I was fortunate to travel a few years to the Marche region of central Italy as part of a trip organized by the Gruppo Ristoranti Italiani, a longstanding New York-based organization dedicated to promoting authentic Italian cuisine. During dinner our second night, which was in a hall of an ancient college in the beautiful Renaissance town of Urbino, the wine flowed freely and the food – disappointingly and unexpectedly – stopped after the antipasti and a first course, a version of a simple soup cooked for Michelangelo and his team while working on the Sistine Chapel. It was delicious, by the way, and not tasting ancient, in any sense of the word.
At our lively table of eight, after the soup was finished, the discussion turned to the broad topic of wine. One of the several journalists on the trip – one of our country’s leading wine and spirits writers, Anthony Dias Blue – mentioned that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually derived from a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. That was a surprise to most of the others: a red and a white grape creating a red grape.
I chimed in that this was to be expected in nature. In fact, it was well articulated by Public Enemy (in “Fear of a Black Planet” from their seminal 1990 album of the same name), who certainly remembered Mendel's laws of inheritance that we all learned as kids when they used these lines:
Black man, black woman, black baby
White man, white woman, white baby
Black man, white woman, black baby
White man, black woman, black baby
Anthony laughed, along the rest of the table. It was a good day…well, night.