Thursday, May 05, 2011

Salumi, Dolcetto and Sophie

With one of my long standing friends, I was having one of those conversations. No filters. Carne crudo. Maybe it’s a guy thing, no maybe about it. It’s a guy thing. Men love to hunt wines down and conquer them. Women like to get “into” a wine. I know, I know, gross exaggeration, but to my point with my dear friend, we were talking about our two favorite things, women and wine.

“It’s that whole thing you have about the dumb DOCG list. Ace, who cares?” My friend had me. I don’t know why I followed something that was destined to be a dead end. I had to remind him that was exactly what he had done with the last three women in his life. Yep, we like to throw ‘em hard and right into the middle of the strike zone.

“So what is it, are you going to try and sell me that our tastes in wine and women are parallel?” He was going somewhere with this. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, but my pal was on to something.


It got me to thinking about the wines in my life that I really stuck with, through good times and not so good times. At the top of my list is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It is like old world Nonna and west coast dark haired curly girl who hangs out at the beach but isn’t much of a surfer. But she likes the ocean. Then ten, twenty years later, she’s still there. Yeah maybe it isn’t the most exciting wine on the rack, but it is always there for you. Warm meals, leftovers, casseroles, burgers, pizza, very flexible. Almost yogic.

My friend was getting into it. “But then there’s those racy little numbers, Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello. Tall, lean, tan. Money. Hill country honeys, they don’t come cheap. They travel in well-heeled circles. But once in a while you find one in the corner of a dark lit nook, forgotten, not too pricey. Hey, you gotta take ‘em for a spin, if for only one time.” Yeah, he was a man’s man, my friend.

“Let me ask you, amigo, if you ever remember any of those fast and easy ones? Would you take them to your brother’s house at Thanksgiving?” My pal looked at me quizzically, “You are talking about wine now?” I sent the ball back up the plate, “Wine, women, aren’t the lines blurring just a little with this conversation? Take it where you want to go, amigo.”

Never one to shrink from a line drive up the middle, he poured another glass of the Dolcetto we were sipping on. “Take this wine, Ace. We’ve been sipping on it for awhile. It’s pretty delicious. It’s dark, deep, spicy, it has a backbone; it’s almost pretty in a funny way. I like it. It absolutely sings with the home cured salumi and the goat cheese and that funny hard bread you brought back from the Alto Adige.”

It sure did. I was wishing we had some more of everything. The salumi that my chef friend brought over was as good as any cured meat I had ever had. And with a little bit of age, it was a little tweaked, became a little more interesting. The goat cheese wrapped in the Mexican Pepperleaf that grew out in the back was sublime. And the hard pumpernickel bread I brought back from Summa 11 was a perfect match all around.

“So, if this total experience were a woman, who would she be?” It was turning into a real guy’s night out (or in). My pal was feeling the Dolcetto rub up against his libido? I turned the question back on him. “I don’t know, amigo, it sounds like you have already decided who she is, why don’t you tell the story?”


“I thought you’d never ask,” he volleyed back. “Ok, sit back, let me tell you. This pretty little Dolcetto and all the artisanal accoutrements remind me of the time we were in San Francisco with those two gals we met in North Beach. Do you remember the one I liked, Sophie? I was her choice. She was the one had that long, dark, straight hair. She was quiet, real quiet. But what a kisser she turned out to be. I’ll never forget that night; I could have used another set of lips just to keep on kissing her. And she was soft, but under the top layer of soft skin, she was tight. She was in her body, and she knew, even with the gift of our youth, she had the wisdom of knowing her physicality, the limits and the open doors. And while I am not one to kiss and tell, let me just say that there were doors opened that night that I have never had opened in my life. And if I were one to correlate that experience with a wine, or wine and food, as silly and as inarticulate as it might sound, well then, this evening here with this wine, this Dolcetto, it kinda reminds me of her.”

We hadn’t even gotten to the amaro and cigar part of the night, but I was rightfully blown away. “Where did that come from, amigo?”

“Well, Ace, my friend, she wasn’t the love of my life, but Sophie, she was the love of a night. And I have never forgotten her. And this little wine brought it all back up. So call me nostalgic or soft, or whatever, but I am content to sit out here in the Texas twilight with the cool breeze and one hell of a memory.”

Which is exactly where we left it, listening to the roaring freeway nearby competing with the crazy feral parrots who were squawking into the rapidly approaching night.




1 comment:

Hal Rose said...

Great blog...perhaps one of my favorites!

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