Just recently, I was listening to an interview with author Victor Hazan. This man was a pioneer wine writer when not every one of us and our dogs were “into” wine. Erudite, and philosophic with vast experience Hazan did a most eloquent job of making a plea for wines that taste of place and their origins far better than many rabid “terroir-ists”.
A friend of mine is as passionate about tea as we are about wine and he’s amassed a staggering amount of knowledge on the topic. He tastes and researches obsessively and indexes his experiences methodically and with borderline maniacal detail. It’s inspiring to me to see somebody with fanatical excitement for something… Anything! It signifies that they’re alive and willing to counter the abyss of mediocrity perpetuated by legions of listless somnambulists who unresistingly abide their meaningless existences.
Very few wine estates have been as formative in my career, nurturing to my love of wine and the source of so many pleasurable bottles as Domaine Huet of Vouvray in the Loire Valley. In addition to introducing me to biodynamic farming, proving the virtues of truly old wine and serving as early vinous tutors to the idea of terroir, Huet also makes my favourite sparkling wine in the world (sorry Champagne!) and masters a stylistic spectrum that would be the envy of many German growers. Many readers will identify with this sentimentality as the best bottles of Huet are nothing short of haunting.
Tuscany is, in the realm of Italian wine, fairly terra cognita. A great tourist destination for manifest reasons, Tuscany can offer it all; beauty, history, wine, food - all the essentials. Specifically in wine, the superstars of Tuscany these days are Brunello di Montalcino, and the now well established sexy, non-traditional blends that used to be called “Super-Tuscans”.
Halfway through my first reading of Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, I was crestfallen to learn that during the Second World War, the French author published a trilogy of pamphlets revealing himself to be a fervent partisan of fascism, a supporter of the German occupation and a rabid anti-Semite.