Greetings from Friuli everyone! I arrived safely and aside from one “zipper situation” in the security line at LAX, (Really? I just had to wear the Tootsie Pop unders on a day that I decide to flash all that cared to look, at Los Angeles International Airport? Perfect) I made it here to the North Eastern hills of Italy unscathed and in good spirits. Those of you that pay attention to such things you might have noticed that I posted my last entry about three hours before I was to supposed to leave for the airport…yeah, I suck at travel. Was only about fifteen minutes late for our, “Let’s leave by” time and sailed my exhibitionist ass through security with lots of time to spare.
Empty row all to myself from Los Angeles to New York, this was a godsend. Stretched my chunky, sleep needing ass out and slept almost the entire way there which I am sure is part of the reason I can find the energy to write and the desire to pop the bottle of Il Roncal Chardonnay that was just like sitting here, waiting for me and junk. Yummy un-mucked with Chardonnay is charging my batteries while I screw around before dinner. Off to a fantastic start.
Kinda weird meeting, like face to face meeting, people you have been reading and chatting with for as long as I have been with a couple of the guys along on this amazing journey. Alfonso of On the Wine Trail in Italy is exactly as I thought he would be; smart, dashing, funny, inclusive, wicked interesting and I adore that he and I share a similar “emotional” way of writing, not just writing, but feeling about wine. I was a fan before we actually met and now, well now I’m just trying my best to not be like that boogery kid that we all hid from in grade school, “Hey! Wait for me!” with him…
Jeremy of Do Bianchi on the other hand is not at all what I expected. I had in my mind that he would be kind of quiet and shy but nothing could be further from the truth. Matter of fact I’ve found myself speechless a couple of times by just how charismatic and commanding he is. The guy not only knows his shit, he knows it in multiple languages and is an ever willing teacher. Cannot believe my good fortune to be here in Friuli with these guys that are so very passionate about this place and just so happen to be wicked cool.
David of McDuff’s Food & Wine Trail falls somewhere in between. Kind of what I expected as far as the wine stuff goes but he caught me a little off guard with a kind of quiet sweetness. The first to grab my bag, following me out while I had my dreaded cigarettes, I’m guessing in an effort to watch out for me which is just adorable as hell and comforting when being in a place so far from the people, smells and even the wines I know. I felt at home with him the second he hugged me….
I’ll have to report on Nicolas and Wayne after spending just a touch more time with them. Poor Nicholas of ‘na cica de vino, had one hell of a trek to get here and has been struck with sleep deprivation retardation, a syndrome I’ve come to know all too well. Poor baby, I’m sure he will up and running after a good night’s sleep. Wayne of both Bastianich and Old White Wine, joined us for our welcome snack, he lives here in Friuli….but I didn’t get quite enough face time with him to discover anything more than he seems like a genuinely kind man, appears to get my particular brand of humor and is absolutely in love with this place that he now calls home. I am sincerely excited to learn more about all of these tremendously articulate and remarkably knowledgeable dudes. I’ve got lots to learn and this group is saturated with guys that can teach me. Just gotta keep to my chant, “Don’t go all boogery kid. Don’t go all boogery kid”….wish me luck.
As for Friuli, well we have just met but I am immediately struck by the beauty, soft rolling hills, the way everything looks like it has been sprinkled with a soft dusting of powder….just enough to keep things from looking too stark or severe…kind of reminds me of Burgundy in that way. I’ve discovered that this place and I have something in common, a profound love for white wine and a fierce passion for the tender, glistening, groan inspiring meat of the gods…pork. Pork is huge here and seeing that prosciutto is as prevalent catsup back home round these parts….well, I’m happy as a pig in, well maybe the pigs aren’t so happy here but dammit they taste fucking amazing.
Just checking in all. Not too much to share as of yet but be sure to check out the COF2011 blog, (I put it on my blogroll) where my fellow travelers will be posting their impressions and photos, (sigh….dreaded pictures) as well…. Sweet dreams everyone