Friday, October 30, 2009

Paralyzed in Paradise

El sueño del Día de los Muertos

“Italy is falling apart from within and they cannot even see it.” I dreamt that I awoke in my bed at 4:00 AM, as the parrots outside were screeching from the bitter wind and cold that was driving them insane. At 8:30 there would be a meeting I had to be at, and the month was finishing up disappointingly. “There is too much wine. It is too expensive. It has too much wood and Merlot and Syrah in it. And every time another email from Cinderella wine shows up in the inbox there’s another Super Tuscan for $20 that the wineries had been asking $80-90-100, a year ago.” I kept hearing these voices from the waking-working moments, from wine lovers, wine buyers, people who once cared. But the Italians had already turned their backs on their advocates in pursuit of an unsustainable life style. Newer cars, larger wrist watches, pointier shoes, and these incessant barriqued wines. They were killing their country.

Before I awoke I started by finding every last barrel salesman and sending them on a trip around the sun. Then I dug up the scientists and the agronomists and the consultants and took away their Porsche Cayennes and their GPS and put them all on a severe ego-restriction diet. And then I tracked down everyone that had had their winery designed by an architect from Spain or Japan or Norway and made them watch films by Ettore Scola and Buster Keaton and Orson Welles until their eyes bled.

Then I turned all of the power down in Italy in the winter, so that when it got cold they had to hold bonfires with the barriques until all the small, tightly grained monsters of their vinous vanity were gone from the face of Italy.

I then collared every P.R. firm who used the words “employing modern techniques with respect to tradition” and sequestered them all in the wineries that had been designed by those architects from Spain or Japan or Norway and made them sit there eating zibibbo raisins and yoghurt from Greece until the diet leeched out all the poison from the lies they had been telling all these years.

If Italy was redeemable perhaps they could have reclaimed their wines. As it was, we witnessed the curtains closing on a period when they let greatness slip from their grasp. The Italian culture was clouded with their sense of self importance, their self-possessed narcissism. And it killed the natural wine culture that had thrived in Italy for aeons.

Italy, you blew it up. The world no longer could endure your barrel-tormented dramas and your international wines stripped of their Italianita and sacrificed on the altar of short term commercial success. La commedia è finita.

And then the alarm rang out in the early morning fog of autumn.


Jeff Siegel said...

"I then collared every P.R. firm who used the words 'employing modern techniques with respect to tradition' . ..."

One of my favorites, Alfonso. This, of course, is winespeak for "All wines must taste like they came from Paso Robles."

Unknown said...

Wow... someone posts a comment a full 1/2 hour before this post went up. I'm impressed... musta been some dream!

Mattie John Bamman said...

Pure comedy--well, tragic comedy.

I must admit that I do not know when the widespread use of barrique infiltrated Italy. Was it really that recently?

Dave at Wine Openers said...

"Employing modern techniques with respect to tradition".. why does this seem to echo "We had to kill our tradition in order to save it?"
Come al solito,grande parole, AC.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Sorry, BK, Daylight Savings in the Twilight zone changed a few days earlier ;)

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