Sunday, July 29, 2012

Priority Access

Last night I found myself in a most wonderful predicament. High in the hills of Marin County for a small concert, with people I didn’t know. Artists and musicians, many from the once-upon-a-time Soviet Union. Totally out of the realm I usually find myself in Texas, even though there are probably like-minded folks in my home town. It’s just that I don’t often run into them.

Musically, the evening was magical. It’s the kind of experience that makes me long for the California of my lost years, although I am realistic enough (or is it a Frank Zappaesque cynicism?) to imagine if I really lived here I wouldn’t feel quite the same way. That aside, in the moment, I loved it.

One of my host’s friends, who was working the video camera, came up to me. Light conversation ensued. I was a little gun-shy, as the last person I went up to, let’s call her Anna (she had reminded me of Alice) tolerated me for a while until she psychically dismissed me (or her introversion had had enough of being "outdoors"). In any case, with the new person in front of me, let’s call her Tina, I was polite and responded.

Something about writing about wine came up. “What is there to write about wine?” I don’t believe she meant it in a rude or defensive way. More out of curiosity. I then proceeded to channel my inner Gerard Asher.

“Take that bottle of wine there,” I said. “Inside it represents soil, wind, sun, hopes, fears, aspirations, history, success, failure, family, love and death.”

Tina looked at me, not quite prepared for that answer but fully capable of handling it. “You made me see that bottle of wine in a way I had never thought of.”

And that really opened a door for me that I had been hovering around the last few days. While wine is my job and I write about it and drink it and like it well enough, I am not obsessed with wine. Something Anna had said earlier about the difference between wine and vodka (remember I am in the company of ex-Soviet folk). “Isn’t all this fuss about wine and anything else, Cognac, Vodka, etc, really more about the commonality they all have?" Her father was a scientist, from the quantum physics fold. She expounded, “Isn’t it really the final result, the effect of alcohol and what is does to us humans?” She was spot on. Her words echoed words of someone else who had recently said something identical. I can’t remember who. “Anna, you are absolutely correct.” I told her. “I agree with you 100 per cent.” What could I say? Ultimately, the feeling one gets from wine or anything with alcohol, harkens back to the first time someone discovered the miraculous properties of a fermented beverage. Magical, mystical, enlightening. Blissful. If even for a moment before the Huns came over the hill to rape and pillage.

And there I was, listening to Chopin and Rachmaninoff, in a room, on the hill, with folks whose minds were floating into any number of little crevices and bringing back little balloons of light and curious discovery. California. My old stomping grounds. With folks, many of whom weren’t born here, most likely came here long after I departed from this state. And still the energy of the place, the psychic terroir of the Golden State continues to alter and arouse the sleeper.

I know it continues to be a wellspring of inspiration to me. And if only for an evening, to be around these people and this energy, if that’s all the allocation I am allowed, so be it. I will bottle it and store it in my cerebral cellar until I need some more of that magical wine from California (and Italy).

Note: The enoblogosphere and social media in general lately seems to be waning. Perhaps it is where these posts are going (not exclusively about wine or Italy) or maybe there is a greater wave of influence moving things about. I do feel more and more like this is a journal of my own private thoughts and have no real relation to anything anyone out there really wants or needs. Not a problem. I am in the discipline and know folks lose interest. In any event, while it is safe to say I am not mortally discouraged about where it is all landing, I will not resort to using headlines like “The Best Amarone taste-off in the world” or “The 17 Hottest Ribolla Giallas in the universe.” I am not a fan of the hype. My passion is not better than your passion. The wines I taste are not greater than the wines you taste. My life is not more awesome than yours. Just different. All this to say, if you are still here reading this, thank you. I write to please myself and if it pleases you, all the better. But still, thank you for your continued interest. I hope it adds something to the time you spend staring at this flickering screen.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Unknown said...

Is that my 62 Vette?

Francesco Bonfio said...

Mr. Cevola,
about your note.
I consider a blog exactly like you do. I do not expect more or less or different goals than what I find here. I want to thank you because read it is for me source of well being. And I thank you for doing this using your time for all readers.

Thomas said...


They are migrating in droves to the large Twit and know, sheep, fleecing, and all that.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


We all write just to please ourselves, much as we all consume alcohol in its many forms to alter our weary states of mind. There is never anything new to say about wine, only, perhaps, a new and original way to say something old, a small insight that may blossom later into wisdom. Insight is scarce in the enoblogosphere. It is this new medium that has become Newton Minow's vast wasteland.

I know you're not fishing for compliments, you're too humble a guy for that. But you're always a wonderful read, my friend. And let's just say that if you win a Wine Blog Award, it does more for the Wine Blog Awards than it could possibly do for you.

I swear to God this is true! My word to prove I'm not a robot is "onanism." Seems about right.

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks, all...keepin on trucking...thanks

Richard Losacano said...

I've never written, but I've read your blog for what seems like years. I thoroughly enjoy your writings and got a scare that they might stop. Please continue. Grazie mille.

R. Losacano

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks, Dottore...

Marco Soverato said...

Where will I read all those fascinating unfinished tales about Calabria and Sicily?

Mariano said...

I usually read your blog and today I encourage to write. It's a very good post, and greater last paragraph, with which I totally agree. Thank you for writing.

Regards from Spain


Graz said...

I'm pleased to add my assent to the regular and irregular (hosemaster ; ) commenters who are grateful for your words. Every time I stop by the effort is richly rewarded. Grazie.

Marco Longobucco said...

"Unfinished" was not a good choice of words. These things are never finished. More like dreaming the myth onwards would have been better.

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