Sunday, June 30, 2019

Creating Your Own Current in the Sea of Life

Pt. IV

“Diana pulled out a small bottle, a dessert wine. It was amber and smelled of cloves and honey and celery. Odd creature, but quite pleasant with the wedge of aged pecorino we were polishing off. “I don’t recall a time when I didn’t think about freedom… All I could think of was freedom. Freedom from these chains.”

Several years later, when I was in Florence, I was having a glass of wine with my friend. “Have you heard about Diana?” Thinking he was about to tell me something terrible, I shuddered. “No, it isn’t that. Perhaps we should go out and visit her this week?”

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Living Free in a World of Chains


“So, my journey took me to the field and through the vines right in front of the grapes. And there they were, everyone a story, all these little passages they made, sacrificing their life for something bigger, something hopefully greater than their singular, globular being. And my task, my calling, was to listen and try and understand all their little lives and put some sense of order, and beauty, to them. That has been my odyssey. And I never even left my little localitĂ .”

Our host, who asked not to be identified, invited us to return in January, when she was pressing some dried grapes for a vinsanto. “You will return?” Of course, we promised. It would be up to us to hold true to that promise. We’d found Eldorado in the hills of Tuscany. I couldn’t imagine not going back.
What is it in the span of 100 days that could alter one’s life, sometimes radically and inextricably? After a week at the vineyard of this amazing woman winemaker, my head was spinning. And it wasn’t because we were trying all here wines. We were that, but it was more of an exercise, dare I call it an ongoing master class? I needed a breather. I went to the mountain. I sat in the cave with the master. And now I had to go home for the holidays, back to America. I ran to the plane, would have run all the way to California. Something inside me moved, was changed. And I didn’t recognize the tectonic shift that had taken place.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In Tuscany, Leaving it all Behind, for the Odyssey of a Lifetime

Pt. II
“What this person is asking, is what are we doing here? Have we come to help?” my friend translated.
We were tired, we were thirsty, and we were idiots. But we were here already, so why not help? We were young and who knows where this would lead? Of course, we were hoping to grab some enlightenment from this wise old winemaker, and maybe even taste the wine, which in Florence, was the stuff of legends. Only one restaurant had even had the wine on the list and in those days was reported to be on the list for ₤90,000 (with ₤880 = US $1.00 at the time). Of course, no one in our circle had ever seen the wine, let alone taste even a sip of it. We had to do whatever it took to get closer to that wine. We were so close; we didn’t even see the blood on the doorstep.

As we made our way to the voice, I noticed hundreds of lucciole flittering about in the fields, as if choreographed to the music of the cicadas. This place was alive! My mind raced. Who was this person we were heading towards? What strange power did he or she have over these creatures? And did it bleed over into the plant world? Or was this just a lucky happenstance? Many questions.

We finally made it to the center of the field where our mage was directing a couple of pensioners. “Good, I’m glad they sent you. We need help.” We were handed a pair of ancient wooden handled grape knives and told to “Follow me.”

Sunday, June 09, 2019

A natural Italian wine that reminds me of a cousin

I found this wine in a care package, the person who provided it was very excited for me to taste this wine. And seeing as I respect this person’s opinion, I told him I’d try it as soon as possible.

The wine is the 2017 Tenuta di Valgiano Palistorti Bianco, a Toscana IGT blend of Vermentino 50%, Trebbiano 16%, Malvasia 16% and Grechetto 16%. On the neck band there are two markings, Demeter and Vignaioli Independenti. This is a northern Tuscan estate in the Luccan Hills.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

An Epic Journey in Pursuit of the Evolution of Native Wine

Pt. loving memory of Al Pasquino

I was living in Florence for a brief time. And at the macrobiotic mensa a friend had made mention of this mythical figure of a winemaker in the nearby hills. He suggested we go visit this person, as they were old and who knew how much longer he or she would be alive. Yes, so fabled that we didn’t even know if it was a man or a woman!

We were young, which is to say we were broke. Why else would we be taking our meals in a mensa? Oh yes, we were not carnivores, that was a fact then. And the mensa provided us with what we took to be our daily nutritional needs during a meal, at the time. Imagine, being a vegetarian (albeit la lacto-ovo one) in a world of Bistecca alla Fiorentina! And those amazing roast chickens one gets out on the country tables. But, alas, we would have to be content with our fields of greens, cicoria and rucola, and the many types of squash. And of course, eggplant. And potatoes! And tomatoes! Yes, one could see it through the day without eating the flesh of another creature, even in Tuscany. And yes, one could have “regularity,” if one were so afflicted with the inability to “let go” of things. And there were always figs.

So, we borrowed a car and headed for the hills, on our journey, in search of the mage of the Colli Fiorentini.

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