Sunday, January 31, 2021

Come back, Trebbiano, we miss you so

Dearest Trebb,

It seemed just like yesterday we were sitting by the beach enjoying each other’s company, the gentle waves lilting to the cadence of the soft Italian jazz music coming from Chalet Federico. Lordy, I miss you so.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to move on. I’ve tried almost everything in the book. I’ve tried your neighbor, Verdicchio. It just wasn’t the same. I’ve ventured further north, and tried Soave and Lugana, no luck. I even ventured to France and had a fling or two with Ugni Blanc. But I kept coming back to you, Trebb. There’s something about Trebbiano Abruzzese.

Partly, I think, it was that you were one of my first loves in Italy. I got to know you really well. At first, you were rough and prone to vitiation. After all, your makers were just digging out from years of war, followed by a scramble of progress, the likes of which in the history of wine something we had never experienced. Well, I should say, they had never experienced. It was something that took hundreds, if not thousands of years to come about. And you, little ‘ol you, were the ubiquitous cub that just wouldn’t relent.

Oh, they tried, your makers. They tried Chardonnay. They tried Sauvignon Blanc. Heck, they tried Riesling. But you persisted and persevered, playing the long game.

Oh, over the years we had such good times. I showed you off to as many of my friends and people that I could. There were naysayers, the snobs. "Putain," the long-nosed Gaul would say when I tried to win a place on his fancy French wine list. “This is not wine; it is window cleaner.” And I’d sidle away, as if there actually were venom in my fangs.

The Californians were equally contemptuous. At an all-American place, I’d be told, “There is no flavor in this Trebbiano, it is insipid and vapid. We need fuller, richer, oakier! Come back when you have that!”

And so I did, once. One of your makers decided to blend you with the noble grapes, and indenture you with them in a vat of new Limousin oak. I took it back to the French wine snob and the American upstart.

“Not bad, but you must give us a better price,” they clamored in a chorus of two. “After all, we have Meursault and Russian River to compete against.” So, again I slinked off. I’d had them put makeup on you as if to camouflage your native beauty so it would be acceptable to my overlords. But it wasn’t good enough for them.

So, back to who you really were. The times were changing.

On the way back, we ran into a claptrap band of Gaianists, and they wanted to put you into the ground, bury you in terra cotta and let you be. “No intervention, only Gaia,” they would hum along with the three guitar chords they’d learned. “We want you to be simply you, we love you just the way you are,” channeling their inner Fred Rogers. And so you become who you were before we met, a dark, rusty limp. It was as if all the years together made no difference, the “we want the world and we want it now” tribe loved your hairy armpits, your smelly bum. I thought I was going to lose you.

And, in a way, I did. The bright, cheery, vivacious fair-haired beauty that I fell in love with on that beach, by the Adriatic, in the summertime of my youth, had changed. And so, I moved on. To Vermentino, to Arneis, to Riesling.

But, still, in the back of my mind, you lingered, you persisted. You never abandoned the inner me.

I want you back in my life. Come back to America. We’ve changed, really. Bring your brightness and clarity back. We need what you have, what you are. We need your truth on our tables and in our glasses and in our life, again. It’s been too long.


Forever yours,

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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