Sunday, October 30, 2022

Blame It On The La Cá Növa

from the archives My first time visiting Piedmont was over a generation ago. At the time a winemaking revolution was in its infancy. The Italians had discovered small barrique and higher prices. New wineries were going up. It was the beginning of a cycle that only now is starting to make full circle. It was an exciting era for Italian wines and Piedmont. And they were getting world respect for their wines, like their cousins in Burgundy.

That initial visit we toured Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba , Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba and Novello. I also met winemakers and tasted in Neive, Treiso and Barbaresco. Somewhere between Bricco Faset and Rabajà I got religion. But it wasn’t until several years later that they let me in the church.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Friendship, Alcohol & Your Best Life

uring the past three years, it seems as if time has slowed down. I know that’s not scientifically possible, but still something has changed. And as the world comes out of its self-imposed confinement, our values have shifted, at least for some of us. In the wine world, and most likely beyond, how we relate to one another, to material items, and our quality of life, they are all intertwined.

Three aspects are occupying my attention of late:

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Is Italy (and Italian wine) heading towards a catastrophic precipice?

Italy MMXXII ~ Quo Vadis?

Probably not the best headline for a blog in terms of SEO. Maybe better to use “Italy 2022, and her impending economic, environmental, political, agricultural and social turmoil, following on the heels of the post-pandemic (or is it?) era.”  Yes, we have much to consider, starting with the wine grape harvest.

Regardless of the quality or quantity of the harvest, which on its own is worthy of deeper consideration, but taking into account a larger vista in which wine, as an agricultural bi-product, is made with the labor of humans and the energy of technology. Say what?

Fasten your seat belts, folks.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Italy's "Miracle Harvest" for the 2022 Wine Crop

"Un Miracolo!"

Get ready, for here it comes! The long-awaited (and inevitable) treatise tsunami over the 2022 Italian grape harvest. Just like the ubiquitous dissertations on the perfect Thanksgiving wine or the vaulted Springtime piece on the gaggle of new rosé wines. Why do we love these so? Too many scribes today are looking for the easy-layout, the slam dunk, the no-brainer, when it comes to content. The 21st century has broken everything, and the internet leads the way, always and in every way. So, let’s get ready for a plethora of boilerplate and an avalanche of cliché, with regards to the 2022 harvest. It will be epic!

Sunday, October 02, 2022

When an Italian Takes to Drink

Normally, most of us find it inconceivable to come upon an Italian with a drinking problem. Wine, and to a lesser extent, beer and spirits, have been an integral part of the Italian table. Moderation was something my Sicilian grandfather instilled in me as a young boy. I rarely saw anyone, at our family gatherings, mildly drunk or otherwise. It just wasn’t a thing, alcoholism, in our family or our Italian culture.

And then, we moved to the desert when I was a kid, and we lived across from an Italian family. The husband was a screen writer, although his wife once told me he was a gofer for a famous television producer. He always seemed to be hanging around the house when he wasn’t out running errands, or as he liked to say, polishing up a script. Actually, what he was really good at was polishing off a bottle, night after night. He was harmless enough when he was sauced up, as long as he wasn’t behind the wheel. But I saw, first-hand, how an alcoholic functioned in his world. And it wasn’t pretty.

It is no small thing, when an Italian takes to drink. In my travels in Italy, over 50 years, I’ve witnessed little, if any, examples of an Italian for whom alcohol have gotten the better of them. Americans, well, that’s another story. Countless times I’ve dragged besotted colleagues to their room and dumped them in their bed, dead drunk. How, I asked myself, did they get that way? I was with them the whole evening. I'd had my share of wine, but it didn’t waste me.

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