It is obvious how ‘’legs’’ referred to wine is a figurative connotation. It’s unrealistic to think of a litre, or less than that, of some coloured, yet alcoholic, liquid wondering around the city, or on our table, standing balanced on two ends just like ours. Yet it is said, yet it is used. Hence, as said and used, it is also understood and accepted. Why? A visual metaphor utility lays in its immediacy, as faster and clearer than words ... Come on Francesca, you can do it. I concentrate. Funny: sounds come to me. My mind sets on black and white. A gramophone stutters, crackles and scratches melodies d’antan. A hint appears to me, a glimmer of some blurred image. It feels like the screen is vibrating. Exploding like popcorn in a pan, a picture bursts brightly, while the next one already pushes in. Legs are what they are. Lots and lots of legs. But no, they are not, how can they be legs? And yet ... Come on: they just look like sticks, gentle, curved wood sticks that are sketching and painting my environment. Where have I already seen them? I got it! Ziegfeld Follies.
The best term possible to describe those ends scampering before my eyes is legs, abstract legs: in its brilliance Ziegfeld Follies uses them as pencils or compasses, to isolate, to draw and reconstruct the space on the screen. They treasure their grace and carnality, but they are functional to represent the segments, gentle curves that gracefully paint space. Now, I go back to my glass. I have learned by now how to rotate wine inside it, slightly tilting it in order to admire its rim. Now I bring the glass back to its vertical position and… there I see them: from femur to ankle - which plunges down into wine again - here they are: wine’s legs.
They are those gentle curved stripes, appearing on the inside surface of my glass, revealing to the sight what I am about to ponder and taste with my tongue: such exquisite beverage’s richness in extracts.
Hence, I have just found two wine words that have the same meaning, then – for the sake of clarity - I like to think that, admiring them while fixed, still in their form, they are referred to as legs. But their name is tears, our dear old tear, when looking at their liquid, trickling mobility.
But then, after my eyes, and its rims, after its tears or its legs, as you prefer, yet before my mouth... then my nose demands suspension points. A break.
Struck by the amount of possessive adjectives coming with the former thought, I wander off. I get a vertigo, I get the parentage. In no other case the Italian language, or the use we make of it, is richer than when it comes to talk about food and cuisine: “ our shrimps”, “ our pan”, “ our artichokes”, “your omelettes”, then again “our oven”, “our lasagne”, not to mention “their sauce” or “their gravy”.
Orror rei nullius, or atavistic hunger, so highly atavistic that it requires us to call some sauce as Jane Doe’s or some octopus as Jhon Doe’s? I get back on my reasoning’s track. Nose’s track (mine? Or my wine’s?) Those who have just asked me for a pause. A pause for reflection able to arrange the strong sensations felt, for a cloud overwhelmed me before I could bring the glass to my lips
A pause for thought capable of scanning the strong feelings that I felt because, before the glass could come to my lips, had overwhelmed me a cloud. I isolate the olfactory appeal emanating from the glass. It's a solid vortex. I am embraced by that same sensation that in the movie "Perfume - The Story of a Murder" gives sight to the lingering trail of any thing or person’s smell. Nostrils obsessively chase it, touching almost, not only with the nose but with hands, fragrances and perfumes.
When I look up into Luca’s office, right after a tasting session, from the door a solid but invisible wall hit me saturating all the available space. It is not intangible: only transparent, it does make air thicker.
It is the smell – tremendously strong smell - that wine has.
My reflection: it is easy to call it smell, just as easy as to call it perfume.
It is sufficient to break words up as dominos, hence understanding what they mean or their suggested sensations. Meanwhile, perfume is a word shaded of pleasantness, for all, more than smell: in support let’s say that it is hard for a certain perfume to stink, while any smell is definitely free to do it. It is then just as easy to refer to generic wine smell or to the smell of a wine. It is in reality a castle made of Lego bricks, in countless nuances: a volatile touch from alcohol inebriates and makes our head lighter, a toast of pressed berries held in everybody’s memory, that forest-recalling something coming with vigorous red wines; then red, as purple fruits, bananas and peaches, flowers; and the cellar, dust and humidity, a shadow able to protect barrels and bottles, musk’s dew, bolts from the sun lightening a prickly pear.
Oh gosh: another picture is capturing my mind. Help: I cannot contain it.
Coming from memories, Arcimboldo pops up, and I can linger on such a magisterially tangled mass composed of things, colour, aromas, flowers and fruits, herbs and branches and soil and leaves, all of them together to paint a face, a season, a sensation, a suggestion.
Caught by such richness, I cannot avoid thinking that, in reality, I may be talking not about my nose (short or long, French or Greek), but about wine’s nose, as its physical capability to dialogate with my receptor.
Sensing a sensation generates reactions in the correspondent sensory organ: I would not know what to do with my receptors, with no available sensations. It shall be sufficient to invert the perspective, using differently the “possessives”: not only my nose must understand, it is its aroma that must talk. The enigma is solved and I can finally taste that sip and, behind and under my nose, wine meets palate. Here comes the mouth: surely it is mine, the mouth that is tasting the wine in the glass, but the richness of my sensations is going to be just as great as that wine’s mouth is, proportioned to its ability to talk to me.
One more break. Silence.
The exact taste does not matter, nor does the perfume’s memory or the pictured sun recalled by the nose: I am impressed by the comparison, by the distance and the proximity, by those overlapping or contradictory flavours that taste creates matching nose’s expectations.
After all, I don’t care to know whether or not, and eventually how, palate, tongue, teeth order are the palate, tongue, teeth or taste buds are ordered in perceiving features, catching this or that taste.
Definitively, I am absent-minded; Arcimboldo’s similitude is even deeper, more real. Within its web, single and very disparate elements, all together, are suddenly able to draw a semblance, a face. So it is that those hints given by wine to my eyes (tears, legs), to my nose and to my mouth, they all together represent wine’s character and content. So it is, just like our own unique and uniquely diversified body is the sum its compounding features, features all humans have – legs, arms, noses, knees, ears, and more- traits that differs for combination and resulting originality, wine’s body as well is made unique and diverse by every element’s specific nature, particularities that are able to depict in a sublime way its whole body, unique and diverse, and so precious to ours.