Pic Post: VinItaly, ViniVeri & Verona

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or at least a glass or two of wine…

Tuscan pavillion

Above: An aerial shot of the Tuscan pavilion, always one of the most busy — and ostentatious — at VinItaly.

le presi 2009 t shirt

Above: Brunello producer Le Presi makes a new t-shirt each year for the fair. This year, the theme capitalized on Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes, we can!”, modified to reflect the traditionalist approach in Montalcino. Note the card referencing, well, female admirers. It’s common at winery stands during VinItaly to employ models in swimsuits to promote wine; I chose to think of this note as a comment on that behavior at the fair, though for all I knew, these guys were serious.

(Check out last year’s t-shirt here.)

refreshing

A much needed refreshment following the Vini Veri tasting. Glassware by this point was difficult to come by, but the pinot gris was tasty all the same!

dscn2239

Natural wines: A blurry photo, but two delicious Italian wines not so widely available in the US.

dinner

Somehow I got my hands on a magnum of the excellent 2006 Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Cos, which we drank at dinner after a long afternoon at Vini Veri. Delicious!

waiting for campari spritz

Waiting for our round of Campari spritz the morning after several days at VinItaly and Vini Veri. The spritz — usually with Campari or Aperol mixed with soda — was everywhere in Verona this year, and it proved to be a reliable pick-me-up when fatigue set in.

banks of the adige

From the banks of the Adige in Verona: “Irene ti amo”

Whoever she is…

State of Thirst, Update

Jeremy wrote in with a childhood recollection of water rationing in California in response to yesterday’s post:

I remember water rationing when I was a kid in San Diego. We didn’t ration but in SF you did. Once I asked for a glass of water in a Chinese restaurant. I was like 7 or 8. The waiter brought it to me and she said: you better drink the whole glass because someone in SF didn’t take a shower so that you could have it!

Freaked me out!

Another drought cycle, perhaps less acute but more widespread, brought mandatory water rationing to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties (and other parts of California) when I was in 6th and 7th grade. The water company jacked rates to encourage conservation, on-and-off showering was the norm and front lawns everywhere were left to go brown, with the threat of “water fines” for those caught with the sprinkler on. My mother became adept at reading our water meter, and I was obsessed with creating a garden filled with cactus and rocks. Around this time, too, I started frequenting Joshua Tree out in the Mojave Desert. Apart from the temperate areas along the coast, this is arguably the real California. Of course, most of the state’s population is concentrated in the desert areas. Although reclaimed desert is probably more accurate.

ballooning over tract homes in Coalinga

I’m still baffled by desert tract homes with their green lawns. Those seen above are in Coalinga, a town located in California’s heavily irrigated Central Valley. Swimming pools, lawns, all manner of trees. As if those fences and roads can deny the reality so plainly visible.

Don’t even get me started on golf courses.

Unfortunately, it looks like the recollections of Jeremy’s and my childhoods will again become reality in California. Today’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a front page article outlining the situation. The meat of it:

The rainfall expected in the region through Monday will be too little, too late to turn around a month that usually delivers about 20 percent of the rain and snow needed for the year, officials added.

With no blockbuster storms on the immediate horizon and forecasters predicting a longer-term dry spell, water managers around California are busy calculating just how far they can stretch supplies already drained by two previous dry winters.

So far, two dozen California water districts have extended rationing imposed last year – and more and steeper cuts likely are on the way.

“These are going to be hard times for everybody,” said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, which represents 450 public water agencies around the state.

For the season so far, precipitation totals around the Bay Area are 40 to 60 percent of normal, according to experts. While that doesn’t sound catastrophic, it’s not enough water to top off critically low reservoirs or soak parched farmland.

Go here to read the entire thing.