A Man From Chianti

Words I wrote when I had a wine shop in the town center of Siena. It was called "Vini e Vizi": wines and vices.

Enough said and written about wood, bouquet and tasting techniques. Rock and rookie, instead - that's what you find where I was born and raised in the country, when you reap the soil: you'll find either rock or rookies - in the Chianti land. 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.

We now stare with disbelief at local phone listings, at how foreign they are - English, German and Swiss surnames... Have these movers been smarter than us? 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. It fathoms me how Antony, a second generation Italian-Canadian, was so surprised to se a bottle of excellent Chianti Classsio, Dievole, being sold at the Canadian LCBO-store.

Even in Canada?
So, what?

On the booklet-backlabel he saw pictures of a town of now 300 people, which he can barely pronounce - Vagliagli - which he recalls being his father's own town fifty 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. And this happens while I find myself in the city, running a wine store within the old city walls, very close to Piazza il Campo... what a strange life is! I'm not complaining - it makes me enjoy wine's culture even more vividly.

In a small room, with antique furniture, filled with products and with the smell of my country... It's Sunday, it rains and nobody's out. But a friend comes by on his escape from a grey day and a grouchy wife. How is it possible that a sip of good wine and some "burristo" on bread end up reconciling mind and body with where you are? Possible it is, with as little as an old chair, a bit and the right sip; add two words and we are reconciled with ourselves and with the whole world.