It was a stop and go, was I leaving or not? A reservation had been mysteriously cancelled---the tricks of Mercury in retrograde? A plot to keep me stateside? Then, the word came, quick, head for the plane.
I ran for the A train to Iberia, forgetting important items back home. Once through security, waiting for the plane, I flipped through Food and Wine magazine and what do you know?
There it was. The Feiring Line recommended as a must read for those interested in organic and natural wines. So if you're not a subscriber ...correct that!
Recognition is sweet. I admit it. I like attention as much as the next guy. We all need pats on the back and affirmation. The TFL really shouldn't be a secret and this should help. So tell your friends and local co-op, wine shop, wine bar and help spread the word.
Fueled by that good news, I want to send you all greetings from Haro in the heart of La Rioja where pig is considered a vegetable.
When a waiter heard that I was a vegetarian, she explained: "The minestra only has a little bit of chorizo, and the soup only has bone, which one will you have?"
"I won't have anything," I answered to her confusion. That's okay. I can stand to lose a kilo or two, and anyway, I more than made up for it with the wine.
After all, I flew here for a tasting of older Rioja to celebrate the first annual Haro Station , where the historical cantinas of Haro open their doors to visitor.
Probably the most sensational wine was the 1964 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia.
That was the wine in my glass when this picture was taken with me and Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia. Obviously we were trying to solve the problems of the wine world (or love, I can't remember which.) It all seemed possible with that Tondonia Gran Reserva 1964. How, I wondered, could a wine taste so evolved but be so very young and vibrant? Mostly 75% Tempranillo, with Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo full of cocoa and leather and zingy acidity, so very vibrant and full of under-leaf yet plumptuous? Age-defying glory.
Other great moments were walking the vines of Contino, Lopez de Heredia and Muga, finally getting a grasp of the soils in this complex region.
This brings me to an odd segue.
My next book, For the Love of Wine, my odyssey into the world's most ancient wine culture ( I know, a mouthful) has a pub date!
Look for it March 1st.
Hot off the presses; another book will be on its tail. That book might be called The Dirty Wine Guide, or even Dirt. Helping me will be super-sharp sommelier, Pascaline Lepeltier. The two of us will serve up what we aim to be a groundbreaking beginner wine guide. For sure, there's nothing else like it.
Tomorrow, an early morning flight, then a long layover in Madrid so I can sneak in a quick visit with Fabio Bartolomei (Vinos Ambiz).
We'll march through his vines, switching out the limestone of Rioja for the granitic hills of Sierra de Gredos. It's only an hour drive from the airport, so should all be doable in time to get back for my plane and then flap my wings across the Atlantic.
Lastly, a new essay of mine is up on the New York Times's Opinionator site, The End.
So, that's it for now, hope all is well with you.