…today is Easter in the western churches…
Know Your Importer, Vol. 3
Why should a consumer learn the name of a wine importer? Much has been written about this, and over a long time. Short version: know your importers because your wine purveyor knows them. An honest shop or somm has nothing to hide in this regard. Here are my current thoughts:
Making good wine requires two things.
- fortune – from the dirt, to the biome, to the bank – and,
- humanity – a cluster of virtues combining self awareness with selflessness, and thriving in a medium of consciousness expanding.
Most important of all is the latter applied to the former: the awareness of one’s fortune and the ability to resist trying to capture it.
This can help explain why so many great wine properties change hands only to fail immediately and horribly. The new regime with all its vigor is no match for the old in situ. Stars in the eyes and rolls of cash are no substitute for experience making decisions with worms.
Wine requires grace.
Vino di grazia.
Know Your Merchant
Some people in the wine trade talk only about the the wine (points! gobs!), and if they are really smart, sometimes about the farmer (a personality cult), but never about the people selling, collecting and drinking it – and by doing so they are really talking only about themselves. It is selflessness serving an egocentric relationship with (the art form).
It is a fiction that great wines are like perfect jewels snatched from space and time, summoned before our poses of supplication, and grandiose tithes, by faces so dim as to be blank. The act of enjoying wine is elemental to its existence in the first place.
Wine tells a story, and the people building collections of it are also telling a story. It might be a remix, a collage, a mosaic, a pastiche or an ekphrasis. Often these people are in the studio mixing the paint.
Ponder, there are 26 letters in the alphabet and never a shortage of new ways to combine them.
A Quotation from the Fine Art Racket
“I select the selectors, so I control the operation,” she says. “You don’t keep a dog and bark yourself. But I know what they know and I know where they go.” -Gill Hedley on her team of curators for the CAS
Missing the Point
It used to madden me when I would suggest that a distributor of the great French wines from Louis/Dressner should also carry the newer, but just as thrilling, Italian wines from the same source.
“But we already have Italian wine,” was the answer. Sure,they had a couple things, and a lot of filler, but not these. I was suffocating from Italian wine starvation!
It wouldn’t have been so bad, but at the time I was also lacking steady access to the reigning portfolio of great wines from the nation of Italy: Marc deGrazia.
Marco de Grazia began importing Italian wine in 1980, a first of its kind in that it eschewed anything but the most gorgeous and authentic of estate wines. By the mid 1990s Marco was a star in his own right – or at least he was amongst the masses of sommeliers and buyers who would attend his tastings and patiently await their allocations of rare and limited items.
If you didn’t know about deGrazia Selections already, please let me introduce you. These are dynamic, diverse, humorous, numerous and sincere wines. Based on the prices they fetch, I can only conclude that the American market is absurdly unaware of their merit as a group of drinks.
Try sharing credit. It feels good. Maybe it can prepare you emotionally to identify with your guests.
Or don’t share credit. Or share it only with your protected objects of exploitation.
Credit where credit is due.
The Art of Collecting Art. It exists.