Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Old Friends, New Friends by Shannon

I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic lately. This nostalgia was mainly brought out by a bottle of wine, Castello di Poppiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2001. I brought this bottle back with me from a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy.

Recently, looking at this bottle reminded me of that hot, but beautiful, day in Florence two summers ago when a group of people and I decided to rent motorinas and explore Tuscany, just south of the city. What an experience! We zipped around narrow curves, marveled at the cypress trees, tried to make sense of directions on the autostrada, and even stopped at a gas station that was closed at noon for siesta. Finally, we made it to the castello, where a kind older woman tasted us on some wines.

What a wine amateur I was! I tasted some grapes growing on vine (bitter!) and bought a bottle to sneak home in my luggage for my dad. We hopped back on our motorinas slightly buzzed and I held multiple bottles for other people in my lap, while taking a backseat as someone else operated the foreign vehicle. I still can’t believe all the bottle made it back safely to Florence, especially after one of my friends took a (luckily!) unharmed wipeout.

So, to celebrate moving out of my parents’ house and joining the adult world as a home owner, I decided to throw a small Italian themed dinner. Not only was I excited to open up the Italian bottle, I was excited to break in my kitchen and share some of my memories with new friends.

Well, the wine paired perfectly with Chicken Saltimboca and Sicilian penne. It also felt really great to drink wine in my new place while thinking about that past magical trip to Italy. That experience became real to me again as the nose opened up to fresh lilacs, and the palate, complemented by the spicy tomato sauce, reminded my of hot and balmy nights in the city sipping red wine with friends.

Everything about that bottle and my new friends reminds me again of the connecting power of wine. It can illustrate a cultural connection, an emotional connection, or maybe just making a connection with new people. I look forward to collecting and cherishing more bottles like it the future.

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