. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: September 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grande Ducati (Ducati Rules)!!!

This is another Italian miracle; a factory that is still Italian with little over a thousand employee (Honda has 167,231 and Yamaha 23,500) managed to win the MotoGp (the equivalent of Formula 1) with 21 years old driver Casey Stoner.
Ducati, founded by 1926 in Borgo Panicale (Bologna, Italy) by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, started their participation to the Motogp in 2002 after leading for several years in the Suberbike tour.
In order to see another Italian bike on top of the Championship we have to go back to 1973 when the MV Augusta, driven by Agostini, won it for the last time after 6 years in the row.
From that date up to today the races were dominated by Japanese bikes, that's why I'm talking about an Italian miracle well orchestrated by the 100 people that runs Ducati's race division, making possible, in spite of the considerably smaller budgets compare to the Japanese giants, to keep a high level of technology, care for details, reliability and performance (the Desmosedici GP7 is the fastest bike of the "Circus").
Casey won against Valentino Rossi (AKA The Doctor holder of several records and the fastest, at least up to now, driver in the Championship) and the Yamaha with still 3 races to go, the cheery on the cake was Loris Capirossi, at his last season, and his victory in the Japanese GP securing the World Title for Teams as well.
I wish you all the luck for the next season and another year of successes with Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri, which is going to take Capirossi place, hopping to see an Italian driver win on an Italian bike.
Bravi Ragazzi senza persone ed aziende come voi l'Italia avrebbe ben poco di cui andar fiera.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Eurolandia Is Getting Expensive

Among the millions bad news about the world economics we have also to register the new Euro record over the dollar.
Now we need 1.41 Dollars to buy 1 Euro and considering that most of the non mass produced, higher quality foods and wines come from Europe you make the math on how much more expensive your life will be.
The decision of the Federal Reserve to cut by half a point the prime rate, not followed by the European counterpart, gave the Euro another, not needed, push.
A friend, an importer that works mainly with Europe, predicted the Euro at 1.55 within 9 months.
What that means translated in the everyday life?
If you had bought a bottle of wine for 10 Euro in 1999 you would had pay $ 11.8, same wine in January 2000 $ 10.089, in October of the same year (low record for the currency) $ 8.252 and up to January 2003 you would have paid from $ 8.3 to $ 9.5.
The funny thing is that for couple of years after the "September 11" the dollar hold up maintaing the rate under the $ 1, beginning in 2003 (strangely after the US won the war in Iraq) the green note started to sink and never stopped; in Jannuary 2003 that bottle would have cost you $ 10.5 in 2004 $ 12.75 in 2005 $ 13.4 in 2006 would had save some at $ 11.9 and $ 13 at the beginning of the current year.
Today the same exactly bottle will cost 14.049 dollars and if the prediction turns in reality a painful $ 15.5 bill will be presented to you!!!
I know for a fact that most of the European producer (except the big Chateaus in France that are the only ones able to rise prices because supported by the new money markets like Russia, India and China) in order to keep some sort of competitiveness in the US market have lowered their prices hoping in a stronger dollar, but that represent a palliative that is not a long term solution.
I hope that the unstoppable run of the Euro will soon end so to enjoy a good bottle of wine or a nice plate of pasta I don't have to take a bank loan.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti

Friday, September 14, 2007

WBW Bruna Pigato U Baccan

For my first WBW (Wine Blogging Wednesday) I opened the new vintage of a Ligurian Pigato - the U' Baccan from Bruna.
I wrote about the wine's younger brother, Le Russeghine a little while ago, and I was curious to try the house's signature wine. U Baccan (dialect for "the boss") grapes come from old Pigato vines and are harvested late. The production is minimal (180 cases) and the wine is made with very little technological aid.
The area is impervious and steep, located near the coast, where the mountains run down into the Ligurian sea. The vines lie in very narrow terraces and it is very hard to work in the vinyards. Pigato is closely related to Vermentino, and it's mostly found in the Ligurian provinces of Savona, Imperia and Genova.
The grapes have red reflection on the skin when ripe, and the wine usually has prevalent minerality and often marked acidity.
I opened up the 2005 harvest, and as soon as the cork was popped, the wine was a little tight but already showing a great spectrum of flavors.
As the wine warmed up in the bottle and in the glass, some tropical scents of papaya and pineapple showed, followed by refreshing and charming notes of white peaches.
The juice kept on changing up to the end giving then petroleum (like in a German Riesling) flavors and some balsamic scents of mint leaves.
The structure of the wine was supported by the low PH, which gave freshness, longevity, and complexity. The firm body completed a very good, interesting and unique wine.
My overall comment for the "U Baccan" is very positive, a white with strong character, aging potential of another 5 to 10 years, good with both fish and meats. I want to thank Robert Chadderdon for letting me discover it.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti

The Good Bacteria

Or better yet if you spend time in the dirt you'll be happier and more energetic.
I've started to read a magazine called Discover, after my my friend Bob Guccione Jr. gave me some copies last time I delivered wines to his office.
Now, to tell the truth I thought to myself, "when am I going to read a science magazine filled with numbers and incomprehensible words?" Then I thought, hey, what better place than the bathroom? So, that's where I opened up the July issue and I was surprised to see familiar words, very cool pictures and down to earth (literally) articles.
The one I want to talk about is on page 18, and is called "Is dirt the new Prozac?".
The article underlines the effect of a bacteria that lives in the dirt called Mycobacterium Vaccae, which activates a set of serotonin-releasing neurons, the same neurons targeted by Prozac. The study made a very compelling argument for the idea that the bacteria is something of an antidepressant, that can also improve energy levels, help deal with pain, and for those who are terminally ill, it can heighten the quality of life. How do we assimilate this harmless bacteria?
Simply by breathing it, evidently. The M. Vaccae is present in the soil, and you can get a healthy (literally) dose of it just by walking through a field or hanging out in a garden, or by ingesting it through water or plants, like carrots or lettuce.
I wonder if any shrinks are aware of this, and if they'd be comfortable exchanging Prozac for long walks in the dirt.
Where my personal experience is concerned: walking the vineyards always gave me a sense of euphoria and happiness that I thought was connected to the scenario - breathtaking views, surrounded by rows and rows of grapes. I'm sure those things were a substantial part of my experience, but that friendly and happy bacteria was playing a meaningful role as well. So next time you feel a little blue, see if a walk in the park will make you feel better - you don't really have anything to lose - other than a little time.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti