Friday, December 28, 2012

Goodbye to this world – Friends we won’t be seeing in 2013

Odd, that on the 7th birthday of this blog I would be writing about death. What started out as a simple little blog has almost taken over my life. Hundreds of blog posts about any number of things, awards, travel, meals, talk of a book, and what am I doing? Staring at the past. For a moment. A moment of silence and reflection and respect for those who have gone before us, those who made a difference on my little life in this wine business. Likely I have forgotten someone, maybe even someone of importance. There will be others to call them up, I’m sure. Cerberus will see to it that we will know everyone who has passed, will relay the info to the poodles above ground. In the meantime, here go before us:

Ugo Contini Bonacossi wonderful man, great family, beautiful wines.
When Ugo was a young man, off he went into the world. But the land, and the times, brought him back. Let’s say it provided him with a focus that previous generations had worked to build. For a family to have something that can be traced back hundreds of years is no easy task.

Now Ugo is on to new places, uncharted territory. Happy trails, signore, you made our lives in wine a much better place. I am so grateful to have spent a short time with you. Godspeed.

Emilio Losi – I first met “Zio Emilio” in 1987. He seemed to be the happiest man on earth. In the heart of Chianti Classico, with his family, his vines, his sunshine. Many of us will really miss this man, who, to me, repsresents all that is real and wholesome and authentic not just regarding the wines of Tuscany, but of life. If we could all leave a legacy as Emilio has, one’s life would be full of meaning. Travel well, mon signore.

Antonio Librandi – I never met Antonio in his beloved vineyards, only at the booth in Vinitaly. But his wines and his family and the legacy they have created in Calabria is nothing short of miraculous. To say I love the wines is to stop short at what I really feel, but I must. Words cannot convey the meaning. I suggest you take a trip and stand inside the mother of all vineyards. And there you will find the soul of signore Antonio, where it has been for 2,600 years, and as long as the land is willing, for another 2,600 years.

Frank Prial – He led so many of us to look deeper into the glass. To swirl it one more time, to put it aside and take a moment to critically think about it. Eric Asimov said it as well as anyone, but those words still resonate inside this little head of mine. You will be missed Frank, we still carry the torch you passed, as long as there is somewhere to go with it.

Larry Hagman – not a wine person, but for me an ambassador of my adopted hometown and a way to connect with the Italians I would visit when I first got into this wine business. Larry Hagman’s character, “J.R.” opened more doors for me than the Italian Trade Commission ever could. And because of it we dined, we drank great wines, we laughed, we cried and we shared life’s little moments. Thank you, J.R., for helping to open those doors.

There you have it – Happy birthday and goodbye all rolled up like a platter of manicotti. Now what wine shall we have with it? A Chianti Classico? A Gaglioppo? Maybe a vintage California red? Maybe a nice Vin Santo? Whatever it will be, there will be more moments. Keep hoping. Thanks for reading.

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