The Wine That Changed My Life

Ok, that sounds very dramatic (but we all have one)…

However, it is true.  I was lost, like many of us, at one point in my life.  I knew there was something more out there for me.  My life as a dancer was coming to a end.  I was fighting with the fact that I wanted to continue to perform, but I just didn’t have the desire anymore.  My heart was wavering on the only thing I knew; dance.  I felt like a trader.  How could I abandon my art form, my love, what helped me breathe…

I never felt “smart”.  I barley finished high school.  The only reason I went to college was because I was talented and had a really good audition.  The world was changing; internet, cell phones, spread sheets….there was no way I was going to wrap my head around this stuff.

I followed my ex husband around like a zombie.  I thought I could find something, anything, that could stick to my disorientated brain.  I found myself one day at an Italian wine tasting.  My ex told me I wouldn’t understand much of what I was drinking – “This stuff is way to hard for a beginner like yourself”.  More self doubt, more loathing of the un known…

I walked up to a table and saw a bottle of wine with a picture of a door on the label.  Beautiful, alluring, foreign with it’s language – I was intrigued.  The grape; Nebbiolo.  The area; Piedmont.  Conversation about terroir, single vineyards, oak treatments…I turned off.  Maybe my ex was right.  I was out of place.  I contemplated running for my life before this nice man, trying to be polite and explain the wine to me, figured out I was an idiot.

With one sip everything changed.  The wine told me it’s story.  Yes, a single vineyard; grapes isolated from all other vineyards because of their superiority and other elements that just make the grapes sing.  Special already.  Deep color, black berry and currant, spice and mint; how can this be happening.  How can I taste all of these things in one wine?

The picture on the label was of Orme Su La Court (Footsteps in La Court).  It is an art walk, throughout the vineyards, dedicated to earth, air, fire, water – the four elements.  Expression of how everything comes together, and how we cannot have one without the other.  What inspires the senses is not just one direction or one thought; it is our history, our future, our own wanting of the now and what can be, and what makes us who we are.

I did find my brain, and I want to tell you (and this took a long time) that I am a witty and intelligent woman!   I went on, not only to create a career in wine, but to SELL wine in an Italian restaurant in New York City.  Yes, the girl who didn’t have depth dove into the pool.  I would perform inventory, every Tuesday morning, in a very cold cellar, imagining that the wines spoke to me; made me part of their family.  I learned so much down there, in the dark, curled up with a notebook and a load of bottles to count.  Makes me giggle now, but also comforts me.  Thank you Michele Chiarlo for creating Cerequio Barolo, and for the stories you have told me.  I have eaten at your table, walked your vineyards, and sat by your fire at night.  This is where my mind goes now, and there is no end.  Thank goodness for that.

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