They met up with several oenologists and finally decided to consult Alberto Giacchino, an Italian oenologist cum vintner with a sound knowledge about winemaking, the enthusiasm of a child and the patience of a scarab beetle.
Considering both of them were experts at Viticulture, the harvesting and destemming process was not that challenging. But making a world-class wine was a different ball game. This was where Alberto was a ‘killer’ as he called him.
Alberto gave them solid knowledge about the crushing, fermentation, pressing, stabilization, etc. Maceration in large oak barrels was another difficult but exciting stage. Alberto supervised every stage and took back samples at various stages for lab tests. Finally the filtration and SO2 injection was done and they decided to use corks and not screw caps. Alberto recommended corks since he opined that they lent a traditional touch to the look. And to make sure that corks taints did not spoil the long effort everyone had put in, Alberto ensured all the corks were coated with an inert chemical.
Nine months were almost up. Both had not realized how time had flown. They’d been so busy running together for a pleasant change that neither had realized that they were actually beginning to get back to their real selves. The initial days when they met and drank wine till they got silly were often a part of their conversations during these nine odd months. Alberto too had become a close pal more than a consultant. He’d really helped them get closer by infusing their lives with the common interest they once had. Wine.
The day of the festival arrived. The three of them traveled to Tuscany. She had already filled in the forms and couriered them. It was quite a grand event. Set in an open lawn, were close to 50 kiosks with various vineries setting up their stall. Bottles, bottles and more bottles everywhere. He looked at her with a glint in his eyes. Both remembered their first meeting, almost a decade ago.
He had been tasting a Chenin Blanc at a well known winemaker’s stall. As he went to ask for a refill, a soft hand brushed his arm and said ‘Excuse me, I’d love some of that wine as well’. She then tuned to him and said ‘I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to push past you. No hard feelings’. He was barely listening to her. Those big round eyes, that tiny wisp of hair that fell across her left cheek, that sweet smell of lilies. He was hypnotized. ‘Hello?’ she said tapping him on the shoulder. ‘You smell like a forest of lilies’ he said. ‘Excuse me?’ she said perturbed and rather annoyed at his bohemian approach. ‘Oh! I’m so sorry ma’am but that was for the wine’. She quite liked that come back. Most men she had met were pathetic at come back lines and positively no one had subtly told her that she smelt like lilies. There was something about him……that tiny stubble, that deep voice, those mischievous eyes and that super deep dimple. The next thing, they were sitting together sipping wine and chatting nineteen to the dozen.
********************to be continued*****************************