In the year 1215, while folks over in England were setting up a pilot for future governments, travelers from another planet arrived on Earth. They came not in flying machines but teleported their molecular makeup though time and space and settled in Basilicata. Basilicata was chosen because these beings studied the planet, their new home, and decided it would be out of the way but close to some civilization. The weather was usually good, but sometimes cold. They didn’t object to that. This was to be a seamless transition, for their planet, known as CO, was placing their population all over the galaxies as a supernova would soon destroy their sun.
Oddly, Italy wasn't their first choice. There had been discussion of settling in Tibet, in Samoa and in France. But Tibet was too cold, Samoa was too warm and France, they feared too unstable.
Over the generations they came to appear like the local people, slightly taller and more red haired than the local population, who had seen their share of conquerors. These new ones from off-planet, though, didn’t make much about themselves, they staked no claim to glory or lands beyond the valley they had landed. They came to escape a world slated for destruction, looking only for a new life. And they found it in Basilicata.
After about four generations of integrating fully into the landscape, they became earthlings, and moreover, Italians. And being cerebral creatures, they looked to the land and the region for what would be the strongest points of energy. It was then that they came into contact with grapevines.
Wine as a beverage was not anything they had experience with, but after four generations these beings took a liking to the feelings the fermented beverage gave them after a long day of farming and herding. The only thing they had in remembrance of their liver on CO was their music and their stories, but for all intent and purposes these folks had assimilated into the landscape. A few became local land lords, but by and large they kept a low profile for the first 300 years in and around Lake Monticchio.
One in their group has a real affinity for the red grape, the one that the indigenous people told them were brought from another land many hundreds of years ago. That was one of the legends. The other one told the nearby volcano, now slumbering, gave birth to these vines in the fire. The wine was coarse and blood red, but sturdy and long-lived. Coming from a more advanced technological planet, but ethically compelled to not stand out, one in their land made it a life study, this grape, and the wine from it, and passed the work on. It passed for eight generations.
Which brings the story to a time about two hundred years ago. By that time, local legend had it that there was a wine which lived for hundreds of years and gave power and sustenance to all who drank it. But it was made in a remote zone, to which few people ever went. The stories became more legendary. Poems and songs were written about this deep red wine, some said made by peoples from another place. There were stories of underground vaults going deep into the rocky mountains nearby, where wine going back 200 years still tasted like it was just made.
That wine still exists. I have never had wine older than 20 years, but someday I hope to make it to that valley and taste the wine made by the aliens from CO, these aliena á CO.
Someday…someday, yes indeed…
written and photographed (entirely in Basilicata) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy