(Oh, vanity! To those who came here from The Wine Importer's site, the real Alice ---for better or worse, actually looks like this.) ...and now back to the Polaner tasting. I finally made my way into the room I had run from. I only had an hour left. I needed to taste and then I needed to schmooze. First stop: Emidio Pepe table from Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Offered up or tasting were two Trebbano's, 2004 & 2001. And for the reds; 2001, 200, 1998, 1985, 1982 and 1977. This is a hand-done operation; picking, destemming and foot-trodden. The wine sees no wood. Remember, no wood. So much for needing wood (ages in glass tanks for up to 24 months until the wine is stable) to make an age-worthy wine; the 1977 was vibrant, exquisite, complex, warming. The 1982 was filled licorice. The 1983 had an extraordinary mineral, rusty, iron quality. That is the quality I used to love in Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. It is a quality that had been stripped from the modern wines...like those terrible Montepulciano's I had at the Tre Bicchieri tasting. Even in the wine's youth, like the 2000, the velvet and charm is there. There was another element in many of these wines. Now how to say this. Just take it that I mean it in a good way. Halitosis meets carnation. Anyway, these are expensive wines. And why shouldn't they be? I am just sorry I cannot afford them. Even the youngster, the 2001, is quite beautiful...(oh shit. I am looking at the tasting sheet. Did Doug really list the Wine Advocate scores? Did Galloni --the new Parker guy who covers Italy--really 'score' these wines?) Does anyone really need a score--does anyone need affirmation to buy these wines? How? They are so pretty, chimerical, fascinating, provoking and lush. Somehow it all seems so sad. Doug listed the scores for everything that broke the 90-point zone. But then, he is a good, great biz guy. And I couldn't ever sell lemonade on a hot day. I'd PAY someone to drink lemonade on a hot day. How crazy is that? Don't answer. Don't answer. I know it. But that sales thing is either in your blood or the salesperson white blood cell count is low. C'est moi. Which is why the 1983 which I loved....just adored...Doug didn't give the WA score. Which was 89. Whew. Why do I find that reassuring? Perverse of me. I'm sure. But yes, I'm perverse. I found it a thrilling wine. I thought I was going to go on...but I really only want to say two more thing; the 2006 Arpent Rouge (pineau d'aunis) from Clos Roche Blanche is lovely!! Top of Catherine's adorable, eccentric house at Clos Roche Blanche Then on to Spain. It was a great day for Lopez de Heredia. All showed brilliantly. And if you have any doubts about the new release 1999 Bosconia Reserva, don't. It's a teaser of a wine that delivers killer structure, velvet and something similar to that carnation/halitosis I got from the Pepe. I guess it must have been that kind of day. Amen.