Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Extreme wine trips

English vineyard, not so extreme
I found this draft waiting to be finished... I don't know how long it's been there (probably more than a year) and you may wonder where I have disappeared to.

I am still of this Earth and still dreaming of vine gardens. Studying viticulture and oenology. Working in vineyards. Dreaming of making wine and selling it.

"As the cold autumn evening draws in I am tempted to think of sunnier and warmer climes I would like to visit.

The Bekaa valley in Lebanon
Etna and its vineyards
Georgia the cradle of wine
Armenia the Wild East

A few lines to finish it. At least one post in 2016.

Not to mention Crimea, Russia, Afghanistan, and all those other places Pierre Galet once visited in his quest for ampelographic knowledge.

The United States and Canada would also provide some fascinating places to visit, and afford the spectacle of wild native vines thriving in the landscape. Of course I would also love to see vitis vinifera in its element in some obscure part of Spain; that alone would be a dream.

And what of North Africa and the old winelands of South Africa? Or 100 year old Shiraz in Australia, or the breathtaking country of New Zealand.

Really, there is no end to the search for ideal or idealised vine habitats, or terroirs. It is one of the more agreeable aspects of this obsession with a particular climbing liana and its fruit.

Friday, 11 September 2015

The ship in the boundless dark ocean

Think of a wonderful vessel, surrounded by infinite airless emptiness and cold. The ship is beautiful and inside, it is warm and bright, and all its passengers large and small have everything they need to live happily and peacefully.

They have no need to worry themselves about how any of this happens (how the air is pure and the water sweet, how they are neither too hot nor too cold, how to find the food they need for sustenance) as the ship itself operates sophisticated automatic systems to ensure everything is just right for everyone.

The ship has existed since before anyone can remember, and since before anyone can remember has been doing this work. It will continue to do so for all time, unless something terrible happens.

Then, one day, some of the passengers decide they would like to take control of the ship for themselves, because they think they are clever enough, and think they are not getting their fair share of the air and the water and all the other things the ship provides for them.

For a while things appear unchanged. The passengers in command are pleased with themselves and start to grow in numbers and help themselves to more food and water, to the detriment of some of the other passengers, who, being meek and mild, then wither away and die. This goes on for a short while. The clever passengers ever increasing in number and demanding more air, more water, and more food.

Soon, however, it starts to feel hotter; water is at first not very pleasant to drink, and then becomes scarce. Food is harder to find. The passengers supposedly in charge start to argue about whose fault it is that the water is gone, that food is scarce and that it feels so hot.  Things become so heated that the fabric of the ship is threatened. Some passengers have even made firearms, and started shooting at the others. Stray bullets might pierce the fragile and delicate outer walls of the ship and let out all the remaining air and let in the emptiness and cold. Death for all might be the result.

We do not know how this little story ends. We are the clever passengers who thought we could do better than our mother ship. We still have time to change our ways and let the ship do its work.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Everyday Drinkers (13)

This is a 2012 Primitivo IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) from the Puglia region in Italy, bottled by Canti and just now available at a discounted price of around a fiver at a well known retailer.

At this price if offers tremendous value, and as with all Italian reds, is great with food.

There is red fruit in abundance on the nose and refreshing fruity acidity on the palate. It will go with all pasta/tomato sauce/pizza dishes, and a glass of it on its own it also very satisfying. Its 13% ABV is more than sufficient.

Primitivo is one of the classic Pugliese grape varieties, but is properly called Tribidrag, the original name for this variety in its native Croatia. It is also known as Zinfandel in California. These links were uncovered thanks to modern DNA analysis.

It was once used mainly as a blending wine to increase alcohol and body in other wines which were a bit thin, but has now come into its own.

Get this one while you can.