So I’ve been spending a lot of time since December in Winnipeg. Rather too much in one sense. It is exhausting. When I get home I fall into bed around 830 and sleep like a log for 12 hours. On the other hand, at times it is exhilarating, entertaining, and downright fun. At other times it is sad, tearful and heart-rending. On the whole it just is.
My mother was raised by tee-totalling Methodist parents. To her rum was the Demon Rum. My father was raised a good Ukrainian, which is to say drinker, but had no problem eschewing booze. Essentially he was cured of booze by the war: The last state you want to be in while endangered is intoxicated.
I of course was deeply curious about all things alcoholic and set out to explore. Somewhere along the way, I realized my ‘satiable curiousity ended up combining with my parental system of exploration and I ended up knowing rather more about booze than pretty much anyone I’ve ever met. (Having encountered folks like Jancis Robinson in the last ten years that statement needs to be tempered, but remember I didn’t meet her until well into my 50s. By then I had been explaining booze to people who didn’t believe me – how could this goof know more than they? – and to those curious for more than a decade.
Somewhere along the way I became a fan of Chianti, largely due to the influence of cheap Italian wine (Hello Donini, AKA Done In, Do-no-no etc.) and Petley, he of the bamboo fly rod and squashed Sammy fame. (If you’re kind to him and pay 100% up front he may agree to make you a rod.)
Also probably due to my father. For he – despite a couple of wounds, one or two concussions, a case of pneumonia, and a couple of weeks MIA, not to mention losing most of his tank crew to a shell – has always maintained affection for the country. And somehow all of that comes together in my junk heap of mind to make Chianti my comfort food of choice.
So here I sit and write. Lately I visit him three times a day and by 630 I`m done. Really done. I often go to bed at 9 PM. Mostly these days we chat; I listen to his complaints – he is humiliated, no longer master of all he can see, not that he can see damn all any more; when we run out of conversation I read to him. He can`t really concentrate enough to follow a modern novel or even many short stories. He quite enjoys poetry, which of course he always did. (With great thanks to Ken Mitchell). But he very much enjoys Kipling short stories. I am currently reading him The Just So stories which make him laugh.
And then I come home to comfort food. The bottle pictured is not Chianti, coming from the Romagna district south of Tuscany. It`s a little New World in style with more residual sugar than DOCG Riserva but for all that a lovely herbal drop. I had it tonight with pork chops, broccoli and spaghettini with my tomato sauce, another bit of comfort food, thanks to several years running a swinging bachelor pad with Ron of the bamboo rod fame.
I like Cesari wines. Give them a try.