A Summer house in the Hamptons and a cast of interesting people. For drama, you don’t need much else.
There was the dress designer, Dresser, a childhood friend of my future ex-wife. There was his boyfriend, Geoffrey, who could not quite make up his mind if he was happy being a man. If that was not entertainment enough, there was the older woman, who insisted on being recognized as a “Citizen of the World”. There was Liz, part of the other Hetero couple in the house, who had a business connection to Dresser. She was obsessed with being the “Coolest Mom in the World” to her 13-year-old son. (Note to self– “Cool” parents are permissive.) There was also a collection of Dresser’s friends, who did not pay rent but who managed to position themselves for invitations to the house on many weekends. Some of these were gay or they were models, sometimes both, and many of them moochers, miscreants and charlatans who showed up to his weekly parties– vodka-fueled antics that were punctuated by the ritualistic slaughter of many unfortunate Maine lobsters.
And there was the beautiful Argentine. Not particularly tall, but leggy nonetheless. My favorite memories of that Summer are the idle moments spent poolside, sunglassed, and entranced by her bathing attire. Nothing more than “postage stamps held together by dental floss,” as Dresser would say. Each and every day, those words resonated with me as I reclined in full appreciation of the care she took to tan her rounded buttocks in the mid-day Hampton Sun.
It was a fantastic Summer till it all fell apart when the Heteros in the household banded together demanding a weekend of Quiet that didn’t happen. It turns out that a party every weekend with a bunch of strangers was not all that it was cracked up to be. That was perhaps inevitable. But for today let us focus on the good things that came out of that summer and especially the scantily clad Argentine Princess. Believe me, there is plenty of drama in that…
Now this recollection might normally lead to a review of an Argentine wine. But there are many Argentines of Italian descent and I can live with that intersection of humanity even if it comes via the Hamptons.
When I catch myself unconsciously smacking my lips and clicking my tongue it’s usually cause by particularly striking sunbathing attire on a beautiful woman or merely a very good wine. In either case, I sit up and take notice.
Barberas with their natural acidity have always been appealing to me. But it’s not all about the acid. They also have the right amount of weight and depth that appeals to me.
The last two Barberas that I have tasted are from Alba. Located within Piemonte in northern Italy, Alba is one of two towns fabled for the production of better Barberas. It seems easier to find Barberas from Asti. But it does not take that much more of an effort to find the ones from nearby Alba. Both are good, even if they have different characters. Personally, I have found the ones from Asti to be a bit more minerally in character, whereas the ones from Alba are earthier. Both sport appealing red and black fruit flavors. But these days, at least, the ones from Alba draw my eye like a well-appointed bikini.
Livio Voghera Barbera d’Alba Riserva 2009 ($20). A lovely if not quite powerful nose: touches of earth and perhaps a hint of tar transmogrify into a mix of stoney black plum and perhaps some violets and a smattering of hyacinth. These give way to a medley of obdurate berries– red and black– that are insistent on having a fencing contest in my mouth. En garde! Thrust! Parry! What a nice finish. My head says this is worth 3 stars. But my mouth is clamoring for more. Perhaps that’s the 14.5% alcohol speaking, but today– Mouth wins. Rated ***1/2