Mea Culpa


Flowers for your forgiveness…

I take it all back.

Please forgive me and forget that you heard me actually complaining in my last entry. Whatever I had to experience and endure to get here was a speck of Piemonte tuffo compared to the sensory rewards this part of the world offers. I have what I believe are some great wine recommendations that you should be able to find in the states. But while I want to share all I’ve seen, sipped, and ate since I’ve been here with you, this post will be about something that’s been as enjoyable for me as all of these elements: the people.

When you get caught up in your own issues, it’s easy to forget the golden rule of “getting what you give”. It’s simple. Whatever energy, attitude, woo-woo, whatever you want to call it, put forth to others, sooner or later that same energy comes right back to you. Such was the case with myself when I first arrived, as I could only be irritated, over-heated, and confused. Once settled and into a groove, I lost the cry-baby attitude and began to do what I came here for– enjoy this for all its worth.

Now that’s very easy to do when you have Barolos to your left, Barbarescos to your right, a truffle here, a touch of Moscato d’Asti there, and so on. And in two days, I’ve had all that. But what’s really making this special is the people I’ve met and talked to. It started with Eduardo at Coppo, in Canelli. I was fifteen minutes early (nice work Luigi! That’s my Fiat…), and hit the call button at the gate.

“Buongiorno?” I waited for an answer…

“…You are Jared?” said the voice from the box.

“…Si!” Sono spiacente , mi Italiano e non molto beni.” This has become my trademark phrase when beginning a conversation to a local. I’m blessed and cursed I suppose; blessed that I have the DNA to look and even sound somewhat like a local. People speak to me in rapid Italian, sometimes adding a laugh at the end and await my response. My witty retort? “Sono spiacente….” They look at me with a sort of amusement and I want to say “It’s O.K! You can talk to me in Italiano! I’ll just nod and laugh too, maybe make some hand gestures. Try and look chic. But I’m busted.


“You come early, no?”

“Si… is that all right? I can come back.”

“NO! You wait- I open the door.”

After both of us apologized profusely to each other for our language inabilities, he spoke to me about the history of the winery as we waited for the other two guests on our tour. And waited. And when they did arrive, was he irritated and short with them for this inconvenience? Not at all.

The tour was slotted for one hour followed by a tasting. How long was it actually? More like two and a half. I’ll get into all the wines I’ve tried soon, I promise, but I will say that he went above and beyond by opening one of their top red wines, a 2005 Barbera d’Asti “Pommorosso”, for us to try. Bravo…

*  *  *

Stefano at Elio Perrone was equally gracious and kind. And patient. After being so damn proud of myself yesterday for showing up early at the winery, I was a half an hour late here. Italy. Roads. Insanity…

He asked me– asked me– what type of tour I would like.


I asked him if it would be all right if we looked a bit closer at the actual vines and soil, rather than the typical walk-through of fermentation tanks, barrel room, etc. He smiled, said “O.K., let’s go”, and we jumped in his car so he could drive me through their vineyards and surrounding property, stopping here and there for pictures or closer inspection of the chalk, limestone, and tuffo (clay).


He carefully explained to me how Moscato grapes here in the province of Cuneo need the heat but don’t like too much sun, as this will split open the skins and forfeit some of their trademark aromatics. All this in a language that’s likely a bit odd for him. I can’t say enough about how well I was treated here, and again I’ll comment on the wines next time.


Il mundo piccolo. I found out that Stefano’s been to Portland with the distributors that carry his wines, and met John Paul from Cameron winery. Long story short, his wife is an artist and wound up designing the label for “Il Bruno”, the chardonnay made by Cameron and sold by Casa Bruno distributors. I even got to meet his wife and new son, Elio (named after his grandfather) as I was leaving. Again, at least two hours here and I left feeling like I made friends.

*  *  *

The end of the day was spent with Lorella from Azelia winery in Castiglione Faletto. I figured Barolos would be the best way to end this day. Again. A half an hour late.


Was she upset? It was 5:30, not exactly a normal time for tours. Not a bit. And again (!), I received embarrassed apologies about a lack of fluent English. Are you kidding me??


She gave me the full-on winery/cellar tour, and we laughed at each others wild gestures, trying madly to communicate in broken English and Italian. She relayed to me her hopes for her eighteen year old son to carry on the family business. We rolled eyes about how good the food is around here, looked at cookbooks, commented on how cool small cars are in Europe, and nearly forgot about the wine. And we’re talking about Azelia Barolo here, folks.

My point here with this post is not to say “Look at me! I’m in Piedmont hanging out with winemakers- nah-nah!!” It’s to say how lucky I am to have been received so very well by everyone. These are busy people who have the world’s attention with their products. And I’m just a… wandering fool, in love with the world of food and wine. I’m pretty sure just about any visitor would have been treated the same, though. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why these guys succeed; you get what you give. It makes business sense, and just feels like a natural mind-set here anyway.

I leave you all with good sips of Barbera, bites of Barolo braised beef, and visions of vine-covered hills in Cuneo. May all these sensations be yours too…




~ by Jared on June 13, 2009.

15 Responses to “Mea Culpa”

  1. Italy. The people are the best, the warmest, the most welcoming. Love the scenery, the food of course the wine, all of it. OK, Love the Fiat. Vicariously enjoying the journey.
    your pals c&g

  2. Hey Jared!
    Just joined a couple wine clubs here in Santa Cruz, thought about you when I sampled the Port…..OMG!
    Looks and sounds like your having a wonderful time there, my friend! Take many pics, eat well and of course……

    • Ciao-ciao, Michael…

      I’ll do my best to do all those things, promise. Wish i were sitting w/ you somewhere and sipping a Dubrul Owen Roe cab.


  3. That was a great read. Cool connection to Portland there. But I’d refrain from using the word “aromatics.” That…my friend…is “Eagle” talk.

    • …ouch.

      Take it back. NOW.

      Thought about you yesterday, when I couldn’t finish my lunch, and had to dump the rest of my riserva Barolo out.


      Only so much one guy can eat and drink, ya know?

      Seriously, you need to come here. Sell your instruments and do it. Now.

  4. Jared

    You got it right “Maybe that’s one of the reasons why these guys succeed; you get what you give.” That has been the secret of the successes of many – including you so far.

    Perhaps a nice wild boar ragu and a Barolo for dinner. Let us know for as Greg and Camille said we are vicariously enjoying the journey.


    • Thanks, Robert.

      I appreciate that!

      Actually, I had Barolo-braised beef for dinner. Not too shabby…


  5. Any video of these wonderful places?
    Would like to see your goofy coutenance showing us the local scenery.

  6. Oh man, you’ll never believe this, but I forgot the flip mino in Scotland. …CRAP!

    Sorry, but I’ll make it up w/ something good once I get back, promise.


  7. hey b%#~*! this is Yura Culpa! absolutto!!!
    how are you and the Misses??? I hope your travelin pants are fitting you well. more later—
    be well my friend,


    • Hola amigo…

      “Yura Culpa”- good one!

      The travelling pants are tight (especially in the waist) and a bit worn, but I like ’em. They’re not too fancy, either…

      Hope your well and sell some of these wines to your peeps at NS.


  8. I LOVE IT!

  9. Why bother going to any other part of Europe? You have experienced Italia–it is in your blood, it is your heritage, it is your destiny to look and act Italian. Clever, handsome, sensitive, so cool with style and especially the brooding eyes, just like Stallone or De Niro… Who can be writing this? Who is Jared’s biggest fan?

    • It’s all your fault I can’t go anywhere in Italia without someone approaching me and firing away in speedy Italian, hands flailing wildly. Momma-mia is right…

      Thanks for all the good looks and suave charm, Ma (sorry dad). Please forgive me for any glaring errors in my grammar or bad words (you taught me better than that!) within the blog. And please send me a sauce with meatballs- you know, the kind where you use pork, beef, and veal? Waaaaaahhhh!!!


  10. Buon Giorno baby brother!
    Don’t discount the other half of our ancestory. Our German blood has also brought us perfection in our work, the Dutch~punctuality,(hmm looks like you were absent that day), and the Czech ~ love of the sending stuff, (Czech is in the mail!). Enjoyed the read! Love ya, Eva baby

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