Rain, Pork, and Vino Nobile

Vecchia Cantina, 2009

Vecchia Cantina, 2009

Tonight the skies have opened with all the fanfare that thunder and lightening can bring. This isn’t anything unusual in the summer time of the Midwest, but I live in the western desert. Lightening is so unusual here in the great basin, when it happens we run outside to watch it. Rain brings the same reaction.

Vecchia Cantina is a Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano. It is made from Prugnola di Gentile, a Sangiovese clone. It is tangy, juicy and delicious, anchored with a spicy earthiness, the tannins soft and round. There is a lushness to this wine that I don’t expect in a Sangiovese. That made it all the more pleasing.

Last month I was in Ohio and experienced four rain storms in one week. For me, they were absolute pleasures. For the native Ohioans, the rain was an inconvenience. I noticed while I was there in my home state, that just as the Inuits have 50 words for snow, and the Japanese have 42 words for the color blue, the Ohioans have 23 words for pork. Don’t get me wrong, I was raised in Ohio, and eat pork like a Midwestern Protestant. Funny story, on one of our visits to my parents, my husband commented that they put pork in everything. I defended them, ‘They don’t put pork in fruit salad!’ That night my mother served melon balls with prosciutto. But I digress. My point is language reflects culture. And the culture of Ohio is pork and rain.

Sangioveto, Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino, and Nielluccio and all synonyms for Sangiovese. That there are so many words for one grape is surely a reflection of the culture of Tuscany. It is when a culture knows a thing well that it creates language for all its nuanced facets. Tuscany knows Sangiovese like Ohio knows pork.

Just like rain in the desert, the lushness of Vecchia Cantina was an unexpected but welcomed pleasure. And it goes really well with ham.