“I cold-bloodedly then fed her into a tomb of goop from the gloppitta-gloppitta machine! I ask you to acquit me! Acquit me on the grounds of justifiable homicide. And not for my sake…for yours.”
When I began writing my little articles or memories, who would realize that I would be so enveloped by the current situation that I didn’t realize that I had missed my Eighth Anniversary of writing. To some it is a trifle, but to me, in my own mind it is quite monumental; the first year I wrote an article every day for publication, just to get used to writing again and then I allowed myself to get lazy and only publish every other day. I call myself The Wine Raconteur, because raconteur is an old word that I fell in love with, when I was in grade school and was learning how to read, at first I kept mistaking it for racketeer, because Eliot Ness and The Untouchables was a major show on television back then. Actually, a raconteur is a story teller, from the early days of Myron Cohen to Buddy Hackett and brought to the big screen in The Big Fish, men that tried to weave a yarn. That is the conceit of my writing, if I can claim a conceit, is that I write how wine enhances the moment. Some of my friends always complain that I bury the lead, an old journalism expression, because I never get to wine until the third paragraph or beyond. I like to set the scene for the moment, so who expected that I would be in lockdown for seventy days, especially when we were told thirty days. For thirty days I figured I could skate through, but the quotes and the scenes were getting grimmer and grimmer, not because my house and setting are terrible, on the contrary, I love my house and of course my Bride, but the story teller in me is getting pressed harder and harder to paint an idyllic setting under the tyranny of a moving deadline of confinement.
As I am thinking of the Roast Beef dinner that we had with Armenian Pilaf and steamed Asparagus, I kept drifting to the elaborate meals that Terry Thomas, the butler would serve to his employer Jack Lemon, who was a cartoonist in the style of Modesty Blaise, Mandrake the Magician, Steve Roper et al. The difference was that the entire story board was first photographed by Terry Thomas, while Jack Lemon’s character went about saving the world. The public knew that everything witnessed in the strips were actually done prior by a raconteur who employed pen and ink. This was the gist of the film “How to Murder Your Wife” and before you think that because my Bride and I have been cooped up under lockdown, all is great. The film culminated with a classic court room scene that Jack Lemon commandeers. I remember seeing that film in 1965 with my parents and I was in awe of Bash Brannigan and his penthouse and lifestyle.
Now as we ease into the third paragraph, one of my duties is to find a wine that will compliment the dinner, as I look for forgotten or misplaced wines in the cellar. Trust me, there are plenty of misplaced bottles, because I get lazy and don’t feel like shifting maybe thirty bottles to fit one bottle in properly and I tell myself that I will remember. Azienda Agricola Ciccio Zaccagnini is one of the leading producers in the Abruzzo region of Italy, with around seven-hundred-forty acres of vineyards. The bottles are always adorned with a small remnant from a vine and a great marketing image. I found a bottle of Cantina Zaccagnini il vino “dal tracetto” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012, one of my favorite districts for good dependable easy drinking red wines from the Montepulciano grape. The winery was established in 1978 and has steadily grown and they now produce over three million bottles of wine, and seventy percent of the production is now divided among forty-five countries. The wine production for each vintage takes about two years to complete and this eight-year-old still maintained a deep ruby red color, the nose had softened and so did the tannins, but still a very flavorful layered wine of the old school. My partner in crime was very pleased with the wine, and so was I. And before I bid you Ciao this evening, I will tell you that both in the artistic frames of the comic strip, and in the film, the cement mixer makes the noise of gloppitta-gloppitta and is an important “character” in the script.