Summer distilled in a bottle. At the time I began the project at the end of June, the summer lay before me in all its glory.The walnut tree’s tender leaves grew luxuriantly under a hot sun. The hope of a full season expressed itself in my newly planted vegetable garden as it grew wondrously tall. The lush blooming of red petunias in pots beckoned me. Days and days of lazy days rolled ahead as I watched over my jar of black brew. After months of waiting patiently like a mother over her newborn baby, I am ready to see the results of my creation. The time has finally come to celebrate the uncorking of the Nocino extraordinaire!
On All Saints’ Day I decanted the nocino, filtered the liquor, and bottled it. As I worked, the kitchen filled with the heady aroma of walnut spirits, spices, and citrus overtones.
I imagine my summer revisited. A note here of spice, a note there of sun rays captured. It reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, a novel I taught to freshmen so long ago, “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”