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james suckling uncorked

One of Those Embarrassing Wine Moments ... Again


Posted: Jun 18, 2009 7:24am ET

Rome is a vivacious city full of joy, especially by night. I was with some friends from the movie biz last night and we had dinner at the restaurant Fiaschetteria Beltramme. It was good, simple, hearty food, from the meaty Parma ham to the creamy pasta carbonara in a funky, traditional atmosphere. "Jolly" is the best way to describe it all. I have a friend who spent his childhood eating lunch there everyday … spoiled to say the least, or maybe just lucky!

Anyway, among others, we drank a bottle of 2004 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Vigneto Antica Chiusina. I am not a great fan of Vino Nobile. I find that the wines are often rustic, verging on boring. But 2004 made some very good to outstanding wines in the region. And the Cerro showed plenty of rich dried cherry, and an almost earthy character. It was round and pleasing.

Afterward, we walked around the center of the city and ended up at the Campo dei Fiori, in a bar, to carry on the conversation. The bar had 2003 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino by the glass for 12 euros. Seemed too good to pass by. The wine was full of flavor with round tannins and a caressing texture. The only problem was that my watch caught the rim of the glass when I was reaching across the table, and half of its contents was dumped on the front of my WHITE t-shirt! It was an ugly sight to say the least. My friends immediately came to the rescue and dumped their glasses of  water all over my chest. It was too funny.

How did I save face in a pretty embarrassing moment?

"Hell, this isn’t as bad as Giordano Bruno being burned at the stake," I thought to myself. Bruno went out in flames very close to where I was sitting in 1600.

So  I just turned my t-shirt backward! Besides, who would notice  at 2:30 am in Campo dei Fiori?

Carl Gauthier
June 18, 2009 8:42am ET
You should have aim your wine at the girl sitting next to you.......... :)
Thomas Hughes
Texas —  June 18, 2009 9:58am ET
Now that's funny Carl!! James,Since you are now back in Italy drinking Brunello, any insight on how the 2003 Valdicava BdM gets a 95 (Wine of the Vintage label), while the 2003 Valdicava Reserva BdM gets an 88? Did the extra time in the barrels hurt the wine?
Jim Mccusker
Okemos, MI —  June 18, 2009 11:34am ET
James, I might be able to do you one better. My wife and I got married at Peju winery back in 2004. Beautiful setting, great friends, food, wine, and music (and, of course, the most beautiful bride in the world). Anyway, we were in what at that time was Peju's new copper-domed tower building, drinking wine and having a great time. My wife Vanessa and I were standing back-to-back at one point, talking with friends, when I hear the sound of a shattering wine glass. My first thought was, "Oh no." I slowly turned my head to see red wine cascading onto the hardwood floor: while in the midst of an animated conversation, her aunt accidentally clipped the bottom of my wife's full wine glass with her hand, spilling the entire contents onto the front of her wedding dress. Needless to say, things were a bit tense for a few moments. My wife held it together, though, and calmly left the room (I followed a few seconds later to help stave off a total meltdown). Three or four heart attacks later, everything and everyone was fine thanks to the terrific staff at Peju and about 5 bottles of WineAway (which worked incredibly well, by the way: you'd never know anything had been spilled on the dress. We keep meaning to contact the company and offer to do a commercial for them!). So, the next time you spill some wine on your clothes, take heart: the worst possible scenario has already happened to someone else!
James Suckling
 —  June 18, 2009 12:57pm ET
Carl. Did you see me there? That's funny if you were!!!
James Suckling
 —  June 18, 2009 12:59pm ET
Thomas. The regular Brunello from Valdicava is a blend of different vineyard sites so the extremely hot weather in 2003 could be compensated for making a better, more complex wine. Just to make sure, I check with the owner of Valdicava, and he agreed.
Matt Scott
Honolulu HI —  June 18, 2009 1:00pm ET
Great point Carl! I had something like that happen once with a glass of '96 Bryant Family Cab, broke the Reidel Som glass, and stained my brand new Tommy Bahama shirt. That was all around bad and there were no girls, not even my wife!
Rob Lentini
Alexandria, Virginia —  June 18, 2009 1:26pm ET
"WineAway"?? My kids spilled (sprayed is more like it) a glass of wine onto the new carpet at their grandparents this weekend. I used the usual... Windex. Just spray with Windex... blot it up. 100% gone. I never stress about spilling wine on anything... Though I suppose I'd stress about having a wet, red shirt in a restaurant. Poor JS!
David Marra
Ireland —  June 18, 2009 1:32pm ET
That happened to me at a Bordeaux tasting done by BBR in Dublin a couple of years ago. It was the (lovely) 2003 Beychevelle. I was, of course, the laughing stock of the whole room - I remember getting quite a bit of stick from the Dutch fellow who administers Canon-La-gaffalliere et al. While I agree with your take on 04, I am a fan of Vino Nobile, Particularly those of DEI and Poliziano. Headed there in August, so I'll see if there are many others...
Thomas Hughes
Texas —  June 18, 2009 2:21pm ET
Thanks James . . . I assumed the grapes were the same. I appreciate the insight and confirming with the source!! T
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  June 18, 2009 2:35pm ET
It could be worse...last time i was in Rome we were walking into some nameless late night bar and a pidgeon unloaded on the shoulder and front of my white tee shirt!! Now that was a bummer---I certainly was not going to wear it inside out!
Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  June 18, 2009 3:50pm ET
my wife and i were at a nice restaurant in orlando, and i started to do the scene from sideways in which paul giammati's character is demonstrating to thomas haden church's character the proper way to taste, and when i got to the part where you "really get your nose in there" i accidentally snorted half the contents of the glass!! oops :)
Jamie Sherman
Sacramento —  June 18, 2009 5:26pm ET
You should have a drink with my buddy Michael Myette! He's got a history of knocking things over during some good wine nights. In fact, my wife bought a large bottle of Wine Away just for our wine drinking nights. What is the Boy Scout motto, "be prepared"? Sorry Mike, just couldn't resist. I probably owe you some of the good stuff next time.
Michael Myette
Sacramento, CA USA —  June 19, 2009 5:14pm ET
oh, boy.

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