Wednesday, October 24, 2007
“Wine like my grandfather made”
Another late night, another early plane in the morning. A few hours to sleep, and on to another adventure.
As I slipped into my room tonight an email was blinking at me. Luca and Francesca, a young couple from Calabria, and my family home place, Bucita, were among the folks who came out tonight to dine and savor the wines of Paolo Librandi. Luca writes:
Thank you so much for the good time we had tonight …. We hope you will have time to download the pictures from tonight! It was a wonderful night (excuse my essential language, but after all that passito I fell quite happy and too relaxed to write more ! ehehe). Best of luck for everything … Greetings, Francesca and Luca
You know, after a day of climbing an ever expanding hill of expectations, occasionally to slip of a ledge or two, it is really rewarding to get a note like that. Two young Italians living in Dallas, far from home, missing their family. My grandmother went through that, with 5 children, alone, during the Depression, not speaking English so well. Without welfare. She had to send my mom and her little sister to an orphanage for a few years because she needed the help. The nuns pitched in and helped bring the girls up for a few years. Sad.
Calabria- to some folks it could be Arabia, for the different world it represents. Francesca and I were talking about the food, especially eggplant. Her family makes the eggplant Parmigiano with boiled eggs, like my family does, and as I saw it made in Bucita. But her eggplant “meatballs” really got my attention. Thanksgiving time we will be making them.
Paolo Librandi is a great guy, very good command of the language of wine. This Librandi family, like so many of the winemaking families from the South lately, they are engaged. The land, the soul of the place, the work to be done, the wine that comes from it, the process of refinement that is evolving so rapidly in places like Calabria and Sicily, Abruzzo and Campania, this is really a historic time in all of Italy. But for the South it is monumental. They are really growing into their role of stewards of tradition with style. I cannot even find the words. Pick up a bottle of Librandi’s Efeso, a 100% Mantonico or their Magno Megonio, a 100% Magliocco. Like Luca said, “this is wine like my grandfather made. This is a wine from the country.” Yes, a wine that is historical and healthy. What a wonderful world.
You must try to make it to Calabria, to experience truly something original and unique. As Paolo was talking about an 11th century church built by hand by the Orthodox-rite monks, he seemed to shudder a moment as he relived the time he visited the humble chapel.
As my California burns, again, I look to the Calabrian landscape to rest my eyes a while from the smoke. I hate when California catches fire. But it is as it has been for untold millennia. Build a home out of concrete or brick, let the chaparral do what it does, which is burn. That is a way for the seeds to pop and spread, with the heat from the fire. It is just Nature at work. It’s the humans who insist on putting multi million dollar homes in the path of the natural cycle. Still, sad at the loss and destruction.
I’m all over the place tonight and I must finish, get some rest and get back on the wine trail, early in the morning before anyone in America is awake. Meanwhile, good morning, Italy and Calabria.
Posted by Alfonso Cevola at 12:20 AM