Sunday, February 16, 2020

An Abruzzo Journey ~ Between the Tranquil and the Active

There is this reoccurring dream, one that has happened, even in waking hours, that sometimes I cannot distinguish between the two. This is happening more and more these days, as the reality of life becomes blurred between the tranquil and the active. It’s as if the meaning of life has swelled from merely what one does to also include one’s fanciful musings. As when we were children, so now, one may revisit that state of being, if only for a brief moment. And that is the way it is for this one when it comes to remembering Abruzzo. What was visible and what was envisioned?

Abruzzo was where I saw the birth of the golden age of Italian wine up front and personal. It is where I wandered vineyards and cellars, and talked to the old people and ate their roasted meats and drank their luscious, rich, generous red wines. It was heaven on earth and it remains a Valhalla to this wanderer, for there is so much for the mind and the body, the heart, the soul, and the eyes and the ears. And for those who thirst and hunger for the unfeigned.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

“Wine? I don’t care about scores, competitions mean nothing to me and I don’t collect anything!”

– The Gen Z interview

While writing a recent story for the paper, I sat at a coffee shop and scribbled. An apparition of a  person hovering nearby saw that I had a copy of a wine magazine and asked me what I was reading. Being the quintessential introvert, I squirmed. And then I showed it to her. She could have been young enough to be my granddaughter, if I’d had one. “Last year I turned 21,” she said, and have been thinking about wine and alcohol. I had no idea they had magazines about wine!”

I was on a deadline and was pressed to finish the piece, which had nothing to do with the magazine. So, I told her I was working on something else and could I send her some interview questions. We’d earlier determined that we had mutual acquaintances and thus there would be no risk from exchanging emails. “I don’t check my email that often,” she said, “but text me when you do, so I can pull them up.” And with that I finished my flat white, she disappeared, and I boogied out the door to my next appointment.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Italian wine and the pursuit of power

Meanderings from the streets of Palermo

I’m back in my family nerve center, if only for a few hours. It is winter, the moon solitary above the deserted streets, save for a few cold and lonely Africans setting up a table to sell their wares. Soon, the Palermitani will sweep out among the streets and the alleys, on their way to market or church or coffee. In the meantime, Palermo is all mine, and I do what I often do in Palermo, camera in hand, notebook in mind – I walk in search of where we are.

Along the way I come across my little wine bar, the one in La Vucciria. I step in to have a coffee, maybe with a shot of Marsala, just for old times. The place is far from the bustling spot it will be at noon, but for now, it’s mine, just as I’ve always held it in my memory from the first time I walked in with my uncle. It seems so long ago, 1971.

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