$9 Country White, Miles Davis & Octopus

I throw some Miles Davis on the record player this afternoon, “Stella by Starlight,” and peer out Swigg’s large bay windows. I know Autumn is sauntering in as I draw the curtains to impede the limbo-ing light, that is insidiously tip toe-ing lower and lower upon the sills.

These pre-Fall afternoons have a womb like stillness to them, and the lower arching light twirls and tangos between trees and houses, nature’s candle box, casting a world of shadow and light that complement Miles’s slow sultry trumpet notes.

This is grilling weather at it’s finest, and I’m in the mood for octopus. Swigg just received another shipment of Domaine des Cassagnoles, Côtes de Gascogne blanc, so I know exactly what I will be drinking with my tasty cephalopod. A blend of Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Gros Manseng, Domaine des Cassagnoles, Côtes de Gascogne Blanc has always been in the unofficial Hall of Fame of great wine values, a savior for broke, thirsty wine professionals. In the glass, the wine is radiant with light green and soft yellow inflections that capture the glowing edges of light between the falling leaves on this picturesque afternoon. On the nose the wine displays pithy citrus notes of grapefruit and lemon intermingled with savory green apple notes. Secondary aromas of mountain herbs, white flowers and subtle hints of mint quickly follow.

Miles Davis, Grilled Octopus and Domaine des Cassagnoles, Côtes de Gascogne Blanc…I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy the last light of summer.

-David Govatos

$9 Nero d’Avola, Black Holes, Island Wines & Paul Simon

$9 Nero d’Avola, Black Holes, Island Wines & Paul Simon.

The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry”-Paul Simon

Sagittarius A* (Sgr A) is a super massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. I’m humbled to think that 25,640 light years away, time and space come, not to and end, but to a nothing-ness. Far away from Sgr A’s event horizon, the cruel demarcation line where no light or other radiation can escape, our blue marble of a planet enjoys the refuge of sitting on the outer tendrils of our spiral galaxy.

Earth is an island within a greater archipelago of stars, planets and rocks protected by a vast onyx ocean of space, time and dark matter. However, I find solace in our isolated loneliness. We exist because of it.

I often think of our position and paradox in the universe when thinking about wine. I love island wines. Wines forged into existence through vines that have been coaxed to express the terroir of lonely, sometimes inhospitable rocks, cast about on Earth’s vast azure oceans and seas.

These places may be geographically isolated, but very much alive. The vines that take residences on these rocky rafts often reflect a vibrant, radiant sun kissed, and lava inflected fruit. This type of purity and delineation of flavor are unattainable without the geological depravation that their desolate locals provide.

For example, one of the most exciting places for wine production in the world at the moment is the idiosyncratic island of Sicily. Once known for primarily bulk wine production several decades ago, there are now a multitude of charming vinous sirens from end to end of the Island that lure my glass to them.

Though I love the wines from Mt Etna, an active volcano on the Eastern side of the Island, I’m currently sipping a simple Nero d’Avola this evening from the Di Giovanna family, sourced from the Western town of Sambuca, and really wishing I had ordered that pizza I was thinking about. Sirens are distracting for a reason.

Unfortunately, Swigg is located in a pizza desert, So I’m forced to think about how great a simple slice of real New York Style pizza would jive with this simple Island red. In the glass, Di Giovanna’s Artist Series Nero d’Avola, expresses restrained red berry notes, somewhere between cherry and plum, autumnal leaf matter, baker’s chocolate, loamy earthen notes and red-rose petal. The lovely drying tannin here and ample acidity, perfectly accentuate the tang of red sauce and cut through the lactic protein of various offerings of fromage. The wine is pure, simple and pleasing. I rejoice that the Giovanna’s did not opt to obscure the wine’s simplicity with new oak.

While I sip this “Black Grape of Avola,” off in the distance, 25,640 light years away, another rapacious, faceless obsidian devil lurks, ripping apart reality from the seams of time. Though an eternity in between, our horizons are the same. To contradict John Donne, every man/ woman is an Island. Though I agree with Donne, we wish we were a “piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

And we should not fret, “don’t cry baby”, this is not a bad thing. Islands have beaches and they have vines, and they have horizons. Places where time stands still and hope is infinite. Wine, physics and Paul Simon can’t be wrong, “these are the days of miracle and wonder” …Drink up!

-David Govatos