Thanksgiving vine

It’s that time of year again and the holiday season is upon us…

A recent post by Vinogirl on the ubiquitous Vitis californica of my home state got me thinking about the miracle of the vine and its fruit.

Not so long ago, in a comment to my post on grapes under an earlier Tuscan Sun, Vinogirl noted sagaciously that the vine provided “food, drink and firewood for man, leaves for oxen and seeds for pigeons…”

This morning, as Tracie B and I sit around as we do on most Sundays, sipping coffee, surfing the internet, and listening to This American Life, my Sunday New York Times tells me that today the U.S. food stamp program helps feed “one in eight Americans and one in four children.”

It made me think about what winemaker Dora Forsoni (below right, with her partner Patrizia) told me last year when I visited her and she brought out table grapes for us to munch on as we tasted her wine. “My father was so poor,” said the Tuscan native Dora, “that he couldn’t afford fruit for us kids to eat. So he planted a vine so that we’d always have fruit.” Even without tending, the vine will naturally render fruit. The grapes tasted sweet and juicy.

vino nobile

For Tracie B and me, finances are tight (as we try to put away some money for our upcoming wedding) and the business of wine sales continues to be an uphill battle. But the miracle of the vine continues to give us a livelihood, even in the tough economic climate.

The Thanksgiving weekend is almost over and tomorrow we’ll pick it up again after taking the weekend off (a rarity for us these days). In these tough times, when a lot of folks in our country and across the world are struggling, we sure have a lot to be thankful for: love, health, and the miracle of the vine.

Day 2 of 31 Days of Natural Wine: nothing natural about it

This post is the second installment of Saignée’s 31 Days of Natural Wine. Click the link below for more…

“Natural wine” is something of a misnomer. Wine is, after all, an act of humankind.

It’s true that wine occurs naturally. Aleš Kristančič of Movia once explained to me how when a grape falls from the vine, it is a natural winemaking vessel: the hole at the top of the berry (where the stem has broken away) is a natural valve that allows yeast on the skin to enter the berry and begin turning the sugar into alcohol.

Wine was a gift from the gods (think Bacchus), or a gift of G-d (think Noah), or an accident (think mother Natura), depending on how you look at it: the magic of grape juice being turned into wine was probably discovered by someone who forgot some grapes in an amphora, only to open the vessel later and find that they had been turned into wine (the original carbonic maceration). But the moment that someone employed this stumbled-upon technology (tehnê, meaning art or craft) a second time, it became an act of humankind…

Click here to read more…

In other news…

Dany the Red is now Dany the Green. Remember this post from East Germany back in September 2008? That’s me stage left, above, rocking out with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who was in the news today and whose “Europe Écologie coalition of European Green parties came in third in French voting for the [European] Parliament, winning 16.28 percent of the vote. It was just behind the squabbling Socialists, who had only 16.48 percent, and ahead of a presumptive presidential candidate, François Bayrou of the centrist Democratic Movement, or Modem.” Check out this article in the Times. I love how the girl in the photo above is wearing a bright red outfit.

By now you should know the identity of the mystery girl to whom I threw the kiss!

Just Say NO to Merlot!

In case you haven’t read Franco’s editorial at VinoWire, “Vino Nobile producers: just say no to Merlotization,” please check it out (translation by yours truly). Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of the greatest terroir-driven expressions of Sangiovese and it would be a pity to see it dumbed down by higher percentages of international grape varieties. Please comment if you feel so inclined.

Patrizia Castiglioni and Dora Forsoni make my favorite Vino Nobile at Sanguineto. Tracie B always notes that “if Willie Nelson had an Italian sister, it would be Dora.” They are truly lovely folks and when I took this photo of them, Dora smiled sweetly at Patrizia and said, “no one has ever taken our picture together before.” Their wines are natural and stinky, just the way I like them. You won’t find any Merlot here.