Sunday, September 26, 2021

Wine Jars Filled With Silver – Bolgheri’s 25th Anniversary Fête de Compli

It’s quite easy to consider the time we are living in is somehow unique. A world-wide health crisis, both physical and psychological. Fluidity among many people in regards to their version of events, and truth itself. Reverberations felt when encountering ostentatiousness. Reluctance, or perhaps apprehension, to return to a state of being where all the present dangers and fears cease to exist. And restlessness, the urge to get back on the dance floor, to wander among strangers, to sit, to talk, to eat, to drink, to commune. All of this swirling about many of us, those of us who are not fighting for our life on a ventilator in Boise or Belluno. All this desire to reclaim what was lost, to catch a glimpse of hope, to dream in real time. To return to “things the way they were.”

I was at my local Italian grocery store, not far from my home, when the proprietor showed me his phone. “Did you hear about that huge dinner in Tuscany? The table was a half mile long!” I’d heard nothing about it. What rock had I been hiding under?

I came to find out this year was the 25th anniversary of Bolgheri as a DOC. And they had come up with the idea of celebrating the milestone, in 2021, with a dinner, complete with all the wines, and the players, on a summer day, with 1,000 handpicked souls, senza maschere, who had survived the pandemic. It was time to break out the Dolce & Gabbanas, the Guccis, the Rolex and Panerais, the Maseratis, maybe even an Isotta-Fraschini or two? Wealthy Italian women could break out their Birkins, all while fear-stricken Afghan women retreated back into their burkas.

Two years earlier 750 Bolgheri insiders celebrated 25years of the Consorzio in a similar event. But in 2021, they wanted to go big, invite the world!

Journalists and importers, from Asia, from the Americas, from all over the globe, were summoned. Wealthy and beautifully bronzed Italians made sure to keep their calendars open, to return from Corsica or Cuba, in time to attend. This would be the alto-Borghese event of the year. Omnēs patriciī,omnēs ūnīus gentis. It would be a glorious time to put all the suffering and the death behind them, if only for a day, and to celebrate life and light and wine and being alive. It would be the ultimate hook-up of La Bella Figura with La Grande Bellezza.

It was out all there, in the open, for all the world to witness, in all of its meticulous splendor. Ipse en ille nostris decoratus. Insignibus magnifice incedit.” 

If anyone was concerned that the Bolgheri officials were going about it willy-nilly, in regards to Covid19 and the health risks and protocols, the Consorzio carefully curated these assuaging words: “The entire event takes place in respect to the current regulations in terms of health and safety which the organization has worked constantly to ensure, including tedious documentation and certificates on behalf of both Italian and foreign guests. In light of the current situation, the event is not open to the public and takes place exclusively by invitation and in strict compliance with the requirements of the law.”

The passage from Viri Romae, Alii amphoras, quasvini plenas extulerunt, eas argento repletas domum reportarunt,” indeed indicates that perhaps not all we live through is unique to us and our experiences with life on earth. I long ago abandoned the notion that all Italians were imbued with wisdom and grace. Nor am I blind to the excesses and shortcomings of we Americans. I realize humans are imperfect vessels, whether laden with good intentions or vanity, wine or silver.

Nevertheless, the pageant of September 4, 2021 on the Viale Dei Cipressi, made an indelible impression on this proletariatus observing raptly dum patrii laudes in caelum ferant.

As Horace wrote, long ago, "Omnes una manet nox."


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