As morning dawned, only five were left. After many wars and battles, they couldn’t claim victory. They had been left behind, without any entitlements to greatness, as their fellow warriors had enjoyed. No victory laps, no medallions, nothing. Just the blank stare from the sun as it rose to shine upon everyone else but them.
How many more years before these five could taste the glory of greatness, riding tall in their saddles, heads held high? As if it were ever in the cards for these five?
Soon, the curtain would fall, and there would be no more pageantry, no more striving for the highest honor. Before long, they and all their compatriots would be swept away into a larger procession. And with it, dashed is the chance to go into new battles with a taste of triumph.
Making a little breakfast in the fire before they broke camp and set off for their reckoning at noon, they drank strong black, bitter coffee and ate rock-hard bread which they seared in the coals. Molise was first to speak, as the junior fighter among them.
“What did I have to lose? Only my precious Biferno, the only one they could have recognized. My Rosso, perhaps? But the Montepulciano from our neighbors in Abruzzo have stolen that glory. The white? Who would give a Trebbiano any honor? She is the pretty little sister everyone wants to bed down when young, but as she ages, she is scattered, haggard, and uncertain. No, she would never be honored. Only Emilia Romagna, with their political power could have gotten that victory with their Albana or Tuscany with their precious Vernaccia. But not we terroni in Molise. We should have gone back to shoeing our horses, content to be a drive-through for the cattle.” Dejected, Molise saddled up and headed out first.
Liguria then rattled out his paean. “We are also a border, and we have the traditions of France and Italy and the Savoy, but we are an inhospitable terrain, not noble, but fleshy, sensuous and hard to claim. Our great red in the hills, the Rossese, is as noble as any Dolcetto or Primitivo. But alas, no honor from Rome. And our Sciacchetrà? On a par with Picolit or Sauterne and more precious and hard to find, but for the few princes that harbor in our ports in the calm months. She has no advocate in Rome, either.” And Liguria ambled towards his horse and joined the other two.
And what a meeting that would be, the five remaining territories, none of their wines with a so much as a single DOCG.
Oh, to be a crow high in the sky over the dusty little town when the sun was at its peak and the tower clock would strike noon for the last time.