terça-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2018

Decididamente, tener tres años no traía nada bueno. Los nipones tenían razón al situar en esa edad el final de la edad divina. Algo —¡tan pronto!— se había perdido, más valioso que todo y que no se recuperaba jamás: una forma de confianza en la perennidad benevolente del mundo.

Les había oído comentar a mis padres que pronto iría al parvulario japonés: una intención que sólo auguraba desastres. ¿Cómo? ¿Abandonar el paraíso? ¿Unirme a un rebaño de niños? ¡Menuda ocurrencia!


Y había algo más grave. Incluso en el mismo seno del jardín, se detectaba cierta inquietud. La naturaleza había alcanzado una especie de saturación. Los árboles eran demasiado verdes, demasiado frondosos, la hierba era demasiado rica, las flores explotaban como si se hubieran alimentado demasiado. Desde la segunda mitad del mes de agosto, las plantas rebosaban del mohín ahito de la mañana siguiente a una orgía. La fuerza vital que yo había experimentado, contenida en cada cosa, se estaba convirtiendo en pesadez.


Sin saberlo, veía revelarse dentro de mí una de las leyes más terribles del universo: lo que no avanza retrocede. Existe el crecimiento y existe la decadencia; entre ambos no hay nada. El apogeo no existe. Se trata de una ilusión. Así, no había verano. Existía una larga primavera, un aumento espectacular de las savias y de los deseos: pero a partir del momento en que aquel crecimiento terminaba, comenzaba la decadencia.


A partir del quince de agosto, la muerte gana la partida. Es cierto que ninguna hoja da la menor señal de chamuscarse; es verdad que los árboles siguen siendo tan frondosos y que su inminente alopecia resulta inimaginable. Las plantas abundan más que nunca, los arrietes prosperan, todo huele a edad de oro. Y, sin embargo, no se trata de la edad de oro, por la simple razón de que la edad de oro es imposible, por la simple razón de que la estabilidad no existe.


A los tres años, no sabía nada de todo eso. Me hallaba a años luz del rey que, al morir, grita: «Lo que debe terminar ya ha terminado». Habría sido incapaz de formular los términos de mi angustia. Pero sentía, sí, sentía que se preparaba la agonía. La naturaleza había ido demasiado lejos: aquello escondía algo.


Si lo hubiera comentado con alguien, me habrían explicado el ciclo de las estaciones. A los tres años, uno no recuerda el año anterior, todavía no ha podido constatar el eterno retorno de lo idéntico, y una nueva estación constituye un desastre irreversible.


A los dos años, uno no se da cuenta de estos cambios y no les da ninguna importancia. A los cuatro, uno los detecta, pero el recuerdo del año precedente los banaliza y desdramatiza. A los tres años, la ansiedad es absoluta; uno lo ve todo y no comprende nada. No existe jurisprudencia mental que consultar para tranquilizarse. A los tres años uno tampoco tiene el reflejo de preguntar en busca de una explicación: uno no es forzosamente consciente de que los mayores tienen más experiencia, y puede que en eso no se equivoque.


A los tres años, uno es un marciano. Resulta apasionante pero terrorífico ser un marciano recién llegado a la Tierra. Uno observa los fenómenos inéditos, opacos. No posee ninguna llave. Hay que inventarse leyes a partir de estas únicas observaciones. Hay que ser aristotélico durante veinticuatro horas al día, lo cual resulta particularmente extenuante cuando uno nunca ha oído hablar de los griegos.


Una golondrina no hace verano. A los tres años, a uno le gustaría saber a partir de qué cantidad de golondrinas se puede creer en algo. Una flor marchita no hace otoño. Dos cadáveres de flores tampoco, sin duda. Eso no impide que la inquietud se instale. ¿A partir de cuántas agonías florales uno deberá, en su cabeza, activar la señal de alarma de la muerte en camino?


Cual Champollion de un creciente caos, me encerré a solas con mi peonza. Sentía que aquel objeto estaba en posesión de informaciones cruciales que ofrecerme. Por desgracia, no comprendía su idioma.

Amélie Nothomb, "Metafísica de los Tubos"
Ed. Anagrama, 2001

sábado, 27 de janeiro de 2018

Lapa dos Reis — Espumante Bruto, Pinot Noir, Rosé

Este espumante rosé, bruto, sem data de colheita, foi preparado por Maria Luísa D. Lapa dos Santos Reis, de Podentes, perto de Penela, a partir de uvas Pinot Noir, de cepas implantadas em socalcos de barro vermelho e cinzento, comum na região, e colocado no mercado após 24 meses em garrafa.

Cor salmão. Simples e fresco, trouxe consigo fruta verde, talvez maçã granny smith, e um toque de frutos vermelhos, cereja e algo mais, discreto e indefinido q.b. Definitivamente, não lhe consegui apanhar a expressividade tropical e citrina de que fala o contra-rótulo.

Na boca é seco e tem alguma vida, com acidez refrescante e um caudal regular de bolhas finas, mas nem muito compactas nem muito numerosas, que atingem a superfície do líquido sem formar uma coroa fofa ou persistente. Aliás, que atingem a superfície quase sem formar coroa alguma. Sem grande presença ou persistência — meh.

Um espumante que, "dentro do pouco", tem o seu equilíbrio. Mas não se peça a um Fiat 500 que dê 250 Km/h.

4€.

14

quarta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2018

Evgeny Ruban nasceu em 1941 e morreu em 1997. No seu "Smart Chip From St. Petersburg", Sosonko fala-nos de um jovem inteligente e mordaz, galifão rebelde de castigo em castigo, frequentemente ébrio, constantemente falido e provavelmente convencido de ser melhor do que realmente era. Ademais, era homossexual assumido e, diz-se, tinha ar de judeu: tudo obstáculos ao sucesso na URSS do seu tempo. Mas era um jogador talentoso que, entre outras provas, venceu o campeonato de Leninegrado em 1966. Fica um dos jogos desse evento, em que derrotou Aron Reshko, outro mestre fortíssimo que já poucos saberão quem foi.

domingo, 21 de janeiro de 2018

Ruban wasn't fastidious and never refused gifts: a shabby suit, old boots, he would accept them gratefully, although he could immediately drink them away. He drank every day. In large quantities. Vodka was good, but there were also drinks that weren't sold in the wine sections of department stores. He didn't bother with snacks, but often drank on an empty stomach. He drank with anyone who would agree to it. Some paid this way for lessons, some for blitz games, and others just for the company and conversation of a chess player who had once been well-known. Once he won a prize in Minsk and bought his mother a present, but he never managed to get it home as he drank away the money and the present.

His nervous system was completely worn out, he was prone to mood swings and frequently couldn't control himself. One time he went into the Minsk chess club and started a row, recalling the past and shouting obscenities at a master who had been involved in his disqualification back in 1959. He was already a completely changed, scruffily dressed, filthy, flabby, broken man. This is how Leningraders who saw Ruban in Grodno at the end of the eighties remember him. He could question them for hours about the city where he'd spent his brightest years, and he would reminisce about chess, or rather, his chess acquaintances.

Ruban lived in a small two-bedroom apartment with his elderly mother on her miserable pension in complete, overwhelming poverty. The rumour about his participation in some kind of 'business' during this period is not true, unless you want to use the word to describe his activity of selling at the market utensils that someone had brought from Poland in order to immediately drink away his share of the earnings that same evening. A couple of times he played in some opens in Poland, as Grodno is just a stone's throw away from the border, but his best years were long gone, his health was utterly destroyed, and although he was only a little over fifty then, his life had almost all been lived.

Eventually, drunk, he was hit by a car. They took him to hospital. His condition was critical for two weeks, then he began to recover, but suddenly he died. His mother had no money for a funeral; it was paid for by the woman who had been driving the car that hit him. There was no one to bury him, either. None of his former drinking buddies could find the time, so the coffin containing his body was carried by Vladimir Veremeichik and three of his pupils from the local chess school.

After his death the former director of the local drama theatre came to Grodno. By then he was living in the United States and said that Ruban's play had been published there and apparently even performed somewhere; he wanted to give a royalty to Zhenya's mother, but it was too late. In St.Petersburg the Krylya (Wings) association, which campaigns on behalf of sexual minorities, is now based at a short distance from the Chigorin Club, where Ruban went so often.

Hesiod said he would rather have died sooner or been born later. Who knows what Zhenya Ruban's fate would have been if he had been born in a different country, or in the same country thirty years or so later? Thirty years is only an instant for immortal Kronos, but it's almost everything when you talk about the life of an adult. Would he have been a philosopher, as he had wanted to be all his life? A historian? A writer? A chess player? No one knows. We don't choose our times, we live and die in them. As did Ruban.


Genna Sosonko, "Smart Chip From St. Petersburg and other tales from a bygone chess era"
New in Chess, 2006

quinta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2018

Quinta Vale d'Aldeia '2013

Em jeito telegráfico: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz e Touriga Franca; estagiou 14 meses em carvalho francês.

Foi abatido no restaurante do Cró Hotel & Termal Spa, com uns bifinhos de lombo de porco, puré de abóbora e já não sei que mais.

Apesar dos seus 14,5% de álcool e da comida nem por isso substancial, pareceu-me muito fragrante, muito generoso na fruta, com notas limpas de cereja a destacarem-se de uma mélange de frutos pretos que lhe constituía o miolo.

Sólido, bem dimensionado, não é um monstro de madeira e concentração como o "Grande Reserva" da mesma casa que nos trouxeram por engano antes dele :P . . . é um vinho simpático, alegre, que se bebe muito bem.

Não conhecia o produtor, que é da região da Mêda, mas depois de confrontado com tão sólido esforço, terei de explorar mais.

Nota positiva, também, para a RQP brutal a que aparece no restaurante do hotel que, no entanto, peca pela falta de escolha — só este produtor?

8,50€.

16

segunda-feira, 15 de janeiro de 2018

Marquês de Marialva — Espumante Bruto, Baga, Rosé

Produto de ataque da Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede, é um espumante rosé, bruto, sem data de colheita.

O contra-rótulo di-lo preparado segundo o método clássico, exclusivamente com base na casta Baga.

Aroma discreto, com frutos vermelhos e fermentos. De bolha viva e mousse fugaz, é relativamente curto e magro, mas enquanto está, está bem.

Bebemo-lo na varanda; retenho a S a derreter nele algodão doce, azul.

Sobre nós, sol frio e as trajectórias divergentes de dois jactos, cornos de um caracol grande como deus no céu.

4€.

15

sexta-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2018

Most experiments raise new questions in the process of answering the original questions. The consensus experiments with the Stanford subjects showed that there was a large amount of variation in how speakers describe wines, and considerable miscommunication as well. The question raised, however, was whether speakers who drink wine together and discuss these wines will improve — that is, develop greater consensus — over time. My hypothesis was that speakers would come to apply words to wines with greater consensus under such conditions.

The 16 Tucson subjects who remained with the eight-month project were comparable in wine preferences and wine knowledge to the Stanford subjects. They liked wine and drank it frequently, but most of them did not know a great deal about wine. All subjects attended at least seven of the thirteen sessions, the average being nine. At each session at least three wines were served blind. Bread or crackers and cheese as well as water were available during the experimental sessions so that subjects could rest their palates between wines. Some paper and pencil tasks were performed during part of the sessions, but most of the time was spent in conversation to provide the opportunity for agreement in word use to develop. The paper and pencil tasks
provided data that could be treated statistically, and they also elicited responses from people who did not talk much during the sessions. All sessions were tape-recorded on a cassette recorder placed within view of the subjects. I tried to make the setting as casual and natural as possible, within the limitations imposed by the experiments and the paper and pencil tasks.

Most of our vocabulary, at least most of our nonscientific vocabulary, is learned in casual, perhaps even haphazard ways. We learn new words or new meanings for old words in new contexts. Someone might be corrected if he misuses a word or uses it differently from other participants in the conversation, but frequently there will be no comments. And unless drastic miscommunication does occur, there will be no attempt to determine whether or not speakers are using a word in the same way. To try to make such a determination would be too inefficient. Conversation could never get started if speakers first had to find out whether they meant the same things by the words they used.

I wanted to avoid a setting in which there was a strong leader whowould proceed to teach the others how to use words "correctly" and make sure that the others did as instructed. (That may be how experts learn, however.)


(...)

A considerable proportion of the conversation at many sessions was devoted to defining and characterizing wine words. These discussions served at least two functions: they helped to define words for speakers who were not familiar with them in wine contexts, and they served to show that some words were unexpectedly ambiguous and that some speakers used them with one meaning without realizing that other speakers had assigned quite different meanings.

Below are transcripts of parts of the discussion aimed at reaching agreement on the meaning of words. The excerpts are taken from sessions 7 and 9, in which the subjects were to select from three wines the wine with the most of each property and the least. The discussion, which preceded the serving of wines, is concerned only with the meaning of terms. I have edited the texts to eliminate repetitions and incomplete utterances that do not further the discussion. Overlaps, where one speaker begins before the previous one finishes, are not shown. Adrienne is the author. All other names are changed but correctly reveal the sex of the speaker.

Earthy was a term that subjects had previously claimed was a good wine descriptor, and round was listed as a poor one.

Adrienne: Earthy!
Henry: Mossy — like moss smells and tastes.
Edward: Kind of flinty — that would be earthy — Chablis.
Henry: Yeah.
Edward: Makes you think of pebbles or stones or something.
Sam: Minerally?
Edward: Mineral? What mineral? Stones in the mouth.
Linda: That seems like a very unpositive quality for a wine to have.
Edward: Down to earth?
Ned: Right.
Henry: You mean proletarian sense?
Adrienne: Let's see if we can agree on a sense of it... It would be useful if we all meant the same thing. Why don't we stick to the "like-earth" sense?
Henry: But that's really hard.
Edward: Flinty.
Irene: I don't know about flinty.
Henry: It's like metal.
Donna: Metallic? It's not metallic.
Ned: It has corners?
Edward: Smell of an unburnt match?
Henry: Smell of somebody's cellar, in a wet place.
Donna: Musty or something?
Henry: Musty. That's what I associate.
Edward: You can see how there's an awful lot of ambiguity. Why don't we agree on something?
Henry: Do you want to stipulate something?
Adrienne: All right. Why don't we do it that way?
Edward: Well, flinty people can't identify, so there's not much point.
Adrienne: Mineral-like. That's what you suggested.
Edward: I'd be at a loss.
Linda: Basement-like.
Edward: Basement-like. Everybody's sniffed a basement — unless there are some native Tucsonans here.
Henry: What about a cave?
Linda: That would be good.
Henry: A wet cave.
Linda: A damp cave, not a dry cave.
Betty: I don't think that's very positive.
Earthy would be more like the smell of good soil, not smelly, but humus, like grass. But it doesn't smell of moisture. That really offends me, like rot, damp, mold.
Linda: Rotten, damp, moldy.
Edward: That is a negative connotation.
Henry: We don't have any idea what it means.
Adrienne: And that was one of the commonest words, incidentally.
Edward: I bet it was used in the sense of "down-to-earth".
Donna: Yeah.
Henry: That means uninteresting to me.
Donna: No.
Edward: That means solid, drinkable wine.
Linda: Honest and practical.
Betty: Honest or basic.
Linda: Basic, maybe.
Adrienne: But the wine experts don't use it that way. They use it to mean it "has the smell or taste of earth", whatever that is.
Carol: Really?
Adrienne: Well, before we were talking about the possibility of the smell of a wet basement.
Betty: I don't like that at all.
Edward: Well, just the fact that it makes you think of wine as planted in the earth, and somehow the grape and flavor and all reflect the character of the earth.
Betty: Usually [grapes are] not planted in damp places... nice, sunny.
Edward: Nice, right.

A satisfactory definition of
earthy was never agreed on, and it was one of the words that were used less often at the end of the year than at the beginning in the word-circling task. Apparently, subjects became aware of the fact that it was ambiguous and hence less likely to communicate successfully. Moreover, subjects did not agree in picking out the most or least earthy wine.

Adrienne Lehrer, "Wine and Conversation"
Oxford University Press, 2009

terça-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2018

Cistus — Reserva '2013

35% Tinta Roriz, 35% Touriga Nacional e 30% Touriga Franca de cepas com média de idades de 25 anos, implantadas nas encostas do rio Sabor, este tinto da Quinta do Vale da Perdiz estagiou durante 14 meses em barricas de carvalho francês e americano.

Da colheita de 2013 resultaram 14001 garrafas que se encheram em Março de 2017.

Escuro, denso e encorpado.

No nariz, figo, ameixa e outros frutos negros, químico e floral típico das tourigas, especiarias doces, algum vago ensanguentado. Maduro. As marcas da madeira onde estagiou aparecem, mas não carregadas.

Na boca, ataque assertivo, com alguma calidez — 14,5% de álcool — e estrutura jovem, mas desenvolta o suficiente para que o abate imediato não se possa considerar antes do tempo. O sabor é bastante persistente e, mau grado as sugestões de redondez a que os compotados ajudam, seco.

O seu predecessor da colheita de 2011 foi aqui comentado.

PVP recomendado, 9,99€.

16,5

sábado, 6 de janeiro de 2018


As ruínas do antigo Hotel Serra da Pena situam-se na freguesia da Sortelha, concelho do Sabugal.


O complexo foi construído algures nas décadas de 1910-20 para aproveitar a água local, rica em sais de Urânio e Rádio.


Na altura, a radioactividade, recentemente descoberta e ainda pouco compreendida, era considerada muito benéfica para a saúde.


Mas, terminada a Segunda Guerra Mundial, já poucos acreditavam que águas muito radioactivas pudessem ser benéficas, e o empreendimento acabou por fechar, falido, no princípio da década de 1950.


Ainda é possível aceder à sala de captação de água, apesar de grande parte do interior do edifício principal ter abatido.

quarta-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2018

Domaine du Pegau — Cuvée Reservée '2011

Já aqui comentei alguns vinhos do Ródano, mas, tanto quanto me lembre ou tenha conseguido pesquisar, nenhum Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Historicamente, a appellation começou a desenvolver-se com a transferência do papado de Roma para Avinhão, em 1309, por iniciativa de Clemente V, o papa que dissolveu a Ordem dos Templários, tendo sido o seu sucessor, João XXII, o papa que declarou oficialmente a bruxaria e paganismo hostis à doutrina cristã, devendo os seus seguidores ser purgados, o primeiro grande responsável pelo desenvolvimento da cultura da vinha na região.

A marca Domaine du Pegau surgiu em 1987, quando pai e filha ampliaram e melhoraram a produção da propriedade familiar. Contituído por 80% de Grenache, 6% de Syrah, 4% de Mourvèdre e 10% de várias outras castas, não discriminadas, este Cuvée Réservée fermentou em cubas de cimento e estagiou, dois anos, em pipas de madeira avinhada.

Novo e nervoso logo depois de aberto, típico lote GSM, grande, intenso, maduro e concentrado, mais amplo que longo, com uma complexidade que não recusa certos cheiros mais feiinhos, que noutro lugar sugeririam defeito.

No ataque, borracha, fumo e Syrah, banana seca e Grenache alegre, fruta vermelha, cerejas, morangos, goût de merde... Mais tarde, floral, um floral fechado, austero à sua maneira, e terra, e grafite. Tanta coisa, mas sempre longe do verde. Um grande vinho, e 2011 não foi, sequer, um grande ano para o produtor.

Bebi-o de uma vez, acompanhado apenas por isto.

50€.

18