From the department of “unabashed umami blogging”…
Tracie B and I stopped by the Highball last night for an aperitif before the zombies closed up the bowling alley/bar/restaurant/karaoke club for their zombie party. 2009 seems to be the year of the zombie, doesn’t it?
Our friends Juliet and Michael Housewright had invited us to tag along to a Halloween party in the home of some collector friends of theirs. A lot of great wine was opened, some lovely older Gigondas and vintage Gimonnet in magnum, but the wine that blew me away was a Quintarelli 1988 Bianco Amabile.
Tracie B and I have become somewhat obsessed with the show True Blood (Juliet came dressed as Sookie, complete with a Merlotte’s t-shirt!). Between all this talk of zombies and vampires, I’ve been thinking a lot about the living dead and how we talk about the “life” of a wine and how we say a wine “has life” or “is dead” in the glass.
I’ve had the good fortune to taste a lot of Quintarelli over the years, in Italy and here in the U.S., but I’d never tasted his Bianco Amabile. This wine is a trace, a clue to the past, an almost forgotten oxidative style of winemaking that was intended to give the fruit of the vine remarkable longevity. I couldn’t help but think of the Romans’s love of dried-grape wine and their high regard for grapes that could stand up to long-term aging. Valpolicella, where this wine was made, and Soave were known for their production of fine dried-grape wine, acinatius, in antiquity. The wine was very much alive in the glass, a marriage of nutty overtones and apricot and caramel flavors.
I was certainly feeling very much alive last night with the lovely Tracie B on my arm: I revived my deceased character from my faux French rock days, Cal d’Hommage, pencil-thin mustache and all. And Tracie B was my number one groupie!
Thanks for reading, ya’ll. I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! Tracie B and I are off to pick out some dishware… :-)