A nicer man you never did meet. We chatted it up, and in the ensuing years, have taken untold numbers of guests to Cascina St. Ubaldo. Domenico's wines are award winning and classic - there was never a guest who did not only fully enjoy the wines, but also the experience and the hospitality. There would always be salami and bread on the table, and his dog Chica would always be the taste tester.
The degustazione would always start in Domenico's living room and then proceed to his cantina where we would taste directly from the barrel. He spent hours with every one of our guests, regardless if they purchased ten cases or one bottle. A wine maker out of passion, whose wines made the DOC for Dolcetto d'Acqui proud. His Brachetto was unforgettable. His blends perfect.
Last week, I had to drive into town to get some provisions. On the way back, the train track was closed so I had to wait. I happened to turn my head to the left and looked at the death notice board.
Domenico Botto, aged 61.
I don't even remember how I got home from there. We called. He passed away from a massive heart attack after our last snow storm. We had just seen him a week or so before, and I had felt he looked tired. We talked about going to dinner together before the start of the season, and about the guests we would be bringing up to visit him this year. We said goodbye, not knowing it would be the last time.
Ciao, caro Domenico. We were so lucky to know you, you dear man. Thank you for every moment we spent together. You were gracious, warm, honest, and kind. And you worked way too hard. Rest easy now.