Because, ultimately, wine is a pretext for us to get closer to the earth, to uncover stories, to discover the land, and to grow. And, above all, it’s a pretext for us to be together, for us to say, “we.”
Above: “Settembre e l’uva fogarina” (“September and l’Uva Fogarina”) by Italian photographer Linda Borciani, who wrote to me today from Fabbrico (Reggio Emilia province) giving me the green light to use the image on my blog.
There were so many bad vibes out there in the enoblogosphere last week (and yall know what I’m talking about) that I decided to take a break from wine blogging over the holiday weekend and “head back into the studio” to record one of my favorite Italian folk songs: “L’uva Fogarina.”
Purported to be a favorite of pioneering Italian wine writer Luigi Veronelli, the legendary Fogarina grape was cultivated in Reggio Emilia province until the close of the 1960s.
No one seems to know why it disappeared, although many point to the fact that it faced bureaucratic challenges after being omitted from the official register of “authorized grape varieties” (the Veneto’s Fragolino is an analogous case).
Here’s an excerpt from the entry for Fogarina in the landmark work of ampelography, Wine Grapes (Ecco 2012) by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and José Vouillamoz:
- “Fogarina was one of the most widely planted varieties in the province of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially in the commune of Gualtieri… It is even the subject of a popular Italian folk song.”
“DNA profiling” has demonstrated that “Fogarina could be closely related to Lambrusco Marani” and “has also suggested a possible parent-offspring relationship with Raboso Piave.”
(Fogarina is omitted from Calò et alia’s 2006 Vitigni d’Italia [Grape Varieties of Italy].)
The wildly popular Italian folksong, “L’uva fogarina,” tells the story of “the beautiful Fogarina grape” and the “pleasure of picking it.”
That same pleasure, says the singer, is also found in “making love with my lover in the middle of the fields.”
Teresina, recounts the singer, “doesn’t want to weave and she doesn’t know how to sew.”
The country sun is bad for her, she claims.
I’ll leave the rest of the story to your imagination.
Above: My tejano-style recording of “L’uva Fogarina” (Baby P Studios, Austin, Texas) set to a collection of harvest images from previous years in Italy. And yes, that IS Yngwie Malmsteen on accordion.
Recorded by scores of Italian artists, it’s one of those songs that every Italian knows and loves: it captures the spirit of harvest time, when a year’s work in the vineyard comes to fruition. It reminds us of how humanity must return to the earth to reap its fruits… and to procreate…
As my friend and colleague, Italian wine writer Maurizio Gily, reminded me this morning, with a post culled from the work of another friend and colleague, Marco Arturi, wine is “a pretext for us to be together, for us to say, ‘we.'”
In the wake of the ill will that was hurled across the enointernets last week, it felt like a song about picking grapes and making love was in tall order. It pairs well with a buona dose (healthy dose) of humanity…
Thanks for reading and listening…
In other news…
A photo of a butterfly, above, taken yesterday in the vineyards by my good friend, Collio grape grower and winemaker, Giampaolo Venica. Our daughter, Georgia P, started pre-school today. She LOVES butterflies.