Chianti Classico Berardo Riserva 2000

Have you ever had a slightly mad relative?  I used to have an aunt who regularly posted me Easter eggs wrapped in a single layer of brown paper.  Most of the egg was delivered inside the postman’s stomach and writing thank you letters became a bit of a laugh, albeit a repetitive one.

One birthday, I received the Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology.  A valuable learning aid for a growing lad of 11 years.  But I only got Volume 2 (L to Z) and since 1975 I have been waiting for Volume 1 (A to K) – I can only presume that the postman ate that too.  If there is anyone out there who has only the primary volume and fancies getting together for dinner to exchange notes, please let me know at mail @ this domain.

It’s difficult to imagine that 1975, although well within my lifetime, was ages before the PC was invented.  So I thought it would be fun to look up a few key definitions.  I searched for “Computer” – D’Oh, that’s in Volume 1!  Microprocessor?  No definition.  Personal Computer?  No.  Mainframe?  Silicon chip?  Walkman?  Mother board?  All no.  Read Only Memory?  Oh hang on yes!  A fast access store containing fixed data.  So computing existed!

I feel a bit like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes.  Landing on another planet only to discover that I was actually at home, and realising that man was to blame all along.  I am clearly missing the chiselled jaw and muscular tanned physique, although in common with Charlton’s astronaut character, George Taylor, I suspect that a number of apes probably do fancy me.

Looking further into the New York subway and finding the Statue of Liberty must have been scary.  But searching the pages of the Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology 33 years after it was published was worse than my first encounter with a Dalek.  Hide behind the sofa quick!

Ink black...well read....for some reason

In a prehistoric, pre-internet version of stumbleupon (stick a pin in the dictionary), I landed on a definition of Riedel’s Disease.  Brilliant!  It means I need glasses, just not the sort that sit on one’s nose.  A chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, as it turned out, was not quite the same as ordering more Vinum.

Talking of which, I had selected Vinum 416/15 (Zinfandel) for this Chianti Classico from Castello di Bossi to go with a Hot Shot pizza from the local takeaway (which did rather stick in the throat).  The wine, though, went down like a horny female ape taking the Lewinsky position before the captain of the ship.

For a wine of eight years standing (or laying), Berardo Riserva was hardly tawny in colour.  Completely opaque, it was like looking into the bath I soaked in after cleaning out the garage the other week.

Fortunately it tasted better than the Bathgate bathwater.  Dark cherries, dried basil, blackberry and ginger – a hugely rich, tangy wine that fills the mouth like a tennis ball.  Made from 85% Sangiovese and “softened” with a remainder of Merlot, it was deeper than Plato, moodier than Sean Connery, and richer than the Aga Khan.  Delicious…  The notes from Castello di Bossi say that “the grapes, harvested in the first 10 days of October, were barrel fermented, then left on their skins for 14 days with many pump-overs daily.  This is to extract maximum richness and density of colour.  The wine was put into new French oak barrels for another 12-14 months and matured over 2 years before release.”  This is clearly a wine that is designed to carry intense tannins for longevity.  In theory I drunk it 2 or 3 years too early, but I didn’t actually find it too sharp – the competing fruit and tannin race was already heading for a dead heat.

It says something about our rate of progress that megabit was included in the dictionary, but terabyte had obviously not been imagined yet, never mind built.  We live in interesting times and let’s hope our current rate of progress does not turn the earth into a planet ruled by apes.

3 Responses to “Chianti Classico Berardo Riserva 2000”

  1. Peter May Says:

    Of course computing existed in 1975 – otherwise what had I’d been working at full time for 5 years by then?

    “terabyte had obviously not been imagined yet, never mind built” — Err, you don’t build a terabyte, any more than you build a kilometre or a hectare, because it is a measurement. As for not being imagined, per-leese, our tape store easily held at least a couple of terabytes worth of data in 1975.

    The thing which has changed most is the amazing reduction in the cost (and size) of storage — that is what has allowed computing to enter facet of our lives

  2. Peter May Says:

    I suspect the reason such terms were not in the dictionary was that they were of no interest to the general reader, being industry specific terms at that time. And of course the thought of a personal computer would be hard to image then ….

    Few people outside the industry would have seen a computer let alone used one. Rather like terms such as kerning were the sole province of typesetters until the desk-top publishing function arrived.

    Of course, the arrival of computers in everyday situations has improved life for all:

    Scene 1
    At the station bookstall 1975
    Hold up newspaper, mutter ‘Guardian, hand over the money, exit and catch waiting train

    Scene 2
    At the station bookstall 2008
    Hold up a newspaper, mutter ‘Guardian, assistant gestures to be handed the paper which he then seaches to find a bar code, folds the paper and has a couple of goes scanning barcode, looks at till which now displays the cost and asks for the 80p which I have been holding out all the time. Puts cash in till, pulls off till roll receipt, hands it back with newspaper while I watch the train I was intending to catch leave the station.

    And don’t start me on digital TV……

  3. Alastair Bathgate Says:

    I fear I may share your views on digital TV.
    I would mutter “Times” rather than “Guardian”, but only on a Sunday since I use the internet to keep abreast of every day news, where I can read the New York Times in addition to Yahoo Finance, The Times, and of course, the excellent BBC.
    I now just need to get a mobile phone with browsing capability and I can pretend to read the papers online on the rare occasions that trains do not go through tunnels…..

Leave a Reply