The Ides of March and the Settling of Debts
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;"
So said Marc Antony to the Roman crowd after the assassination of Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's famous play. "Everyone, listen to me," is essentially what he's saying and it's one of the most recognized lines and attention-grabbers in all of literature. And it's pretty much what we're saying this week too. Wednesday is March 15th, the Ides of March. In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March," advice which he ignored and it led to his murder. So friends, Charlestonians, countrymen and women, don't run the risk that Caesar did and miss our Tasting this week!
We'll be honoring the late Roman Emperor by pouring an entire Italian line of wines and observing the Ides of March, the notable ancient Roman religious holiday and what had been the deadline for settling debts in those times.
First up, the settling of debts. From Emilia-Romagna, we'll be enjoying some Bombino Bianco, a varietal also know as Debit and Pagadebit. These latter two names came from the grape's reputation for being a high-yielding and reliable crop for vineyard owners to grow and this was an assurance for them that they could pay off their debts thanks to it each vintage. The light and neutral white we'll be starting off with is Poderi Dal Nespoli's Pagadebit. We'll be squaring up and settling our debts right out of the gate!
Next up will be the vanguard of Piedmontese wines. We all know that in Piedmont Barolo and Barbaresco are the King and Queen of all Italian wines. Historically, to protect these prized and costly grapes, vintners would plant a varietal called Arneis around their Nebbiolo (the varietal which makes Barolo and Barbaresco) so that when the birds of the air and the critters of the field came and feasted, the animals would eat the Arneis rather than the Nebbiolo. Somewhere along the way, some rather intelligent person thought to not only make wine from Arneis since they were growing it anyway, but to sell it as well. From the historical property of Monfalletto in the municipality of La Morra, in the hearth of the Langhe, we'll be enjoying some Arneis from a single proprietary vineyard in the Vallero cru, one of the most prestigious and historical hillsides in all of the Barolo appellation. Cordero di Montezemolo is the producer here, and this family has had this land since 1340!
As promised in our last Newsletter, we'll be featuring a female producer for Women's History Month. This one is a bit near and dear to us as we'll be enjoying Valle Dell'Acate's Frappato from Sicily. Made by Gaetana Jacono as part of her "7 Soils for 7 Wines" project, we've loved this wine for a very long time. And to check something off of our Bucket List, Gaetana was here in Charleston for the Wine + Food Festival last week and we got to meet her and work alongside her!
To finish: a little sparkling. But no, we're not going white like Prosecco or Franciacorta, but rather blood-red, like that which was spilled from Caesar with the final dagger strike from his friend Brutus. Ok, morbidity aside, we'll be enjoyng something pretty fantastic. Venturini Baldini's Lambrusco dell'Emilia Montelocco Rosso. Before you say you had one too many evenings of Riunite Lambrusco and pour choices in high school, we assure you that this is not that! If you need a little proof and assurance, let's go to Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder. He was a Roman author, naturalist and natural philosopher and naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire; as well as a friend of the emperor Vespasian. He wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia (Natural History), which became an editorial model for encyclopedias. He also happened to write about Lambrusco and the antiquitus nature of European grape varietals. Still not convinced? He also said, In vino veritas. "In wine there is truth." I say we listen to the guy.
We'll see you there!
The Wine Shop Team
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