The Wine Economist’s World Tour will be back on the (virtual) road in the next few months. Here are preliminary details about upcoming events that might be of interest to readers of this newsletter. Wine2Wine 2020 The 7th edition of Wine2Wine, Focus 2020, will take place November 23-24, 2020. Usually held in beautiful Verona, this
Brian Ashcroft (with tasting notes by Takashi Eguchi), The Japanese Saké Bible (Tuttle Publishing, 2020). Saké has always been a mystery to me. I have only been served it a couple of times and never with much in the way of introduction. Lacking background and appreciation, I have generally defaulted to beer on occasions when
Con l’aiuto di Comtrade che ha una base abbastanza completa di dati 2019 sul commercio estero (manca ancora la Cina, per indenderci), analizziamo i dati del commercio mondiale di spumanti partendo dalle importazioni. Incrociando import ed export (ben più facile da tracciare) possiamo dire che gli scambi internazionali di spumante sono cresciuti del 5% nel
Quest’anno sono in ritardo con Nosio e Mezzacorona, ma come dice la parola mezza colpa è loro, che hanno caricato il bilancio più tardi degli altri anni, mentre mezza è mia che non mi sono accorto che erano caricati. Li recensisco quindi con diversi mesi di ritardo rispetto al solito, ma mi piace farlo ugualmente
In Italy, there is a most amazing fellow. He is 93 years old, and from the age of 18, his sole goal and activity has been to visit every winery in Italy. So far, he’s racked up 27,565 winery visits, and even though old age is catching up to him, he figures he has another seven years, when he turns 100, to cover all 30,000 wineries in Italy. He has done what no other person has done, yet alone even imagine doing. It has been a hectic pace, averaging one winery a day for the last 75+ years. One for the record books, our fellow traveler has been regarded in Italy as both a crack pot and a genius. Fellow genius Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Conversely, E.B White was heard to say “Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.” The following is an (imagined) interview I made with this most unusual man, known only as Gegè.
A: Good afternoon Gegè, where are you today? G: Hello to America. Right now, I am on the train from Milan to Naples, the very fast one. But they have good connection, so for the next hour or two, we can speak well. A: Very good. Well, let’s just jump in. How on earth did you come upon this life goal of visiting every winery in Italy? G: I wish it was that simple. It was quite an accident. The war was over, May 8, 1945. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had turned 18 a few months before and was assigned in the military to a farm in Tuscany, where we were digging trenches. The Germans had come through and left the place a wreck, and we heard the Americans were going to carpet bomb the Tuscan countryside. So, we had to find a way to fortify our position, even though we didn’t hate the Americans. But orders were orders. As our commanding officers disappeared, and we had no ongoing orders, our attentions strayed. Some of us sought the company of a woman, others secluded themselves in churches, praying for all this to end. I was interested, a little in wine, and with it, visiting wineries seemed like a good way to come to an understanding of the agricultural process and the rebuilding that would have to take place. I had no idea there would be so many wineries in Italy. A: You were 18, a young man, and grew up where? G: Oh, I grew up in Friuli, and my parents and grandparent were very hard-working people. They were single-minded in regards to work. I think that gave me a good foundation. A: So, how did you go about the logistical nightmare of getting around and visiting every, or at this point, almost every winery in Italy? And why? G: I think it started as a personal challenge. I didn’t know there were 30,000 wineries. And in 1945, there weren’t. The war had destroyed many, and our population was decimated. Probably back then there were maybe 3,000. I estimated that it would take ten years, after which I’d be an expert in Italian wine, and could get a real good job somewhere. As it happened, it was like climbing a very tall mountain. I just took off every morning. I didn’t have a car at first, and not much money. But Italy was very inexpensive, and people back then were kind and would let me stay in a spare room or in the barn. I was young and didn’t need much. Italy was broken, so there was no reason to go back home. Friuli had also been ransacked. So, I thought of all of Italy as home. A: How did you get by? How did you take care of your needs? G: I didn’t have many at first. I just took it one day at a time, often working around the winery each day for a little pasta, some red wine, and a place to lay my head. Later, in the 1960’s, an uncle from America died and left me with a little stipend, so I could occasionally stay in a pensione. I bought a little Fiat Cinquecento. I could easily see 2-4 wineries a day, and that would give me time to relax and also to get errands done. I never married, didn’t have time, once I realized what path I’d taken in life. Though my family were agrarian by nature, I was scientifically minded. I charted out my days, weeks, months, even years. My modest stipend afforded me the freedom from having to work at another job, and I was, and am, a copious note-taker. I’ve filled up more than 5,000 journals with my notes in the last 75 years. A: Amazing! You said you had a bit of a scientific bent. Do you use a computer? G: Oh yes! Now especially, as it can go into a file and someone doesn’t have to transcribe it, like we had to have done for the first 50 years of notes. I cannot tell you how fortunate I was to have an aunt who was an abbess near Cividale, which providentially was connected to a winery. She enlisted some of the younger nuns to transcribe my notes onto the computer. One of them had an uncle in Torino who worked for Olivetti and they were one of the first institutions to use OCR technology to convert my handwriting to files. It was very cutting edge, back then. And it freed me up to cover all of Italy. A: Ok, I have to ask you about wine, now. Do you have a favorite region or wine? Is that asking too much? G: No, it is actually asking too little. I’ve had this question put to me many times. And I’m lucky enough to still have a good amount of cognitive skills to remember. I cannot think of a region in Italy where I have not found something unique, something special, in every place. That is the singular wonder of Italy and Italian wines. It is also something which, I am told, confounds many an expert. From Valle d’Aoste to Pantelleria, there is something of value, something amazing about every region, every wine. And as every year passes, I become more acutely aware of just how unbelievable Italian wine has become, in just my lifetime! Of course, I love the classic wines. But I also have seen innovations that have made these new creations. Also, though, there are these young “originalists” I call them, who are keeping intervention at arm’s length, if not further. There have been some fantastic wines that have come from these upstarts. It gives me hope that Italian wine won’t become some homogenized, pasteurized, boring monolithic institution. A: That’s coming from a man who will be 100 in 7 years. Wow, I’m trying to unpack this. Please elaborate. G: Certamente. Right now, I am traveling to Naples, to visit a group of young winemakers who have decided to make wine just as they did prior to Vesuvius exploding in 79 AD (a few years before I was born). This will be my sixth visit with them, and there is a movement in the south that the young people are building, spreading down to Calabria, over to Sicily, and also in the mainland, to Basilicata and Puglia. They tell me they are channeling the ancient soul of winemaking, Bacco indeed! I say, why not? Life is too short to put up a wall in a vineyard. And so, the wines I’ve had, so far, have been varied, of course. But it was like that in 1946, 1947, 1948. Back then it was more of an accident of history. Now it is intentional. And with that comes, it’s like a hunter with a bow, who has a target. All they have to do is practice and so when someday they are out in the field, they can catch what it is they are looking for. You don’t catch the big prize on the first shot. But with practice. And young people, in their 20’s and 30’s, they have time that I no longer have, to explore their mountains and see what it is they can do for Italy and Italian wine. I’m very optimistic. But I’ve been this way all my life. It used to drive my papa crazy. A; We say here in America, you are in a groove. You seem to not let time wear you down. What is your secret? G: It’s really no secret at all. It’s real simple. I get up every day, looking forward to the day. I have a task, every day, and that is to visit a winery, taste, take notes, and reflect. I’m a monk without an abbey! Or, the world is my monastery. And every winery is like a station of my cross, but what a light burden of a cross it is. No, it’s a joy. And that is how I look at life. No gloom from me. I’m just glad to be here. Real simple. A: Well, you are a great example for all of us in the world of wine and in the world at large. What’s on your horizon, for the foreseeable future. G: Like we’ve discussed, I have a few more wineries to visit, a little less than 3,000. Amazing when you think of it, 3,000 was my initial goal in 1945 and here we are 2020, and 3,000 is still my goal. I’m in the cooling down period of my life. I hope I make it to the finish line. And I think I can. I now have a driver when I’m not on a train or a plane. In fact, my driver will meet me in Naples and after our visits there, we will drive down to Sicily, over to Sardegna, and then back to Liguria, to Piedmont and to Lombardy. I have appointments and everything is planned. I just hope this virus and the pandemic will not slow me down any further than it already has in the last six months. I still was able to visit wineries during this period, but sometimes I was by myself. That’s OK now, I know where to go and everyone knows who I am now. So, they just leave the cellar door open and I know what to do. The wines speak better for themselves, most times, than the people who grow the grapes or make the wine. And after you’ve been to 5,000 or 6,000 wineries, all the stories start to sound the same anyway. Believe me, I know the stories by heart by now. But every wine is a different story. And that is really the story and the glory of Italian wine. And it looks like we are arriving into Naples now. So I must go. A: Well thank you for your time, a long time as a knight of the vine, and we so appreciate your unending and enduring commitment to Italy and Italian wine. G: You’re very welcome, and God willing, we will speak again when I make it to number 30,000. Wish me luck!
written (and imagined) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W
In my dotage, I’ve become a bit of a numbers guy. How many bottles of wine in my cellar? What time remains of summer? Days left until the election? And so, I looked back to see my father’s life, and the days he had on earth. And a couple of days ago, the days in my life surpassed his. Now, I’m in now way claiming victory. It was a relief of sorts. Just like when I turned 34, and chanced upon living longer than Jesus. No, I’m not comparing quality or sizing myself up against a messiah. I am just noting, in the course of my life, those moments when it seems to be a milestone. And when I became older than my dad would ever be, it stirred the compost.
I think about my dad from time to time, examining his life, wondering how he felt about it. I know there were times when he was on top of the world, and moments when he was at a disadvantage with the odds that were set before him. He managed to make it to the finish line with grace and courage. He finished well. Just too soon. These were some of the thoughts perambulating around my head when, the other night, on the eve of the moment when my dad’s days had all passed, I was sitting outside on a patio, sipping older French and Italian wine, and feeling healthy. And grateful. Not just for the time. But for the circumstances which brought me this far.
25,294 days, at the end of the tunnel, doesn’t seem all that long. And in geologic time it’s not even the flutter of a butterfly’s wing, the beat of a heart, the snap of a finger. On this planet, where dinosaurs have actually had more time on it than we bipeds, for some of us it can seem an interminable life sentence. For others, it is never enough. I often wonder how my dad thought about his time on earth. And for us temporary survivors, how thinking about matters like these inform one, so that, just maybe, one’s life can sprout a little more meaning with the time that is left.
Yeah, I know, I’ve fallen into a rabbit hole. In my daily walk there is a stand of old bois d'arc trees, some of them well over 100 years old. Right now, they’re dropping their fruit, gnarly green orbs, which in these parts we call horse apples. They’re ancient looking spheres, hard and round and stippled. The squirrels get into them and rip them apart, love them and pursue their sweet meet (to them). If you park your car underneath a fruit laden bois d'arc, it can do some damage. But when I walk by them, I sense this place I call home to be something that was long before me and, hopefully, will be long after I’m gone. It’s a timeless feeling, as though the earth will, and can, keep on twirling, when we’re stardust. The dinosaurs came and spent many more millions of years here than we humans have. And the trees, well, they’re still here. And that comforts me. Why? I think it’s because even though each and every one of us thinks our life is the most important thing in the universe, and which many of us perceive ourselves to be the center of said universe, it just ain’t so. It’s a blip, a spin, a twirl, a handful of heartbeats. And that’s pretty much all she wrote. But, being a numbers guy, and digging into the modest allocation of time we’re all given, whether it be 10 years or 100, I’ve secured a post on a beachhead. I do not sense a formidable adversary on this beach. I sense a tsunami, perhaps, but it is still far out at sea. So, I think I still have time. But who knows in today’s world?
What I do grasp, is that I probably have a little more time than my dad. But what can I do, in these seconds, to take that horse apple and plant the seeds and grow my very own bois d'arc? And how can I do that, when I’m sitting here in front of a screen, plunking out my 800 words every Sunday? I don’t have an answer. I feel a sense of urgency, especially now that I have outrun those 25,294 days behind me. My dad, I wish we had more time with him than his allocated 25,294 days. I reckon I’ll keep working on my stuff, pretending it means something to someone in the future, and plug away. I realize there really is no such thing as legacy. Out of sight, you know the rest. And that isn’t meant to be cynical or in any way surrendering to one’s fate. Although, who among us is ever going to win the war?
In my current state of reality, though, I’ve declared peace with wherever I am in time and space. I learned some lessons about life from my dad, headed some of the warmings he posed, made plenty of mistakes on my own, and am grateful to have my mother’s resilience genes. I’m good. I also had a grandfather, who lived about 35,000 days. So, there it is, I have a new number. And a goal. And then again, if we’re just a random iteration of miniscule paramecium clinging to the horse apple as it falls in space from its ancient arboreal progenitor, well, then that’s another story, isn’t it? Either way, let’s enjoy the ride.
written and photographed (except for the older, archived family photos) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W
Sono stato alla fiera del tartufo di Alba, nel secondo e forse ultimo weekend vista la quantità di DPCM via via più restrittivi che si susseguono quasi giornalmente.
Era la prima volta per me, e solo il giorno dopo ho … continua »
Il dado è tratto, le voci che si rincorrevano si sono fermate e la verità è quella che si legge nel decreto: chiusura dei ristoranti e di tutti i servizi di somministrazione alle 18:00.
Sembra quasi di assistere ad una … continua »
Nelle scorse ore il Soave ha perso un pezzo della sua storia. Un
protagonista poco chiassoso, sempre cortese, gentile, dotato di un’ironia
sottile, spia inconfondibile di una grande cultura e una grande educazione.
Perché questo era, Giuseppe Coffele: un vero signore. Cordiale, preparato e
Sono i tempi di Ampelio, questi, ma anche degli ampelonauti, ovvero di
esperti (o aspiranti tali) delle cose della vite. Proprio in questi giorni
infatti è stata lanciata la prima Scuola Italiana di Monitoraggio online
del vigneto. Fondatore, un noto e apprezzato tecnico del settore: l’
enhanced agronomist & researcher Giovanni Bigot.
Poil de Lievre 2017 - Domaine Bobinet, un vino quotidiano, in equilibrio tra luminosità calde e luci fredde, generoso nei sapori e ritmato dalla tensione acido/sapida.
The post Poil de Lievre 2017 – Domaine Bobinet appeared first on Into the Wine.
È possibile acquistarne una copia nella sezione Libri. Le spedizioni partiranno dal 10 novembre 2020. Il costo è 28 euro.Nelle settimane successive sarà disponibile presso tutte le librerie che ne faranno richiesta. Per ulteriori informazioni potete scrivere a email@example.com, una nuova casella istituita per l’occasione. Per gli abbonati:Se avete sottoscritto un abbonamento non è necessario prenotare la rivista, è già vostro diritto riceverla. Vi preghiamo soltanto di comunicare l’eventuale variazione del vostro domicilio.Spediremo Porthos 37 numero unico a partire dal 10 novembre 2020. Sarà inviato in una grande busta protetta, quindi potrebbe essere ingombrante per una normale casella di posta, sarebbe meglio se a riceverlo ci fosse qualcuno. Agli abbonati abbiamo riservato una convenzione per l’acquisto di ulteriori copie di Porthos 37: ogni copia in più, oltre a quella alla quale si ha diritto, costerà 20 euro invece di 28, il suo prezzo di copertina. Per comunicarci l’eventuale modifica dell'indirizzo e avere ulteriori informazioni o chiarimenti potete scrivere a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chi dice gambero rosso, dice Santa Margherita. L’elegante cittadina della riviera ligure, si sa, è nota nel mondo per la sopraffina qualità dei suoi crostacei, rossi più del corallo e degni dei palati più esigenti. E potrei continuare per quattro pagine, ma il momento è serio, non c’è spazio per le facezie o gli atteggiamenti irridenti.La storia, infatti, ci insegna che, nei momenti di difficoltà, è importante restare uniti, così come riscoprire valori quali la vicinanza, la solidarietà, la gratitudine.Gastone Novelli, Umwelt - Ambiente, 1968