Thursday, 28 July 2011

Celebrating wine for 15 days!!

In the middle of Italy, south of Tuscany, in a small city called Montefiascone a 15 days long wine festival is about to begin.

The town is in a dramatic position on a hill overlooking Bolsena volcanic lake and it is very rich in history being in a area where Etruscans and Romans used to leave and where during the more recent centuries popes and important ecclesiastic personality stayed.
The festival is going to start next Sunday and will consist of concerts, meetings and processions with ancient traditional costumes but most important it will celebrate the most important wine of the area: the white Est! Est!! Est!!! 
The wine's name has a curious and legendary origin. It is said that a German bishop on his way to Rome had sent his servant ahead in order to find the best places to drink good wine. The servant used to stop, try the wines and if they were worth he used to write with chalk on the door Est (Latin translation for  "it is"). But when he got to Montefiascone (couple of hours away from Rome) he was impressed by this light and refreshing blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca and wanted to highlitght the pleasure of his experience with an enthusiastic triple Est! Probably this is just a legend, but someone says that when the bishop arrived he decided to stay and lately died here, and his tomb is in the Basilica di San Flaviano on the Route Franchigena.
I am not sure if the story is fiction made up to attract interest over a wine that it's considered by 2 of the main wine personalities (Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson) "the dullest white wine with the strangest name in the world" but I know the festival and the wine….It's true the wine is very simple, quite plain with a light aromatic flavour of green apple and a good acidity, and it lacks of structure and complexity but the festival is great fun.
So if it happens you to be in the area in the next 2-3 weeks have a tour and for 15€ you could have a walk in the historical cellars in the centre of the city and taste all wines from around 10 producers…and trust me it will be fun!!!