the mouth must adjust

“The wines we now make in Apulia, like those we drank and used for cooking on Naxos and in Tuscany, are grown on a small-holding scale and almost exclusively for the grower’s use. . . .

Appreciation of [these] local wines comes gradually, while drinking, and by accepting their peculiarities. ‘Bisogna farsi la bocca’ is the rule. The mouth must adjust, and on the whole it does this best while eating. (Naxian quarrymen professed to eat only to honour the wine.) One is in fact asked to get over the shock of their uncontrolled diversity, which fluctuates not only with the weather during the year and on the day of the harvest, but according to the wine-maker’s hunches. . . .

The result is that one encounters both wonders and horrors such as are never met with in bottled wine.”

—Norman Mommens, “The Sculptor,” writing in Patience Gray’s Honey From a Weed (London: Prospect books, 1986.)

One Comment on “the mouth must adjust”

  1. Caitlin Adair says:

    Will, this post sounds so much like you. Fine and picky and quirky.
    I picked up some information on Filoli Orchard in CA at the Haywards’ (always a great source). The website is They have heirloom fruit trees in The Gentleman’s Orchard, originally planted in 1918 and restored beginning 1999. This is right up your alley. Have you heard of it?

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