Great is the memory of a dear friend, which like all recollections, seems so real and yet so exaggerated. Even though he worked with wines professionally, he told of just two times that he ever really got drunk, in 60 whole years.
The first time was as an adolescent football player, when he'd play in makeshift suburban pitches, without a referee or a time limit, but just the pity of the opposing team and a mother calling him in for tea. On his way back home to his gran's, ripped boots, dust in every imaginable corner of his body and a thirst as dry as if he had crossed the Sahara, he saw a crystalline, clear bottle waiting for him there in the fridge, that instead of holding fresh, cool water from the well, was full of delicious Sambuca.
As soon as his lips touched the neck of the ice-cold bottle and the dense, wonderfully refreshing nectar slid down his throat, he did all but separate from it. On the contrary, he suckled as if it were his mother's breast and then, as a newly sprouted man, started to fly..
Many years later, by now a fully fledged adult, in front of a blue sea and with play mates and women companions, he told stories, his eyes twinkling, of an evening in which the moons had become four and the waves of that same sea, took him straight to his bed, where an angel with silky skin and a warm mouth pulled him back down to Earth.
These memories, of an old friend, that for a whole lifetime had frequented vineyards and cellars, made me realize how important it is to not get drunk. So as to savour this momentary derailing, and even more so, to remember those excellent moments of being a human.
Sharing his art
It was absolutely tipping it down, like the Niagara Falls, relentless, fierce water. To see these old people get off the bus, coming from so far away, with eyes twinkling like school boys on an outing, really touched me.
They wanted to know everything, from the vineyards to the barrels, persistent rain and wet photographs. Without missing a single word that I was saying, they gave me the illusion that it was one of the most interesting places on Earth.
Then after, safely undercover, tasting the wines and narrating lives, whilst I did my best to look like a true pro, I was happy, the whole way through. I felt important to them, that had departed from the suburbs of London to look for a vineyard, a cellar and a glass to bring me their exhilaration.
Beautiful people, people with heart.
Every cook that deserves his name knows how important it is to use excellent wines in the kitchen, never using a wine that he wouldn't also put on the table!
To simmer and reduce a dish with a good wine means to rediscover those frangrances and aromas on the nose and palate while you eat it. This makes me think of how good a pale meat is enriched with a good glass of Frascati left to evaporate whilst it is being seared.
But marinating meat in a great red wine for 48 hours, completely immersed with all the seasoning of rosemary, sage, laurel, celery, carrot and onion along with spices, peppers both white and black, juniper berries, salt, invades the kitchen with a delicious perfume that announces a great recipe of Italian cuisine.
The meat is dried then seared and simmered in the same wine it was marinated in, garnished finally with the chopped vegetables used for seasoning, pan fried separately, what a fabulous dish!
Braised, but in Barolo! Then another bottle of the same to accompany the meal, a real feast that's fit for a King.
a group of people, that have lived and experienced the wonderful atmosphere of Frascati for many years, and now wish to share it with you.