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on tour with maynard james keenan

A Reunion in Athens, Greece


Posted: Jan 17, 2007 8:44am ET

The sun had already set when we flew into Athens. As I climbed out of the taxi and looked up the street from our hotel, there it was: the Parthenon. All lit up. Actually, it seemed to glow from the inside out. Very, very, very inspiring.

In the morning, we ignored the advice of a very large concierge and walked in the general direction of the Acropolis. It didn't take nearly as long as the out-of-shape man warned us it would. Plus we were able to see a few buildings and local pockets of activity that we would have missed if we had taken a cab. This is an extremely important detail: Walk, don't take a cab. This goes for just about anywhere. You miss out on all the local flavor if you're zipping along the main streets. Or not zipping as is usually the case.

I had a great time. Not only did I get to see structures I've only read about, I was able to reunite with my Boston roommates, Steele, who still lives in Boston, and Johnny "Depeche Mode," who owns a coffee shop down in Piraeus called the eXpresso Bar. (Apparently it's like the Greek version of Cheers, according to Johnny). Like a fine wine, if I may say, he's gotten better with age. One glass of Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and he managed to get his car stuck on some steps leading directly to a career-ending cliff. He thought it was a shortcut. Sounds much worse than it was, actually. It was much worse for him, of course. We gave him a nonstop hard time for the next 48 hours.

The restaurant we couldn't seem to get enough of was Sale e Pepe, which has fine Italian cuisine and a full-on, no-baloney wine list. My memory is a bit foggy due to the reunion, but I believe we had a Penfolds Yattarna to start and a Biondi-Santi Riserva. Then it's all a jet-lagged blur. Some Aldo Conterno Chardonnay Langhe Bussiador 1996 started off our second night there (I know this because I remembered to bring a camera this time rather than rely on my bad memory). Then some '97 and '98 Sassacaia, and a '90 Conterno Barolo Riserva Monfortino. Top it all off with a half-bottle of Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1999 and you have yourself a damn fine roommate reunion. (For photos, check out the journal section of my winery/vineyard website, www.caduceus.org.)

John B Vlahos
Cupertino Ca. —  January 17, 2007 3:04pm ET
What, no Greek wines? You went to all the trouble to get there and you didn't try the local wines. Weren't you even curious?
Tom Miller
Vestavia Hills, AL —  January 17, 2007 3:43pm ET
Your blog on your trip to Athens conjured up some very eerie, if oblique, parallels between your life and that of my youngest brother (Parthenon Huxley) who is also in the music business. We lived in Greece for close to 8 years many moons ago. In fact, my three younger brothers all graduated from high school there. Italian food was scarce back then; Italian wine was even more scarce. Our late Dad grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we still have our "Camp." His favorite wine was Silver Oak (Napa). My brother (along with E) toured with Tori Amos who apparently turned you on to Silver Oak. Coincidence? I think not! Isn't it great when wine can help bring families and friends together more often while serving as a catalyst for new friendships? Stay well.Tom Millerpinot@bellsouth.net
Stewart Hopper
phoenix, az —  January 17, 2007 9:00pm ET
you are so right about the walking! you miss so much of "regular" life of the place you are at. we have traveled all over this planet and always reserve the cab ride to the train station or airport. my son has got me into your music and i hope to get him into your wine. i am looking forward to a short trip to your place and get a few bottles of your juice. it sounds very good. enjoy reading about your travels and the different wines you enjoy. very insightful.sdh
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  January 17, 2007 10:26pm ET
Maynard, While I have to confess that it is an almost guilty pleasure to read your blogs about your travels around Europe. You are not discussing a topic that has been on my mind since the first taste of your Primer Paso. Do you ever fear that your success as a wine maker is or will be overshadowed by your success as a musician? After doing a little reading on the net it looks to me like you were hit pretty hard by the music media for designing your last tour around your growing season. I have to say that your commitment to excellence in your wine has me floored after tasting your first two efforts. Whatever you are doing you are doing it right¿Eric Glomski is obviously an excellent mentor. I want to say that it is definitely appreciated¿
Maynard James Keenan
page Springs, az —  January 22, 2007 6:08am ET
Kirk, Good question. No matter what path I take, whether it's a musical side project, winery, restaurant, talk show host, birthday party mime, etc... it will always be compared to whatever put my name on your lips to begin with. There's no avoiding it. But I like a good challenge. And with the right attitude and proper planning, none of my many activities need suffer. They can all co-exist. Except the mime thing. That idea was just plain dumb.
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  January 31, 2007 7:47pm ET
Maynard, while this isnt on the right page. It looks like you have your answer to your blog about the Sensi right here. I will anxiously await the day that you get bit by the Pinot bug. Seeing what you can do with all theseblends I am silently screaming for you to produce a good Pinot. Have you ever thought of taking a trip up to Oregon and seeing if you might find a vineyard that has some fruit that calls to you and your more elegant, feminine side? For some odd reason this makes me think of Prometheus. . .

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