7.7.04

wines!

i actually drank them


pictured above -resting on the table of the sun terrace of the secluded villa on the ligurian coast where we were lucky guest earlier last june- is the most exciting display of italian wines you will ever see.

praise and thanks go to my dear friend stephen, refined australian gentleman (well that is an oximoron if i've ever seen one) living in florence with lovely marina and recently arrived baby raphael eliodoro.
stephen is my wine sherpa. for more than a decade now, he has been guiding me with skill and passion through the highest imaginable peaks of taste... and he even foots the bill!!
he has been discovering, buying and offering me wines that would soon be elevated to the top of any league.

but this selection which he showed me on my arrival just left me speechless.
from left to right:

- the now legendary solaia 1997: the best wine of the best modern vintage in tuscany and wine spectator's wine of the year 1999. not cheap but affordable when stephen bought it: just on release, before the rave reviews. now it retails, if you can find it, at no less than £300 (it's not a typo..). i had already drank a few solaias in my previous life in italy, when wine prices were much lower and my wages much higher. i can recall exactly when and where such remarkable experiences they were, but i won't bore you with the details;
- cepparello 1997, the second best wine of the best modern vintage in tuscany;
- an incredibly rare and movingly wonderful sauvignon 1996 by the reclusive maverick genius of miani's Enzo Pontoni. his wine are produced in very limited quantities and are extremely difficult to find, and the few dealer that stock them only sell them to the inner circle of their best clients. a few years ago i managed to buy four bottles of tocai and sauvignon at venice's aciugheta only because i was with stephen... being able to drink another bottle of miani's wine was an unexpected surprise and a great privilege. a bottle that conjured up old fond memories and managed to create plenty of new ones;
- sassicaia 1995 in recent years sassicaia has been affected by the ferrari plague: ferraris are great cars, but each time you see one in the street, you are almost certain that the driver is a pretentious fart wishing to show off his wealth in a loud and slightly vulgar way. or a footballer. or jamiroquai.
so, even if sassicaia has become the kind of wine which is ordered in fashionable restaurants by would-be ferrari drivers it is still an absolute gem of a wine. my canny sherpa bought it when it was much much cheaper and we enjoyed every single drop.
- antinori secentenario was bottled in mgnums on the 14th of may 1985 to celebrate the 600th birthday of the family's winemaking activity. six hundred years make some know how. the wine we drank on the 8th of june 2004 was perfect.

pictured above is the most exciting display of italian wines you will ever see.
i can't believe i drank them all.

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