The U.S. dollar has surged in value on foreign exchange markets in the last year and especially the last few weeks, as this graph of the dollar versus the euro makes clear. It once took about $1.30 to purchase a euro, but some analysts believe that USD-EUR parity — a dollar per euro — is
The conventional wisdom is that we are likely entering the first significant period of stagflation — inflation + stagnant economic growth — in several decades. We have experienced recessions in the recent past, but not rising inflation, and not the two of them at once. Inflation is in the headlines every day, but unemployment is
La Svezia si conferma un eccellente mercato per il vino, dove ovviamente importazioni e consumi sono sovrapposti perfettamente non avendo una produzione propria. Queste belle parole derivano dal grafico qui sopra, dove vedete una progressione delle importazioni molto costante, senza battute d’arresto. Anche nel 2021, dopo un 2020 andato molto bene nonostante il Covid,
I dati delle esportazioni italiane di vino sono particolarmente positivi nei primi due mesi dell’anno. È però un dato da prendere “con le molle” perchè si nascondono tanti trabocchetti dietro questo +21%. Beh, il primo è che stiamo parlando di due mesi che contano (nel 2021) il 12% del totale annuo. Siccome 2 mesi su
I don’t know how it happened, but recently I was talking to an acquaintance who never knew what I did in my career. I mentioned something about being a wine guy, with a particular focus on Italian wine. Right after I said the word “Italian” I noticed a facial micro-expression on the person I was chatting with. It was as if to indicate, “What? No Californian? No French? WTF?” It was then I realized I should tell a different story. Yes, I was, and am, into Italian wine, deeply. But not to the exclusion of other great wines of the world. That was a lesson I learned from French wine snobs in the 1970-s and 1980’s. You know, those astute ones (usually white, usually male, usually professionals, lawyers, doctors, professors) who think the world begins and ends with Francophilia.
Pierrette et Ange @ Chateau Croix d'Allons
Hey, I like French things. I love Paris, love the French countryside even more. especially the winegrowers. I just didn’t realize just how much French wines were embedded inside my memory banks. A recent example:
I’m having a birthday dinner at a French restaurant with a friend who just turned LXVI. And he handed me the wine list. “Pick a white to start with.” Ok, no problem. So, I perused the pages and found a Bandol Blanc from Chateau Croix D'Allons that looked nice. And fresh. The server brought it, opened it and poured, and in a most professional manner.
Along with the wine we were enjoying CoquillesSaint-Jacques aux Tomates et Basilic. I was thinking how well the wine went with it and wondered, aloud, what the grapes were. I blurted out, “I bet this wine is a blend of Clairette and Ugni Blanc.” It was almost Tourette-like, my little Gallic outburst. My companion, said nothing, content to munch contentedly on his scallops.
But then, curiosity got the better of me, and I wondered if perhaps the back of the bottle might have some information as to the cepage of the wine. And sure enough, it was a blend of 60% Clairette and 40% Ugni Blanc! How in hell did I remember something as arcane as that, but I cannot remember where I put my phone, or what I had for dinner the night before? Such a mystery the human mind is. Nonetheless, I felt some satisfaction in knowing something that abstruse. I mean, for an Italian wine guy.
Then I realized something. It was a lesson I learned from a very fussy, very snooty French sommelier, not long after Chicxulub slammed into the Gulf of Mexico. This very Gallic wine steward, Philippe, was tall, with an imposing proboscis and elongated temples, upbraided me when I was on a sales call. Oh, I was selling French wine, California wine, Italian wine, any wine then. But then, jetteI attempted to sell Italian wine to a French restaurant. “No, no, no, jeune lion, NEVER, NEVER, EVER show me Italian wines! We are a French establishment! We have higher standards, something you would be wise to learn, NOW!”and he turned on his heels, made a sharp click with them, and jetéd into the kitchen. I, meanwhile was left there, at the empty bar, hat in hand, with an order for 1 case of 1966 Chateau Margaux. And I slithered out the door, unheard, unseen and chastened. What had I done wrong, I asked myself? After all, when I was working in Italian restaurants, we had French wines on the list too. Was not turn-around fair play? Apparently not, in the mind of a French sommelier forty years ago.
But then, it was in a time, when Italian wines hadn’t quite arrivéeyet. The whites were still inconsistent and unexciting. Many of the reds were rustic and unfamiliar. The sommelier attuned me to setting myself to higher standards, albeit unwittingly. Game on! I studied French wine. It came easily enough, for the wines were well made and delicious. I had no complaint with them. But I didn’t see Italian wine, as they were rapidly evolving in the marketplace, as inferior or of a lower marque. They were different, made for the foods that they’d evolved through the ages with. Yes, they were confusing. Yes, they were diverse to the point of distraction. But they were also sexy and delicious and approachable, both from a taste perspective and a fiscal one. But, the discipline of learning about French wine - tasting, tasting, tasting - and applying what I learned to my world, opened me up to a universe which was uncharted. I learned to correlate. Oh, you want something like a Bordeaux for your Italian steak house? Let’s try some Super Tuscans. Maybe a Brunello. Oh, you need a fancy white Italian wine to go with truffles in October? Let’s try maybe a Gavi, or maybe a Verdicchio from Matelica. Maybe a rich, ripe Chardonnay from Sicily? I had to build bridges, so folks could cross over. No one wanted to walk a plank, they wanted to get there, but with minimal risk. I got that.
Along with knowing French wine better, I was able to show folks I wasn’t a snob. The snotty French sommelier taught me a few things, and at the top of the list was that I did not want to broadcast snobbery. We weren’t going to get folks onboard by being haughty and exclusionary. Yeah, that might work in the auction houses in the 80’s, but on the streets, folks wanted easy entry. And with the boom in the Mediterranean diet consciousness in America, there were all kinds of iterations in restaurants, and in magazines, that showed Italian-like food. And, voila, Italian wine dovetailed into that scenario quite handily. But it’s like when you’re working a room. You have to know who you’re talking to, what their objections are, and their limitations. So, you can open them up to opportunities that aren’t foreign to them. Something, again, the French sommelier didn’t learn, didn’t need to learn. But that was before the Italian asteroid hit Planet Food. And everything changed.
So, now what? Do we just take it for granted that all things Italian have always been here and always will be? Well, if we do, we risk becoming extinct just like Philippe. I mean, it was a long, slow climb from the primal slime to the prime spot. Why blow it now by being highfalutin? So, keep your standards high – but keep your eyes, and your heart, open. Remember, to many of us, the French are our cousins, they are in our DNA (or at least mine). They, after all, are also part of our world wine family. Pass the CDP, s’il vous plait.
written and photographed (with the exception of the picture of Pierre and Ange at Ch. Croix d'Allons) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W
Hey Torquemada, this is all you’ll get out of me…
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. In regards to the wine trade, the wine world, the wine profession and wine enthusiasm in general. What I have been witnessing, in real time, perplexes me, just a little. And more because of my reaction than anything I’ve observed from others. Let’s jump right in, shall we? Ok, here’s my starting point. When we are working, many of us are all in. I was. Totally. And my life had a rhythm. I see that “rhythm” now more as a pattern than a journey. And I say that because, I thought my life had meaning, a purpose. I usually paraphrased it as something like this: “Well, what I am doing has little or nothing to do with war. It’s wine. It helps people ease into the good life, with good times and hopefully a corner of peace, if only for a meal, or a moment.” Yeah, I had convinced myself that I had found my right livelihood. And to a large degree, it was right. It was competitive. But there was a world community. I had “friends” all over the world, as we had all banded together to make the world a better place. And that place usually had plenty of wine flowing. Fast forward to today. And while I don’t want to pick on any one person, I’ve grabbed some random examples from folks still out there in the trenches, working it. I am attempting to find a way to see how folks, here and now, are approaching their day-to-day work in the wine trade. And how it manifests as they tell their stories about their journey.
Several professionals have been traveling around to the various wine shows in Italy, France and Germany. In between, they’ve met winemakers in those countries, at their wineries. Long, elaborate tastings and even longer lunches and dinners. All displayed on social media platforms, for all to see. It’s a moment-by-moment recounting of their lives at work and how it interfaces with their sometimes-private lives. Maybe a fancy hotel or business class airplane seat. Maybe a quick shopping jaunt, or an artistic diversion into a church or a museum. Maybe a shot at something beautiful, a vineyard, an incredible lunch array, a natural scene, maybe a mountain or a stream. In other words, The Truman Show. But pretty joyful, even if it seems kind of ego-centric. And many of us are doing it. Nonstop. Or as George Harrison lyricized it so beautifully: All through the dayI me mine, I me mine, I me mineAll through the nightI me mine, I me mine, I me mine Now they're frightened of leaving itEveryone's reading itComin' on strong all the time That comin’ on strong part? That’s the part that trips me up. Look, my career was, in large part, over, before The Age of Social Media took over our private and professional lives. We went to work, we came home, we made dinner for our kids, read them a book or two, put them to bed, maybe watched a little TV, maybe worked a little, maybe read a book, and went to bed. And did it again, “all through the day,” as Mr. Harrison wrote.
I’m bemused by the times we peer into someone’s life. Sometimes it’s a mirror. Sometimes it’s a movie. It seems odd to have that window into so many people’s “journey.” I mean, do we really need all that input? How does it make one feel? Kindred? Jealous? Befuddled? Amused? Influenced? Desensitized? Validated? If it were me, and I were in a position of authority, I’d probably not show the whole world that much of the “Living My Best Life” parts. For one, the HR department could probably be watching. Or any other number of hackers, peering eyes or miscreants who might know where I live, and knowing that I am out of town for a month or so, might want to peer a little less virtually and a little more actually into my concrete life. Like breaking into my home(s). or stealing my car. Or hacking my work computer. Here's the deal. It might look like one is simply letting the world know what a great time they are having. And yay, for that! After all, the last two years have been brutal to all of us. But the opportunity for those who want to keep the ball rolling, in regards to making our lives miserable, by causing havoc, is only made easier when we leave all these little breadcrumbs on that yellow brick road we call our journey. Oh sure, there’s some ego involved. And for some, a good measure of narcissism is part of their daily dose of living. I mean, who doesn’t want to let the world know that you’ve won, you’ve overcome all the odds, you’ve succeeded. I get that.
In the past, we might have been advised to get a photo album and fill it up. Or maybe make a memory book. Or a journal. Oh yeah, not now. Not today. We’re in that darn ‘ol age of social media. Yeah, I forget some things sometimes. Oh, there’s another solution! Stop. Stop looking at what others are doing and reclaim your life. Walk away from the computer. Put the phone in your pocket, your purse, a drawer, anywhere. Away. And get back to your journey. I mean, are these people influencing you in any way? Oh, I know, it’s good to stay in touch with your “friends.” Yeah, all 2,525 of the ones you “made” on Facebook? Or all 7,035 of those you “follow” on Twitter or Instagram? Yeah, those “friends.” Hey, I’m not trying to be cynical. I am really trying to work this out for myself, and I’m whiteboarding in front of all y’all. How so very “age of social Media” of me, n’est-ce pas? But if this is something some of you have been musing over, maybe this rumination of mine might have some import for others as well. I don’t know that. But here I am, ruminating away at over 1,000 words.
Look, I really don’t care if you had vitello tonnato (for the umpteenth time) in your newest “favorite” trattoria in the Langhe. Or if that old bottle of Krug Champagne goes fabulously well with the wonderful oysters just brought in from the coast of France. Or that you actually got to taste a vertical of Romanée Conti, again! This does nothing to enhance my journey. But if it makes you feel better, have at it, cowboy. As George Harrison says: All I can hearI me mine, I me mine, I me mineEven those tearsI me mine, I me mine, I me mine No one's frightened of playing itEveryone's saying itFlowing more freely than wine Did someone say wine?
written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog + Italian wine blog + Italy W
Sarà per colpa di Putin o a causa dei pipistrelli di Wuhan, ma a quanto pare tutto è diventato complicatissimo. Anche fare una carta dei vini ma andiamo per gradi.
Ecco come funziona la creazione di una carta dei vini: … continua »
La 2018 è stata un’annata rigorosa e difficile in Italia ma soprattutto in Langa, dove richiedeva nervi saldi in vigna per poter godere di un generoso settembre dopo la tanta pioggia primaverile. Quando poi hai per le mani le uve … continua »
“Altrove a Sud” - versione italiana di “South of Somewhere” di Robert V.
Camuto, è un libro che consiglio a chi ama il vino e il Sud Italia. E’ una
carrellata di personaggi, zone, vini, vite, esperienze, paesaggi, storie,
magnificamente resa con lo stile asciutto, puntuale e curioso del
giornalista americano. Un osservatore esterno capace di cogliere e valutare
situazioni e persone con occhio attento e disincantato, mediato però da un
sentimento di affezione e nostalgia per un vissuto - e una terra - a cui
sente di appartenere almeno in parte.
Dove cresce il Nocchianello Bianco? Avete mai assaggiato la Caricagiola? E
il Vujino, è un’uva bianca o nera? Una delle caratteristiche della nostra
Enotria è la sua ricchezza e varietà di vitigni - una complessità che è
croce e delizia di tutti i winelovers, sia italiani che (soprattutto)
esteri. Il vino da vitigno autoctono è diventato un must dei nostri giorni,
un motivo d’orgoglio, ma soprattutto un elemento differenziante nel sempre
più affollato e competitivo mercato mondiale.
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.
I recently pulled out my old book and started to read at random and thought I’d share some of it. Many of you reading might not know that my first book was published in 2008 before we really ever talked about natural wine, when the wine world was still new and not talked about but very much feared. Here’s my unedited reading of the beginning of Chapter 2. It goes on to visit U.C. Davis where I wasn’t exactly welcomed, got into a few nasty tussles about native yeast and irrigation. So, this incident was in 2006, Big Joe was the late and certainly great, Joe Dressner. And thus, and thus.. it goes. what i learned at UC Davis and below, continues to the point that I am about to meet Roger Boulton.