loading grain & freights
have the tracks humming overtime in Rosario
(Freitag, 27. Juni 2008)
decaying infrastructure & all, rails
rule this riverport city
que contempla el Paraná while shipments pile in
lovely losses, memory foremost
-- friends drag friendship down in flames next—
struck dumb, failing at a meager room of my own
wounds of anger find paradoxical
healing in acceptance, assumption & full
ownership of this anger...
sing along with Jackson!
‘you shake, I’ll rattle/we can roll on down th line’
(samedi 28 juin-- strange...really--)
--what’s the point of talking to meself in B&W
on th electron-fed page?
what’s th omnisemantic point of existence as abstracted
from th idiot-savant, solipsistic ‘fact’ of existence, anyway???
I seem to be good at pushing
up to th edge & shrinking back, rather than...
self-possesedly contemplating th yawning
abyss I’ve skirted oh-so-coolly?
--to paraphrase one of my favorite Jimmy Cagney
movie death scenes
‘I ain’t so cool’
(needless to say, ‘I ain’t so tough’ by a mile-long shot, either)
...gotta watch those again:
Public Enemy, Roaring Twenties & White Heat
seem th obligatory trilogy for ruthlessly ambitious
entrepreneurial-existential dead-end macho
going nuts, again...
how long can I keep *this* up, haha?
54 years & counting...!
--overwhelmed by unfulfilled dream home possibilities:
a cottage in Calistoga...or the wild Sonoma Coast...a room in an adobe casita between the Andes & the precordillera, in Uspallata or Villavicencio—since I can’t afford the prime boutique jetset vineyard Valle de Uco towns—San Carlos at the southern end, Tunuyán in the North...
what about Falmouth & the Upper Cape?
--& have I really let go of the rías of Galicia, the estuary of the Río Minho with Portugal across the floodplain & the lazy meanders around the sandbanks & beaches by the river's broad mouth?
All the lovely landscapes of this world, whether familiar or alien, well-trod or glimpsed from a high-speed train, rub my face deep into a sense of dislocation & an overwhelming yearning for a home which is swayingly poised on an ever-distant horizon.
never know when I'll have time
to myself or how long it'll last
plus I never heard from da goils
about supp or any other get-together)
always on a short leash, home or elsewhere?
holding the fort, minding the store, waiting
for a callback, a message, a word
that never comes...
knight errant Browne throwback kind of night--
oh Jackson, can you see? any color-code horizon
clear past an isle in the river?
everyman waits as long & deep
just as well as you & I do
there must be a new through-line to find & hold
--to cast & troll, pull & win-- or surrender & release
for tuneful direction blowing in through our worn-out soles...
damn th outlines flattened out, never damn my eyes!
el sur helado y el norte cenizo
de mito en llamas
bienvenido a este mundo
que cae roto del cajón
donde tiempo atrás se escondió
cada memoria es un día
cada día una memoria
que se gasta irregular
o guarda para regalo
abre y cierra el recuerdo
cierra y abre la ilusión
entran y salen
esperanza y decepción
mientras los blancos embriagan su follaje
aún verde tarde en la estación del ocaso
sorbiendo el torrente de las acequias
guardan los cielos tibia luz escasa
para el hogar que improviso
ante umbrales repetidos
de sombrío aluvión arrinconado
--peregrino de mis pagos
lo propio deriva en ajeno
y lo ajeno redunda en propio--
aunque largas noches de invierno
me conserven un tranco más allá
de las vallas que abrigan propiedad
May draped in November
(--along th rows of yellowing white poplars...)
th burdens of life
are bundled up tight
only to be shredded
apart & strewn about
in raggedy circles
across th pockmarked dirt path
(judge not, waste not?)
th halting pace of learning
at unhappy depth
assures a patch of restful sleep
--a lively course of dreamful rest
beyond weights & measures...
& th wakeful flash of our everyday hopes
(–mayo como noviembre…)
amarillean primero los álamos negros
mientras entrado el otoño los blancos
hondamente sorben de las acequias
por emborrachar de verde aún su follaje
los cielos guardan un poco de luz
para el hogar que improviso
ante umbrales repetidos
de sombrío aluvión
(exiliado de mis dominios
lo propio deriva en ajeno
lo ajeno redunda en propio)
aunque largas noches de invierno
me conserven un tanto más allá
de las vallas que aseguran propiedades
There is a chance I may miss my currently scheduled flight home on Tuesday: LAN & American seem to have an inflexible five liter limit on...wine? Liquorous beverages? Bodily fluids?
I've been given telephone numbers for both airlines' cargo departments to ask about the possibility of shipping as freight, space & courier privileges.
Shipping by DHL may be an alternative, FedEx is not, it seems.
Minus the half-dozen bottles that would add up to a four-and-a-half liter total, I have ten bottles to deal with...any ideas, friends?
Over n out, for now.
it's --excuse me-- already Friday the 20th, official flag Day in Argentina today: greetings from the riverport city by the Paraná!)
The recurrent lesson seems to be that the only way things ever happen to get done in Mendoza (--all of Argentina??) is on the very moment one brings an idea or plan up-- or then-abouts, by serendipity or impulsive obsessiveness. (--obsessive impulsivity?)
I was shopping for shoes, under pressure, as I needed a pair that were not my hiking boots so the tailors could finish the cuffs on the pants for my new suit, when the owner walks into his little shop on 'La Peatonal', the pedestrian mall in downtown Mendoza. Eduardo Ghilardi takes over from his salesman, gets me talking about my projects & seesawing fortunes of the last six (--near seven!) months, & finally sells me a pair of shoes while struggling to get his friend Fernando Festa on his celphone-- 'Ugni Blanc?? (--he reacted when I brought up Conalbi-Grinberg & my Wine Blogging Wednesday assignment) --I know somebody who makes organic wine from that grape!'
But the next day we head out to Cavas de Chacras...
(...to be continued...)
For this installment, I took a chance on a fairly expensive version of an ugly duckling grape as produced by boutique winery Conalbi-Grinberg of Mendoza. (If I get a chance, I'll add some notes on three local Viogniers I've tried...)
In a preview of coming attractions tacked on to my previous posting, I judged the wine 'unarguably overpriced', which I'd like to retract, as there is-- arguably?-- always room for argument-- at least as far as wine is concerned!
To make a long story short, I'd tipped my hand as to my particular interest in the grape when I phoned the winery, so I had precious little room for argument-- read, 'haggling'-- when Sergio Grinberg sprung the news that-- however diminished the wine might admittedly be from its younger self-- he was letting bottles of his remaining stock go for 150 pesos. That's just about fifty dollars, give or take a buck, depending on exchange rate fluctuations. I swallowed hard. See, the bottling was from 2001, product of a relationship that went unfortunately sour & cut off the winery's source for their only white wine.
Double gulp. Long-in-the-tooth white wine from Rodney Dangerfield grapes? Call me a glutton for punishment-- maybe I should link back to all the posts where I decry my weakness for iffy white wines... but then again, better I should not.
Some background on this particular Vitis Vinifera subvariety, from the Rhone Rangers' page on white varietals:
This ubiquitous grape is perhaps better known by its Italian name of Trebbiano... Although very few people in the United States have heard of it, the varietal is France’s most planted grape [Robinson, 1996], outnumbering Chardonnay five to one in the 1980s. The varietal is so prolific that it produces more wine than any other grape (even though Grenache and Spain’s Airén may cover a larger vineyard area). It is relatively low in alcohol but high in acidity, and, when not overproduced, makes wines with delicate fruit and floral aromas.
...& from Appellation America's grape listing:
Trebbiano (aka. Ugni Blanc, Saint Emilion, Procanico)
...Few grapes can or would admit to being the source of as many generic wines as this Italian native... Trebbiano’s global reach stems from its highly-productive nature and its ability to ripen easily. Beyond that, Trebbiano is afforded little respect for the quality of the wines it produces. Jancis Robinson aptly describes a typical Trebbiano’s character as “...pale lemon, little nose, notably high acid, medium alcohol and body, short. And that, I am afraid is it.”
Time to cut to the chase. The color was lovely: exceptionally deep, limpid yellow, managing to give off both golden straw & green hay glints. The nose was indeed terribly shy, with lemon & herbs & a reminiscence of white flowers. Sergio Grinberg had sighed for a distinct white rose note he said he found in the wine's aroma during its youth, & this helps fuel my regret that they're not making it anymore. In the mouth, the body was medium light, thinning quickly in the glass as it warmed. Some refreshing citrus & not much more in palate except for the surprise of lingering, spicy herbaceousness in the aftertaste: something like green ginger & fennel.
I had the chance to share most of the bottle with a lovely couple from London (--although Aidan is Irish from County Clare, & Debbie is originally from the Channel island of Jersey) who have been traveling for six months & keep their own blog, here. I feared the wine might have deteriorated-- this was two days after I opened the bottle for notes-- but there was some staying power to the juice, which made the high price seem worth it...mostly. The color was still its most dramatic selling point, but they also noticed the subtle herbal-citrus interplay, & lamented the mouthfeel's tendency to quickly lighten & wash out in the glass.
All in all, I'm happy Sergio & his partner, Pablo Conalbi, overcame my skepticism regarding 'boutique wineries' & welcomed my visit. I'm also unutterably glad of the chance to sample an 'upscale' product coaxed out of what is considered a 'common' grape. Call it part of my personal crusade to shake inherited prejudices & fight condescending & dismissive attitudes, wherever they may originate. But, as is so often the case with me-- especially as I usually make a point, like our virtual tasting hostess for this month, of ferreting out exceptional quality at an accessible price-- my feelings are ultimately so mixed regarding what the wine delivers under the circumstances as to render a clear, cut & dried judgement, whether in numerical terms or not, impossible for me...so there. See you in July!
(Missed my chance to blare, 'Hold The Presses!' from the masthead: as last Wednesday's deadline approached, I was visiting a winery by the name of 'Cavas de Chacras' which produces versions of both Ugni Blanc & Viognier from organically grown grapes. On first taste, the Ugni Blanc was peculiarly reminiscent of Sauv Blanc, with grassy gooseberry character, while the Viognier was rather tight & unyielding to the senses. Will taste again this evening, in good company, & will post a link here to a separate post for tasting notes & the story of how I discovered the winery. Cheers to all participants this month!)