Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wine in Italy – from a Greek Perspective

Italy is a place of confluence, in the flesh, and in the mind’s eye. One of the mindscapes I reach into, especially when going into southern Italy, is the Greek perspective. Soon I will be in Sicily, which once was considered to be part of “great Greece” or Magna Graecia. The food, the language, the customs, the light - when one walks these paths, the Greek influence is revealed. Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria and, of course, Sicily, are part of the ancient colonies. In the next week or so I’ll be “getting my Empedocles on” ̶  ensconced in the primal slime. I can’t wait.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aglianico’s Ashes - Stockpiling old wine for a new generation

Pity the poor Aglianico vine, set within the shadow of a volcano whose better days are lost somewhere in the dustbin of geology. Imprisoned in a land that missed out on most of Italy’s post-WWII economic growth in the last 70 years. Save for a few points of light, Aglianico in Basilicata is stuck in a time trap, unable to move fast enough to keep up with Barolo or Brunello and eclipsed by a much sexier (and more violently vibrant) Sicilian volcano and her wines. It’s not a good time to be an Aglianico. But it’s a great time for the collector.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The End of Conspicuous Consumption - A View from the Edge

2016 has taken this one down, and sometimes off, the wine trail. Personal detours along with a professional recalibration combined with an evolving re-alignment of what wine means in our daily life are some of what I have found on the journey this year.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's (last) Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mom
photo by Louis Cevola
The Italians have a toast. When celebrating someone’s birthday they say “Cent’anni!” (100 years!) with a corresponding reply, “E uno!” (plus 1!). Last year my mom was able to see that moment come to fruition, when she turned 101. This year, sadly, she won’t be around to celebrate her 102nd. She told me last week, “I’ve had enough, I’m done here. I’m ready to go.” And she slipped away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by loving family members.

It’s hard when you lose someone who has been around you all your life. Even harder when that someone is the one who brought you into this world. But it’s the way things are. It’s man’s (and woman’s) fate.

My mom was a special person to me and the many who lived in her world. She was an extrovert, a tinkerer, a talker and not one to look back. She lived in the present more than most people her age or any age for that matter. She had a long and full life and one which was blessed with amazing health and unsurpassed resilience. And she loved to have the occasional glass of (Italian) wine when we were together.

I’m going to miss our calls. On my way home, in traffic, I’d call her and we’d talk about our day. She was a great listener and an even better sympathizer. She was in my court, she had my back and she loved all of us as if we all were her favorite child, grandchild, great-grandchild, sister, friend or long-lost relative. She had it going on. And on. And on.

And while it’s hard to be morose, for she did have a wonderful life, it’s difficult to imagine her not at the end of the phone line ever again.

Early this morning I was out in the garden, clipping some of the plants and I came to a rose bush I call “Hurricane Elissa.” For some reason I name my roses after people, living and dead. A rose bush that reminds me of my long-passed wife Liz is there next to one I call Aunt Mil. She is between Liz and Hurricane Elissa, who hugs the Rosemary bush. And they soak up the sun and talk amongst themselves. This morning in the garden I "called up" my mom and talked to her. She’s not here in physical form, but she’s still here in my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I love you and salute you - and I’ll make sure the rose bush (and the eggplant) thrives in your honor.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Just who are the Italians making wine for?

Alois Lageder
For a wine producing country that makes approximately 25% of the world’s wine, Italy is in a unique position. In 50 years, the market for Italian wine has become globally dispersed in a manner that other wine producing nations envy. Forget about Italian Prime Minister Renzi’s claim of “Our wine is better than French wine.” Italy’s worldwide distribution appears to be a model of diversity.

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