We’ve been at this long enough now that some branches once heavy with low-hanging fruit are looking a little sparse. Lots of wine remains undrunk, but more and more of it is challengingly obscure and/or pricey. But never fear! I’m resourceful enough in hunting down obscurities and sufficiently irresponsibly profligate with my funds that the juice should keep flowing here for a good while yet.
This here today wine is the Nipozzano Riserva 2012, a Chianti Rufina Sangiovese blend, product of what I’m told is maybe the best of the Chianti region’s six sub-zones. It’s a bit snazzier than that nice kitschy Chianti fiasco we got stuck into way back at the beginning of this blog. Given the escalating price tags of the wine around here, I’m hoping my palate’s evolved a bit since then too. If not, we’re relying on my mother, with whom I split the bottle. Her subtlety of palate is rivalled only by her encyclopaedic knowledge of Pynchon’s work.
The nose is dark berries and raisins, with a bit of cinnamony spice and a leathery aged quality rumpling it all together. It tastes tannic, dry, and earthy, clayey almost, chewing on grape stems, more dark berries, with very dark bitter chocolate and slightly sweet liquorice in there too, plus some spicy clove kind of stuff. Fairly light bodied, but pretty serious. Mum managed to pull out raspberries.
This vineyard is about 20 km out of Florence, where we find Salazar, the Venuzuelan Vice-Consul and Ratón, his chief, arguing about reports of an upswing in revolutionary violence in V. Page 176:
“Be reasonable,” urged Salazar, the Vice-Consul. “The worst we have to expect is a demonstration or two. What can they do? Break a few windows, trample the shrubbery.”
“Bombs,” screamed Ratón, his chief. “Destruction, pillage, rape, chaos. They can take us over, stage a coup, set up a junta. What better place? They remember Garibaldi in this country. Look at Uruguay. They will have many allies. What do we have? You, myself, one cretin of a clerk and the charwoman.”
The Vice-Consul opened his desk drawer and produced a bottle of Rufina. “My dear Ratón,” he said, “calm yourself. This ogre in the flapping hat may be one of our own men, sent over from Caracas to keep an eye on us.” He poured the wine into two tumblers, handed one to Ratón. “Besides which, the communique from Rome said nothing definite. It did not even mention this enigmatic person.”
“He is in on it,” Ratón said, slurping wine. “I have inquired. I know his name and that his activities are shady and illegal. Do you know what he is called?” He hesitated dramatically. “The Gaucho.”
Following Raton’s lead, we did our drinking out of tumbler-esque glasses, and although we were rather further from the vineyard and in probably less elegant surrounds than his Florentine consulate, the wine did prove good slurping.