Sometimes a small loss is difficult to get past. We’ve probably all had the experience of losing something inconsequential which then just bugs you. How could you have lost that pen, that diary, that favourite pair of scissors? You search once, you can’t find it. You search again, it’s not there. Either you have a stamp or get all rational about it, but neither really helps. You search again. A cup of coffee calls. Before you can settle to anything, you search again, only this time more methodically. You are beginning to console yourself – well at least if I have tried hard to find it, I can then move on and replace the item or work around it. But none of this works. You still can’t believe you have lost it. So you search one more time … but it still isn’t there. But it should be!
Janet and I have recently spent a wonderful holiday in Tuscany, including four days in the far south, around the wine town of Scansano. We had done our preparation and booked a series of winery visits, seven in all. We didn’t have anything arranged for Saturday afternoon so we drove from Scansano towards the coast to the Capalbio area – we would enjoy the drive towards the sea, we might find somewhere to taste wines and I realised that I had relatively few posts on the coastal wine scene. We arrived at the town and took the road which skirts it, with the vineyards coming down from the small town towards the coast. The very first place we called at had someone working near the house and we were quickly invited in and tasted the white and the red made at the organic farm called Il Cerchio. We thanked our generous hostess – who as it turned out spoke excellent English – and drove on. When we arrived at the large and well organised La Parrina, I picked up my camera bag, looked for my tasting book … and it wasn’t there. We searched the car once and then virtually dismantled the inside of it before deciding it really wasn’t there. We rang the winery, now 40 minutes away and enlisted help – our hostess searched for us, but no joy.
If I had done this on my own, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and just say it’s one of the daft things that you do. But the missing notebook was lost in company. I have had a series of books, some scruffy, another a smart and resilient black Moleskin and so on. Just to make it visible, the current one was a bright red Moleskin. It was about a third full of notes – a whole week in Piemonte in the spring, some organised tastings since then, seven visits around Scansano … Piemonte I had at least written up, Scansano awaits. So it’s a real loss if a small one.
And I have the evidence! Notice the open notebook on the desk at the winery, just under the wine glass in my left hand…
Solemnly we drove back to the winery, searched again for ourselves, in the reception area, in the bottling shed (just one bottle at a time at this very small family winery), in the courtyard, and finally up and down the road. Had we left it on the roof of the car and driven off? We will probably never know. And notice the ‘probably’ – three and a half weeks later, I still can’t believe its gone.
I console myself. You can’t take away the experience we had – the place where we went, the people we met, the wines we tasted and much more. Some of the technical data you can retrieve from websites and brochures. As a kind of therapy Janet and I recalled as much we could over dinner that evening, some headline points to jog the memory. But you can’t replace two things. There are the actual tasting notes of about 40 wines, first impressions however rough, little helps to the memory. And then there are the myriad things one jotted down at the time – notes about a particular practice in the vineyard, someone’s name, other interesting places we should look out for, restaurant recommendations, the exact number of a photo on the digital camera in order to identifying the grape variety and much more. So we returned feeling that we had lost a segment of the experience somehow, trying to balance disbelief, anger and rationalisation … Come back little red book … we miss you still!