A Man From Chianti

A Man From Chianti – this is me. I was born and raised in the Chianti land, and I still live there. Chianti for many people means wine, and wine has been and still is a big part of my life.  

I had a wine shop in the town centre of Siena – it was called "Vini e Vizi": wines and vices. But instead of speaking about wood, bouquet and tasting techniques, I want to speak about rock and rookie. That's what you find when you reap the soil of Chianti: you'll find either rock or rookies. This makes me free to write something about the vivid culture of wine. 

Soon after the War, many sharecroppers left and went to their land abroad - in "America" they said. Nowadays very few of us are left here. Too few to mention are the Chianti people who regarded their own land as their own, closely enough to invest into the future of wine and tourism here. I remember how Anthony, a second generation Italian-Canadian, was so surprised to se a bottle of excellent Chianti Classsio, Dievole, being sold at the Canadian LCBO-store. On the booklet-backlabel he saw pictures of a town of not even 400 people, which he can barely pronounce - Vagliagli - which he recalls being his father's hometown 50 years ago. That bottle takes him back there - to a culture many young people are only now discovering. They can't find a place to stay in the city and they move to the country, wondering how cypress trees and terraced vineyards and olive groves came to be. Today many neighbours have foreign surnames, English, German and Swiss... Have these movers been smarter than us?  

Probably it is not only the wine, that brought them here. Chianti and Tuscany is also genuine food made to order, using as few ingredients as possible, preferably sourced locally. Luckily enough, our land is generous. Cooking the Chianti way takes a little longer than heating up a pre-cooked meal, but it brings much more joy, health and wellbeing to everybody taking part. How is it possible that a sip of good wine and some pasta made of an ancient grain type end up reconciling mind and body with where you are? Possible it is, with as little as an old chair, a bite and the right sip; add two words and we are reconciled with ourselves and with the whole world.