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07
Sunday
07 June 2020

Chilled red

Long-distance friendship is kept alive through memories and emotions that can be uncorked whenever you want. All you have to do is want it. Angelo Gaja sent us one of his sublime wines, this time made with words that carry the scent of mountains, childhood, and a word of advice – because that is what good friends do.

Mountains and childhood
My childhood’s mountains were those in Valle di Susa in Piedmont, in Salbertrand to be precise, where my grandmother Clotilde lived. Salbertrand is a small village located at 1,100 m altitude, nestled at the end of the valley and to the left of the Dora Riparia river. In this place the wind always blows, the sun rises late and sets early. It is a way station, not your typical elite holiday destination. You do not choose what you love, and the same could be said about me and Salbertrand.

Mountains and my dad
Salbertrand makes me think about my father – because he carried it in his blood and heart. He taught me that Salbertrand works miracles: the air is better, the water from the fountain is fresher and does not cost a dime, the milk and potatoes here taste better, and freshly baked rye bread takes you back to the good old days when everything was simpler…

Mountains and wine
And what about wine? At that altitude, wine improves in terms of quality and pleasure. And it did not take me long to realise the truth of that statement. I often asked myself why wine tasted so much better in Salbertrand when compared to the town of Barbaresco in the lower valley where I lived, and tried to come to terms with this. During our summer holidays, we spent two months in my grandmother’s mountain house: we always wore a jumper, there was no heating, we had a gas stove, and the wine bottles were always five or six degrees cooler than the ones in Barbaresco. If we then happened to go for a walk in the mountains, we would take a bottle of wine too. Uncorking it was the sweetest thing, and it was difficult to not finish it in one go as we washed down our snacks. At those altitudes, our sense of smell and taste are more active – and the lower temperatures are excellent for sipping a good glass of wine.

Mountains and a wish
This is my last wish: let us learn to not kill red wines with high temperatures. Drink chilled red wine to savour them more.