Every October, there’s a Sagra dell’Uva festival held in Marino (15 miles or so the south east of Rome). The festival has its origins in 1571 when, on 17th October, the same day as the traditional processions of the Madonna del Rosario, the Christian fleet defeated the Turks at Lepanto.
The lord of Marino, Marcantonio Colonna, had taken part in the battle and in 1925 the Marinesi decided to link Colonna’s victory with a festival to celebrate and publicise their own famous white wine. Their link was that one of the group that went into battle with Colonna was a vine-grower who reputedly brought back to Marino a Malvasia vine from the island of Candia… . With me so far?
As part of the extensive and joyous Marino festivities, the Fountain of the Four Moors (slaves brought back by Colonna to work the vineyards), runs with wine. This is to symbolise the transformation of water into wine and one may safely say that a very good time is had by all.
In 2008, it was perhaps, an even better year.
That year the local water engineers, whose responsibility it is to re-provision the fountain made a small error. The consequence was that wine was piped not into the fountain but into the taps of many of the houses surrounding the Fountain. Those surrounding the fountain, cups in hand, were left unsatisfied until a few calls to the Chairman of the local utility company worked a small(er) miracle and restored the wine to the fountain and the water to the taps in a few minutes.
But not before Signora Anna was forced to wash her steps down with wine. Personally I would have bottled my own store rather than doing the cleaning. The wine of the Castelli Romani DOC is not the finest in the world but it’s very drinkable when well chilled on hot days. And it’s still around 70% Malvasia Candia.