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Saint Martin and the new wine: traditions in Salento

by Nov 8, 2016Food0 comments

“San Martino and the new wine” because November 11th is the feast that everyone are waiting in Italy but above all in Salento.
The day when the sacred and the profane unite beautifully, in solidarity, conviviality and charity: the feast of Saint Martin’s Day.

Saint Martin, master of charity and humility

San Martino was a Roman soldier who one day, while riding a horse near Amiens, met a poor beggar.
In view of his condition, he cut his cloak in two and delivered a part of it to him. At night Martin dreamed of Jesus Christ who made him the part of the mantle he had given him: in the morning Martin awakened and his mantle was intact. Since then Martino converted to Christianity, becoming a monk with the deepest faith so much so that the citizens of Tours acclaimed him as bishop.

Celebrate San Martino in Salento

Salento has always been a land of welcome, tradition and warmth, not only meteorological but also human, and the feast of St. Martin is the occasion that families and friends seize to gather around a table set with every delicacy such as pittule, mandarins “clementine”, roasted meat and chestnuts, to find again those feelings of generosity and participation that have characterized the life of St. Martin of Tours.

Salento pays homage to the Saint with folklore manifestations

The Salento pays homage to Saint Martin with a series of folklore events.
Certainly Lecce, the pearl of Baroque architecture, with the astonishing architecture of the ancient buildings in Lecce stone and the narrow streets that hide splendid churches, offers a splendid and convivial setting to remember the message of Saint Martin.
Then there is “the city of flowers”, Taviano, which has a direct relationship to say the least with the saint: suffice it to think that in the past the citizens, in order to propitiate the rain, put a very salty sardine between the lips of the statue of the saint for him to understand the drought. Today there is a heartfelt procession through the streets of the city.
The same happens in the ancient Maglie, among markets, fireworks and the characteristic “St. Martin’s Tales” in honor of St. Martin represented by the precious statue of St. Martin begging on horseback.
The Salento hamlet of Monteroni celebrates St. Martin showing, among the stands of craftsmen, the vast and rich wine and food heritage of Salento: here is held in fact the competition “Il gioco diVino” where compete and are awarded the best new wines craft.

Saint Martin and the new wine

In Salento it is said:”te Santu Martinu ogni mustu diventa vinu” that is,”at San Martino every must becomes wine”.
The feast of San Martino coincides in fact with the day when the agrarian and wine year commonly ends, when the barrels are opened to taste the new wine, whose main characteristic is the method of winemaking that starts not from grapes already pressed. According to the so-called “carbonic maceration” method, the grapes are put for a couple of weeks in a steel container together with carbon dioxide, at a temperature of around 30°. In this way, a self-fermentation is activated which transforms the sugars into alcohol, thus producing the “glycerol” which gives that characteristic taste and aroma, limiting the quantity of tannins. Crushing and “classic” fermentation only later.
What makes this wine very delicious is its reddish-purple colour, its intense, extremely fruity and floral aroma and its round, balanced taste due to glycerol.




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