Thursday, May 14, 2020

Nurse the Hate: A Simple Grenacha Blend from Valencia

I have been having a difficult time writing as each featureless day blends into the next.  I woke this morning, laying perfectly still with my eyes closed, trying to deduce if it was Wednesday or Thursday.  This went on for maybe only a few minutes, like a bad dream version of when you were 11 years old on summer vacation.  Whereas those days that blended together were of unbridled excitement and opportunity for adventure, these days are tedium and the promise of doing the dishes yet again.  I finally remembered that this was Thursday but then I also accepted that it didn't really matter as life was now like being a sturdy homesteader in the 1800s.  I'll have to remember to take my Saturday night bath to look proper for Sunday Services.

I was trying to study Piedmont yesterday.  I am finding it extremely difficult to retain knowledge.  I had decided that I was going to travel to Piedmont this year, to see what Barolo and the Langhe hills looked like in the Spring.  It always helps me learn if I have first hand experience.  When I think about Bordeaux, I know what Pomerol smells like running through it as mist lifts during the sunrise.  It's a real place to me now.  Now as I stare at the DOCG map breakdowns of Barbaresco, Ghemme, or Dogliani I might as well be studying a map of Tolkien's Middle Earth.  The city of Turin is as fictional as that Elf City.  The maps I am staring at are clearly another work of fiction, a world that is fantasy.  "Hmm, let's see...  The best Nebbiolo is grown at the foothills of the Dwarf Kingdom whereas Dolcetto is primary in The Shire.  Those goddamn Hobbits sure know their way around a well structured Dolcetto, don't they?".  I can't make it stick.  The thought that I will be able to travel there, or anywhere for that matter, seems impossible.

The basset hounds stare at me.  I stare at the bassets.  We are all united in our highlight of the day.  Dinner time.  I pour their kibbles into their dish as they begin to anxiously walk around the kitchen floor like nervous race horses.  Their nails clack on the tile as they try to will me to place their bowls on the ground faster.  I get my own food pellets ready and make the most consequential decision of the day.  What wine will I open?  It's Tuesday, so there's no need to get crazy.  I settle for a weird GSM blend from Valencia in Spain.  After I open the wine I remember that it is actually Wednesday and feel regret that I didn't open something more substantial.  I have no idea why I am sticking to my self imposed tradition of "ramping up" the wine quality as the week progresses.  Every night is Monday.  Every night is Saturday.  

The wine is decent and demonstrates the good value that can be counted on with Spanish wines.  Served blind it would likely be mistaken for a Cotes du Rhone at first glance, but it's a little too juicy and ripe in character while lacking that herbal edge that sneaks into a typical Cotes du Rhone.  This would be a good choice digging into a Sunday lunch at a nice Spanish family restaurant in Valencia.  I've never been to Valencia though.  I have seen photos of it many times.  I was supposed to play a show there once on the Cowslingers first trip to Europe, our wonderfully chaotic trip to Spain when we released the "Fistful of Pesetas" compilation.  A bunch of those shows got cancelled on short notice.  When that would happen, Pepe, one of the tour masterminds, would take us into a tapas bar and order a plate of the best jamon.  This was the obscenely expensive acorn fed kind we couldn't possibly appreciate at the time.  This was all part of the process to help cushion the blow of the cancellation.  Bobby Latina and I still do an impression of these talks.  (insert Spanish accent in a low baritone voice). "Bob...  there is more bad news I'm afraid...  the show tomorrow... has been cancelled...  here... try this octopus..."

We could have cared less. We were relatively young men experiencing Spain together for the first time.  Everything was new and delightfully foreign.  Our hosts were great guys and the crowds couldn't be more welcoming.  It was a great tour, and is one of my fondest travel memories.  I can still have whispers of that type of enthusiasm well up in me when I travel to a new place now.  As I stared at the maps of Northern Italy, I feel a combination of sadness that the experience of potentially traveling there has been lost, and a growing sense of anger about looking for someone/anyone to blame for the pandemic.  I'm stuck here.  But...  but...  I had plans!  This pandemic is a nightmare and I'm not even sick.

I will make another attempt at the Italian wine maps tonight.  I am now having trouble getting rid of the concept in my head that the Dwarves farm the "tongues of land" at the foot of the mountains, while the Hobbits make the more modest Dolcetto and Barbera.  I guess the Elves make Moscato d'Asti?  Fuck.  Next thing you know I will be listening to my old Yes records while drinking a Pio Cesare Barolo with some age on it speaking in some Olde English fake accent while pronouncing Italian subregion names.  One thing has become painfully clear.  This exam is not going to go well.      


At May 15, 2020 at 10:22:00 AM EDT , Blogger Frank said...

We gotta reschedule that show at the Gardens once the temperatures get nice and sweltering for some sweaty topless fun!


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