I am in Italy. I would love to bottle this afternoon. Freeze time and stay in it forever. In fact, I felt like I stepped into a different time, a different world. I love wine. Today, I was invited to a lunch in L’Aquila – about an hour from Sulmona where I am staying. It was a lunch in a place, I don’t know how to spell it in Italian, but it is pronounced “you boss”. Apparently the ‘you’ sound is native to the L’Aquila area and replaces ‘Il” – which would translate to ‘the’. The place is very popular for wine lovers as it caters to people from all walks of life. From students to politicians, wine producers to owners of wine bars, artists to businessmen.
Today, I felt like I stepped into a real life version of Food and Wine Magazine. The lunch was a meeting between wine producers and buyers (owners of wine bars, etc.). There were a variety of wines made by these producers. I wished I could understand Italian to know everything that was described, but I must say the passion transcended language barriers. In fact, one of the people at the table asked me at one point if I could understand. Another interjected, ‘Even if you can’t understand, you can feel it’. It’s true. And it felt like a fairy tale for a wine lover like me.
There were two bottles that were particularly fascinating, as they were both made from the same grape, Sangiovese. The wine is made in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Montesecondo and Montescondo TIN. It was explained to me that the TIN version is cultivated using a special ‘recipe’ for the soil. A certain mixture of sand and soil that originated in Spain. The soil changes the flavor of the wine. I found it sweeter and fuller.
We laughed near the end of our lunch. The lunch was a full conversation (albeit in Italian), full of passion for the art of wine. The location couldn’t have been more perfect for such a meeting. And yet, a gentleman came in to have lunch at the table next to ours, and drank Coca- Cola! It seemed so comical and out of place. A reminder that this is indeed real life, and we are living in modern times.
I loved the atmosphere and the vibe of the entire day. Afterwards my friend, Carlos, took me on a tour of St. Stefano – which is an incredible ancient village. There are about 50 people who live there. The entire village is made of stone. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast should start skipping down one of the cobblestone streets. Or that I had stepped back into a different era. It was incredibly peaceful, the only sound being the sound of the wind, apart from our conversation or footsteps. It is located near the top of a mountain and lends a spectacular view to the mountainous region. The entire drive from Sulmona to L’Aquila, and back, was breathtaking.