Our return to Venice from Lago d'Iseo, Erbusco, and Lago di Garda, took us through beautiful, long stretches of the Po Valley as well as the Baldo and Lessini mountain chains. These Venetian Prealps, characterized by steep slopes and deep gorges, boast a colourful history of witches, fairies, wizards and goblins. What bewitched us as we passed through the Valpolicella, the "Pearl of Verona," the vertex of the Veneto was, of course, the vino!
After an intensely enthusiastic (if all too brief) stop in Beaune where the boeuf borguignon was kept company by beautiful Burgundian bottles, our next destinations were Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy. A mere 554 kms of highway, overpriced tolls, and very cool tunnels through the Alps brought us first to Turin and from there we went to the province of Cuneo to deepen our appreciation of the "Wine of the King" (Barolo) and "Wine of the Queen" (Barbaresco), made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes with complementary yet distinct features. A risotto al Barolo certainly gave the Burgundian repast a run for its money ... .
On Thursday, November 17, 2016 the world celebrates Beaujolais Nouveau Day! Well, wine lovers and wine grunts all over the world certainly do, anyway. Beaujolais nouveau is the most popular of all the vins de primeur, French wines that are permitted by Appellation d’origine controlée regulations to be sold after a very brief fermentation period in the same year as their harvest. Frequently, only a few weeks pass before they are released on the third Thursday of November and distributed to the local markets at 12:01 am local time. This year, that big day arrives tomorrow!
Trousseau noir, the traces of the ‘trickster’ (or, A ‘Bastardo’ by any other name) - Robert Buranello
Despite the very recent acclamation it has received,[i] the Vinis vinifera, Trousseau Noir, is considered a somewhat uncommon red grape nowadays when compared to such recognized varietals as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc. While on the one hand, it has left traces throughout Europe, on the other, it remains somewhat elusive since it is used to blend with other wines, goes by approximately eighteen principal synonyms, and is frequently mistaken for at least six other grape varieties.[ii] It is this elusive quality that may allow it to be referred to as a bit of a “trickster,” or at least to point in the direction of that archetype. For Carl Gustav Jung, archetypes are universally archaic patterns that derive from humanity’s collective unconscious and act as mediators between us and the underlying unified reality from which everything emerges and to which everything returns, the unus mundus.[iii]
From a very minor varietal in Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend to a bloated, overgrown, tasteless red grape with anemic juice, Cinsaut would seem to have a lot to worry about in the world of viniculture. It seems it should spend sleepless nights worried about being relegated to vitis vinifera’s ugly duckling offspring. However, upon further analysis of the importance that Cinsault has played and continues to play in viniculture, both as an excellent partner in blends and as on its own, Cinsaut can be safely permitted in the greater grape pantheon, sans souci.