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  • Writer's pictureCláudio Giordano

The romance of wine

The text to be read below is the translation of the final pages of the book Il Romanzo del Vino, by Roberto Cipresso (with Giovanni Negri and Stefano Milioni), an internationally renowned winegrower, viticulturist and winemaker. Just mentioning his name on Google is enough to obtain abundant information about him, including his participation at Bueno Wines do Brasil. BVReppucci inserted this text in the book O Tempo e o Vinho, which co-edited in 2011 with SENAI-SP-Editora.

Living wine

I don't know if with these pages I was able to explain why. But one day, drinking wine, I cried. It was the winter of 1999: with two friends sitting in a Paris bistro; I was not melancholic, neither was particularly moved. We talked about wine and life, between the dark wooden shelves that served as walls to the small room, and we tried to defend ourselves from the cold draft that was seeping through the door. We ordered a bottle, which was brought to us and opened.

It was up to me to smell it, taste it, listen to that wine. It was from the year 1900, a Léoville Poyferré, with a thick bottle and undone label. To the nose, that wine tasted like moss, lily of the valley, forest vegetation. I tried to smell it better. Then I noticed macerated leaves; then the fungi and finally the truffles. The first sip stunned me for an instant. It was a persistent wine, which left indelible traces on the palate, a deep, very deep mineral note, perhaps immersed in the depths of the land and history. Then, on the spur of the moment, there splashed balsamic mint notes, laden with freshness, which returned to the nose through the palate. It was not an olfactory sensation, but a tasting sensation. I could smell the mint. I could smell the mint scent swelling up my throat and up my nose again. I lost speech.

The mint? They were fresh notes, so fresh that only wines that are too young can contain them. I finally understood. Much older than me, that wine had survived entire generations. That wine was alive, it moved, it spoke. That wine reminded me that, unlike anything else, very noble, a fragment of an era, wine, all wine - is alive. He lives in the cask, he lives in the bottle, he lives in a thousand ways. But he is alive, and he wants to retell his story. Even after his generation.

In a flash, I thought I could glimpse in the distance a vineyard, fog and bare feet, hands and canteen, a horse between the vines. There were sounds and images from the beginning of the century: the ladies with the parasols and their lace, the screams of the boys playing with the bow, the housekeepers busy at night. Then I saw trenches where men crawled through the horror, bombs that exploded in thousands of shrapnel, devastated fields and peasants that no longer existed, perhaps not even in the memory of their grandchildren today. I shuddered.

That wine was the only one alive. Everything that had been around him, from the grape bunch to the canteen, from the country men to the homes of the lords who had owned him, from the mothers 'cares to the soldiers' nightmares - everything had happened but was no more. That wine was the only survivor, and after almost a century, it spoke.

That wine was the only, and lonely, testimony of itself. I drank it, he spoke.

I cried for a long time, smiling.

Translated by Roberto Vallasciani.

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