|Marco Bacci with Damian Mandola near Austin, Texas|
How does one top a week of Italian wine in New York? How about piling in a car with an Italian and his wine and traveling across the state from Dallas to Austin, and then to Houston and back to Dallas, in four days? That was my mission this week, back home in Texas with the Tuscan Marco Bacci and wines from two of his properties in Montalcino and the Maremma.
I have just about resigned myself that as long as I deal with Italian wines I will be dealing with Tuscany. And I say that not with a sense of resignation, although it sounds that way, but as an inevitable acceptance of the realities of the wine business in Italy. Tuscany has a lot to say about the way wine from Italy is perceived and they represent a huge portion of the wine made in Italy that comes to America and the rest of the world – correction – Fine wine made in Italy – because Tuscany is a leader and they have a pole position in the high stakes race to make Italian wine seen and thought of as the finest wines in the world.
|Dallas - Oak Cliff - Lucia's|
Marco Bacci is now safely on a plane back to Italy as I write this, but I wore his Tuscan behind out this week in Texas, driving him across Texas and putting on 1,000 miles in four days. Along the way we hit the various cities, met with buyers , took some of them to lunch and then went on to do the dreaded winemaker dinners. 14-18 hour days, with little room to rest. Wine, dine and sign on the dotted line. We came to taste, to sample and to sell, baby sell! Because it is O-N-D and that’s what wine warriors do.
|Dallas - sales meeting|
To top it off, this week Texas is all aflutter with the World Series – possibly for the first time in history a Texas baseball team has a chance of winning it. So there have been a few distractions – Texas is all about Beef, Baseball and Beer – and we were out there this week trying to make Texas all about Beef, Baseball and Brunello.
|Dallas - Oak Cliff - Lucia's|
|Austin - Four Season's - Trio|
|Austin - Vino Vino|
|Driftwood, Texas - Trattoria Lisina|
Day three – I found Marco near the UT campus drenched in sweat at around 7:30 AM. “We have to leave in 30 minutes, Marco. We have an appointment at 11 in Houston with Marcy at the Houston Wine Merchant. I do not want to be late.”
Highway 290 was a flash in the rear view mirror – knowing that we were going through BBQ Mecca didn’t make it any easier. “Hey, Marco, there’s City Meat Market,” I noted as we rolled though Giddings. City Markets signature meat is the pork Boston butt and the pork ribs smoked over post-oak wood. Too bad it was so early and we were running late. Another time.
|Houston - Coppa|
|Houston - Spec's|
|Cooper's in Llano - sadly missed this time|
Marco and I sat outside and talked over our week. It had been a busy one, and we still had to drive back to Dallas. In the meantime, we noted our many appointments; the many assurances made to us and how we were going to come up with all the wine that folks had promised us they were going to buy. Only a 14 hour day this time. Let’s see, Monday was a 16 hour day, Tuesday was 18 and Wednesday only 14. That’s 48 hours in three day – about right for O-N-D.
|Tasting in Dallas|
And they say we have the life. I say yes – we have the life we chose. I hope you chose the one you wanted – as for me, this week, pulling corks, I made the world safer for Italian wine this week. Now to plan next week’s victories.