For no reason at all, I opened a sweaty bottle from Montenegro last Tuesday. I’m not sure why I was saving it other than I sometimes do that in anticipation of guests or to jolt life into leftovers like the last of the stuffed fagottini too good to go to waste in a dish too big for the last five spoonfuls. I know nothing of wines from Montenegro though a quick Wiki informed me vranac is the most important grape of the region. For me, the flavors and aromas of this densely colored – almost purple – wine, brought to mind charcoal, saddle and plum preserves supported by a discernible acidity, solid yet soft tannins and an appreciable abv. Probably good with pasta? That works.
Slumped - almost a year - in despondence with the academics of wine, I find myself increasingly unimpressed with wine data as it reminds me of the supremacy associated with wine knowledge and its mounting frivolousness in the space of things I love about the drink. Having circled the sun a time and a half since the start of the pandemic, I don’t have as much interest as I used to in statistics, though I remain charmed by the folklore of wine in the places where its consumption is customary and informal. Situated southwest of Serbia, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and 15 ½ hours by plane from L. A. (if that helps), Montenegro is a region I’ve never studied but would consider in a list of journeys before I die. Seaside cities and hiking the Balkans intrigue me amid a newly acquired, and for now low key, urgency to flee the familiar for about 10 to 14 days on one condition: don’t talk to me about wine; drink with me and tell me about life in this corner of the world.