What does wine have to do with Salvador Dalì’s The Persistence of memory? It has everything to do with it! As Naso D-Vino teaches us in his tale inspired by a fabulous Villa di Capezzana 1931.
As I was pondering on how to elaborate this article of mine which, starting from the wine I am going to tell you about, inspired me a reflection on the power of the olfactory memory, both the painting and the article came to my mind and so I am going to take it from here.
In this surreal painting, each clock marks a different hour, therefore you can imagine that they represent the relativity of the perception of time for each of us. This concept can be extended to all our perception as each one of us reacts in a personal way to sensory stimulation.
A couple of weeks ago Thomas, AKA Hipster_wine, invited me to take part in a live Instagram interview during which each of the guests presented a wine of their choice, briefly sharing their sensations ad tasting notes. I opened a bottle that I had been keeping for a few years now for the occasion, and that I had been dying to taste for quite some time. A gift from a dear friend, directly from the Winery, there were actually two bottles originally: when I opened the first one, at least two years ago, I remember thinking that with a few more years of aging it would surprise even more, and so I let it rest in my cellar.
Let’s get to it now, this 2011 Trebulanum from Alois Winery, Casavecchia di Pontelatone DOC – mine was still a Terre del Volturno IGT however, because the DOC arrived in 2011. Found in Alto Casertano only, Casavecchia is a very unique grape variety that has a very strong bond with its land like few others: it doesn’t want to be anywhere else! It shared the same fate as many rare native varieties, and after the devastation of phylloxera it had almost completely disappeared. History has it that some plants of it were found inside a Roman ruin, ‘a casa vecchi’ (old house), and it is believed it got its name from there as well as its and gradual but steady recovery.
With Casavecchia it can be nothing more than a love story, because it is a variety that is on average less vigorous than those of the area, and not very productive as well, so the resulting commitment would make no sense for winemakers not inclined to produce wines of great quality and finesse. Here “less is more” is certainly the rule.
Let’s get back to our bottle now, to the magic that burst out of a glass of wine, capable of transporting us in a blink of an eye to the places of our memory, to the places of the heart as it happened with this Trebulanum. Shy and withdraw at first, it suddenly exploded in a fragrant blaze of intense scents of flowers, those that fill the air on a hot summer day and that always inebriate me when I pass by the oleanders along the path leading to the sea. Here is my “dominant olfactory note”, and this is exactly what amazes me the most about a good wine every time, this ability to play with my olfactory memory going well beyond the recognition of the fragrances of the bouquet and taking me to a specific place and time, where I am often not alone. In these times of forced isolation this comes in very handy indeed!
And the unmistakable sip brings me back to her, Talita, one of my favorite wine women, tirelss ambassador of her land, Alto Casertano, where everything is relatively uphill because, inexplicably, it is not one of the most popular areas of the Campania region. Talita, who always hugs me as if she was waiting for me only at Vinitaly! And in her stand, among the precious soil, wine, bread, cheese and other treats, she makes me feel at home, mine or hers, it does not make much of a difference! Her eyes always shine so bright when she speaks of her vineyards! She even brought a piece of land along last year at Vinitaly! The home Casavecchia and of Pallagrello Bianco and Pallagrello Nero, native grapes recovered not too long ago by local producers and capable of giving great emotions, especially to those who like to read the story of a territory in a glass of wine.
Every year I find Alois wines all the more enjoyable in finesse and character, and every year they say it is the vines that are growing older! Let’s pretend it’s just that and that hard work, love and dedication play only a marginal role. I can only imagine how the wines are this year as Vinitaly was cancelled like every other event and wine fair. But we’ll catch up eventually, until then ad maiora!