I just finished watching 'Dear Battiato – Invitation to travel" and I am immersed in a sea of emotions and memories. Memories of two people who are no longer here: Dad and Grandma Mira. So, for my first article of the year, I decided to freewheel. After all, a blog is still a diary! So no good intentions, nothing horoscope 2022, nothing technical tastings... let's rather take a trip back in time (but we will also talk about 4 wines, this is still a wine blog!).
It was October '92 - it makes me smile to think that my husband had not yet been born - and my father gave me a book that I am still madly in love with today: 'Franco Battiato: Mixed Technique on Carpet". Perhaps you think this is absurd: I was not yet eight years old at the time and in this interview book, topics such as drug use or sex are addressed in a language that would require the Treccani even of most adults.
In fact, I remember wonderful afternoons with a grandmother who was a second mother (helped by the fact that we lived together) scrolling through the pages of the dictionary - with not-so-clean hands - as we searched for words. I would look them up and grandma would write them down in a bank diary from the year before, the same one from which she would tear out the sheets to write the shopping list for my father or the recipes they gave on television.
Battiato and childhood memories: an invitation to travel
Dad's gift was by no means accidental: one afternoon we had listened to the LP of Franco Battiato “The master's voice"and I fell madly in love with the song 'The Birds' - order, freedom, geometry. That song was the first one I had translated with my grandmother into a language accessible to a child.
I smile thinking back to that diary, where after "1 litre of milk" you would find "Primitive: which belongs to the origins of the world and of living beings, which goes back to the earliest times. In a broader sense, of that which, in the totality of the things of nature, has an ideal anteriority'. I was a peculiar child, one of those who had taken ballet lessons not because she wanted to be a ballerina when she grew up, but out of a genuine love for that music. And I persisted with it for years, even though my build was quite unsuitable due to my already being a very good fork.
In photo ".G" Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG 2011 disgorgement 2014 paired with marinated trout with lime, seeds and dill leaves and Seichuan pepper and my mythical homemade cassette bread. A wine that, harvest and disgorgement, is now at its peak.
Battiato and a curiosity among the books I recommend you read this year
Since childhood, the only thing I loved as much as writing was reading. In my life I have read hundreds of books, preferring, in addition to non-fiction, the Japanese literature (thanks to a great passion for manga). Three were the books that marked my adolescence: Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, Spiritual Lessons for Young Samurai by Yukio Mishima e Grass Pillow by Natsume Soseki. The latter in particular was published in 1993 by L'Ottava, a publishing house founded by Franco Battiato in 1985the year I was born. When I bought it, I admit I did not know.
This year I want to re-read all three as they have been gathering dust in my bookshelf for several years. And of course I want to reread Franco Battiato: Mixed Technique on Carpet.
In the words of Molière, French playwright of the Baroque era: 'Great is the fortune of he who possesses a good bottle, a good book, a good friend.”
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By the way...
The year 2021 has given me a new friend: Valentina. Actually, the first female friend after so many years of absolute emptiness. Actually, she is more than a friend: I married her. There are no words to express gratitude for this meeting that made me renew my desire to conquer the world. So, in the company of my good friend, her partner Nicola and my husband Francesco (and of course Paco!). I greeted 2022 by uncorking four wonderful bottles.
Sparkling, excitement and shenanigans for New Year's Eve 2022
As I anticipated, no technical tastings for my first article of the year, only emotions. Emotions because, while tastings help a potential buyer to understand whether a wine is in his or her heart or not, wine is first and foremost emotion and pleasure. Yes, because I don't drink labels, I drink content. I found peace in the beautiful hills of Coneglianoin that enchanted place of which only ignorance can speak ill of. Let's be clear, an ignorance that has as accomplices those same producers who work without giving a damn about the product in the name of profit. And this is how Prosecco DOCG becomes the 'frizzantino' aperitif, the by-product with which to make streams of badly made Spritz.
In the photo ".G" Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG 2010 disgorgement 2012 Le vigne di Alice with my main dish: pappardelle with shrimp bisque, stracciatella and shrimp tartare seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, nutmeg and lime. A combination I would call supreme for a classic method sparkling wine incapable of ageing. While it has reached its maturity and perhaps just taken the downward curve, it is still a connoisseur's show. With a perfect bubble despite a 10-year disgorgement that I can only ask: "Cinzia, but how do you do it?"
Alice and Bellenda's vineyards: emotions, for real
My favourite classic method sparkling wines in Italy are now unquestionably theirs. I taste so many every year, but these two Veneto wineries always find a way to amaze me. A new product, as in the case of the "WÜRM" Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature 2008 disgorgement early 2020 by Bellendaor a different vintage in the case of ".G" Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG 2011 disgorgement 2014 by Le Vigne di Alice. And the thrill of re-tasting the wine of my wedding, the .G Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG 2010 disgorgement 2012 one year later. The greatest joy was sharing it with Valentina and Nicola, who unfortunately I met in April 2021 and therefore were not present on the8 September 2020 when we got married. For me, being an incurable romantic, it was like sharing something from that day which, whatever life throws at us, was incredibly beautiful.
I found the "Bellenda's 'WÜRM' 2008 resounding. The chardonnay is exalted in all its nuances and the passage in the barrique is defined and elegant. A bottle that finishes too quickly, with a great versatility of pairing, particularly with the whole meal. For New Year's Eve, I paired it with these small prawns that I grilled with truffle butter... you can't imagine what a spectacle!
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Book 'Sommelier: the Illustrated Manual' Special Edition 2022
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The year 2022 has already begun fatigued by a pandemic that divides men more than football. I therefore close the first article of the year with two quotes and invite you on your journey:
"That which we fear, if considered only in its terrifying aspect, can turn into madness. [...] There are those in the world who purposely create a non-existent broken love and voluptuously relish the pleasure of tormenting themselves. People would call him a fool, a madman. But he who has drawn of his own free will a circle of unhappiness in which he lives his daily life with pleasure is, in his freedom as an artist, perfectly identical to he who, painting a non-existent landscape, encloses himself in it and rejoices in it as if it were paradise'.
Grass Pillow, Natsume Soseki
Vulgarity is the lack of respect, of refinement, of politeness; it is the thought of being sincere in saying something that offends a person. [...] The vehicle of sincerity is actually a tension, an internal frustration that needs to manifest itself and is loaded with other things. [...] When speaking, one must always take into account one's own balance in understanding the person in front of one, evaluating all the characteristics of the relationship with the other person so that the two sides of the scales - you and the other person - are perfectly balanced.
Mixed media on carpet, Franco Battiato
Whatever your memories of the past or your fears for the future, do not let them become the brake for the present. Do not alienate yourself in grandiose ideas or reject your failed dreams on those who accompany you during this life. Everything is in the making and, as frightening as this may be, it is in itself a great consolation. Be ambitious, but enjoy what you have just because you were born in the 'right place' in the world. Even though we know very well that right is not right. My word for this 2022 is 'balance'. To be sought in wine as much as in life in order to define it as pleasant, worthy or even excellent.
P.S. Le Vigne di Alice accompanied magnificently the two cotechini (disfida Reggio Emilia - Monte Isola) with baked potatoes... I think never was a more perfect combination to degrease and enhance an aromatic and fatty food.