Sunday, April 11, 2021

Are you still here? [And when in hell are you gonna get off our grass?]

Looking through my wine closet I came upon a couple of bottles I’d forgotten. And probably for good reason. They’re old. They’re white. And when they were first released, they were, let’s say, a little over weighted in the testosterone department. In other words, as the #NewGen's say, boomer wine.

One was a California (Napa Valley) Sauvignon Blanc, the other was a French (Burgundy) Corton Charlemagne. Both from the 1980’s. They’d both achieved a dark, golden, sunset-y color.

I have a place, high in my wine closet, which I call the bardo-balcony. It’s where I put old wines that have given up the ghost. But the labels might be pretty, or the wines might have a special meaning for me. Or a memory. So, I can’t quite throw them in the recycle bin. I’ll let those who come to clean up, after I’ve given up the ghost, deal with it (hopefully not for a while).

But it reminds me that every living thing on earth has a cycle. And wine, like people, can live for ages. Or it can leave a little earlier than the rest of us.

Not to go all maudlin on y’all, but my list of colleagues who have left this world is getting longer every day. So much, that I’m having a hard time remembering some of the ones who bailed before halftime. I was thinking of making an Excel sheet (I do love my spreadsheets), but haven’t gotten around to it. And really, there is no reason, barring schadenfreude. I don’t take pleasure in the early demise of friends or wines. But it seems when it’s time – it’s time.

And that’s something I’ve been following in our striated society. Man, the gen X’ers and the millennials really want the boomers off the planet – post haste. “You boomers have flogged up everything,” a gen-Xpert recently declared in a missive to me. No stranger to derision (and cyber-bullying), I un-clammed up and told him I was tired of listening to his crap. You want the world? It’s all yours, babe!

Back on the wine trail, there’s a process for clearing out the grizzled bottles, which can’t quite work with the humans. Well, not that some societies haven’t tried. But who wants to emulate Nazi Germany in any endeavor?

So, what to do with those superannuated specimens in ye olde wine cellar?

Last week, I advanced a plan for my own vinous geriatric purge. Even the bardo-balcony went from SRO to overflowing. So, I’ve starting moving roughly 1/3 of my wine collection out of my life. But that’s not really what I’m aiming for with this essay. Wine is easy. People are not.

I’m sensing an impatience from the younger generation with the preceding ones. This is nothing new. For my generation, our anthem was “We want the world and we want it now.” And we got it, all wrapped up inside a plain brown paper bag, loaded with opportunities (and also a smattering of crap).

I’d like to think most of us dealt with it as best we could, although I’m sure that won’t stave off the most fervent of naysayers who want to blame income inequity, global warming and any number of other societal maladies and injustices on the folks that came before them. Go ahead, kick one, kick all. Feel better now?

That’s what I imagine those two recent bottles of white wine might have said if they could talk. I mean, they were perfectly fine when young. After all, I was the one who neglected to look after them and see to it that they were opened up and enjoyed in their prime. I let them walk the plank and saunter into senility, only to bemoan that fact that they didn’t go the distance.

At least boomers cannot blame that kind of thing on the younger generations. They’ve got their hands full with the bag of crap they’ve just been handed. So, if they’re a little raw and unfiltered in their assessment of the older generation, give them time. It took the boomers a generation or more to realize that their parents (you know, the ones who saved the world from totalitarianism and fascism?) actually did something, gave us something of value. Like, for instance, a free world?

So, to all the subsequent generation(s), yeah, we’re still here. But just for a minute or two. Don’t worry, it won’t be long. I promise you. 

The hour is getting late

And in other news….Two white wines walk into a bar

A couple of younger white wines from Italy that I’ve recently enjoyed:

Podernuovo a Palazzone Nicoleo

A blend of Grechetto from Umbria and Chardonnay from Tuscany. I tried the 2018

We’ve just hit 80⁰F in North Texas, so our brief flirtation with spring will soon be the stuff of memory. Fortunately, when summer hits, I hope to have a stash of this wine to assuage the pain of the inferno. Lovely aromas, crisp and clean, nothing cloying about this wine, just a “pop and serve” kind of wine. Dry as a bone, good fruit, about $25. Maybe a bit high for the market in which it competes against, but it’s from the Bulgari family. Cheaper than buying a watch from them, for sure.


Vadiaperti Fiano di Avellino

From Campania, we had the 2016 vintage, so a wine with a little bit of age, but also from a volcanic property. Not a typical Fiano from Avellino, in my memory. This one, when first opened, had a whiff of soy sauce. Not as off putting as one might think. It dissipated and found equipoise. Had it with a pasta dish with crawfish and spicy cheesy, buttery, creamy sauce. Yeah, I know, no fish with dairy. Well, start with telling that to the folks who live in Campania. And then preach it to the Romans. And good luck with that. It was a fabulous combination and the (very strange and beautiful) wine disappeared. As did the pasta. So much for this tasting note. Around $20.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Unknown said...

Is this the natural metamorphosis we wine enthusiasts go through? When younger we drink/ seek older more mature wines and now as we enter the winter of our lives we much prefer “younger” wines?


Marco said...

Groucho Marx: "A man is as old as the women he feels." Pay no heed to cretins who have no appreciation for the continuity of generations. Like it or not we are are all in the soup together. Blame only reflects the hubris of those blaming others for the ills of the world we live in. If some people would dare to look inside their own dark corners they might not like what they find there. As a boomer who was born in the second year of eligibility for boomer status, we have witnessed some extraordinary events during our short time on this planet. Some great and some horrible. I hope that by witnessing and speaking up for the disenfranchised of this planet, we have made our contribution toward a more humane place. Character is much more important than one's portfolio.

Alfonso Cevola said...

thanks gents...

Michael, I dont know the answer to your question, but I really feel like I've been more than fortunate ( and grateful) to have had my share of great, aged wine. I will say, though, that, at this point, the thrill of tasting something old and iconic isn't as attractive as just having a good, healthy, flavorful glass of wine with friends and food and good weather.

Marco, I agree. I'm over the innumerable jeremiads that litter the internets... if someone wants to live a life filled with grievances, so be it. but not on my lawn!

Culatelloblog said...

I'm a Gen Xer (class of '72) and don't waste time blaming anyone for anything...I've learned in life to deal best with the hand I've been dealt. Re wine, I've been making my way through as much Pecorino I can find. Best so far is Ciavolich, retails in CA between $19 and $24. Best bargain Pecorino is from Vestini, $9 or so.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Adrian,
I like Pecorino a bunch. Simone Capecci makes a good one, check it out. thanks for commenting.

Ole Udsen said...

I do think this generation blame game is a bit tiresome. I somehow do not qualify for boomer status (because that stops in 1964 and I'm 1965), but would appear to those looking for that kind of stuff as a boomer.

Yes, our parents' generation gave us freedom from fascism etc. And the boomer generation gave us hitherto unachievable personal and social freedom, progress on the equality front and a world in which poverty has been drastically reduced, relatively and absolutely. I think the whole thing about generations is a useless generalisation and trivalisation, though, and serves to hide the larger-scale movements of history and moral development.

So, on a couple of the other subjects:
- I do find that the older I get, the fresher I want my wine. I am no longer much in awe of super-extracted, humungous, 200%-new-oak blockbusters. I want me some acidity, freshness, drinkability, balance.
- Pecorino: For me there are three at the top: Cataldi Madonna, Cocci Grifoni and Tiberio. Whether they're value for money in the US I don't know, but the wines are beautiful.


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