Month: December 2016

Boni goes bust

Edited excerpt from Drinking with Proust (Leanpub) Image: La Vie Parisienne, de Castellane Advert In the winter of 1867, Anne-Marie Le Clerc de Juigné, wife of Marquis Boniface Antoine de Castellane, gave birth to her first son. He was named Boniface, but became known as Boni. He was brought up at his parent’s residence in Paris and at his grandmother’s Château de Rochecotte, a grand villa in the heart of Bourgeuil surrounded by vineyards.52 Boni and Marcel Proust crossed paths in around 1893 when Marcel joined Madeleine Lemaire’s Salon, “one of the most stimulating and amusing in Paris,”53 which was also attended by Boni. In 1894 Boni travelled to America in search of a rich heiress. He needed money. While I had ancestry, title and the very highest social prestige, my income was quite inad-equate. The family estates were important but expensive to maintain; and the Castellane income was not equal to maintain myself and my estates suitably. It was, therefore, not a bad bargain on my part to insure a sufficient income to support my rank …

Forever Young, Osteria Veneta. Part III/III

Osteria Veneta’s wine menu is heavy. The cursive script has to be deciphered line by line. The only white available by the glass is a Bianco di Custoze. The menu lists the varieties it is made from: Garganega, Fernanda and Chardonnay. It’s the 2014 vintage and costs €7 for a glass (€28 for the bottle). This is comparatively good value—a liter of Acqua Minerale costs €6,50. The red on offer is a Valpolicella Ripasso: Corvina, Rondinella, Merlot from 2012 at €8 a glass or €32 for a bottle. The wine-list says the producer for both is “Campo Reale”, which isn’t much information to go on, but probably refers to “L’azienda Agricola CampoReale di Mario Lavarini,” a producer who specializes in Valpolicella wines. Does it matter where a wine is from; how old it is; how much it costs?  Carpe diem: work, drink, eat, live. Life is about doing something, not being someone. Judge a wine by what it “does” to you. It’s either tasty or it isn’t. Renaissance humanists took the opposite view. It’s about being someone …