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There are good days and bad days.
Businessmen and women, parents, leaders, teachers, brothers, sisters, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers. We all have bad days.
Traditum Character makes better versions of them all, and those who read this column will understand that sentiment. Hard work, DNA of excellence where no talent is required, having a set of meaningful and deliverable values. Building and leaving a legacy is the cornerstone, purpose and north star of our business and family. It can also apply to wine.
Great producers do not just make wine. It represents their personality, values, culture, and identity. A bad year happens for a wine from just one bad day, like we can all experience. An out-of-the-blue hailstorm can wreck a year, a vintage and bring to the knees a small vineyard. But they battle on. Being resilient is a buzzing phrase, like mental health. They are like the TMO (Third Match Official) in rugby. Overused, but have a serious purpose when used correctly. Or fake tan overused by many a young lady or Donald Trump. It has its place, just not daily. Take note youngest daughter and roll down your skirt for school, please. Don’t be fake.
A wine producer needs to be resilient. They are custodians of history or architects of making one. They crack on, there will be another year, another day, another bottle. They embody the Traditum Character. They do the best they can with what they have, and where they are. Or, for my kids or staff reading this, take note – they KBO (Keep Battling On) and do not complain.
So, when you buy wine, if it is written about in these columns, find a personal nature to the transaction. Not a mass-produced, vanilla-volume product. Buy it for an occasion, routine, meal, or to drink with a friend. Associate all you do with authenticity is my recommendation. It applies to all walks of life. Friends are not friends’ online kids. You cannot share a glass with them. That is what Traditum is all about. Investment office with clients. Not institutions.
A good wine should be respected. It can be used to oil the wheels of your ups and downs. The gym, the hills, the dogs, and good sleep can all aid stress, and so can a good wine. Not for the alcohol, but so much more. As always promoted, the ritual of the Mitchell trinity. Mind, body, wine. Drink with father, son and the wholly grape. It works when times are crap.
This week I have had three cars break down or puncture, the current Mrs Mitchell in tears (due to the cars not me). We have been snowed in, cut off, and had farm and Traditum staff having meltdowns. Sheep half dying, cattle completing the job, kids falling out, storms smashing windows, ageing parents battling the blob and civil service and bending my ear about it (reference other columns but give me strength). In Italy, we have had further storm damage. La vita puo essere merda.
We have had working dogs on heat and male working dogs going missing for days over dales and moor. When my Dad did that, we just saved money on wine and warned the WI he had escaped.
Finally, to top it all off, in a mad rush and with so much going on, I drove two hours for the youngest son to play rugby, only to find that the game was at home not away. I had not read the school details correctly. Even though one pontificates about planning and preparation, I got a dose of my own medicine and was informed by him that leaders need to set an example. Little git. Who taught him that?
The solution my friends? Sphaeranera Pallagrello Nero Cacciagalli 2015. A very rare wine, and something very different. The Littondale cellars are stocked with traditional wines (funny that), but also, rare family-run organic bottles with a story. This is a brilliant example of value and outstanding drinking if you know it exists.
The wine is fermented in an amphora and Pallagrello is the grape, only found in Campania. The world wars nearly ended its planting, but its revival is testimony to artisan winemaking and yes you guessed it – resilience. It ages brilliantly, and I recommend a minimum of 8 years before opening a bottle. The volcanic soil which is so famous in the region gives the wine history, and structure. It has been drunk by the family before with BBQ lamb, but in the winter, it goes well on its own for contemplation and reflection. As good as any expensive Chateauneuf. it is delicious. Let me know if you get a bottle.
Back to dealing with life and the crap it throws at us all. I have a personal process I have invented. PROCA is Pause, Reflect, what is the Objective, Communicate, and what is the Action.
This can be a 30-second thought process, deploy it when someone, inevitably winds you up to the point of irrational thought or behaviour. Moreover, it is better and more effectively done at the end of the day. It also means you can laugh at yourself when required. Like a cathartic self-piss take. Read the instructions, you idiot.
Take in hand a good glass, sit if you can by a fire, with your chosen dog (who has not sodded off and you let in the house to sit in the study) at your feet. Enjoy that moment and that wine.
Think about the efforts of the producer and talk to the dog. Believe me, they will agree with you. That is why I like dogs so much.
So, there you have it. These pages are usually full of enjoying wine in the company of humans, around a dinner table with the business of family conversation. However, so many readers explain how it resonates with their own lives. Some couples read them in bed. I never thought anyone would ever tell me that.
Well, readers, yes, life can be awful, people can be jerks, things go wrong, and it is often your own fault if you look deeply enough. That may resonate with you all as well. Accept it, and KBO, and if required deploy PROCA. Use great wine and a dog. Both are reliable and give unquestioned love and loyalty. Just choose well. Try the Sphaeranera and I hope that you all have had a better few weeks than I.
PS So many readers contact me on how these pages make them smile. They also buy the wines and try them. That is the intention. Do please share the articles to spread the word promoting good conversation, authenticity, Character and a decent bottle.