In January, a middle-aged traveling salesman made his last trip to Italy before the world changed in ways that no one could imagine.
Stranded over a weekend between Friday and Monday meetings, he snuck away for a moment of respite in a village that lies literally on the edge of the western world.
There he hiked through vineyards and read a novel he’d been meaning to crack. He couldn’t call his loved ones in any case because the internet connection was too faint.
He rested, drew a hot bath, and gathered his thoughts and dreams before he headed to one of his favorite taverns in the world, La Subida.
What a wonderful pairing for the tavern-keeper’s wine, the traveler thought to himself. It was a fresh, mineral-driven Tocai (Friulano) that achieved balance thanks to its masterful blend of fruit sourced from different plots with different ripening times. But then again, of course it does: if it grows with it, it goes with it, he chimed silently remembering the adage uttered by a famed restaurateur.
The taverner Mitja Sirk worked the dining room like Muhammad Ali. Outside a silence fell upon the countryside as the waning gibbous moon hung in the sky.
Lonesome but fortified, the man found fleeting peace in his bones as he hiked back down the hill to his bed.
I’m dreaming of Mitja’s Subida this morning. It all seems like a world away even though I was there just a few months ago.
Tomorrow, the kind folks of Friuli are mounting what they are billing to be the largest toast of all time.
At noon CST (1 p.m. EST), 7 p.m. CET, you can attend a white wine toast hosted by the Strada del Vino e dei Sapori del Friuli Venezia Giulia (the Friuli “wine and flavors” trail).
Register on Zoom here.
The middle-aged salesman hopes to get back there soon. Some day, he will.