A year ago today

I turned in my last papers, blogged about a ton of stuff, and finally remembered to say “I’m done.” At the time it didn’t feel like the enormous milestone that it turned out to be. Like anyone else I miss being in school, but I’m glad I’m out—not just because I’m no longer accruing debt, but because it means I actually get to work on meaningful things.

Meeting the winemaker

Pike and Western held a tasting last night to sample the wines created by Ricardo Cotarella, the Italian winemaker behind Falesco, who helped lead a revolution in Italian viniculture by convincing grape growers to experiment with new grapes such as Merlot and improve old grapes like the Sicilian Nero d’Avola. Over the course of the evening (and seven wines from Sicily, Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany), we learned quite a lot about the industry, such as the importance of decreasing plant yield to provide intense flavor.

Afterwards Lisa asked Cotarella if he had consulted at any Campagnian vineyards. “Yes, several,” he said. “Feudi…”

“Mastroberardino?” Lisa asked.

“No, no,” he replied, and held his hands apart palm up. “If you consult for Feudi, is no longer possible to work for Mastroberardino.” (The two winemakers split in a family feud about ten years ago.)

He told us that his favorite Campagnian varietal was probably Greco di Tufo. Lisa challenged him, asking about Fiano di Avellino, but he said he preferred Greco because while Fiano might be mistaken for other indigenous white wines such as Falenghina, Greco always was clearly Greco.

Alas, June Carter Cash

I was in a meeting yesterday when someone said June Carter Cash had passed away. It’s like the departure of an elemental force as well as a touchstone back to the Carter Family and the long-lost roots of a distinctly American music. And an American love story. Who else but June could have brought Johnny back to the straight and narrow? Who else but June could have written “Ring of Fire”?

The New York Times has a moving obituary.