If youa€™ve ever driven in Italy, youa€™ve been a player in the game Stump the Foreign Driver. The monks who kept viticulture alive during the Dark Ages were much the same, pouring their abbey wine into ceramic flasks that were carried a few steps to the refectory table. This began to change when noble families started storing premium wine in glass bottles around 1600.
Paper labels first emerged in the mid-1700s, initially used by champagne houses eager to distinguish themselves from their competitors; this required a means of identification that wouldna€™t fall off during transport. Today therea€™s plenty of regulation dictating what wine labels should saya€”alcohol level, importer, pregnancy warnings, etc. Classico No, ita€™s not a recipe like a€?classic ragu sauce.a€™ Ita€™s a location, as in the original, historic zone where the wine was first produced and gained fame.
DOCG wines tend to be more expensive because of the costlier practices stipulated by the rulebook, such as smaller yields, longer aging, and maturation in wood. But herea€™s a tip for bargain hunters: Every winery that makes a red-wine DOCG will also have a a€?lessera€™ wine meant to be drunk young.
Until they make a GPS system for wine labels, learning these basic rules of the road should take you a long way.
ClassicoA  No, ita€™s not a recipe like a€?classic ragu sauce.a€™ Ita€™s a location, as in the original, historic zone where the wine was first produced and gained fame. DOCGA  Italya€™s wine classification system warrants an essay in itself, but here are the basics for buyers: The top level, denominazione di origine controllata e garantita or DOCG (denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin)a€”clearly marked by a neck banda€”must adhere to a stringent set of rules that dictate practices in the vineyard and cellar. When I went to Thrace in 1989 with my wife and 10-week-old daughter I employed my trusty technique for unearthing the local folk culture, which is to walk into the nearest likely place and ask. He played in the Greek manner, with the drone balanced on the crook of his elbow and the chanter held forward.
The following year my wife found out about an island in the Cyclades that a girl friend of hers was a regular visitor to, and where there were two traditional tsabounaides a€“ players of the island bagpipe. The whole holiday was, in fact, a catalogue of near-disasters (most of which I will not mention) but I relished each one because of the effort it required to renew my faith in providence and the Greek people, and the rewards I gained.
The islands of the Cyclades each have two main villages, one on the sea edge and one on the top. Three more days passed while we explored the island, absorbing the warm spring sunshine and breathing the herb-scented air. With only one day to go before we had to leave for Piraeus I discovered that the ferry schedule we had been given was wrong; there was no ferry the next day. When I speak highly of Greek music I need hardly say I'm not referring to modern bouzouki music, which is a rather empty style of playing derived from a more interesting but now largely defunct style of bar-room music called rembetika. In the early 1980s, police departments worldwide started pining for more firepower in their service weapons. The reasoning behind this is still suspect: if youa€™re not HITTING your target, do you really need the capability for what amounts to suppressive fire, in a civilian environment? In 2005, for instance, a pickup truck went down what amounted to a police gauntlet in a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles. This, along with other safety aids, such as an inertial firing pin, makes carrying a revolver hammer-down and in double-action mode a pretty safe proposition: safe to carry and safe for quick action in case the gun is needed.
For an M1911A1-type gun used as a police service pistol or even as a defensive weapon, there is really only one credible firing mode: cocked, hammer back, safety on. For cops, either approach involves one step too many and can introduce firing mishaps, or, worse, a non-firing situation, in which the bad guy gets to shoot first.
Starting around World War II, designs such as the Walther P-38, began to be introduced in Europe which incorporated both a double-action mode AND a single-action mode. By the mid 1980s, the US military had abandoned the M1911A1 in favor of a new design, based on the Italian Beretta 92. One last note: since single-action mode requires less trigger pressure, ita€™s possible for finer muscle control, thus yielding a more precise shot. For generations of gun users accustomed to military weapons training, this was all unthinkable.
Plus, the Glock was much lighter than many service pistols, due to the use of plastics in the lower section of the pistol (the grip and lower frame) (7 oz lighter, fully loaded, than an UNLOADED M1911A1). Due to its marketing campaign, it had instilled a fervor in its adherents that was similar to those in the a€?Mac vs.
In the 80s through the 2000s, the military continued investigating advanced firearms, with competitions that resulted in the Heckler & Koch Model 23, and its smaller cousin, the USP (another polymer pistol).
Fifth, there is no hammer or striker indicator to definitively show you whether youa€™re cocked and armed.
There is an anecdotal a€?recorda€? of accidental Glock discharges while handling the weapon, and a Google or YouTube search do indeed turn up a fair share, the results of which seem invariably to boil down to a€?fix it in training.a€? While much of the a€?fix it in traininga€? campaign has led to better gun-handling in general, this appears to speak to the flaw in the overall design. Cops, gangsters, and movie producers seem to love Glocks, but I wouldn't recommend them a€” OR their polymer cousins; Ia€™m not picking on Glock per se, just their producta€™s design elements -- for anyone who doesn't know a lot about guns or work with them regularly. The force involved in double-action mode is about twice that in single-action mode.A  The trigger must also travel a much longer distance, as much as 1 inch vs. For cops, either approach involves one step too many and can introduce firing mishaps, or, worse, a non-firing situation, in which the bad guy gets to shoot first.A  Many many variants of the M1911A1 exist in the civil sector that seek to improve reliability and reduce operator errors, but these modifications did not receive nearly as much market penetration as revolvers. I have fired all sorts of guns, including those fired above.A  I do not much care for the Glock design. There is an anecdotal a€?recorda€? of accidental Glock discharges while handling the weapon, and a Google or YouTube search do indeed turn up a fair share, the results of which seem invariably to boil down to a€?fix it in training.a€?A  While much of the a€?fix it in traininga€? campaign has led to better gun-handling in general, this appears to speak to the flaw in the overall design.
It goes like this: Youa€™re barreling along the autostrada at 110 km and suddenly the highway forks. Once they discovered that aging can enhance wine, bottles started evolving, going from bulbous to cylindrical, which allowed for stacking in storage. Regular wineries followed suit, at first writing the vintage or place of origin by hand on a blank paper label. Castles, landscapes, floral motifs, medallions, escutcheons, art nouveau flourishes, and all manner of typography tumbled forth onto the tiny paper canvases.
Nonetheless, sometimes the simplest things arena€™t cleara€”like whether the word in large typeface refers to the producer, the wine, or the cru.
Therea€™s no regulation for font size, so producers are free to emphasize whatever they want. In Italy, these prestigious vineyards are often located on the top of a hill, where therea€™s the most sunlight and the best drainage.


Ita€™s usually preceded by the grape variety and followed by the town: Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Morellino di Scansano, Fiano di Avellino. So if you dona€™t happen to know that Canale is in Piedmont, get out your smart phone and google it. Rules vary by zone, but generally it means an additional year of aging and an extra point of alcohol.
It often comes from younger vines or less ideal vineyard locations or is matured in stainless steel rather than costly oak. From there you will be directed to someone who will know someone who will know someone, and with uncanny serendipity you are soon in the midst of a very satisfying experience. With this posture he could release the chanter altogether during improvisations and bounce it rapidly on his thumb, executing a back-note trill which drew gasps of appreciation from the now-assembled audience.
Amazingly, both Mehmet's instrument and mine were exactly in tune a€“ B flat a€“ and as I knew some Thracian tunes we were able to play together, though his louder conical bore chanter swamped mine. Not least was the experience of sailing through the Cyclades, with islands appearing to left and right, gracefully recumbent, dozing in their translucent shroud of magic like jewels in the lustrous sea. That was all she could tell me, as she herself never went 'up' any more; she had a grievance against the 'up' villagers involving a stolen purse (the detailed story need not concern us here) and would not speak to them. I had been warned not to expect too much; it would be difficult to get him to play, the weather had to be right, he had to feel right, it had to be a special occasion. Aristidis kept time resolutely in a monotonous marching rhythm while Yiannoukos played a few notes with inaccurate tempo, stuck on one note for a bit and then played a few more.
We breakfasted on fresh bread from the village bakery; Adrienne and I dined on local fish washed down with retsina. I could either hire another fishing boat to Ios ( if I could find anyone to take us) or get the next ferry to Santorini and fly to Athens from there. I waited outside the taverna as dusk fell and the last rays of the sun lit up the leaves of the vines growing above over the street. It was a modern one, with fruit machines and televisions in the comfortable lounge showing a Greek soap opera.
There is an enormous variety of good folk music in Greece, some very sophisticated, demanding an acquired taste, and some quite simple. A There's a much lighter trigger pullA (remember, you generally don't want to carry a pistol unchambered.
A Since you're already cocked, this provides yet another opportunity for an errant finger to hit the single-action trigger. Theya€™re not like American wanderers who transfer jobs at the drop of a hat and vacation in different spots every year, driving hundreds of miles without anxiety thanks to idiot-proof signage like I-75 South. But glass bottles were not sufficiently elegant for lordly dining; wine came to the table in crystal decanters.
With the invention of lithography in 1798, a whole new chapter opened up, and modern labels were born.
Here again it pays to get acquainted with some regional or dialect words, in this case indicating a€?top of a hilla€?: Bricco, sorA®, and poggio are the most common.
In practice, there are plenty of ho-hum DOCG bottles out there, and an equal number of stellar IGTs (indicazione geographica tipicaa€”the lesser category that most pricey Super Tuscans fall into). So Barolo producers will also make a plain nebbiolo, Brunello di Montalcino wineries a simpler sangiovese, and Amarone estates a straightforward Valpolicella. In Xanthi, the provincial capital, things started happening when I spotted a small urchin standing on a street corner holding what looked suspiciously like part of a gaida drone. He also had the trick of walking up to a seated listener whom he judged to be sympathetic and playing directly into his ear, more as an acknowledgement of the listener's interest than a direct appeal for money, though I'm not ashamed to say I responded to this gesture fairly liberally. All the boys were careless and funloving, attaching more importance to horseplay than they did to the business of earning a living.
We alighted on Ios without knowing whether or not we would be able to get to our destination, Sikinos, which was visible close by, as there was no ferry. I got him to understand that I had come all the way from England to hear him play, and he agreed to oblige me that evening. His reeds were not well tuned and the two pipes of his double chanter were in audible disagreement. In the midst of all these negotiations and the constant effort of keeping my family occupied and relatively comfortable, I knew I still had to track down the other piper, the elder brother. The primitive traditional music of Sikinos was already a world away, as insubstantial now as the island itself, just a faint violet smudge on the horizon.
Adonis had gone to a nearby hut where he kept his tsabouna.A  He arrived, bringing the bagpipe and a toubi. It's the weather, the sea, the islands, the food, the extraordinary light, the variety of experiences, the folk culture (especially the music) and most of all the people. Many of these traditions are very ancient indeed, having probably remained unchanged since early Byzantine or even Classical times. A It's not a€?safea€?: what if you need to use it -- why are you carrying a gun to begin with? A Too easy, again, for a naive or out-of-practice user hit the trigger and fire one off as theya€™re safety-ing the weapon. Permission to reproduce this article for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that this disclaimer is included. So the WORK, using the physics term, to fire in double-action mode can be up to 32 times higher.A  This higher work minimizes the chance of accidental firings by something hitting the trigger, whether an obstruction or a nervous finger. No, Italians stick close to mamma their whole lives and return to the same beach every August, giving it no more thought than a migratory bird. So a Tuscan consumer doesna€™t need a label to tell him that Santa€™ Antimo is in Tuscany, or a Piemontese that the Colline Novaresi are north of Turin. However, wineries tend to have their Reserves spend that extra year in oaka€”often in new barrique.
Accompanied by an English-speaking student who had befriended us, I approached the young ragamuffin, examined the object and, after ascertaining that it was indeed what I had first thought, was conducted to the town square, where there was a small gang of travelling orphans living on the busking proceeds of their leader, a 14-year-old Turkish gypsy called Mehmet who came from Oresteia near the Turkish border. The bag of Mehmet's instrument was a large goatskin, very dilapidated and plugged with a saucer-sized wooden disk where it had been torn.
When anyone got some money it was immediately spent and the purchase shared among the gang without preference. But I had drunk enough retsina by that time to be generously disposed towards the musicians and applauded fulsomely when, after about fifteen minutes, the ragged improvisation came to a halt.


I made one last effort and got directions to the house of Anna Manala, the lady who spoke English. Adonis Kaboulas and his brother Yiannoukos are the last, definitely the last, exponents of an unbroken line of music stretching back into antiquity.
I find in them a lively spirituality, a true pride of self, that I only occasionally find elsewhere. The peculiar wailing music of Epirus and southern Albania is an example of one of those untouched traditions.
A With other guns (Sig), you can safely decock the gun, putting the weapon into double-action mode, requiring much heavier trigger forces, before ejecting the magazine and cycling the slide to remove the chambered round.
If you dona€™t happen to know that your destination lies towards one or the other, you lose. A plaque on a chain identifying the winea€™s provenance would be hung around the decanter's neck. These are inherited from times past, when peasants would give names to hills, patches of woods, parcels of landa€”their verbal maps, in essence.
So the question of whether youa€™ll prefer a Reserva over the winerya€™s regular wine is a matter of taste.
With one of the smaller boys playing expertly on the toubeleki drum, he proceeded to regale my ears with fine gaida music. The chanter also was the worse for wear, with a piece of wood replacing a broken section between two of the finger holes. Mehmet possessed the quality which all people from that part of the world have, of rewarding sincerity with warmer sincerity.
The Rough Guide to Greece says that the word malaka (wanker) is an affectionate term of abuse in Athens. He chatted and laughed with his young son as we dived into the billows, drenched with every bowspray; an ideal father-son relationship, relaxed and trusting.
A middle-class, English-speaking Greek woman who lived on the island told me about the bagpipers. They have faults too, of course; they can be over-emotional, lazy, arrogant, but underlying it all is a richness of experiencing exemplified by Katsimbalis in Henry Miller's book The Colossus of Maroussi a€“ the attitude that 'life is interesting because I am living it'.
Bagpipe music also, because of its inability to adapt to the demands of more recent musical trends, including ensemble playing, has retained a character that clarinet, violin, sandouri (hammered dulcimer) etc.
Over time, these became elaborate artworks, crafted from silver, mother of pearl, ivory, and porcelain. For consumers, the easiest trick to figuring out the producer is to look on the back label.
A cru is generally the winerya€™s top wine, the one that offers the most distinctive personality and sense of place.
It depends on your feelings about oak and whether you go for the vanilla, mocha, spice, or cedar flavors that barrique often lends to wine. If therea€™s one whose Barolo you swoon over, chances are youa€™ll also like their more affordable Nebbiolo Langhe.
Mehmet spent a good deal of time mucking around with his chanter reed, scorching the tongue with a cigarette lighter and so on, but couldn't get it working to his satisfaction and eventually broke it with a resigned shrug. I quickly developed a strong affection for him and his scruffy entourage, and was sorry to leave Xanthi. Outside the airport I used the word on a taxi driver who refused to take me, me wife, our daughter and my three daughters from a previous marriage together in his ample-sized vehicle. A young man sat down with them and began to sing along, at which point I realised that the apparently random sequences of notes that Yiannoukos was playing were actually tunes a€“ local traditional melodies. She had heard that by good fortune Adonis was herding his goats in a nearby field and she would take me to see him, if he was still there. But I particularly remember the innocent, untroubled expression on Adonis' face as he sang the simple old songs. In the fine print, youa€™ll see Imbottigliato alla€™ origine daa€¦ or a€?estate bottled by [name],a€? and there you have it. Youa€™ll pay more, but youa€™re getting a unique, terroir-based wine, not a cookie-cutter beverage.
But yes, at 8.30 he walked into the taverna carrying his tsambouna, accompaied by an old man in his 80s called Aristidis, who was going to play the toubi, a small snare drum. We struggled up the hillside on foot, over rocks and thorny scrub, and eventually came upon a small hut, ouside which an elderly man stood, raggedly dressed, leaning on a stick. He was a natural musician, playing with sensitivity and a superior technique to that of his brother, and his chanter pipes were in tune.
Greeks nowadays love to rattle up and down the scale with great virtuosity, whereas the simple six-note tunes of gaida, tsabouna and tulum offer no such opportunities. I was too cowardly to admit that I had been the cause of this inexplicable event until we were on the ferry and safely on our way. We played together for the rest of the evening while the relaxed group of listeners chatted and joined in the songs. But Greek pipers do play with their own particular brands of skill and panache even if you have to be there to see it. The older brother Adonis was generally acknowledged to be the better piper, but in any case the islanders thought tsabouna music old-fashioned, preferring to listen to modern music on the radio.
Anna hailed him cheerfully and launched into a long speech, while I stood smiling and nodding.
Anna told me that she had persuaded him to play for me that evening up in the village, and that he would meet me later at the port kafeneion.
It must past inspection at the laboratory and the tasting panel, showing that it fits the mold. The three brothers and two sisters were distributed among the families of the island as was the custom. When the adoptive parents of Adonis died he inherited their land as they had no children of their own, but he did nothing with it, preferring to pasture his small flock of goats around the island, moving from place to place.



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