(Above: The Catinaccio, or Rosengarten, dolomite formation rises beyond a narrow valley that runs northeast from Bolzano in the Alto Adige. It takes its name from the pink color of the rocks during sunset.)
Back from a lovely trip to Italy’s Alto Adige region where, besides developing an (un)healthy addiction to speck and knödel — canerderli in Italian, a flavorful bread dumpling — I managed to meet at least one Italian speaking Wolfgang a day. Perhaps I’ve found my spiritual home?
Renowned for both precise, minerally intense white wines and a range of reds that runs from light (schiava/vernatsch) to elegant (pinot nero) to inky and grippy (lagrein), Alto Adige is easily one of Italy’s more compelling wine regions. I’ll be writing more about the region’s wines soon at Wine & Spirits; for now, Jordan Mackay has a thoughtful article at Chow.com where he makes the case that Alto Adige, for all of its diversity, is the greatest white wine region in the world. Talk amongst yourselves.
More on music and wine. A subject I love. Eric Asimov profiled violinist David Chan in his NY Times column yesterday, which turned into a small discussion about the appreciation of wine and music and where the two overlap from both a philosophical and sensory perspective.
But the real meat of the piece, I feel, is Chan’s observation that great music, preserved and ‘weeded out’ over 100 or more years, is like terroir. I won’t claim to possess a great knowledge of Western classical music, but there’s some sense to this idea — especially when you consider that the notion of terroir is rather difficult to define in words.
From the article:
Mr. Chan sees parallels between music and terroir: “Music that has lasted 100, 200, 300 years, there’s a reason for it. Mostly, we’ve weeded out the music that isn’t worthy. But there’s more: they bring pleasure, they make you think about it, and they bear the stamp of the composer.”
Great composers are like great vineyards, he says. Both require a particular sort of selflessness to bring them to life. “If you seek to only be yourself, that’s what you get, but if you seek to faithfully bring the composer to life, that will happen, and your personality will enter the picture because you’re performing the task,” he said. “I think the same thing happens in wine. If you try to faithfully capture the terroir, inevitably you enter the picture, whereas if you’re not careful, it results in a house style.”