Georgian wine on my mind (or Back in the USSR)

August 18, 2008

Above: a Russian tank in Prague in 1968 (photo by Josef Koudelka). Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to convince the Russians to withdraw their tanks from Georgia. This morning, the title of the top story is “Russia, Pledging to Leave Georgia, Tightens Its Grip.”

This week’s images of Russian tanks rolling toward Tbilisi brought to mind the photograph above. I was just a toddler during the Prague Spring of 1968. The thought of a Russia-occupied Georgia is a chilling one that evokes another ominous moment in Czechoslovakia and Europe’s history, 1938.

On a day like today, it seems a feckless act to write about wine but as I’ve been thinking about Georgia, it occurred to me that I have tasted Georgian wines on a number of occasions and that Georgia is largely considered one of the cradles of western viticulture. When I lived in New York, I knew a lot of Russian folks. When I was their guest or they mine, a bottle of generally sweet Georgian wine often made an appearance the table. The wines were never very good but they were always served with memorable pride and pleasure. Jamie Goode wrote this short but informative post about Georgian wine a few years ago and the Wikipedia entry is useful as well.

Georgia and Georgian wine are on my mind.

George W. is also on my mind. He’s been mountain-biking in Crawford, Texas over the weekend. There’s a paradoxical saying in Italian: non ho parole, in other words, I have no words.

No peace, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song


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