MărÈ›iÈ™or – Cheers to Tradition

Mărțișor, celebrated at the beginning of March, is the ancient Romanian celebration of the beginning of spring, a tradition over 8000 years old. It’s also a (slightly newer) white wine.

There’s something incongruous in looking forward to the beginning of Spring and reviewing chilled white wines, when much of Scotland (and beyond) is in the midst of the so-called Beast from the East. Yet, the days are growing lighter and the hardiest of snowdrops, the Romanian symbol of the season, are valiantly holding their own.

Mărțișor were first white and red pebbles, strung on a string and worn around the neck. The red, given by fire, blood and sun, was attributed to life, and thus to women – the life-givers. White, symbolising the clarity of water and colour of the clouds, recognised the wisdom of men. Together, they signify the exchange of vital forces that give rise to the continuous cycle of nature.

In modern times, the Mărțișor has lost its talisman status and become more a symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect. But its symbol of spring, of the returning to life, continues.

So what has all of this to do with a bottle of wine?

Dedicated to the romantic tradition, Cramele Recas has produced the Mărțișor Pinot Grigio, a light white wine that is the perfect prelude to Spring – or, at present, to reminding us that if March has come in like a roaring lion, it will go out like a fluffy little lamb.

I’m not much of a drinker and definitely not a wine connoisseur, and neither are any of the friends whom I encouraged to finish the bottle with me – something we did with no effort and a lot of pleasure – and that seems to be rather the point with the Mărțișor. Easy to drink, it will please a spectrum of white wine drinkers, and therefore could easily become the staple of your fridge door.

It’s light, it’s fresh and lemony fruity (‘delicate aromas of melons, figs and peaches’ said one friend, but she may have been reading the back of the bottle) and there’s a definite hint of apples there, or it may be peaches…and it tastes just as good whether you’ve a full lunch or a bowl of crisps on the table.

Let’s raise a glass to Spring – Cheers!

Mărțișor Pino Grigio is available to purchase now at Waitrose nationwide (RRP £7.49)


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