That's the origin of everything!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Friday, 24 October 2008
"Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole."
The source is Bernardo, whose blog and twittings and blips I follow with interest. He says he found it at eRobertParker.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Friday, 1 August 2008
You Are Chardonnay
Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).
Deep down you are: Dependable and modest
Your partying style: Understated and polite
Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Original picture from iStockphoto®
Monday, 5 May 2008
It's not a short post but it's worth reading, believe me. It's about wine (big news!), but it's basically about quality in wine. For those who have read Zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance, the post will bring home the same old question: what, actually, is Quality?
This post touched me so much that I translated it, so it's also on É só um diário. Translating made me think even more, and again showed me how neglected my English is...
I asked Tom if I could do this, and wasn't really expecting a reply, or a positive reply, but I was wrong. Not only he replied giving his permission but also thanked me for my interest. Tom, I do hope I have kept the quality of your text.
And thanks for helping me in my journey towards wine knowledge.
The Van Morrison Theory of Wine
Having reconciled myself to the idea that there is no such thing as an objective criteria for quality in any category of wine, I began deliberating on what I think we all must do to bring reason to our palate and preferences; to put our preferential house in order, so to speak.
What I began looking for were other artistic (yes, artistic) creations that might serve as a model for my personal beliefs about wine quality. What I was looking for were expressions in other art forms that, for lack of a better word, "touched" me in a way that was inescapably real and visceral. Upon experiencing this unique sort of touch, I then asked myself what it was about the work of art that was able to move me...move me to tears, joy, elation, contemplation. If I could identify what it was that moved me through another art form, I just might have a model for describing what, for me, represents quality.
I found my model, and it wasn't too hard to find: Van Morrison.
Listening all the way through Morrison's "Moondance", "Astral Weeks" and "Hymns To Silence" albums touch me deeply, and they do so every time I listen to them. Absorbing Morrison's eloquent "Rave on John Donne", "Into the Mystic", "Crazy Love", and "On Hyndford Street" always stop me in my tracks.
So what is it about this music and artist that is so arresting for me personally? Authenticity. The authenticity of the sound of Van Morrison, the authenticity of the expressions in the works, the authentic input of unadulterated instrumentation carried out by the hands of man, rather that the 1's and 0's of computer-generated sound. There is Affinity to deal with here too. The connection that Morrison's music makes with me has a great deal to do with the substance of his message and feeling, most of which I clearly have an affinity.
Can a wine touch me in the same way? I don't know. I don't think so. But I do know that the qualities that I find in Van Morrison's music can be found in wine and I'm sure that when I see or taste their expression I'll know that I've come across my version of "high quality" wine.
It's important to begin here with the acknowledgment that there is a real similarity between great wine and great music. There can be no mistaking Van Morrison. No one else sounds like him. He has, as it were, a "house style", a sound that identifies him just as a great winery will also have a voice that comes through in all its wines. Perhaps its a deft touch. Perhaps it's a rustic-ness or a purity of flavor that runs across its wines.
Yet while always being unmistakably "Morrison", the man has investigated and experimented with many different genre of music from R&B and Rock n Roll to Country and Jazz. Wineries too do just this as they work with different varieties of grapes. The resulting wines will carry the voice of the winery, but the character of the grape will also come shining through.
Finally, in listening through Morrison's more than thirty years worth of recordings it's quite clear that the personal changes, tragedies, failure and victories that make up his life are communicated in his various musical stages, be they immensely spiritual in nature, Christian in substance, bound to his Irish homeland or born of his aging voice. Wineries too must reflect the changes they are confronted with and, like Morrison, seemingly unable to direct in the form of vintage variation. The winery will always have a voice and will certainly experiment with different varieties, but they too will be subject to the untamable variation in vintage.
So, we have a solid connection and similarity between music and wine that allows me to use the music model to understand and define my notion of "great wine".
Can then, a wine be, above all, "authentic"? Most certainly it can. A wine can be a representation of a place and people. It can in its origin and treatment be authentically OF a real place. And it can authentically represent the voice and interpretation of a winemaker or winery without losing that authenticity of place. That is to say, aging a wine in oak or whole cluster pressing the grapes or use of particular yeasts that are not native can all be expressions of a winemaker's unique touch or voice, and all the while not necessarily extract what the place from which the grapes came brought to the wine.
I think I need to admit that just as I have developed a certain intimacy with the music and message of Van Morrison, I'd need to develop an intimate relationship or understanding with the winery and its wines' 'places" to be able to say, "Ah, this is authentic". And this of course brings us back the fundamental truth that leads to this uncomfortably long and indulgent post: that there is no such thing as objective criteria for greatness in wine, but rather only the comfort that comes with familiarity and affinity that lets each of us define greatness.
There is one more final question that all the above begs: Who's familiar experiences and affinities will define your criteria for greatness?
Thursday, 24 April 2008
No comments needed.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Why don't I keep my mouth shut?
Gabi says that we all should be furnished with one of those Windows' warnings, one that says "This comment contains items which are not safe. Do you wish to continue?"
Sunday, 2 March 2008
I’m looking for the Leon Trotskys, the Philip Roths, the Chaucers and the Edith Whartons of the wine world. I want my wines to tell a good story. I want them natural and most of all, like my dear friends, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue. With this messiah thing going on, I’m trying to swell the ranks of those who love the differences in each vintage, who abhor homogenization, who want wines that make them smile, think, laugh,and feel sexy. For better or worse, it seems as if I am a wine cop traversing the earth, writing and speaking my mind, drinking and recommending wines that are honest.
Before you start thinking: no, it wasn't written by me - I wish it were... The wise words belong to Alice Feiring and she writes the extremely interesting "Veritas in Vino".
I absolutely fell in love with "those who love the differences in each vintage, who abhor homogenization, who want wines that make them smile, think, laugh,and feel sexy." Feeling sexy is something rare nowadays, but all the rest... oh yes, I want my wines to make me smile, think and laugh! Thanks, Alice. And thanks to Cris Berger as well, the author of the beautiful picture which illustrates the Pizzato web site.
Friday, 1 February 2008
I couldn't help but think about this quote when I read an article at The Independent under the subject This Britain. It is called "20 things everyone needs to know". I believed I'd already been vaccinated against most kind of lists (mind you, I've got my own 50 things to do before I die and 100 books to be read lists). However, curisosity killed the cat and I just had to take a peep. Who knows, I thought, maybe they listed the most important facts in History?
The list is about the life's skills department. And yet they could come up with useful things, as they did with number 1: How to change a tyre. Considering that everyone who reads The Independent has got a car or plans to have one, well, that could be something important indeed. Specially if you are not a woman and find yourself looking at a flat tyre on a busy road. Or if you are, and find yourself doing the same depressing activity on an empty road.
But then they go on with the weirdest selection of the most unimportant things, like how to make a martini, how to apply lipstick, how to shave or how to use chopsticks. How to buy a diamond! For goodness sake, how could I have existed until now without knowing this??
The list goes on...
And all items were written by famous people...
However, considering Russel's quote, let's say that I did find it interesting to read about how to scramble eggs (a different technique, who'd've thought of that one?) and how to build a fire in a campside. Just need to buy a tent.
Thursday, 31 January 2008
I've already written this quote in Citações, poesias &... but I read something today which prompted me to use it again. As I said, education is a complicated matter. Children usually are trained, from the very early years, to obey, to respect older people and rules (although we could start another discussion as to what "respect" actually means) and mainly to accept what these older people teach and absolutely not to question. This is specially true in regions where education is almost non-existent, where most people are illiterate and where ancient tradition rules.
As in most Muslim countries (and here I am, again walking on dangerous ground).
I'm not a feminist in the true sense of the word. I've never taken attitude to try and change prejudice against women - maybe because I've never felt it myself. However, if there's something that deeply irritates me (to the point of making me break a relationship) is disrespect for women and women's rights.
And this point takes me to the article I read today at The Independent's site. A 23 year old student of journalism in a university in the north of Afghanistan was sentenced to death because he downloaded and distributed to teachers and fellow students an article "from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed."
It's bad enough the way they treat women, even after the Taliban. Now they want to kill a boy who dared to question. That's his only crime.
At the bottom of the article, there's a link for a petition to the Foreign Office in the UK urging them to demand that the boy's life be spared. Should we Brazilians do the same and have our brave president sending the same demand? I doubt. Better join forces with the British. I did.
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
I know I'm walking on dangerous ground and I wouldn't dare to deny that alcohol is the cause of many serious problems. But to most people, when taken moderately, it can be the source of fun and laughter. As yesterday. I came from Garibaldi to a previously arranged meeting at Simon's . More people were supposed to go, but in the end it was only Alan and me.
Simon is an Irish guy who came to Porto Alegre and married a beautiful local girl - and he opened the one and truly Irish pub in Porto Alegre. It's called Shamrock, it's got all the atmosphere of a real pub and you can drink draught Guinness! We didn't, mind you, it was too hot for such a delicacy, but we did have delicious beer, which is produced right here in Rio Grande do Sul. The beer is Slava and the brewery is Cervejaria Abadessa. Wonderful stuff. I'm wondering how far Pareci Novo is from Porto Alegre.
But I digress. I meant to talk about drinking habits. That's something over which both Alan and I (Alan and me??? Alan, help!!!) agree: Brazilians in general don't see drinking as part of the "cesta básica". I know people who don't drink a drop during the week, because it's working time, and then drink enourmous amount of anything with alcohol during the weekend.
My mother's parents were both children of Italian immigrants and for me, like for most people in the Italian region of Rio Grande do Sul, a daily bottle of wine on the table was as common as a bottle of water. Yes, sure, we kids would only drink it with water and sugar, but to my grandfather it was mandatory. It took me sometime to return to the habit, but nowadays wine is indeed part of our "cesta básica" - a meal is not complete without wine.
Thursday, 3 January 2008
It seems I'm not the only one with serious problems understanding Bob Marley's pronunciation. Checking my Sitemeter, I found out someone searched at Google for the exact words I wrote in my notebook, "my fear is my only courage". Then, following Google's result, I found a couple of blogs and lyrics sites with the same words.
Was I correct after all? No such hope. Checking the official site there came the confirmation of my mistake. Of several people's mistake. Bugger, not even an original mistake!
Well, never mind. I found another site full of this kind of slips and lots of other short "I used to believe" stories. Good reading when you're feeling dull :)
Saturday, 15 December 2007
The only small book I read by Schopenhauer says a lot about my reading therapy, the one I often submerge myself in. When I'm reading, I don't have to think - and, as a consequence, I hide from my feelings and unsolved questions. The longer the book, the better. Who else has read Trinity and Pillars of the Earth and London and The fist of God a couple of times each?
Then I thought that I should keep on reading, sure, but philosophy stuff, books that would make me think and books that would help me enjoy writing again.
And then I realized that thinking, like writing, demands continuity. It must be a habit. There I was, helping D. Diva to label wine bottles, with plenty of time to think - but unable to. As Schopenhauer said, you can sit and read any time you want, but you cannot sit and think. Or stand and think. It just doesn't work like that.
Yesterday I was looking for information about Schopenhauer when I came across a text about his (debatable) depression problem, which I read with great interest (and, stupid, forgot to bookmark it...). The question was: would he have produced the kind of literature he did had he lived in the XXI century? Would his pessimism be diagnosed as depression? Would he be medicated with Prozac or any similar drug? And, most important, would the drugs change him, change his way of seeing things, his rational process? Very good questions.
Questions which I ask myself. What kind of person have I become after a couple of years on antidepressants? Have these drugs given me back the will of living, the strength to face life's daily challenge? Or have they only anaesthetized me, transforming the person who cried a lot but also laughed a lot into some kind of zombie?
Three deaths in one month, of people who were important to me some way or another, and I have not shed a tear...
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Sad but true.
Like the ever returning weeds in my herb garden in Garibaldi, depression keeps coming back. It's a long one, this fight I've had against it. I pull off the weeds, every day, until I think they're finished. And then I find that there's a little one I missed. It was only a couple of weeks ago when I felt so damn good that I feared something was wrong. And now... I spott several diminutive sprouts here and there. I'd better roll my sleeves up and pull them off immediately. Time to go to Garibaldi.
"Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?"
Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
I want to construct my future. I want to leave the prison.
The door is open.
Original picture here.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
The first book is one I've been reading things about for a long time, but always thought it was too much on the technical side. Last recommendation I read got me, and now I find myself struggling to read "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". It's worth every effort I make, including carrying the dictionary around. The vocabulary is not dificult (except for the technical bits, but I just pretend I understand everything about bikes), but I cannot say the same about the theme. It's tough. Period. Probably the toughest book I've ever read. I hope I survive, so I can write something about it when it's finished.
The second book was bought in a whim. I've been struggling (it seems it's probably the only thing I've been doing lately...) with the wine translation, and the vocabulary's been a pain in the neck. Not that I don't like it, it's one of my passions actually, but go and try to translate all the poetic words oenologists come up with to describe their wonderful creations.* So I just said "ok, I'll buy it now", got my fabulous piece of plastic money and ask Amazon to send me "The Oxford Companion to Wine". Wonderful book.
Now I just need to wait for the credit card bill and ask again "why do I do this to myself?".
* Some examples: "Polished but assertive, this wine delivers its delicious impact in a velvet glove"; "black fruits and hints of cedar, black licorice and spicy nutmeg and clove"; "dense flavors of blackberry and black plum"; "this is a refreshing yet rich combination of ripe tropical fruit and herbaceous notes". I wish someone spoke of me like that...
PS - last but not least, the quote of the day. Not about wine, as I'm still thinking of poetry words... About beer, which is what I'm going to drink as soon as I leave this computer. Too bloody hot!
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
Monday, 3 December 2007
You Belong in Dublin
Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Well, this time I didn't check, and today I discovered I wrote down in my little notebook of thoughts something totally different from the original words.
The quote in question comes from "No, woman, no cry", by Bob Marley. It's easier to understand why I misunderstood the lyrics... If I've never been good at listening to songs, listening to Bob Marley can be a nightmare! I'm surprised it ended up being a very interesting new quote, interesting enough to be in my notebook. Not that the original is commonplace, far from that. It's just different (I like this sentence: it explains a plenitude of everyday situations).
So, the original quote.
"My feet is my only carriage
So I've got to push on through."
To my bad trained years, and considering that I learnt British English and also considering the jumble mambo which is reggae pronunciation (at least to me!), I came up with a new beautiful sentence. One that makes a lot more sense to me.
"My fear is my only courage,
So I've got to push on through."
It's funny, I know, but it's a serious one to me.
(original image here)
Friday, 23 November 2007
I'm pretty sure this is because of my lack of any practice beyond reading books or internet stuff. It's becoming already funny (if not plain humiliating) to listen to my conversations with Graham on the phone every time he calls from Eastbourne. Horror of horrors!
You'd say it's not bad considering these 2 short paragraphs. That's because you're reading them after completion, ignoring the effort I had to make to produce them. Thank Cambridge Online Dictionary and a gem of a site called Thesaurus.com, otherwise you'd be reading something poorly scribbled :(
This precious little sentence says it all... "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." (Aristotle)
Alright, break is over. Back to work!