.

Imagine getting up at 6:oo AM in order to get ready for a long day. Nine wines, six clients, 120 miles of driving, in a circle, like a carousel. Young palates, master tasters, Italians, chefs, wine bar enthoos, no we’re not talking about Austin (next week, Dottore). We’re a bit east of the Barnett Shale, the phenom that is transforming the local economy and making a lot of believers out of the Texas miracle. More on that another time. Right now we have just come off of three days of intensive tasting and pounding the streets. The leather I was talking about was on the bottom of my shoes. No, that’s not some lunar landscape; that, my friends is a badge of honor. Yes, we’re still paying our dues and proud of it.

Vacation to Europe? Not yet, the action is here in the armor plated patrol vehicles. With the inside of them coming up to 110-115° F, we have our Koolatron chests panting to keep our wine and our laptops cool. Suit, tie, long sleeve, yes grasshopper, we have entered the battle zone and we will not surrender and we will conquer the hubris and the entropy. With or without our punch lists.

I got a call from Hollywood today, from a friend who runs a studio. Actually, Burbank. Anyway, he’s got a movie that’s doing great right now. Famous for the way a shoe is integral to the story line. A hybrid.

I’m at lunch with four other gents. Checking out one of the haut-spots. I cannot find a wine on the list for less than $100 bucks. An old Italian SB for $12 a glass that is selling down the street for $9. I start to see red. The start of my red letter day.

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Italy is turd-blossoming. A day after tasting wines from all over Italy, from Piedmont to Basilicata, from Sicily to Tuscany, we finish off the day with some Pinot Noirs from The Santa Rita Hills. A Seasmoke trio with a handful of cheeses from Italy to Spain, California, France, Wisconsin.

Later that night, I am dreaming of California; the dream is a wild ride with a young family member, Vinitaly, Dr. P and the rolling hills of the Central Coast, sometimes in the sunlight, sometimes on fire. Then, cool breezes, and a waterfall , emotion, and collapse. Powerful wines that provoke such vivid dreams, or was it the cheese? I know at 9:30 I fell asleep with the lights on, only to hear in the distance the light ring of a text message. It’ll have to wait, I’m in Monroe country.

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you

Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Hollywood, New York, Rome, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Sonoma, Castiglione della Pescaia, Harlingen, San Benedetto del Tronto; just some of the stops on the summer-fall tour.

“Take me with you to Italy,” they said in an aisle as I came up off my knees from placing the bottles of Oltrepo Pavese red on the rack. “We’ll carry your luggage.” I had a master class in packing today. One pair of shoes, two pairs of pants, three shirts, no medicines ( get them there when or if you need them). One camera, no computer, travel light. Nothing to check, little to carry on, they have changed the rules. Like my film-maker friend said today, “flying sucks, unless it’s business class on international or a private jet.” Have your gal call Clooney’s gal and let’s get hooked up, pal. (It’s alright ma, I can make it.)

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not fergit
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

Red lettered words by Bob Dylan


Marco said...

It's alright, it's your month. Easy on the leather.

susannah said...

Adoro il tuo blog, sia per i commenti che per le foto. :) susannah (Avvinare).

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