Sunday, November 18, 2018

Are the French more interested in Italian wine than Italians?

My French cousins seem to be on a roll. They stand up to political bullies, they smoke when and where they want and they appear to be more curious about Italian wine than their Italian cousins. At least, that’s how it appears over here on the wine trail in Italy.

For years I have tracked who comes here and from where. And though this is an English language blog, and while most of the readers live in America, it comes as a bit of a happy surprise that my second largest readership comes from France. In fact, over the life of this blog, going on thirteen years now, French readers exceed Italians by double. Maybe the French just have more time to mull things over, even if it is in this crazy English language. Or maybe some of my English friends, living in France are also driving this? For whatever reason, this is intriguing. Who loves wine more – the French or the Italians?

No doubt they both love food and wine more than most countries – it’s just a matter of the fact that good stuff grows in both places and the natives support the local produce, be it liquid or solid.

And I too, love both wine and food from France and Italy. I find, these days, when I peek into my cooler and look for a bottle of wine for the night’s meal, that lately it is just as likely to be French as Italian.

Maybe the sensibilities aren’t that different. I don’t know. I just somehow feel that the French mentality is often more curious about things. Gosh, that sounds like a gross generalization. But the numbers don’t lie.

Maybe the French come to the wine trail in Italy for information with a little inspiration. I know my English-speaking readers often tell me they come here not so much for a wine review as for a wine recharge. They don’t want me to tell them what flowers are swimming in their glass. They want someone to dance a tango or a waltz with. They want a partner, not a wine-splainer.

Oh, I can get stuck in my “splain” mode. Or my “inside baseball” mode. I hope that most of you come here because I don’t talk about wine like the magazine reviewers do. Usually there is some kind of connection, hopefully a visceral one. I can always add some “woo-woo” icing to the cake when I feel the calling. Lately I feel it more, having been unshackled from the bonds of “career.”

Career. Work. Livelihood. All these things, which, when you’re in them, feel like community, your tribe – your identity. Well, that was an illusion that has now been rendered. Yes, we work with others. And sometimes we make friendships, sometime lasting ones. But the reality is, when you’re gone – you’re gone. Out of sight – out of mind.

And that’s probably as it should be. My younger, once-upon-a-time colleagues still have to raise kids, earn a living, climb the ladder of their career, make more money, save for college, split the assets for a divorce, and so on. Meanwhile my French cousins are reading this old chap’s musings and they throw me a lifeline.

What I thought I would find in my wine friends, in this time, well, as I said, out of sight… And though I miss some of the interactions with them, I realize I’m in another world now, on the side of the stream, maybe in an inner tube floating on an eddy, thinking I’m in the river with them. But they’re in the moving part of the water, and my moving days, well, they move a little slower…It’s the cycle of life…

To those of you who are still in the hyper-kinetic part of your life, working, searching, rushing about, someday you might need someone to throw you a lifeline. Don’t forget there are those that have been there, just like those before me, and those who are glad to pull you on over into the still water, if and when you’re ready.

In the meantime, I’m cooking up these deep-water thoughts on the side of this river, thanking my French, and Italian and American and English and German and Scandinavian and Asian, and Australian, and all the kind folks who come visit the wine trail in Italy once a week or once in a while. This is where you’ll find me. I’ve pretty much given up the Instagram world. It’s nothing but mirrors to this observer. And I try and stay away from those shiny reflections. The old-school bloggy-blog world, that’s my comfort zone. And it so seems, as well, for my Gallic cousins.

Now where did I put that bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape? Or was it a Barbaresco, mon Dieu!

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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