Friday, 7 October 2011

Italian poem No 7.

                                                                                                                                                        Foto: Basilio Speciari

San Gimignano Red

"I want a glass of San Gimignano Red,"
I told my husband,
"And the only place to drink it
is in San Gimignano!
"Where is that?" he said.
It's four and twenty cramped and stifling hours
away from Mascot
and a Fiat hired in Florence
and the breezy countryside with rising larks
and startled pheasants.
"Look!" Upon the hill there looms a city
built of kiddy blocks
and up and up the thirteen towers go-
Just how high can they go
before they topple over?
We share our bottle of San Gimignano Red
with Osso Buco and some garlic beans
at a trattoria in the city wall.
It's not the finest plonk in all the world
but Oh, what fun it is
to drink it here in San Gimignano!

                       ©    Tamsyn Taylor 

Dante Aligheri, in Purgatorio Stanza XXIV describes the gluttonous Pope Martin IV dining on Bolsena eels pickled in vernaccia.  Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the region's best known wine and the only white wine of Tuscany that is registered as Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.  However, the ancient Vernaccia grapes were harder to cultivate than modern varieties, and during the 20th century red wine varieties were planted.  "Rosso" and a "rosato" or rose wine was produced, the latter with a very distinctive character given by the Vernaccia grapes.  It was "rosato" rather than "rosso" that we drank that night in San Gimignano.  The proprietor had a gallery of portraits of himself drawn by visitors.  I rose to the challenge and contributed another portrait to the collection.  TT

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