After fifteen minutes Francois Ribo showed, mumbling apologies that didn't seem all that sincere. He's got a gentle face, wire-frame glasses and what's left of his hair cradles his head wtih soft blond waves. His black t-shirt celebrated a local film festival. He kind of screams counter-culture and I was dying to know what kind of music he listened to and what he reads, but with two-hours, there wasn't much time to talk about anything else except the matter at hand--his wine.
I was intimidated enough to be too quick when taking his picture, not taking the time I needed to focus the camera
and he came out looking like a fuzzy angel from a Wim Wenders film. I couldn't really believe he was an ogre. But I was trying to get used to the idea that the maker of one of my favorite syrahs was a dislikable man. He was working hard to make me feel unwelcome, grunting yes or no to just about all questions. Anything over two syllables seemed to stress him. Somewhere after the Crozes but before the St. Joseph, I got very frustrated and blurted out," I love your wines. And I am trying to find out something about you. I am trying to find out what it is about you that can make wines this pure and expressive. And you're not giving me anything. What music do you listen to? What do you read? What do you drink?"
Believe me, this was not my most articulate moment. This was not journalism at a high point. This was a--"you are my Rhone chapter and this is my one shot at you and you are being so confounding!"--moment.
But, his Arctic cap cracked. He actually started to giggle (not laugh, but giggle) and responded, "I have that too. I love wine and want to know the person who made it. I understand."
So, he doesn't read fiction. He reads political history. I still donít know what music he listens to.
End Part Two