Grandpa and Magic

images1In the much talked about film Hereafter by Clint Eastwood, there are many scenes that led me to serious reflection. The first time that I saw it, I did not observe it well, since my attention was turned to spotting this famous bottle of Rivetto Barbaresco, perhaps in the pantry, or under Matt Damon’s bed, or maybe on some restaurant table. The second time I saw the film, I was more relaxed and I must admit that the director treated the subject of the hereafter with great respect and delicacy. It is not clear to me why the human mind is tempted to write off as coincidence the kind of facts which at times have an almost surreal nature. I have always been defined as a concrete, concise and pragmatic person, but I have always been fascinated by the opposite.

OK, OK, friends, I will get to the point: I thought that the presence of a bottle of Rivetto wine in this cinematic masterpiece was perhaps not so accidental. Coincidences? Certainly they exist and while I tell you these things in part I do not fully believe them. In the film, there is a scene in which one of the two young twins loses the train because the little cap that belonged to his younger brother, who died in a tragic roadway accident, falls to the ground. That very train, as it happens, ends up exploding due an act of terrorism. Each of us at some time or another has experienced coincidences that caused our lives to swerve in one direction rather than another. Sometimes we laugh it up, sometimes we don’t think about it at all and sometimes we brush it aside.

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If I were to get in step with that film and had to think of a person who has given us a hand from the hereafter, I would immediately think of my grandpa Ercole. A person who was lost to us when I was four years old, following a stroke, a person who gave the Rivetto company its character. Ercole made the history of the wine of Alba and of Langa and I say this with certainty and with pride. He has not yet been acknowledged in any of the history books about the area and this makes me unhappy, but he remains in the memories and in the stories of the few elderly people of Langa that are still alive today. His wine making skills, his affability and generosity were recognized by everyone. I will not go overboard in eulogizing my grandfather, as I hate falling into the hypocritical trap of always speaking well of those who are no longer with us, something I have always despised, and especially during funereal masses. I want to believe that it was my grandfather who reached out from some other dimension to make Clint Eastwood choose that bottle. I want to believe that it was he who helped our family business with this stunning and unexpected event. That the choice of Barbaresco was not by chance, not being our best known wine and yet having been his own personal favourite: since it is not as tannic and aggressive as the Barolo he considered it more “piasus”, or pleasing. As already mentioned in the previous post, he spent an enormous amount of time in the Barbaresco area during the second world war, safeguarding the Nebbiolo wine production of his friends’ wine cellars during the conflict. Coincidence? Yes, perhaps.

But this year on the occasion of my thirty-third birthday I want to dream, I want to think that wine is also: MAGIC

Thank you grandpa!!