I decided to stop everything I was doing because I wasn't really doing anything seriously, since since one o'clock last night my thoughts have been constantly turning to the fact that today is my father's first birthday I spend without you daddy since I was born. An uninterrupted cry lulled by the sound of rain on the roof until I fell asleep for just a couple of hours at the crack of dawn. Tonight I realised that I have lost my lighthouse and I am sailing on sight in an ocean of grief, and although it has been almost a year since you passed away, I realise that each day is worse than the last, that the pain does not lessen, but grows. I don't think I've gone more than two consecutive hours this year without crying for at least a minute, although I've tried not to show it because there are a thousand things to do and paths to complete. The knowledge that you have always done so much to help me drives me to want to cross the finish line, because you first deserve me to succeed. I have not been perfect about anything, neither in my personal relationships nor in my work. I have accepted unacceptable behaviour from those around me for fear of facing this pain alone, only to realise later that I was not alone because Mum and Fabrizio were by my side every second. And not only them. I have tried to find the meaning of my life, but I honestly don't see the point if I can't share it with you. The love I feel for you, Dad, is something so unique and all-encompassing that, forgive my presumption, I think few can understand. That is why I have now decided to open a good bottle of wine and throw out everything I have inside. Since this is 'Amarone Week' for me, which began with Garbole at Ristorante Tre Cristi in Milancontinued in Verona with Pietro Zardini and finalised tomorrow by MaximagoI decided to tell you about theAmarone della Valpolicella Riserva that impressed me most during a gala dinner organised in Milan by the Association le Historical Families of Amarone: Musella Riserva 2012. You Dad loved Amarone and dry dessert wines in general so I know I couldn't uncork a better bottle today.

Why did I use a Napoleon chalice?

You were probably intrigued by my choice to use a Cognac glass, but I personally recommend it as 'a little trick' that you should note down when you decide to taste a big red extemporaneously and do not want to wait for oxygenation time, and do not have another particularly large glass at home. Just these days I was interviewed by Alma for the January issue of 'Cose di Casa' magazine (you can find it on newsstands from the end of December, be sure to buy it and let me know if you like the piece!) and we talked about wine glasses. In particular, he asked me how to cover the most wines with the least number of glasses. Of course the Napoleon is one of those I recommend you have! This glass is also perfect for oxygenating demanding red wines like Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva! I recommend you buy the Bormioli Michelangelo Masterpiece in a 4-piece box, which you can find on Amazon at this link.

Amarone ella Valpolicella Riserva, Musella 2012: Characteristics & Vinification

The grapes are carefully selected and, after being hand-picked into crates, are placed in a special ventilated room to dry. The grapes lose at least 35% of their initial weight in a process that concentrates the sugars, noble tannins and aromatic substances. In January, soft pressing takes place and fermentation starts at a low temperature. The wine remains 24 months partly in French oak tonneaux and partly in large barrels (700, 1500 and 3000 litres). After bottling, it matures for at least a year in the bottle before being put on the market.

Amarone ella Valpolicella Riserva, Musella 2012: The tasting

Amarone is a wine that needs time, lots of time. This 2012 is a young one that shows great promise, but I reserve the right to taste the second bottle I have in my cellar in about ten years' time! What I particularly liked about this Amarone is its finesse, both on the nose and in the mouth. It has a beautiful semi-transparent ruby red colour. Already by swirling the glass it shows all its consistency. The nose has a delicate scent of wet bark, porcini mushroom, nutmeg, chocolate and cherries in spirit. In the mouth it is consistent, fresh, soft, with tannin that still has to round off and shows all its ageing potential. Alcoholic and powerful with a long finish.

Dear Dad, if you had been here with me and Mum we would have been eating at the Tentazioni Restaurant in Costa Volpino as on all your recent birthdays. Instead I had lunch alone. Like in this photo, for your 60th birthday, the last birthday we celebrated without illness. We would have uncorked a good Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva and you would have eaten the gnocchi that Sandro makes and that you loved so much, while Giacomo would have pampered us with a thousand attentions. Then we would have gone for a walk in Lovere. Instead, I gave Mum the present for your birthday, a splendid Paphiopedilum spicerianum directly from our website gardening blog Blossom Suite. It is not the same, but they say that orchids are medicine for the soul.

Dear Dad, I hope that on your next birthday, 6 November 2020, I can take a trip to Argentina and spend a week in Buenos Aires tasting great wines in your homeland. I argentine wines are wonderful. And I hope to eat the real asado. It was a trip we had promised to do together, but I will do it alone in the hope of finding some peace.

Now that I have 'let off steam' I can get back to work.

But I am off-line for everyone today, sorry.

Cheers 🌹🍷


P.S. This book is so important to me because it is the last project we did together. I will never forget October 2018 when while you were undergoing chemotherapy that was killing you and by then you had lost even your sight you were trying to proofread this book for me. You were in and out of hospital in a constant emergency. As soon as the book was ready they admitted you permanently. As if you gave it your all and then ran out of resources to fight. I know there are some mistakes, but I chose not to touch this first edition, which remains the most beautiful and important, the most human. For me it was essential that it came out like this, on your birthday last year... because giving you this satisfaction was the last gift I could give you.

Book "Sommelier: the Illustrated Manual" Special Edition 2024

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All my notes on wine and food in one book. The handbook is designed for all aspiring sommeliers, but is also very useful for 'already sommeliers' who want to brush up, for winelovers who want to start putting their passion on a firm footing, and for professionals who want to earn more money by learning both how to manage their restaurant cellar and how to sell the right bottle to their customers.

  • Special Edition: 8 May 2024 - format 15 x 21 cm, 608 black and white pages printed on Crush Uva paper, ISBN 978-88-943070-2-3

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