First things first: Books
The very nice editor at Publishers Weekly came to the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes Spring lunch in New York and he brought me a book to read: Adam’s Rib by Antonio Manzini (Original Italian title: La Costola di Adamo). It is set in Aosta. Yes, Aosta. The main character Rocco Schiavone is complex and intriguing and I will happily follow him into future adventures.
My pal Glenn from The Book Barn in Connecticut rounded up some books I wanted, and pals Kate and Ed brought them to New York for me. These included several of the later Tony Hillermans. I had asked Glenn to find the books Tony had written after I left New York in 1987.
When I returned to Verona I had the need to go and live in those books for a while. I read The First Eagle, The Thief of Time, Sacred Clowns and Talking God. I really do love these books. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are people I like to be with. I like to be in the beautiful and strange landscapes that Tony describes so eloquently. I have a few more, but I will save those for another time when I am feeling nostalgic for Big Sky country.
People who have never lived on the Great Plains or in the desert really cannot understand the way such landscapes make a person feel. I’ll try to explain: you feel small and by feeling small you allow yourself to become part of a greater whole. Also what at first seems austere and arid is, on closer examination, juicily alive with beauty. In the plains and desert you have to really look and by looking you see worlds within worlds. Well, it seems I cannot express this concept as well as I’d like. All I can suggest is this: go to the desert in springtime when tiny red and yellow flowers sprout on the upturned arms of giant cacti OR stand in the middle of a vast wheat field that stretches right up to the flat horizon line above which is an equally vast blue, cloudless sky. Then think about how you feel.
April 22 THANK YOU, SUSAN
Susan H. takes Michael and me to dinner at the Vescovo Moro. The food was good, the wine flowed freely and the talk touched on some shared favorite things: old roses with heady scents, Indian and Asian spices, friendship, etc. A lovely evening.
April 10 to 13 VINITALY
Yes, the world’s largest annual trade fair took place once again. I will spare you a long series of tasting notes. Instead I will just list the wines that Rang My Chimes. Suffice it to say, I recommend all these wines and the producers who made them. If you see the producer’s name on a wine list, buy the wine. You will not be disappointed.
There were of course many great wines at the fair that I did not taste for lack of time.
WINES THAT RING MY CHIMES
Fattoria Zerbina Sangiovese di Romagna “Pietramora” I tasted a flight of older vintages: 1990, 1997, 2004, 2007. Generally speaking, the wines were round, between velvet and silk, with an amalgam of fruit so firmly mixed that red berry and cherry fruits merge into one flavor.
Fattoria Zerbina Albana Passito “Scaccomatto” – a flight of older vintages: 1990, 1992,1996, 1997, 2001. General style: All the components mesh seamlessly – honey, flowers and a squeeze of lemon.
Podera Sant Cristofo Petite Verdot 2013 – Full, rich, fruity, appealing
Villa Bucci Verdicchio 2013 – Full perfume, a fine weave of elegant apricot and elderflower and bright salinity.
G.D. Vajra – Barolo “Liugi Baudana” 2012. – Luscious, heady, satisfying. I could go on and on.
Braida Barbera d’Asti “Bricco della Bigotta” 2014 – Just as luscious as ever.
Braida Bricco del Ucellone 2014 – Creamy, rich and round – like chocolate covered cherries.
Marina Cvetic Trebbiano dìAbruzzo 2013 – Elegant balance between wood and fruit.
I had a job to do during the fair: taste wines from South Africa for an Italian/English language website. I am glad this assignment came up because it is unlikely I would have taken a morning to concentrate on South African wines under usual Vinitaly conditions. There were some nice bright whites and rich reds. Producers I liked: Diemersdal, Idiom, Morgenster and Ayam.
April 1 through 7 NEW YORK, NEW YORK
I am indescribably happy to be in New York. Many of my dearest friends live here and things have been organized so that The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes will have their Spring Meeting during my visit. Hooray!
Things I did that gave me great pleasure (besides just seeing and talking to wonderful people whom I have known for decades):
I went to see the Broadway Musical Something Rotten. Fabulous choreography, great dancing, an appreciative audience, two songs that stick with you – who could ask for more.
Here is a link to the opening number: Welcome to the Renaissance.
My pal Randall (friend since college) took me to The Modern, the Museum of Modern Art’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Extraordinary interior design, excellent food and the service was perfection. It was so perfect that it was almost creepy – it was like being served by the Stepford Wives. I got used to that pretty quickly. Then we went to the Degas exhibit and selected paintings for our various imaginary country houses. Thank you, Randall.
After the ASH lunch I went up to Guy and Julia’s (she is Kate’s sister). We convinced Julia to show us some of her collection of around 100 hats from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Why I like the people of New York:
We went to the Transport Museum in Brooklyn. My pal asked the security guard if the museum had wi-fi.
He replied: “Why? If we had wi-fi everyone would be looking at their phones and not reading the display signs and not learning anything about their city.”
We went to a Cuban restaurant. I asked the waiter for a business card. He returned with a baggie containing two cigars and three boxes of matches with the restaurant name and address. (Havana at 94 Christopher Street havananyc.com).
Here is a quote from E.B. White’s Here is New York:
On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy. It is this largess that accounts for the presence within the city’s walls of a considerable section of the population; for the residents of Manhattan are to a large extent strangers who have pulled up stakes somewhere and come to town, seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail. The capacity to make such dubious gifts is a mysterious quality of New York. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.