Trust me when I say I love my work. I have had other jobs before, outside of the wine industry, which have not suited me as well. Now that I spend my days peddling the vino italiano, I am a much happier person. I basically spend my time talking to people about why Italian winemakers are so awesome, or how Italian wine goes so well with food, or how important it is to support Italian culture through preserving and promoting indigenous wines. I was born to do this work.
Last night was one of those times where my faith in this career path was bolstered even further. We went to dinner at Sociale, a beautiful secret garden of a restaurant in San Francsico. The wine list is curious- it seems simple at first as it’s a single sheet of paper- but the devil’s in the details, isn’t he? Once you start to puruse the list you’ll notice it isn’t sinmplistic, but rather finely honed. David Nichol is the man with the plan, who believes “wine is a serious matter to be taken lightly”. Love this. The selection is endless- Refosco from Friuli, Verdicchio from the Marche, oh, and Lombardia- a collection of some of the finest wine from Franciacorta. It’s playful, authentic and fun.
The wine above is a very special wine from Ca’ del Bosco. The Dosage Zero desgination means that there is no sugar added to the wine, a common practice with Champagne and other traditional sparking wines where the bubbles are formed inside the bottles. What this means is that there is no place to hide any flaws in neither the vineyards and quality of the grapes, nor in the wine making. This is a raw exhibition of the talent and determination of a winery to create magically balanced wine out of tough, minerally soil in a relatively cold place.
1996. Fantastic year in Franciacorta- and the wine has been aged at this point for15 years- enough to make anyone curious about what’s going on in there. Once opened, the wine was all dried shitake mushrooms at first, and what fruit was present was strangled by a blatant acidity and rough minerality. There was a tangible reduction in the palate, almost cognac-like. However, this wine had only begun its evolution. As we sat at the table and over the course of about an hour the wine changed completly. First we found more subtle notes like white chocolate anbd green apples begin to unveil themselves. The fruit began to appear out of thin air. Eventually the full extent of the body in this wine evolved into quince and baked apples, with no trace of reduction remaining. An amazing process and one that illustrates the greatest thing about wine. It’s alive. It’s fleeting. It’s real.