Monthly Archives: November 2013
Last week I was invited to participate in a celebration of the presentation of “Pausa di Luce.” I must admit, though I speak some Italian, I was perplexed. Curious, I went to be educated. This would be a wine tasting of a delicious upscale wine from Montalcino, Tuscany with which I was not familiar. I adore Tuscan wines. They remind me of the fabulous experiences I’ve had touring that wonderful region of Italy. I wondered if I would like this wine, a combination of Sangiovese and Merlot a recent addition to the wine-making scene in Tuscany. What I discovered was novel. Luce was the first wine in Montalcino produced with Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.
In 1995 in collaboration with the Robert Mondavi company, the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi company which oversees its estate Luce della Vite created and produced wines from Montalcino, Tuscany. After the collaboration with Mondavi ended, Lamberto Frescobaldi continued his passion creating Luce wine, and in 2009 reached a turning point. He considered: what better way to express the elegant style of his wonderful wine Luce, than to represent it with Italian-produced, hand-crafted creations? From then on Frescobaldi partnered with different companies to create limited edition pieces which reflected and symbolized aspects of the wine, Luce, that he so enjoyed producing.
This year the wine estate Luce della Vite which produces Luce partnered with renown Poltrona Frau, a leader in the finest Italian-made hand-crafted furniture. Together in their joint project, they conceptualized, “Pausa di Luce.” What is “Pausa di Luce?” It is Poltrona Frau’s creation, an armchair to celebrate the exclusive and elegant style of this grand wine of the “Casa di Luce.”
The theme is laid back excellence, something rather far flung in this modern time of digital hyperspeed and modulated rat-race living. Italians are known for their ability to take the time to relax, to appreciate, to rest, to contemplate. Rest is vital for renewal and rejuvenation. Luce is a wine that needs time to peak in its brightness, full bodied flavor and supple mouth taste. There is a required period of resting and readying the wine, making it imminently flavorful. With its supple, comfortable armchair, Poltrona Frau conceptualized relaxation and comfort, hand-crafted, Italian-style to embody the finest elements of Luce since it is a wine to enjoy, savor, relax with.
It is fitting that The “Pausa di Luce” is a special edition armchair which heralds back to the armchair handcrafted for the company by artisan Renzo Frau in 1919. Naturally, master craftsmen-artisans have designed a resting area where you may put your wine glass, sip, relax, settle back and enjoy. And ladies, relaxation isn’t just for men any more. You, especially, should be able to “pausa,” sip this luscious wine and indulge yourself to contemplate your next endeavor. I understand why the winemaker is proud to brand his product with beautifully designed and hand-crafted Italian made products, this year collaborating with Poltrona Frau. There is nothing that beats relaxed style and elegance. No uncomfortable stiffness here.
However, when I discussed the concepts further with Luce della Vite’s North American Director, Alessandro Lundardi, I understood something deeper: the need for conservation, for preserving the ancient, healthful ways, for not allowing the beneficial elements to be overtaken and destroyed by the new blighted ones. For example, the region of the vineyards of the estate is southwest of Montalcino. However, that entire region is in many ways still a relatively wild landscape; the Italians have established a respectful relationship with nature preserving it from excess building and land speculation. Its landscape is so exceptional that in 2004 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Montalcino is an ancient village on a hilltop, and the earth is rich, the climate yields outstanding wines created over the centuries, carrying through the tradition back hundreds of years for Tuscan wine-making, one of the key cornerstones being sustainability, no intrusion with chemicals, organic principles and intervention only if a vineyard needs to be made whole again.
Now, what about the wine, Luce? The 2009 vintage is beginning to peak and is delicious. It was served with various savory canapes. However, I can imagine it with sharper cheeses and with stronger red meats with which it will hold up well and bring out the piquant flavors. You can buy Luce and the Tuscan wines from Luce della Vite HERE.
The “Pausa di Luce” armchair is available only on request in a select number of Poltrona Frau showrooms in Italy (Milan and Rome), Asia (Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai), and the US (New York, Miami and San Francisco).
Last year I was introduced to Italy’s region of Umbria at La Scuola Grande, Eataly’s events restaurant. It was then I savored my first Sagrantino wine made only in the Montefalco region of Umbria and tasted the regional foods, legumes, mushrooms, pork that were and are often the traditional mainstay of Umbrian cuisine. This year Umbria is being featured once again at Eataly, NYC and to highlight the region, Steve McCurry, world-renowned photographer has created an exhibit of his photos. These will familiarize viewers with the lifestyle of the region, its towns, marketplaces, textile trades, terrain, the wineries, cuisine, artisan crafts, in short, all that is wonderful in this region, known as “the green heart of Italy.”
What impresses me about Umbria is the passion of those who are the leaders of the region who want to make sure that past connects with present-future. In other words, there is a great respect for ancient wine-making traditions, cuisines and crafts and the fervency to keep these traditions alive so they are transmitted abroad and actually sealed into perpetuity (that’s branding, folks). Part of keeping a record of what was and what will be is the “what is.” That’s where Steve McCurry comes in with his photographs. According to the President of Umbria, Catiuscia Marini, “The passion people have for the region of Umbria was captured perfectly by McCurry’s remarkable storytelling power.”
An iconic voice in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, McCurry is a good choice to pick out mythic images of the Umbrian landscape, its people, its appeal of every day life activities. McCurry has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry and he has published a number of photography books, for example The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage (2003), In the Shadow of Mountains (2007), and The Iconic Photographs (2011) to name a few examples.
McCurry selected various photographs that were used in the exhibit and can be seen at the Italian Trade Commission until Saturday, November 16th. McCurry’s photographs will also be on display at Eataly, during their month long celebration of the region of Umbria in the month of November. Eataly is holding classes focused on wines and traditional regional cuisine and is featuring Umbrian products, including wines and the Sagrantino only produced in Montefalco, Umbria.
Sensational Umbria is the title Steve McCurry has given to his project of 100 photographs. If you haven’t visited Umbria and don’t think you will have a chance in the next months, go to Eataly, NYC and take a peak at the exceptional photographs. Have a glass of Caprai wine with your pork or short ribs dish at Manzo Ristorante or Birreria. Peruse some of the Umbrian products seen here. You’ll be happy you got a chance to embrace Umbria in NYC and it will be an encouragement for you to eventually to visit that magnificent, less traveled and poetic region of Italy.
The U.S. has been at war for more than a decade. In that time period lives have been lost for a cause that many question and that more feel was trumped up to justify the monetary benefit of an elite few, oil barons, as well as the lords of war and those supporting and fueling the military industrial complex. The casualties who have died for a cause that St. Thomas Aquinas would not have labeled just for its length of continuance, mismanagement and malfeasance are at peace. Those casualties who have remained alive and are scarred physically and emotionally are legion.
Many who have returned with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder now number in the hundreds of thousands. Statistics suggest that only half of them have sought treatment. There are many wounded warriors and returning vets who do not go for help because they feel therapies offered are ineffective. They remain hopeless and feel victimized by a government that is uncaring and callous and a culture that is indifferent, fatuous and ignorant. Oftentimes, their emotional state and symptoms of anger, drinking, drugging, hyper aggression, depression, anxiety, jumpiness, sleeplessness, restiveness spill out on their family, spouses and children. If coaxed to seek help, the suggestion is ignored or provokes an angry response. The tragedy is that PTSD is never eliminated. However, there is hope if a wounded warrior seeks help. Chances are with the right type of sustained assistance from a network of individuals using a variety of therapies, PTSD will be mitigated. One only has to reach out.
This is easier said then done. The problem, then, is not being at war, it is coming home from the war, forever. Such is the subject of Charles Fuller’s play, One Night which opens to a World Premiere in NYC on November 6th. The Cherry Lane Theatre commissioned the play and the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of A Soldier’s Play answered the call. The play delivers a powerful and important message that we must be alerted to. For our men and women veterans are returning home but what are they returning to? A life of meaning and purpose, or one of emptiness and continual anxiety, stress, dislocation and fury?
Certainly, if they have seen combat, have seen their buddies sharded or incinerated by mines and explosive, have seen themselves or others losing limbs, if they have suffered Traumatic Brain Injury or worse, have walked away unscathed physically, only to labor under delusive aftershocks of heightened oppression, guilt, flashbacks, suicidal/violent thoughts and more, they are experiencing PTSD.
How do they cope? Will they seek help or slip into the convenient or overlooked statistic? One Night covers all of this and shadows how a woman responds in recompense to an unjust act effected by soldiers, themselves suffering from an inability to deal with their own trauma to act humanely. The sufferers unload onto the perceived weaker sex and the woman like many women who serve in the U.S. military ends up battling an additional enemy ones wearing the same uniform. War turns men and women against each other eliciting the worst in times of stress. It can happen in many times during a decade, it can happen “one night,” but if it happens woe to all it happens to.
The World Premiere of One Night is being presented by the Cherry Lane Theatre and the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
One Night directed by Clinton Turner Davis will be at the Cherry Lane Theatre from November 6 to December 15.
Mon and Tues at 7 pm., Thurs and Fri. at 8 pm, Sat. at 2 pm and 8 pm, Sun. at 3 pm.
Grantham Coleman, K.K. Moggie, Matthew Montelongo, Cortez Nance Jr., Rutina Wesley
Set John McDermott, Costumes Jessica Jahn, Lighting Nicole Pearce, Sound Sean O’Halloran, Video Gil Sperling, Fights UnkleDave’s Fight-House, Props Starlet Jacobs, Stage Manager C. Renee Alexander, Assistant Stage Manager Kristin Pfeifer
Running time is 2 hours with one 10 minute intermission.
FOR TICKETS CLICK HERE.
5% of ticket proceeds benefit IAVA, the first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Learn more and support the Next Greatest Generation at IAVA.org.