Slowly n` Swiftly but surely

Today we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of signing the Slow Food Manifesto, 8th October 1979. The International Movement for the defence and the right to pleasure. For those of you not born then, and for those of you who are old enough, but have trouble remembering it, here goes:

Born and nurtured under the sign of Industrialisation, this century first invented the machine and then modelled its lifestyle after it. Speed became our shackles. We fell prey to the same virus: ‘the fast life’ that fractures our customs and assails us even in our own homes, forcing us to ingest “fast- food”.

Homo-sapiens must regain wisdom and liberate itself from the ‘velocity’ that is propelling it on the road to extinction. Let us defend ourselves against the universal madness of ‘the fast life’ with tranquil material pleasure.

Against those – or, rather, the vast majority – who confuse efficiency with frenzy, we propose the vaccine of an adequate portion of sensual gourmandise pleasures, to be taken with slow and prolonged enjoyment.

Appropriately, we will start in the kitchen, with Slow Food. To escape the tediousness of “fast-food”, let us rediscover the rich varieties and aromas of local cuisines.

In the name of productivity, the ‘fast life’ has changed our lifestyle and now threatens our environment and our land (and city) scapes. Slow Food is the alternative, the avant-garde’s riposte.

Real culture is here to be found. First of all, we can begin by cultivating taste, rather than impoverishing it, by stimulating progress, by encouraging international exchange programs, by endorsing worthwhile projects, by advocating historical food culture and by defending old-fashioned food traditions.

Slow Food assures us of a better quality lifestyle. With a snail purposely chosen as it’s patron and symbol, it is an idea and a way of life that needs much sure but steady support.

After a SLOW chilled glass of welcome Sercial, the lunch began with the last slivers of Mortadella (Italian* produce NOT Argy) with some Artichoke hearts and a fresh local Goat’s cheese. (*)The SENASA, El Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria, have now banned all imports of Italian pork products, as they apparently use medicines (anti-Bs etc) for the Italian pigs that do not correspond with the local agricultural laws and practices in Argentina. How more ridiculous can you get with that one? If anyone with any sense made a proper comparison, however slowly!, you may find the local practices are purely laid out for financial, and export (China) gain only, and nothing to do with the health of the animal or the consumer. Yuk! By the way, I forgot to mention the nibble we had with the ‘dog-strangler’ at the beginning of lunch. Slightly chilled cucumber slices topped with Burrata and fresh dill from the balcony. The next course I decided to grill some Morcilla (blood sausage) top it with a runny poached egg, some of my tappinade and an asparagus or two. Yum! The night before, I had marinated some Mollejas (sweetbreads) in Dijon mustard, lemon juice and a splash of Fiano that was already open, and grilled them while I finished off the roasted baby Andean potatoes and truffleized mushrooms. All went down well with various wines that I will mention in a mo. I then disappeared to the kitchen to complete the one dish that was not one of my recipes but a recipe that hails direct from the west coast of Siciliy. Pasta a la Sarde. Thanks to some of the most violent and blood thirsty Palermo gangsters of the last century (namely Riina, Buschetta and from Roma the h.d.p. Andreotti) we are left with their favorite Cosa Nostra lunch, and thank goodness that I am still alive to try it, it is a good one. Sorry, I cannot remember in this moment what the pudding was, but here are the wines including the sweetie:

2018 Gruner Veltliner (David Bonomi) Bodega Norton, Mendoza
I am totally addicted to this Gruner Veltliner. It was released onto the market about a month ago now and I have already gone through 3 cases of the stuff.

It is of course a subtle bone dry wine with a complex aroma of white fruits, citrus and tropical fruits. It has a rounded and very tasty saline finish in the mouth thanks to the fact that it maintains good acidity, and being very well made by our top man.

2016 Fiano Gran Reserva Bodega Calleum, Mendoza
Golden reflections on the nose with white flowers such as jasmine, and spices. It has a fresh and dry entrance, and a long persistence in the mouth. Clean, fresh and indeed quaffable.

2016 Don Chisciotte Fiano, Zampaglione Pierluigi, Campania

2016 Don Chisciotte Fiano, Zampaglione Pierluigi, Campania
Lucky me, again a white wine that I could be addicted to if it was available down here, alas  it`s not! Zampaglione Pierluigi is in charge of making this micro-biodynamic heavenly white. Very long maceration on the skins, indigenous yeasts, and of course unfiltered. The perfect SLOW white wine.

Intense golden color, beautiful aroma of thyme and lavender, embellished with peppery nuances. The purest! expression of Fiano di Avellino.

2016 Mannequin Chardonnay from Orin Swift, Napa Valley
When I drew the cork on this one I nearly fell over backwards as I read 15.2% of alc…. David Swift Phinney must have a strong head. On the nose it was packed with granny smith apple, poached pear, jasmine and orange blossom. An assertive mouthfeel and striking acidity gives way to layers of honeysuckle, white peach and tangerine. Apparently the wine is aged in 40% new French oak and aged sur lie for nine months. One word from me, intoxicating.

2016 Mannequin Chardonnay from Orin Swift, Napa Valley

2015 Cheval des Andes (from their cousins Chateau Cheval Blanc in St.Emilion), Mendoza
This one is a 69% local Malbec and 31% local Cabernet Sauvignon house brick. Aromas of blackberry, spice and flower. Lavender, rose and lilac follow. It grows a little on the palate and sure it has finesse and complexity for a Mendocian big hitter. The next vintage 2016 even received 100 bloody points from BiG brother.

2015 Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon from Orin Swift, Napa Valley
Toasted oak and ripe dark berries linger on the nose with a subtle touch of cassis. On the mouth the wine does not attack, it simply lures you on. It gently lingers on the palate for a moment before evolving into a full and serious wine with amazing concentration of flavor. The flavors that are most prevalent include kirsch/cherry notes, black currant, raspberry and a welcome slightly dusty finish. Big alcohol and not for me, but went well with the offal.

2015 Malvasia delle Lipari, Tenuta di Castellaro
Delicious ripe apricot nose, with figs, elderflower and raisins. On the palate it has a good balance between sweetness and acidity which makes it a pleasantly fresh wine, never cloying. Excellent with a typical island pastry, in this case we enjoyed Baclava (i remember now).

Smokes and the gran-digestivo 1988 Marc de Bourgogne J.Drouhin, which I did not touch a drop of, ended the lunch.

One of the topics discussed during the day was about the current phenomenal prices being reached by both red and white Burgundy today. Being lead by D.R.C. and of course Domaine Leroy. It is no secret that wines from Burgundy are now of high value. The region accounts for more than half, 59% to be exact, of the most expensive wines on the secondary market. In January, this year, Liv-ex published a report which examined the region’s market performance and questioned the sustainability of its prices. The FT also explored the topic more recently in “Investing in wine: has Burgundy’s bubble burst?”. I noted that not only have wine prices skyrocketed in general in the area, but they have also pushed the cost of the terroir. Some Chateau owners from Bordeaux have moved into Burgundy in 2017, for example Chateau Latour owner Francois Pinault bought the monopole, Clos Tart, for an undisclosed sum. Rumours suggested a price in excess of £10m per acre was paid. What, we asked, may happen to land prices if the wines produced no longer commanded such stratospheric prices? Who knows! What we do know however is that Burgundy’s brightest star, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti had outperformed famous luxury groups Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, Hermes and Apple, proving itself as something of a status symbol. And compared to Bordeaux’s First Growths, prices for D.R.C. continue to dazzle us all.

Feliz cumpleaños a SLOW FOOD!

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