Sunday, June 24, 2018

So, you think you love wine. But do you like wine?

This month, while traveling in Connecticut, I was in a little wine shop in Madison, chatting with a salesperson. She was a self-described millennial, a mother of two young children, and the daughter of a woman who was feted by her religion for selling the most Upanishad books in airports, and, most likely, in the world. “I can’t stop thinking about wine," she told me."Wine! Wine!! Wine!!! It invades my mental space, I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t get enough.” I don’t think she was complaining. Lamenting perhaps, as the demands of motherhood dictates that she also attend to her little ones. But clearly, she has been afflicted with a vinous virus. I’m sure her devout parents might have already counseled her in becoming too attached to worldly objects. And wine is from this world. But is it of this world?

Earlier this week, I’m in the hill-country of Texas, going down a most wonderful rabbit hole of conversation about wine. The young sommelier at the table was bright, energetic and engaged (he reminded me of a younger version of Charles Curtis, who, if you don’t know of him, still has a child-like enthusiasm and wonder about wine). As our conversation veered left and right, the young somm suddenly uttered, “I know many of our colleague’s love wine, they love to study about wine and pour over maps and charts. But I am beginning to wonder which of them really, truly like wine!”

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Bi-Coastal Post-Retirement Italian Wine List Report

In the last two weeks, I’ve been on both sides of the northern corners of America. It must be my busy time of retirement. And it appears the demands of time upon my schedule will be like this until the end of September, when I can really put my feet up and read a book by Ursula LeGuin or Philip Roth again.

Odd, that I’d mention these two writers, as I have been scouting around their respective regions, the Pacific Northwest and NY Metro. The weather in both was cool and pleasant, in contrast to the already balmy and searing heat of a North Texas Spring that has been hijacked by Summer. Both areas abound with plenty of natural beauty, but also with enough of an urban presence to give the Italian wine lover a place to go to, and with a wellspring of choices from the Italian wine palette.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Can (or Should) a Wine Be Life-Changing?

The Flying Wallendas
Life-changing. It’s a pretty tall order. I’ve had some things that have happened that were life changing. Two years ago, almost to the day, I was in the back seat of a car in Sicily. My pal, Eric Asimov was driving. We had just finished an assignment for the NY Times (he the writer, I the photographer) and were heading to the Catania airport. Then, out of nowhere, a somnambulist in a vegetable truck ran a stop sign, T-Boned the car and knocked us unconscious. Out. Just like that. Life-changing.

When my wife Liz was in the end-stage of Multiple Sclerosis, on her last day, as her life energy slipped away and she died, that was life-changing. For both of us. And while she bore the greater brunt of that experience, it changed me forever in this life.

When my son Rafael was born at home, and the mid-wife didn’t show, and outside, storms were raging and lights were flickering on and off, it was also a life-changing moment. To see life appear in front of you, under candlelight, is one of those life-changing events. One I will always be grateful for.

So, can, or even should, a wine be a cause for a life-changing event? A mere wine?

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Getting All Caught Up in the Tangle of this Grape Thing

It’s 4:00 AM and I’m staring at the ceiling in bed, eyes wide open. And I’m thinking about wine. Wine, wine, wine. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to be retired, and to move on, to putter in the garden, travel a bit, to ply about in the darkroom on my photo portfolio, hang out with the animals, ride my bike, and get off the freeway of the wine world. And this work thing. I’m still trying.

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