When we were younger my grandmother often mentioned her parents, telling us that for a while they used to organise a ‘game of bowls’. I never understood exactly what a game of bowls was. The only two elements that seemed clear in this relatively unknown commercial exercise, the ancestor of modern bowling, were that the bowls were made entirely of ivory (my grandmother was visibly proud of this), and that served to the guests would be a recipe which, it appears, was of unquestionable appeal: “wine and lemonade”.
My grandmother is a spirited person, for years she was teased by her nephews regarding the mysterious delectability of this mixture. It’s with the passing of generations, that in our house just like anywhere else, the relationship with wine has evolved. Those were hard times back then and you didn’t drink to enjoy “traces of juniper berries and acacia honey” in wine: you drank to perk yourself up. And what could have been better than a drop of lemonade to liven up the afternoon tipple. The old fisherman and the boatyard workers didn’t have the time nor the money to delve into the sensory qualities of the wine they drank, it was enough for them to have company, to enjoy themselves amongst friends, and perhaps to be the first to hit the jack with the ivory balls given to them in the game.
To put it bluntly, wine culture, at least good wine, is associated with the level of someone’s affluence and is therefore slightly elitist. It’s for this reason that initiatives like Cantine Aperte (open cellars), during which, on 29 May the best cellars in Italy open their doors to the public, have such great value. They create a connection with everybody, even those who are not able afford more than a ‘wine and lemonade’, by offering them the opportunity to test the capabilities of their palates without the verbose, cultural offerings or the expensive retail prices.
The beautiful things in life should be within everybody’s means and Open Cellars is a great way of creating, albeit temporarily, this ideal of democratic beauty. In fact, as stated by the promoters of the initiative themselves, it’s about “an experience of great cultural and human value” that goes well beyond simply tasting. You can check by yourself with our Cantine Aperte itineraries.
In Le Marche section of the Wine Tourism Movement, presided over by Serenella Moroder, there are 27 cellars that support the initiative, including Fiorini, Fazi Battaglia and Moncaro amongst others. They range from the legendary Verdicchio, to the Bianchello del Metauro to the Rosso Conero; the green, white and red colours of the Italian flag to which this nineteenth edition is dedicated. Confirmation once again of the fact that, Le Marche is a synthesis, a paradise within a much larger one: Italy.
And if the guests of my great-grandparents’ bowls game had had the opportunity every year, on the last Sunday of every May, to enjoy the best wines produced on the beautiful hills of Le Marche, I’m sure that the ‘wine and lemonade’, however stimulating, would not have sufficed.
The Paradise Trotter
1 comment(s) so far...
By Mary Lou Road on
Re: Cantine Aperte-Open Cellars in Le Marche: wine & democracy
Please let me know if it's possible an Itinerary on October. Mary Lou Road