Thursday, September 17, 2009

Selling Brunello when Mercury is in Retrograde

All week the wine has been dogging me. There it is, like the omnipresent character in a Twilight Zone episode. Every corner you turn, he is waiting with that silly little smirk on his face. Taunting, laughing, obstructing.

“You need to sell my 2003 Brunello so I can send you then 2004. I would hate for you to miss out and go from the 2003 to the 2005.”

I took a look at the Brunellos we have in the market. In one store yesterday they had on the shelf 1999, 2000 and 2001. All considered good to great vintages. Sitting on the shelves from $50-75. Good producers, no flies. Not like some end of the world rations that sat in the bomb shelters waiting for someone to climb on down and wait it out, while the rest of humanity sweated it out on the beach.

Waiting. Waiting.

What to do? I need an idea that works. I really need to come up with something, pull something out of my repertoire. Show the rookies this is just a cycle. Make it to the 26th mile. Again.

This is a singular moment for me. In thirty plus years I cannot remember this pattern happening quite like this. Down economy, trying to recover. Wine, tainted by a hot vintage and a scandal. Lousy exchange rate caused by a government trying to discourage foreign trade by weakening the dollar. And a stellar vintage, waiting in the wings for a window of opportunity that isn’t quite now.

The 2004 Brunello is Cinderella. But while the planets move backwards what can one person do?

This is like having to eat tainted meat while the perfect pie is cooling on the window sill. This is torture. Not like Abu or Gitmo, but for slaves to the wine god, this is a perfect storm debacle for the ’04 Brunello. More like Mars in retrograde than Mercury.

Two visitors, like passing planets across the skies, light up the screen with their brief candles. Let’s hear what they have to say about the bright light in the Montalcino skies, the 2004 vintage.

Artwork from The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas
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