Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farewell, Marco

Vinu vecchiu ed ogghiu novu.

I never knew Marco DeBartoli. I loved his wines. In 2005 I visited his winery. But it was in 2001 on Pantelleria that I came across the magical place, Bukkuram, not far from where I was staying. And that was my introduction to DeBartoli and his wines.

He wasn’t but a few years older than me, but it seemed his time here on earth was done. I really felt his wines. Truth be told, I tried to sell them here in Texas and was unsuccessful. Not for any reason that the wines were lacking. But they are wines for a particular kind of person. Having Sicilian blood coursing through my veins, I fully understood. I drank more of them than I sold. They were liquid lust.

When I walked around his little winery, quirky, part museum, part abandoned auto lot, I felt there was someone for whom life was a mixing bowl in which all kinds of interesting ingredients were thrown in. But the wine had a real focus. Actually, the wine was just what it was – Marsala – or rather, an education in Marsala and the heights in which that wine could achieve. DeBartoli Marsalas were the Everest of Marsala. It’s really a shame they will fade into history, while we worship Prosecco and Pinot Grigio.

So a man, his life’s work, finished? Is that all to it? I wonder. In a week Vinitaly will begin. Perhaps at the Sicilian pavilion there will be the possibility to find someone who will continue the work, Maybe the son. Or a daughter. Or another family.

My very first encounter with Marsala, in Palermo. I was 20 and walked into a bodega where there were all sorts of barrels of Marsala – all the kinds that were so popular in those times with the local Palermitans. The aroma was overwhelming – a combination of being inside a chalice on an altar and inside the working bee hive. I will never forget that aroma.

And I will never forget the wonderful work and wines and life of a man who has now gone to join the Ancients. Bon anima, signore. Thank you for your time here on earth and the gifts you bestowed upon us.


Antony said...

You know I am a fan of these wonderful even magical wines. I am saddened by thought of the love and passion of Marco fading into the sunset.

TWG said...

I think LDM will be importing these wines.

Wine in Thyme said...

Liquid lust, know it well.

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