Posts Tagged ‘history’
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
When one looks at a vineyard – you’re not looking at it in the same way as you would look at an orange orchard. Instead one sees a multitude of experiences past and of moments yet to come – moments of intimacy, memorable occasions, conversations and treasured friendships. Since time immemorial, vineyards have not only been the touchstone of certain regions, but have often been the lifeblood of local communities and the cornerstone of entire generations of families. Every vineyard contains a family, a history, a culture and a purpose. This was at least, the sentiment I had before embarking on a mission to New York City, where I would promote and sell wine’s connected to my family in some ways, and more importantly – wine from my country. During that time – having spent much time in preparation for the mission, I left with those stories and sentiments of culture and family fresh in my blood. But with every sales-call and wine event I began to feel further and further from the vineyard. Soon it was about laid in cost, case-discounts and what kind of Point of Sale material was on offer. I travelled the country in a rental car with a case of wine, a corskrew and a power-point presentation along the way having people from Westchester Wine Warehouse cruelly spit wine on my shoe after having left me waiting for an hour, sitting in cold-rooms of cellars in Maryland, helping do stock-takes in Ohio, presenting to Wholefoods buyers in North Carolina and pushing on-premise retail in Atlanta: and with every step I became a bit more confused and lost the focus of what I was doing. Having believed that wine was so important to my country and stepping into the States to tell the story of South African wine, it was very dispiriting to suddenly be faced with the fact that no one really cared so long as they could make a profit.
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Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
Mainson Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine is a real Pinot Noir from France. Recommended by Jeffery Connelly who has spent much time in the region, this is a reasonably priced wine with great flavors.
History: Pinot noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines produced predominantly from pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the french words for “pine” and “black” alluding to the varietals’ tightly clustered dark purple pine cone shaped bunches of fruit.
Pinot noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. In De re rustica, Columella described a grape variety in Burgundy in the 1st century A.D. that sounds like Pinot noir. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.
Sunday, February 4th, 2007
I’m enjoying some time in London, and wanted to experience some art, so I paid a vist to the Tate Modern.
The Tate Modern houses some of world’s most cutting-edge, unique and inspiring modern art collections in the world. On Fridays and Saturdays the museum opens its doors until 10pm, which is really a great way to begin the weekend, because not only can you crank your mind open with some visually expansive masterpieces, but you can then exit the gallery swiftly, in ultra modern fashion via a 5 story silver chute. The Tate Modern, a converted power station from the 50’s, has a policy whereby all exhibitors have to respond to the space in which they are exhibiting. Thus it was with much interest that I discovered the Tate’s very own personal selection of wine ‘Laudum Nature 2005′ from Alicante in Spain. This wine would probably retail for under $15.00 in the US, and unfortunately it is only stocked at the Tate restaurant. On the first Friday of every month, the Tate opens its doors late at night for an evening of Jazz, enjoyed by people of culture from around the area. It was in this setting that I discovered the Laudum Nature, which incidentally is an organic wine, touted as the house wine in the restaurant of the world’s largest modern art collection. It seems apt that all exhibits in the Tate should respond to their surrounding, and how fitting that their house-wine should be as unique and vibrant as the setting it finds itself in. Wine doesn’t get any better than when it’s tailored to the setting it’s served in! Well done to the sommelier.
Thursday, February 1st, 2007
Let us take a walk down memory expressway and find ourselves a thousand years or so before Christ. Right now I’m thinking of the time of the Greeks, when the Mediterranean was the intellectual capital of the world and Persia was a super-power filled with successful Sultans, a bustling metropolis of village markets and traders from afar. America as we know it was not even a glint in civilization’s eye, and what is currently thought of as the ‘middle-east’ was not east of anything, because it was the centre of the civilized universe.
Referring to this time brings me to an interesting point: the first traces of grape cultivation and wine-making are found in Persia. And before anyone has the intention of going to check their map for Persia, or perhaps looking for an inside sticker or a return-to address on their Persian-carpets, Persia is what is today known as Iran. Who would have thought! Ha, how the world changes can boggle the mind.
The wine of the ancient world was undoubtedly drunk by figures like Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus and Pythagoras. In this way, we owe it to wine for geometry and the modern thought which raises us above being mere beasts. There can be no doubt that wine was celebrated by Sultans, nobles and traders of the time. So many of the philosophers, poets, politicians, warriors, lovers and artists one finds in the studies of classic civilizations were no doubt occasionally inspired by wine from Persia. As wine became engrained in ancient culture the vines spread into what is now Iran to Lebanon, Crete, Cyprus and finally into Rome, Portugal, Spain and France.
The wine that all men share dates back to a time when many of the religions we know today weren’t even cults. Dionysian bacchanalias pre-dated any beliefs of turning wine into blood and drinking it every Sunday. Before certain Arabic civilizations knew of Islam and drinking was not allowed; in the time when Jewish and Arab people were all Semites and fervent pointless blood-feuds did not exist, we all drank from the same cup, and shared in the harvest of the same vines. If wine can be said to be analogous with a place, then remember that no matter whether you are Jewish, Arabic or whatever other complex cultural mix there was a time when all of our skins were dark; we all spoke a similar dialects of the same tongue; racism was yet to be practiced; war was honourable and noble and importantly, all men shared a passion for the same wine.