18. History in a bottle

by Andre Tozzi

My Passion:

I don't know. Do I have a passion? :) The thing is that for me it's not one thing and it changes. There are points in my life when I dedicate a lot of time to specific things. They change the way I think or the way I see things, interact. Now, it's wine. I like the story, the art piece of it. Before it was martial arts, painting, working with wood. I could call it passions but it seems too strong of a word.

It sounds funny when you actually name it out loud. Like bringing up the name of a platonic love. I guess some topics just take a special place in your life as you walk your journey. It feels good to dedicate some time and put energy on those. At a certain point you notice that the more you put into it the more you take out of it. Then when you notice it has become a cycle and time slows down. Maybe it’s a way to match our identities with something larger than ourselves. Wine and its culture has been taking a larger role for me for a few years already, and the momentum kicked a few years ago.


Discovery Journey

It might be a cliche but it's these things when you find yourself in a zone. It's what you do to lose the sense of time and to put creative things to practice. It's more like a feeling. You give something out of you and it brings something new.


So with wine it's the study (the passive side of it) and the moment you decide for a specific wine or paring (the active part). You have something in your mind, a specific taste and you get exactly what you wanted. I got into wine by talking with people. The more I talk to people that are into it, the more I feel like learning more.


In wine, you have a full library (that you can actually taste) on history, culture, travel, chemistry, development of civilizations, sociology, fine gastronomy and a whole set of others. It has been around for thousands of years; we can’t hide how much wine as a culture has changed history and how history has been shaping wine. The fact that you can interact with it, enjoying all that package and it’s visual, aromatic and tasting personality brings life to the theory. It becomes emotion. 




I can’t recall when it exactly started, but I remember a sparkle that flared a few years back in Italy. I went with a friend to a presentation of a known sommelier, which has dedicated all his life to basically giving numbers and ratings to wine. For fortune of some and misery of others. Identifying if a certain vintage would fit on the technical standards to make it to the spotlight in the market. All too pragmatic to me, and couldn’t figure out much the use of all that technical jargon. Until, to close the session, a closing question from the host to the old sommelier changed things for me… “Sir, for you, what is a great wine?” He was silent for a moment, grinned and said: “after all these years reviewing wines, you feel at times that giving a rating or an organoleptic evaluation understates what is inside a lot of bottles. It’s like describing a painting by its colours and patterns, and forgetting the artist as well as the meaning of the art piece. So, Mr., a good wine for me is a wine that reminds me of certain sunset, of a meal that I had on a special night, that reminds me of a person that is long gone, that takes me back to a trip with friends, that reminds me of the smell of the place where I grew, that reminds me of someone I Iove, and eventually makes my heart skip a beat. ‘That makes a wine truly great. Wine, is history in a bottle.”


I bought my first book about wine the day after.


How did you know this is it

I don’t, and I think that’s the beauty of it. Finding out is the best part of the process.


Try it

Don't think about it, just try it. You lose so much time thinking and you need to make your hands dirty and see how it feels. There must be things you are curious about. You might have something in a drawer that you were always putting off. It won't become a passion if you keep it there.


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