I just read on a pop culture site that Olivia Newton-John's former boyfriend has been found. Surely you remember that he vanished five years ago?!?! No? Well, I do, if only because I am apparently still holding a little Xanadu flame for ON-J. No, I'm not much of a disco fan, and yes Xanadu was a ridiculous movie (I haven't seen it in about twenty-five years, but I recall Gene Kelly (!) is in it, and ON-J is a Muse who inspires a guy to build a disco roller rink, and there's a whole mortal/immortal love thing, too...how did that movie get funding?), but it was the news story that got my attention in the first place. I realized that I had forgotten that her former boyfriend (one Patrick McDermott, 48) disappeared, and that I actually hadn't cared much. Since I'm a poster child for free-association, I began to wonder what else have I forgotten--and then what have we forgotten--that was once important to someone else. Coincidentally, I had in front of me a bottle of Henry Marionnet's 2003 Les Cépage Oubliés--the forgotten grapes.
There are a slew of forgotten grapes out there, and if we knew something about most of them, we'd probably thank God that we don't have to suffer through a glass of whatever dreck they perpetrate. But you know, these grapes were at one time important to someone, some region, some cuisine. They undoubtedly complimented the cuisine of the region beautifully, but other grape varieties came along that were better (better for whom?). What did we lose? Surely there are some varieties that had some charm, but have been victims of economic viability. Reestablishing some of these has really paid dividends in today's overheated wine market, which is why we can find wines made with grapes like two arcane varieties from Champagne, Arbanne and Petit Meslier; one of the old great rosé varieties from Provence, Tibouren; and the one in the Marionnet wine, Gamay de Bouze.
Gamay de Bouze is a very cool grape, because it has RED FLESH underneath its skin (part of a class of grapes called teinturiers). Most red wine grapes have white flesh and white juice, but Gamay de Bouze has naturally pink juice. Both red and white fleshed grapes depend on the grape skins to become dark red. The wine from Gamay de Bouze is more rustic than the FAR more common Gamay Noir that you'd find in Beaujolais. It's flavors don't suggest a reason for it's obscurity other than a relative lack of refinement. At first sniff I wondered if the vine had taken a bath in apple pie spices, and I loved the wine's intensely dark fruit flavor. These qualities are so ingrained in this wine...it's as though some regular Gamay Noir got tattooed with cinnamon and then tarred and feathered with black plums and wild blueberries. Those feathers give it an unbridled, flyaway notion too, both in the aroma and even more so in the mouth--a slightly churlish expression. This fleshy wine might actually be a good Gamay for meat (there are others, but I don't want to crack that encyc-lobe-edia right now), including a seared rare duck breast and even a filet.
So this Patrick McDermott guy apparently doesn't want to be found. Dodging some debts, it would seem. It's arguable that we wanted to find him (although Dateline NBC apparently thought we cared...maybe they should've done a focus group on that one). At least he had an insurance settlement, fraudulent though it may have been, to go to his offspring to cover his encumbrances. No matter how it turns out for him, there's no doubt that we'll be happier ignoring him while more grape varieties rebound, eventually finding a refuge in our glasses.
At least the FBI won't get involved with that...unless we invite them in for a drink.
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