Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Death of Rosé

I remember my first time. It was summer. I was in Tuscany. Invited to dinner at the Villa San Michele in Fiesole. I drove my little car up the hill from Florence. Somewhere along the way I got a little lost and stepped out of the car to ask for directions. The town I stopped in was having a party. They were having some kind of Marxist celebration. Wine was flowing; someone pressed a glass of rough red wine into my hand and tried to get me to dance with them.

When I finally arrived at the villa, I was told I needed a dinner jacket. It was searing hot, and a porter handed me a black polyester jacket and led me to a table.

Fortunately we sat outside, with a breeze and a view. The waiter handed me the menu. I handed it back to him and asked him to serve me what he would eat. He left and brought me back a glass of wine, a rosato from Castello di Ama. I sat under a beautiful arch, one that had been designed by Michelangelo, and pondered my life, my past, my future, the universe. That was my introduction to rosé.

We were alone; the other members of the party hadn’t yet showed. She was cool to the touch, silky, delicately perfumed, wonderfully refreshing. I was smitten. It was the beginning of our affair, one that would last for years and years.

Since then I have wandered in and out of the life of rosé. We’ve had an on-and-off relationship, not because we were incompatible. Far from it. If anything rosé has been far too delicate and sensitive for the times of our lives. In many cases rosé had been abused before she met my lips; by then it was often too late.

Over the years, many folks have courted rosé and touted her attributes. I acquiesce all too willingly to her guile. She’s just so damn lovely. And delicate.

But the world has strayed from delicate. And so it is a battle.

And here, now, as autumn takes hold and winter is barreling down, soon, upon us, what about rosé?

In the southern hemisphere rosé will be fine, but in the northern one, she is dying.

Every year someone talks about how rosé will make it through the year. But then someone finds her in the corner of a dark depot, stumbling, mumbling to herself, in the throes of an inevitable death grip. And she dies a thousand deaths. Over and over again. I’ve seen it all too many times. I saw it again this month. She was curled up against a dirty, dusty dank corner of an industrial building. I was too late to save her. And there was nothing I could do about it.

I’d like to free her, get her release from the misery of winter long before the first frost. But somehow there is always a little too much rosé and not enough lips. I cannot satisfy her alone, she is grander than one person. I need help. She needs help. Who will help us?

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
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