Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finding a connection between two things, both of which are the same


Viewing a Carl Andre sculpture, I am generally struck most by the sheer weight of the work.  The immobility. The hunkered down stance, close to the floor.  I am not moving a sculpture by Carl Andre.  I and another person together are not moving a sculpture by Andre.  I might walk through the room.  Somebody else might walk through the room.  Twenty other people might walk through the room.  And it doesn't matter that the pieces are spread out on the floor, easily reachable.  Wood or metal, those pieces are just too heavy.  Nobody is moving them.

Except maybe a hurricane named Sandy.  Redoubt from Carl Andre, a sculpture executed in 1977 and pictured above, was on view at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea when Sandy hit.  The Paula Cooper space took on considerable flooding in a matter of minutes.  The director of the gallery was quoted by New York Magazine saying that the Andre was "a hundred-and-something timbers, and [the storm] just tossed them all over."  What had been in four orderly rows was scattered across the room.  The same pieces, but each in a different place.

The last vintage of Monprivato released by Brovia was the 1990.
What happened with Redoubt came to mind recently while I drank a Barolo Monprivato 1990 from Brovia.  A friend knew I'd never had it before, and was nice enough to open a bottle for me.  A rare treat.  Like most Piemonte enthusiasts, I know Monprivato mostly as a vineyard source for the excellent Barolo of Giuseppe Mascarello.  Today, that winery owns the entirety of the large Monprivato in Castiglione Falletto.  But that wasn't always the case, and Mauro Mascarello of G. Mascarello had to steadily purchase parcels of the vineyard over several years to make it so.

For awhile in the 1980s, and up through 1990, Brovia bottled a single vineyard Monprivato.  In many ways that was a different time for Brovia than what we might think of today.  Brovia didn't own their Villero or Brea parcels until the 1990s.  Giacinto Brovia wasn't joined by his daughter working at the winery until right around 1990.  Giacinto had worked on his own with the casks before that, while his brother Raffaele had tended the vines.  But you could still taste a Brovia signature in that 1990 Monprivato that was recognizable.  The texture of the tannins reminded me very much of Brovia.  There was the ripeness of 1990, but there was also Brovia.

I drank the 1990 G. Mascarello Monprivato earlier this year, thanks to Steven, who was nice enough to share a bottle with me.
The tannins of the Brovia Monprivato 1990 were very different than those I associate with G. Mascarello's Monprivato 1990.  In some sense this could be related to the location of the specific parcels involved, the clone of Nebbiolo used for the vines, or the age of those vines, but there was a marked difference.  What they shared was a fruit character.  I thought I could taste Monprivato in both wines.  The deep tones of red fruit.  The mineral flecks.  The muscularity.  They were similar.  But the structure was disparate.  The Giuseppe Mascarello 1990 was a much more contained wine.  Ordered.  In it the long row of flavors seemed to open up in a straight line that could also have been the edge of a ruler.  The Brovia was different.  It's structural pieces were all turned over, there were few hard angles, and the flavors came in a rush, not precisely one after another.  For the Brovia, the heavy weight of the structure had been lifted.


Both were good wines.  And both were Monprivato.  But one was arranged just so, while the other had the same pieces all in different places.


I was reminded that the texture of a wine can change the presentation.


And I was thankful that I had experienced both possibilities.

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