Saturday, 6 February 2010
One of our Wine Tours......
I'd like to paint a picture, let the day wash all over you and make you feel like you were there with us! Give you a taste of what we do!
We picked our guests up one chilly misty November morning as the bells of Spello rang out 10am. It was a nice coincidence that all our guests were in Spello, so no other pick-ups were needed!
So we had Lyn, Bruce, Bill, Justice, Allan, Mike and Anna along for the day. Bill came well prepared with several 'dame' (5 lt glass jars) just in case we hit a cantina that did 'sfuso' wine - this is a wonderful way of buying your wine - you take your dama to the cantina and ask for vino sfuso, the guys at the cantina take you to the big steel vats and get what looks for all the world like a petrol pump and loads up the dama with 5 litres of the gorgeous grape stuff! But I digress! The dame fitted in snuggly behind all the seats along with a coolbox full of cold water bottles and little snacks. And we were off!
We had a barrel tasting of an experiment of his - a creamy oaky chardonnay. A successful experiment, we think, so hopefully next year (this year now!) he'll do it again!
We tried his Montefalco Rosso DOC and the stunning Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG we also had a taste of his sagrantino passito - the dessert wine of the area.
After Mark had loaded up our guests' purchases and plenty of photos had been taken, we took off for the next cantina.
We drove up into the hills near Montefalco winding through the country lanes, up another unmade road and to our second stop for the day. By this time we were much higher up and the cantina had the most wonderful views over the Spoleto Valley looking down at Assisi, Spello, Trevi and in the distance the main town of Perugia. The mist hadn't disappeared from the valley but we were above it here in the hills and the view was spectacular; the huge Basilica on the plain in Santa Maria degli Angeli had it's impressive dome peeking out the top of the mist - that was all you could see on the plain, the whole valley looked like a cauldron of dry ice swirling across the plain! Meanwhile - Ha! We were in glorious sunshine!
We were treated royally with plates of their own cured meats and pecorino cheese with local honey, bruschette with their own Olio Nuovo - delicious! Jugs of their own wine were dotted around the table along with bottles of natural and fizzy water. The pasta (hand-made obviously!) course was sublime with wild mushrooms and truffles followed by a juicy fillet beef steak with fresh local vegetables, then, for many, the piece di resistance - a hot chocolate souffled sponge dessert - indescribably good!! Even though we were fit to burst, somehow we all found room for this masterpiece!! Anna is a vegetarian, and the Agriturismo catered for her beautifully. It was gone 3pm before we thought about moving onto the next cantina!
We didn't try their Sagrantino unfortunately because it's still maturing in the bottles and won't be ready before June 2010, the other wines were delicious though. Again we were talked through the wines with the food - again, it was amazing that we found the space for more food, but it was so tasty that we couldn't resist! Homemade torta di pasqua - a kind of cheesy bread.
The wine makers wife had made little apple cakes made with wild apples to go with their own Grappa to finish off the tasting - even I liked it! The cakes complimented the Grappa perfectly!
After loading up the latest purchases it was time to head for the last cantina - this was an experiment - we wanted to see if we could 'do' four cantine in one day. After this test, we have decided that three is enough!!
We drove once again through the gorgeous countryside of the Massa Martina hills past the autumn colours of the vineyards and admired the fabulous panorama - it had turned into a beautiful day!
We descended into the cellars after gazing at the view across the hills towards Assisi and toured the vat rooms and the barrel rooms with one of the family owners, it was pretty noisy there, the bottling machine was going full pelt, there were locals wandering around shouting over the noise of the machine to each other (getting their weeks supply of wine in huge 25 and 50 litre glass jars!) - we weren't very quiet by this stage either!
Bill had found his cantina to fill his 'dame' with vino sfuso and then we tried some of the many wines on offer at this lovely local cantina. Then I saw that the winemakers Mum had what I thought was a 5 litre jar of water and she was pouring in liberally into everyones glasses - I nearly joined in, I could've done with some 'acqua' - only to realise at the last moment that she was being very generous with some homemade Grappa!!
Time to round everyone up and take them home!!
A good time was had by all!
A really great fun day out, as usual!