The center of Gianfranco Soldera's Case Basse vineyards is punctuated by a knobby little hillock, a tiny rounding of the earth. You wouldn't even notice it if Soldera had planted it to vine, it's that small. The hillock isn't remarkable. What's remarkable is the spectacular olive tree that grows on it. Silver barked and impossibly gnarled, this tree is a thousand years old. It was there when the Normans conquered southern Italy, sacking Sicilia. It grew as Petrarch wrote his sonnets in the fourteenth century, as Leonardo da Vinci drew, painted, invented, and created in fifteenth-century Florence. As Italy united in the nineteenth century, this tree grew, and as wars ripped through it in the twentieth, this tree grew.
But it's not merely this olive tree's age that makes it holy. It's an old tree, sure, but more than bearing silent, flowering witness to long centuries of human history, it's a survivor. At some point in the tree's history, it was struck by lightening and split into four pieces. The four separate parts continued to grow, to flourish, to unfurl green leaves in the spring, to yield olives in the fall, and sleep quietly throughout the winter. Over the years, the quarters of the tree have grown farther and farther apart. You can stand in the center of it, and when you do, I dare you not to feel antediluvian magic.
The tree presents a kind of metaphor for the wines of Gianfranco Soldera--and even for the man himself. Like this tree, Soldera is unique, a man whose life can't be easily summed up in a convenient story, and like this tree, Soldera's wines defy time or understanding. They're beautiful, magical freaks of nature, and they incur a kind of pagan reverence. Today, I'm pleased to present a new allocation of Case Basse di Soldera Pegasos 2005, a wine that has come about only once and likely will never go this way again. It's not merely unique; it's extraordinary. And like that olive tree, you just have to let yourself bask in the wonder.
Along with this once-in-a-lifetime Soldera wine, I'm proud to present six exceptional Champagne bottlings from Krug. What can you say about Krug? It's like starlight itself became wine. And finally, I'm delighted to offer the 2010 Langhe Rosso from Aldo Conterno. It's the Conterno you can drink everyday, any day, and never forget that it's a wine made by a master.
Cheers to rare beauty and singular things. Share their magic with people you love.