Friday, September 02, 2011

New Maremma Wine, Qaddafi's Hummer & Late Night Pasolini

There is no lack of news and oddities in the vineyards of the Maremma, or the rest of Italy, for that matter.

I have been on the road all day, driving back from a whirlwind tour of Tuscany during what is turning out to be a very hot and dry harvest, and one with a few distractions.

We arrived back in Milan for a few last meetings and a quick dinner at a restaurant run by sweet folks from Apulia. But the real news is the wine I was shown at La Badiola winery. When asked the grape the winemaker told us it was called Marselan. It was light in color, totally unoaked and fresh, spicy and a delicious sipper. In fact I did not spit any of the wine. Anyone heard of this grape? Some reports say it is a hybrid between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It was not too tannic. It was refreshing in the heat of the Tuscan sun at the end of the August month.

Odd. On August 1 I was driving north on SS1 (the Aurelia) and on August 31 I found myself driving south on the very same highway. The month of August, the revered month for Italians to vacation. And twice I found myself running from winery to winery. Consider myself very lucky to be working in the playground of many Italian holiday goers. And glad to be working, rather than catching more sun. Something which we have more than had our share of in Texas.

Another oddity. This Hummer, said to belong to one of the sons of the whacked out Qaddafi. It seems he just abandoned it in a parking lot of the resort he was staying at. Other reports had it that he had a monthly allowance of $8,000,000. If that is anywhere near the truth, why wouldn’t he just leave the car?

Now it sits there, birds crapping all over the car, a symbol to some of the bloviated lifestyle of overly materialistic folks. As for my feelings, with gas selling for $8 a gallon in Italy, it just doesn't make a lot of economic sense. But who are we, the little people, in the grand scheme of the wealthy and powerful?

Last oddity – I had no time for Italian TV on this rapid fire trip. But one night it accidentally turned on and there was Pasolini being interviewed. I admire the films of Pasolini, and just thought it some kind of coincidence when he popped up on the screen in the wee hours.

Heading back to America and Texas. And while I am not looking forward to the heat, I am ready to be back home and to put my head on my own pillow for a bit.

Buon (long) weekend, y’all.


Thomas said...

"...incredible to think about a time when Italian national television (now controlled by Berlusca) once engaged intellectuals..."

Except for the Berlusconi reference, those of us who have been around long enough can say the same thing about U.S. national television.

Valerie said...

Yet another grape I've never heard of, but love exploring the Maremma. Like your allusion to the 'bloviated materialistic lifestyle.' My friends don't understand my need to downsize and not shop. But like I say, that $1500 I used to spend every year on my Starbuck's crack habit is my airline ticket to Italy every year. (And what I used to spend on shoes when I was making $90K pays for the apartments!) Saw a dodge ram dualie in Florence every day parked on Via Nazionale & you just gotta wonder...

Oh - TV - what a testament to our moral decline. Although if it wasn't for Carlo Conti and his gameshow L'Eredita' every night, my Italian would be worse than it already is. If reality TV these days in the US is actually real, our country is in big big trouble. And Italians are watching our exported garbage like Jersey Shore? Maybe Signor Bunga Bunga is in cahoots with someone inside the beltway, you never know.

Safe travels...

Wink Lorch said...

Hope you're enjoying a restful weekend back home. Yes, I have heard of the Marselan crossing and have tasted a couple from southern France, usually in blends. However, the one I remember is from, of all places, Mendoza in Argrntina, where Familia Zuccardi grow it with some success, a soft easy-going, warming quaff.

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