“A San Martino Ogni Mustu è Vinu“
On the 11th of November Sicily and the rest of Italy celebrate San Martino, the Bishop of Tours. The story of the Saint dates back to the year 300 A.D. during which he was a soldier of the Roman Empire. On a cold snowy day of November a beggar wearing only shabby rags approached him. Martino felt great pity for the poor man so he cut his cape in two with his sword and gave half to the beggar. At that moment, the weather miraculously changed, the sun began to shine and melted the snow. That night Martino had a dream that changed his life, he converted to Cristianity and became a monk and began to evangelize the Gaulish population.
As well as the legendary story of San Martino, the 11th of November has become embedded in folklore. During this period, although well into Autumn, the weather is quite mild and is referred to as “Estate di San Martino” (San Martino’s Summer) – a clear reference to the ancient legend.
In Italy, the festivity corresponds with the decanting and tasting of the new wine. Hence the saying: “A San Martino ogni mustu è vinu” (at St. Martino all must becomes wine).
Can you imagine it being a simple winemaking procedure? Of course not! Especially in Sicily!
In Sicily, San Martino is a chance to gather with friends and relatives to taste, share and celebrate the new wine. A typical sweet called “biscotto di San Martino” is prepared for the occasion. These hard round biscuits scented with fennel seeds are dipped either in the new wine or in a sweet dessert wine that makes them taste even better. There are also fancy versions of the “Biscotti”, which are very pretty indeed.
Every year a very popular and well-attended event takes place, the “Cantine Aperte a San Martino”. Many wineries open their cellars to visitors and wine lovers to taste the new vintages, but not only that, they suggest local specialities and traditional dishes. Something not to miss!