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A Good Friend Is Stronger Than A Bad Wine

February 3, 2017

We live in Italy. We live in the world of wine. Here wine flows like water; it is our liquid “daily bread” and we imbibe in it freely. It’s what we do!

While we have thousands of good wines here, good friends are much harder to come by. Why? First of all, we are Americans and we will always be somewhat outsiders here. That’s not to say we don’t have many friends here. We have many true, wonderful friends in our alpine valley. However friendships hereabouts are harder to acquire and once made friendships here are rarely tested. They simply exist unchallenged. Language and culture also often curb the strength of friendships here.

As with all things, there are exceptions. We have been friends with another American here for over 12 years. I would say we have become very good friends. However we are very different. He’s a liberal, we’re conservative. He comes from a science background and we come from the arts. He likes to golf while I prefer fly fishing. With all of our differences and diversity, we have become great mutually supportive friends. Friendships should not be altered by political point of view or other personal differences. In fact these things give a true friendship character.

Some months ago, our friend invited us to his house for dinner. Wine, of course, was the first, second and third course. When he presented us with a vintage white wine, I cringed a bit as I was immediately skeptical. Whites don’t age well and rarely have a brownish tinge. But I was sure my friend knew that. He poured, I sneered and in the end we all agreed it was better left as drain cleaner. A second bottle was produced with the same results. Jesus! This man is very knowledgeable in wines but what was he doing? It turned out that he was culling old bottles from his collection and needed a couple of guinea pigs to test the foulness of his old stock. (I would insert here the sounds of agreeable guinea pigs squealing in glee but I honestly don’t know what a cavia porcellus sounds like.)

The evening wore on with my negative comments met by half-assed apologies. Porco Zio, everyone should know that a 6 year old bottle of cheap white wine won’t age! In a moment of desperation I honestly considered driving back to my place to procure a decent bottle. The wine continued to suck mightily until at long last a very decent bottle of Barolo was offered up. This was sort of a reward for putting-up with all of the terrible grape that had transpired earlier in the evening. It’s hard to over-age a Barolo so I was full of anticipation. This was going to be a goodie.

I was not disappointed. The wine was excellent. This strong red was the very antithesis of the opening salvo of brown-tinged whites. Immediately with the first sip, the epiphany landed on me: I knew in my mind that indeed a good friend is much stronger than a bad wine. The convincer? Sharing a great bottle with a great friend! Life really just doesn’t get any better.

(By the way, the featured image is of our best local wine, Teroldego Rotaliano.)

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4 Comments
  1. At least he had the decency to break out the good stuff! I didn’t realize white wines withstood aging less than reds. Thanks for the edification. Salud! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A Barolo can be aged to 30 years or more whereas an inexpensive white wine is meant to drink within the season. Some whites can be aged but not for long. Of course in Italy we drink everything that’s put on the table. It’s called cirrhosis training.

    Like

  3. David Dalsis permalink

    Very well done and an accurate rendition of the evening as I recall. We must do it again soon although my supply of “old” wine is running low!

    Liked by 1 person

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