Finally, it's time for a vacation. I don't get many, so I am really ready to kick back and relax. I've turned in my annual reports on Argentina and the Rhône, which will run in Wine Spectator 's fall issues, along with a few other stories. I've cleared out nearly all of the wines that were here for me to taste (although I know a new pile will build up quickly while I'm gone, as we get an endless stream of samples by the case-load here every day). My desk is cleared off and my e-mail inbox and voicemail box are empty. I like a worry-free vacation.
Of course my idea of a vacation is very different from Nancy's. I travel for a living, so when I finally get some time off, jumping on a plane to go somewhere isn't as idyllic for me as it might seem to others who don't travel as often. Nancy, on the other hand, waits patiently all year for me to take my break, so she plans trips to far-flung locales.
But argh! I've got two little girls in tow. I love them, of course, but it's the stroller, two car seats, bag of toys, etc., that I get to carry along with everything else that kills me. I don't remember traveling with any of this stuff when I was a kid. I usually just got a coloring book to keep me busy, and I had to make it last for the entire flight there and back!
So Nancy is dragging me off to Tuscany, kicking and screaming. To make matters worse, I actually have little interest in Italy (yes, I said it—gasp!). I've never been there, and I rarely drink Italian wine, expect for a few personal favorites. Frankly, there are a lot of other vacation spots on my list ahead of Tuscany.
We're spending a few days in Florence before we head to our villa outside of Siena. So I opened a bottle of 2001 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli this weekend to try and get me in the mood. I adore this wine, perhaps because for me it's the Henri Bonneau of Brunello, loaded with game, iron and chestnut notes and a great, edgy texture. If I find more Italian wines like the best French wines while I'm there, perhaps I'll soften my stance on Italy!
I'm a little bit curious to see whether Tuscany can grab a hold of me. Nothing gets me as fired up as coming around the bend on the D17, heading north into Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where suddenly the soil changes to those famous galets (large rolled stones) and the Clos des Papes looms in the distance. I wonder if there is anything in Tuscany that will have that kind of an effect on me.
I plan to give Tuscany a fair chance. I've packed a few DVDs—Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Aventurra and La Notte, and Federico Fellini's Il Bidone—to watch while I'm there. I'll visit a winery or two, of course, and promise to try and drink only Italian wines the entire trip. Our villa has a wood-burning oven, so we've got a pizza-making lesson scheduled one day and a chef coming in to make us wild boar ravioli on another day. We also have a full slate of lunch and dinner reservations lined up. Perhaps (to paraphrase an old expression), the way to a Francophile's heart is through his stomach.
I'll check in a few times from Italy to let you know if I'm being converted. In the meantime, here's to hoping your summer vacations are great ones.
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — August 21, 2007 12:27pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — August 21, 2007 1:01pm ET
James Molesworth — August 21, 2007 1:10pm ET
James H Pagenkopf — Des Moines, WA — August 21, 2007 4:11pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — August 21, 2007 6:42pm ET
Merlin — Zurich, Switzerland — August 22, 2007 2:49am ET
James Suckling — — August 22, 2007 3:28am ET
Michael Culley — August 22, 2007 5:49am ET
Phil Talamo — Bron, NY — August 22, 2007 3:33pm ET
Trey Rolofson — Overland Park, KS — August 22, 2007 4:48pm ET
Rick Denton — August 22, 2007 11:28pm ET
James Suckling — — August 23, 2007 5:32am ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — August 23, 2007 12:31pm ET
Chris Moody — Saint Charles, MO — August 23, 2007 4:20pm ET
Katherine Brown — North Carolina — August 24, 2007 6:30pm ET
James Molesworth — August 25, 2007 11:05am ET
James Molesworth — August 27, 2007 5:52am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions