Monday, December 3, 2012


I did not know when I tasted this stunning 2006 Soldera Brunello recently that it might be the last sip of a newly released Soldera wine that I would taste for many years.
Reacting to the terrible news out of Montalcino today, I went through several stages of emotion, none of them pleasant. If what is being reported is true, and has happened, it is just an incredible loss. Truly terrible. What is kind of helping me cope, sort of, is remembering what I admire so much about the Soldera wines that I've tried. I'd like to focus on that for now.

I was in Tokyo, in Ueno, when I saw this Buddhist reliquary. It had been found in the cornerstone of a temple in 1907, but it dates to long before that. It was a nested container. Inside the cornerstone was the stone case. Inside the case was the bronze bowl. And within that was the silver box, which held the gold pieces.

I was taken aback by the parallel between these and the very greatest wines of my experience, such as the aromatically acrobatic 1983 Soldera Brunello that I once more than enjoyed. That wine had performed somersaults in my glass showing something wonderful and then releasing it to show me something else, even more special, and even more refined. Within each flavor another flavor would emerge, a flavor with a different shape, a different texture, and even more luster. The wine kept your attention to show you its contents in ever finer detail. The experience of drinking that wine became the basis for how I thought about great wine. But I didn't know how to model or show you that experience until recently. Until I found the reliquary, with its several messages from the past.

I hope that even with this new tragedy there may be within it something small that might be treasured.

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