Friday, April 28, 2006

Italians, Wine and Gina Lollabrigida

" Oh, you were in the wine business? (Rhetorical Question this is) Tell me what is your......favorite wine"? This is question that was asked of me last night in the midst of drinking some mediocre wine (be careful of Rotarians with wine) and is asked not only at the dinner table at home by guests but oftimes comes out socially as well. The question remains and I most often respond with something to the effect that I love Italian red wine. And frankly I do. Italian red wine has breadth, quality, diversity and ingenuity. These wines can be light, powerful, tannic and liked a seasoned lover gentle and understanding. I do like them.

However, I was reminded last night that a great number of items and products that are produced from Italy hit the top of the mark standard. Italian automobiles certainly have left their mark on the world. Just talking price tag one cannot stop and consider expensive cars without the name brands of Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini making their way in the collective automobile shoppers consciousness. Shoes come in Berluti and Testoni with mens and womens both requiring your credit rating to top 800 to make purchases. While the tile expert in my family says that some of very best and most pricey tile comes from ancient and modern sources in Garabaldi's homeland. Add to the list clothiing, furniture and favorite ......delicious women from my childhood.

I don't believe I was much out of junior high when I was tipped to the pulchridutinous delights of Verna Lisi, Gina Lollabrigida and Sophia Loren. Let me pause here my good friends, you and I know that I have been married close to 23 years now. And her majesty is my all in all. And if I was to break her anonymity here on the blog I would post her pic and you would see a close resemblance to those pictures posted, one of those developmental easy imprinted things I am sure. Regardless, choosing a wife who is as hot as SL is not a bad thing. Concerning on.

Just take one moment and say ........Sophia Loren, no woman would be jealous if I thought a 70 year was hot....So-fi-ah.......and she is....over 70..... and have you seen her? Oh my goodness gracious me. Teach me Italian and get out of the way. No wonder Cary Grant went crazy over her. No, it wasn't the LSD, he met her before all that.

When I was fourteen years old, Jack Lemmon made a movie with Virna Lisi called "How to Murder your wife", still a good movie if you ignore the chauvinistic comments. Today Virna Lisi remains one of the most beautiful women of the world. At just under 70 Virna is working hard. Although few American producers felt Virna might light up the screen as she did in the 65 flick with Jack, she has worked steadily in Italy for now almost five decades. Just goes to show you the Italians have good taste. Add to the mix Gina Lollabrigida and instaneously you are thinking

about an Italian vacation to chase geriatric women. Regardless these Italian femme fatales names they just rolls off the tongue and to view Gina....all of her just fits and rolls into one gorgeous full flavored package.

Italian women don't exhibit anorexia. They probably like fine wine. I wonder if they would like a quirky 50 year old from Florida.

Well, fine cars, fine shoes, fine women and fine wine...all Italian and I still have not answered the question-"What is my favorite wine"? Is a bit like choosing which of your children you love the most but here is a stab.

I enjoy flavorful foods and conversation that borders on revolution with my dinner as a result let me bring to you a Barolo from the Piemonte area of Northern Italy. One fav...Giuseppe Mascarello, Barolo (Piedmont, Italy) "Monprivato" 1999 packed with red and black fruit flavors, touch of herb and black berry jam and rings around on your palate until you can't stand it any more, as you drink the wine over a lenght of minutes and hours (if you have any discipline) the joy of such wines is that they produce a four act play within the bottle, ever changing before you. I adore being with good friends and tasting the production evolve outside and inside one's mouth. Now that is entertainment and the wine is a good value to boot. Many Barolos require you to get a small business loan before you drink them and can come in at the hundreds of dollars from your local wine merchant let alone at a restaurant where a $400 to $500 price tag for hard to get vintages is not out of the question. But that does not mean that all "good" Italian wines are pricey quite the opposite. And that includes reds and whites.

I used to say leave the whites to some other the country the Italians can roll along quite nicely with thier reds but that is no longer true. Some very tasty, creative and delicious wines albiet from the groovy non-chardonnay category are now quite active on the Italian radar for good wine. Most think of Pinot Grigio or they step up to a Gavi when thinking of white but there are burgeoning secrets in the trade. I happen to love a wine I discovered years ago Arneis Blange from Cerretto. This is an ancient grape that the Ceretto family rediscoved, remarketed and have touched heaven with. This 100% Arneis grape with a crisp lovely light lemon body with long lingering finish is perfect with great cheese, pasta and.................... uhm...........Virna, Sophia...Gina..........and most delightfully my lovely Bride as well. What a group...............Whew! Go Italy!!!!!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lord Have Mercy...I am crossing myself and speaking in Latin

My roll is changing in the employment arena. For the last several months I have been a Johnny on the spot substitute teacher for the pre-eminent Catholic High School in this fair town. You may or may not know this is quite a culture shock for this boy. Not the gainfully employed part but the professional academic and the Catholic part of the equation. Now I have taken on a post for the rest of the year teaching Latin for first year and fourth year students. Since it has been 40 years since I have graced the inside of a Latin class I am moving slowly as you might expect. Sum, es, sunt...

Frankly the school is really quite good with strong attention to the current world of academics. I am constantly impressed with the skill sets of those who are instructing. One of the science teachers is a professor emeritus from the University of Florida and each of those who I have the pleasure of conversing with have exhibited strong credentials and fine backgrounds in their field. I do enjoy being around those who genuinely show a passion for their world and for their life.

The High Schoolers themselves have no or little perspective concerning the quality of instruction they are encountering. My youngest son, my beloved's baby boy, attends public school and will continue to do so because of the advantages he has in honors classes and being fully involved in a mature and focused athletic department. For example, just two days ago a young man who has played two years on the football team was offered a full ride scholarship to the University of Mississippi worth about $160,000 if one was to do the math. Yet, academically it might be reality that the parochial school where I work has real advantages over this larger public domain. Yet those who I see every day, students and faculty alike, at both facilities don't seem to be aware of the quality of the product offered to those priviledged kids. Perspective in life, as it is personally, is difficult to conjure on a consistent basis. Educationally the private school has lots of advantages discipline being primary. However, at our public school the work of the Arts and Athletics do not lack and are in the realm of the excellent.

I am refreshed daily by the ability to pray in the classroom, although few of the youngsters at the Catholic institution seem to care much about the practice. While students who are Christian at my son's school rally around the flag pole before school enduring comments and slander aimed at their obvious mental faults. It is a constrast I find quite odd.

As a non-Catholic I do find the Catholic symbolic ritual of crossing one's self after prayer and during mass a bit uncomfortable at times. I wonder is it so obvious that I am not a Catholic at that moment. I don't feel like I have any rhythm for such things. I am like a white guy at a Spinners concert the way I am fumbling through the process. I must admit I like the idea of the cross over my flesh. It is my flesh that will die while my spirit lives on but I do like the idea that my body can have something to do with what Christ did on the cross. So, I fumble through. I just wonder. Is there anyone watching to check out who does this properly anywho??