I hope this finds everyone healthy and safe.
As we emerge from winter and enter spring with a renewed sense of optimism and belief that the future will hold ever more promise of good tidings, I sought to find a way to remember the ordeal that all of us have suffered both individually and collectively. I asked myself has anything positive come from the sheltering in place and long periods of working for home. The more I reflected upon it the more I saw a silver lining. That ray of sunshine was the vast amount of time families spent together under one roof and were effectively reunited. It reminded me of a period not so long ago when families cooked and dined together, spent nights as one and just enjoyed each other’s company.
So, the question for me is how do I honor that with a wine? In my mind I go back a few decades ago to when life was simpler and slower and being together was the rule not the exception. During that period one wine was quite commonly found in Italian restaurants and grocery stores and that was a Chianti sold in straw bottles known as ‘fiascos." Everyone over forty years old remember these bottles adorning checkered cloth tables and once the wine was consumed, they became candle holders with the red and green wax drippings on the bottle. What many did not know is that the fiasco bottle held 1-liter worth of wine, 33% more than a standard bottle which is probably why so many people left the dinner table very happy.
I began a long search to find a glass producer in Italy who makes these fiasco bottles. When I located him, he was of course amused there is an Italian style vineyard in North Carolina (which by the way is a state he never heard of). He asked how many I wanted and when I told him he said sure I can get you twenty-three. I said no I need twenty-three hundred and I think he fainted. Anyway, I have secured the bottles and we have crafted a beautiful Sangiovese blend called Gallo Nero (Black Rooster in Italian, the symbol of Chianti). The wine is more structured than the typical Sangiovese blends we make as I wanted it to pair with much more than “red sauce." It is a gem and when you purchase one of these commemorative bottles you will also receive a red or green candle so the Raffaldini fiasco (no pun intended) can have a second life.
I hope all of you can join me for the limited release of this one-time wine on the lawn at the Villa on Sunday, April 25th, where I will be describing the wine, pouring samples, and signing the bottles. As we look forward to the future let us always reminisce on some of life’s happier moments from the past.
All my best,