Podere Marcampo

Podere Marcampo, Volterra

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
Paulo Coelho

Podere Marcampo, Volterra, Tuscany

Six years ago two things happened to change my life. First of all I fell in love with Tuscany and then I became a sommelier. These were the starting points allowing me to discover the hidden delights of the Pisa wine country, a charming sun kissed land, stretching from the hills to the sea, blessed by God, as beautiful as unexpected!

Wine runs deep in the veins of Tuscany, being woven into the cultural identity of this central Italian paradise. Pisa wines are synonymous with excellence thanks to the efforts of many skilled professionals.‘Podere Marcampo’ is one of the most important wineries in the area being representative of Pisa and its province.  ‘Pisa Hills is not only a ‘DOC label’ but also a ‘wine road’ playing an increasingly important role in wine production in Tuscany and it is a wine area that is on the rise only recently starting to get the recognition that is deserves. ‘Pisa Hills meanders through the hills of the valley of the Era River and the lower part of the Arno Valley crossing a territory with traditions dating back to the time of the Etruscans. If you head towards this entrancing place you will be greeted by an environment almost untouched by modernity ranging from picturesque scenery of mesmerising color set amongst the trees to places where wine and oil are still cultivated and produced in the traditional way. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is an organic biodynamic wine estate which reflects all the beauty and wine production potential of the ‘Pisa Hills’ area.

Claudia del Duca

I sipped the elegant ‘Podere Marcampo’ wines for the first time at ‘Terre di Toscana’, a wine exhibition which took place at the ‘Luna Hotel’ in Viarreggio. I really liked these wines and Claudia Del Duca, the owner of ‘Podere Marcampo’, described them with reverence.

Claudia was very friendly, professional and kind, though what impressed me the most about her was her dedication to her work and her love for wine which was shared with her parents Genuino and Ivana. I promised myself to return again to her winery for another memorable experience! I arrived at ‘Podere Marcampo’ on a rainy day in late November in Volterra. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a family farm business which produces both excellent and also rare red and white wines, extra virgin olive oil and grappa. At the front of her estate surrounded by lush and verdant countryside, Claudia welcomed me with a big smile. Looking at this scene where sky and sea converge at the Tuscan horizon in an endless embrace I felt overcome with emotion as we sat down in a small patio near the front of her private residence, where we talked about the history of her family . 

Genuino del Duca

Claudia explained that ‘Podere Marcampo’ was born in 1971 when her father Genuino , having been promoted at work as a policeman, had moved from Abruzzo to Volterra and came up with the idea of transforming his passion for food and wine into a full time job. He wanted to create a new career in food and wine, so that he could resign from his day to day work as a policeman, and worked hard to make this dream come true! In the beginning it was not easy, though having climbed through the ranks at work in 2001 he was able to open a small inn in Saline, a small town near Volterra. By 2003 he had earned enough money to be able to open an exclusive restaurant in the center of Volterra, ‘Enoteca del Duca’ which is still running today! In 2005 he managed to buy ‘Marcampo’ a historic homestead, which had been abandoned though captured his heart as well as sparking his imagination. Genuino restored ‘Marcampo’ shortly afterwards transforming it into what ‘Podere Marcampo’ is today, an extraordinary holiday home as well as a farm and winery surrounded by four hectares of countryside, where to produce his wine he takes care of the best local grapes (Vermentino, Merlot, Sangiovese, Pugnitello and Ciliegiolo). Genuino  had to work hard to make his land suitable for wine growing because of the original salt and clay content of the soil. He had to plant the best rootstocks with roots to a maximum depth of 1 meter and having made sure that his preparation has been the best winemaking is now not so much of a challenge as more of an opportunity. Today, ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a real gem situated within the National Park known as ‘Le Balze’, a magical place where visitors can slow down and unwind. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a sunlit terrace, vineyards, gardens and imposing vistas of the Tuscan countryside encouraging guests to explore this modern wine country retreat, a corner of the world created for relaxation of body and soul with manicured cypress trees, sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards.

 

Podere Marcampo Tour

After a short walk through the vineyards Claudia explained the winemaking process starting with the working of the land to the bottling in the wine cellar and this for me was the best part of the tour.

In the tasting room I sampled high quality wines paired with homemade cured meats and local cheeses. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is completely handworked by Genuino and Claudia and is organic, completely free of any pesticides. A couple of million years ago this area lay at the bottom of the sea so the soil is rich in fossil shells and is characterised by a particular geology of sand, silt, clay and limestone which has been stable for centuries giving a complexity, structure and minerality to these well balanced wines. These are the best award winning labels I tasted:

‘Terrablu’: made from Vermentino and Malvasia the grapes are first processed by the modern technique of maceration in order to preserve all the aromas of the variety followed by four months of fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. On the palate there are notes of lime, almond, green apple and white florals with a unique sense of refreshing acidity, its charm being in its delicate, briny nose and long, fresh palate;

‘Giusto alle Balze’: made from a careful and limited selection of 100% Merlot, vinified in stainless steel vats, then aged in oak barrels for 12 months the wine is then left to settle for another 6 months before bottling. It is my favourite wine because of its soft and sensual texture and approachable style being a velvety red wine that pairs well with the best Tuscan foods. This wine has won the Silver Medal at ‘Mondial du Merlot’ in Lugano and the ‘Concours Mondial Merlot’ in Brussels;

‘Severus’: made from a selection of 100% Sangiovese, vinified in stainless steel vats then aged in oak barrels for 12 months, this wine is then left to settle for another 12 months before bottling. Tasting of clove spice and cherries this wine is like drinking Christmas. It is also savoury providing a wide range of tastes from the very earthy and rustic to the rounded and red fruit;

‘Marcampo’: made from 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and blended after 12 months in oak barrels. The wine is left to settle for another 6 months before being bottled. It is a powerful combination of the sweet, juicy, fruit flavors of Merlot and the rustic, sour-cherry tang of Sangiovese. It reminds me of a duet between a soprano and a bass as you can hear each one distinctly since they sing at different frequencies and the feeling is one of absolute pleasure;

‘Genuino’: made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and then blended and bottled after 10 months. ‘Genuino’ is a medium bodied moderately tannic wine with a lovely cherry flavor which impresses with its ruby red, vinous though also fruity and floral, dry and firm taste.

From the start Genuino and Claudia make wines just as they envisage them. Their winemaking takes its course, the grapes being gently guided through a gentle process until they arrive at carefully selected barrels for resting, maturing and evolving. The more I meet the winemakers of Italy, the more I gain an appreciation for what is in my glass. Years of hard work, research and experimentation have gone into tending the vines to create a product that brings so much pleasure and joy to the palate.

Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra
Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra

L’Enoteca del Duca. Volterra

After our fantastic wine tasting, Genuino , Claudia and myself made our way down to ‘Enoteca del Duca’ their restaurant in the centre of Volterra. Genuino’s wife, Ivana runs this fine and intimate restaurant which is equipped with a terrific outdoor garden and excellent wine cellar housed in a historic building situated between the ‘acropolis’ and ‘Priori Square’

L ‘Enoteca del Duca’ offers gourmet cuisine and the menu changes according to the season and the availability of ingredients. My lunch there was really wonderful and the service impeccable. I tried their best wines along with the ‘burrata’ and vegetable soufflé as well as their home-made pasta in beef broth and their boar stew. The quality of food was outstanding, the ambience wonderfully inviting and the exquisite wine list to die for. When you go, ask to see their beautiful wine cellar which is packed with many unknown treasures! Genuino’s family form a perfect team when it comes to satisfying food and wine lovers. Claudia also organizes cooking classes at their farm demonstrating how to make fresh pasta or ‘focaccia’ whilst also allowing you to discover the secrets of homemade cake making all under the guidance of a professional Italian chef.

Volterra

It was time to go and I thanked Genuino and Claudia warmly for the wonderful memories they had provided me. They had made me feel at home and now I have yet another good reason to return to Volterra to be able to admire its considerable treasures.

Actually I am familiar with Volterra as three years ago I started working there as an English teacher. At the time it was really challenging having to go to Volterra every day from Pisa, considering that I was also attending a sommelier course in Lucca at the time though everything worked out well in the end and now I am really happy.I had enough time during this period to explore Volterra, a delightful, old hamlet full of history dating back to before 7BC with Etruscan, Roman and Medieval art and culture. The narrow streets are full of old are full of old churches, palaces, secret chapels, intimate restaurants and alabaster shops where you can watch artisans at work. Alabaster has long been a big industry in Volterra. Softer and easier to work than marble, this translucent material was traditionally thinly sliced to provide windows for Italy’s medieval churches. The best way to appreciate Volterra is to walk through its cobbled lanes, enjoying the beautiful ‘Palazzo dei Priori’, the Cathedral, the evocative ruins of the ‘Roman Amphitheater’ and the beautiful park dominated by the ‘Medicean Fortress’ with its ‘Rocca del Mastio’.

Other things to see in Volterra include:

The Alabaster Eco Museum’: Volterra has an ancient alabaster tradition. Art fans can watch sculptors at work and can purchase locally made alabaster in the studio shop;

The Etruscan Museum’: The museum is full of rare artefacts from centuries before Christ. There are decorated pot handles and crafted jewellery, the museum’s extensive collection of urns being a reminder that the Etruscans believed that the afterlife could be fun;

The Volterra City Museum and Art Gallery’: Housed in the ‘Minucci-Solaini Palace’, it contains the famous painting ‘The Deposition’ by Rosso Fiorentino;

• ‘Roman Cistern’: Located at the top of the hill by the ‘Medicean Fortress’, the it can be accessed by a winding iron staircase.

In recent years Volterra has attracted international recognition for its connection with the ‘Twilight’ series of books and movies, part of the second movie ‘New Moon’ being set in Volterra though most of the movie was actually filmed in another Tuscan town. More than 2000 years ago Volterra was a key trading center and one of the most important Etruscan cities and was protected by a wall four miles long, twice the length of the wall that encircles Volterra today. You can still see the mighty Etruscan gate, built from volcanic stone.

Tuscany is a pretty large region, and all of it is stunning. There is so much to see and do that I can’t suggest any particula good guide or website! But even in the short time I spent here, there’s so much to recommend to you I don’t even know where to start! It would be a good idea to enjoy any good wines here,  not just to drink them, but to experience the people, places, and cultures  . Even Bacchus, the god of wine, would envy a road trip through Tuscany’s wine heartlands, marveling at the most spectacular scenery on earth. To taste, drink and dine exceedingly well, this magical land has no peers. For who could resist the sumptuous, extravagantly green, the undulating farm fields that look like a painting, the twisty rural roads, the dreamy sunsets, and the circles of trees perched just so in resplendent tableaus? But it’s not just the culture, the art, the food, the wine, and the landscape. Beauty is in the DNA of Tuscans. The  Tuscans consider themselves the inheritors and stewards of a centuries-long legacy of beauty. Every tree that’s planted, every farmhouse that’s restored, every road that’s re-routed — it’s all carefully considered not only on practical or economic merits, but also on aesthetics. Get lost among  this huge amount of artistic wonders! 

Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

“With Wine, Poetry, or Virtue, as you choose, but get Drunk!”
Charles Baudelaire

The Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

There is nothing like the regional products of a territory that can describe its history and culture. The fruits of the earth tell us how  people have shaped the landscape where they live. That is why visiting “Federici Winery” is a special way to discover Lunigiana, a mysterious land sandwiched between the Ligurian coastal towns of “Cinque Terre” and the Tuscan cities of Lucca and Pisa

On the 2nd November I visited the “Federici Winery” in Ortonovo, near the ancient ruins of Luni, the famous Roman port, where Roman merchant ships  used to transport precious Carrara marble along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Luca Federici welcomed me when I arrived at his wine cellar. He was ready to guide me through a tour of his  winery and dedicated his time to share with me the story of his family, his territory and his wines. Luca’s big smile warmed a rainy day, making me realise that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life! 

Federici Family

Federici Family, a Story of vineyards and men

The Federici family, originally from Ortonovo  boast a long tradition of winemaking that has been handed down from father to son. It all started in 1985, when Giulio Federici and his wife Isa, the third generation of the family restored a country property in Lunigiana devoting themselves to cultivating the local grapes and to making quality wines. 

Luca, the oenoligist, and his brother Andrea, the sales and marketing manager, represent the fourth generation of the “Federici family,“. Today together they lead their business with passion, professionalism and with care for their territory. The best result of the Federici family‘s love for what they do is  of course one of my favourite wines, the so called Vermentino: a dry white wine that is sleek, tangy and even a little bit sexy. There are hundreds of white grape types planted throughout Italy,  though the Vermentino for me is really the best  This old variety grows well  here , because  the climate is mild , and because the vines are planted close to the sea. I’m crazy  about the elegance of the Vermentino as well as the , minerality and  saltiness in its finish, and pairing it  with the local cuisine specialities , such as seafood antipasti and pesto sauce, is something you have to experience once in your life! 

Federici Winery
Federici Winery

Federici Winery 

“Federici Winery” owes its name to the sun shining in the ancient Roman port of Luni. The archaeological site is still intact and just a couple of miles from the winery, and commemmorates the thousand year old tradition of winemaking in this area.

“Federici Winery” is located near La Spezia in far eastern Liguria nestling against the Apuan Alps (with peaks reaching almost 7,000ft  only 5 km from the sea) and the river plain of the River Magra. This privileged position  provides an incredible microclimate, where the action of sea and mountain breeze, alternating between day and night, creates optimal  conditions for growing vines and producing wines of excellence. Here the soil in the valley is of an alluvial and sandy  nature with leaner clay on the hills. That is how the Federicis can experiment  different varieties of the Vermentino producing completely different taste profiles in the vineyard, along with other local (Albarola, Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo) and international grapes (Syrah, Merlot). Harvest usually starts  towards the end of  August and the beginning of September . Grape picking is one of the most important phases of work for the Federicis and is entirely done by hand just like it used to be when the winery was first set up.

Federici Family, from father to son

The “Federici Winery is a key player in the local economy and has the objective to constantly work to enhance the quality of its wines. The winery extends over  around 25 hectares with vineyards in prized locations both on the hillside and on the plain. The winery buys hand-harvested grapes from other small growers in the surrounding countryside paying for qualit, and  keeping alive both tradition and wine culture. The winery produces 200.000 bottles a year, including  whites, reds, rosé, sparkling wines, sweet wines and grappa.

Federici Family
Federici Estate

The Federicis invested a lot of money in the new winery in 2015, which now covers 1600 square metres and it is equipped with  state of the art technology, such as a special isobaric bottling system, which ensures  optimal care in the packaging of the wine . Moreover, the winery follows  bio-architectural principles in order to  reduce  the impact on the environment as well as maximise energy savings. The beautiful underground cellar, where the wines rest for their final refinement, is a perfect example of the  harmony that exists between the buildings and nature. The cellar is situated around a hundred metres below sea level, which helps harness the natural stability of temperature and humidity provided by the  presence of an underground aquifer. All this is further supported by constant control of every stage of the production process thanks to ecological  solutions in the wine cellar such as solar panels, natural ventilation and the use of wood, stone and brick. The Federicis are very proud of their magical reign and passion and patience and experience are key words of their philosophy.  For them viticulture is a family tradition, and their care for the environment, the climate, the vineyards and  their employees produces matchless wines, whose  flavour reflect the beauty of their terroir

Luca Federici

Federici  Wine Tasting 

Wine tasting in “Federici Winery” is an intimate and personal experience. The tasting room  is very  large, decorated with frescos and has two magnificent handmade chandeliers the design of which has been inspired by nature. Luca took me through his line of biological  wines and demonstrated the quality of his best bottles of wine by pouring me a glass of their Vermentino. He  is proud of his wines with good reason and I sipped through his wines with pleasure.  All showed great character and depth as well as a softness you rarely see with natural wines. They seemed stable, substantial and yet so expressively honest. Luca explained how the ideal climate for their white wines exists in the “Colli di Luni DOC Area”: “ During the day there is superb ventilation and optimal  exposure to the sun whilst the evenings are fresh and humid, always with moderate temperatures whether it be winter or summer.

Federici‘s  vineyards are situated within two to three miles of the sea, and here are the three versions of  the their  best wines made from 100 % Vermentino

I learned a lot about Vermentino thanks to Luca. The best Vermentino is medium-bodied, fresh and quite round, with a floral aftertaste, and its freshness is the result of the natural, lively acidity of the grape itself which provides balance as well as a marvellous affinity for pairing with a variety of foods. Vermentino grows not only in Liguria, but also in Sardinia and Tuscany, and in each of these three territories, the vineyards are very close to the sea,  giving the wines a special character that you don’t find in wines from vineyards in a warmer, inland area. Vermentino from a maritime climate tends to display a great minerality or saltiness in the finish. Vermentino is one of the most important varieties in Liguria, along with another white known as “Pigato“.

Federici Wines
Federici Wines

Lunigiana is one of the smallest region in Italy, but its white wines are among the most distinctive, like the other three wines I sipped at the “Federici Winery :

Lunigiana
Lunigiana

If you are a wine lover or a wine expert, Lunigiana could be your perfect upcoming destination.

Lunigiana, in north west Tuscany, has a lot to offer. It is a location to be enjoyed all year round, and above all it is easy to get to via flights to either Pisa or Genoa.  The wine region of Lunigiana is very beautiful, with vineyards on rocky  hillsides that  overlook the sea as well as vineyards higher up in the valleys  and small narrow roads that meander up amongst the vineyards.   With such a large number of grape varieties unique to Lunigiana, this can lead to some confusion though doing research before visiting and wine tasting in such a picturesque region is worthwhile. Lunigiana is also dotted with numerous stunning medieval villages and  is a pearl amongst the other international  and aristocratic hamlets  along the zone of the  “Riviera Ligure di Levante”, such as  Portofino, “Cinque Terre”, and the “Gulf of Poets”. Lunigiana lies between the northern Appennines, the “Versilian Plan”, and the “Gulf of la Spezia” and has real rural character as well as castles, Romanesque churches, and  old towns full scenes of rare beauty starting with Luni and Sarzana.

Luni

Luni  the ancient Roman port which gives the name to Lunigiana Luni is surrounded by a valley called “Val di Magra” in the Montemarcello Magra Park”, which extends from inland Liguria up to the Gulf of Poets. Points of interest include the remains of an Roman Amphitheatre (1st century AD) and the Archaeological Museum.

Sarzana, piazza Calandrini
Sarzana, piazza Calandrini

Some are born in Sarzana and love it for life, others choose Sarzana as their place. The latter seems to be the case with the family Bonaparte, who were welcomed there in exile and from  where they left to conquer the world. The Bonaparte family left an important witness to their presence in the form of the “Bonaparte Tower House”, which is located in the first section of the “Via Mazzini”, a few steps away from the ancient church of “Sant’Andrea”. Sarzana is a quiet city, tourists don’t go there much. You might peek into some of the antique shops in the historic centre, or into the terrific  main square “Piazza Matteotti” . There are many restaurants in Sarzana, and all of them are good. It’s like the town is waiting for tourists who seldom come.  Sarzana has two nice castles:  ” Cittadella Fortezza Firmafede”, which is right on the northeast border of the old town, and the “Fortezza di Sarzanello”, which is just north of town. It also has a fine Romanesque/Gothic cathedral, the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral”.

Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life
Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life

Save your appetite my friends . Stay thirsty. Passion and humility create balance in the heart and balance in the glass. Luca knows this and you can see it in his eyes and taste it in his wines.

Alla vostra!
Enjoy it!
Stefania!

 

 

 

 

 

Tenute Delogu, Alghero

“Faremo scherzi al vento,  lo chiuderemo in una stanza,
ma promettiamo di liberarlo , se ci aiuterà a volare” 
P. Marras

Alghero

Andare ad  Alghero, è come essere in “compagnia di uno straniero” , parafrasando una famosa canzone di Juni Russo : ti innamori e hai voglia di ritornarci! A Luglio, in  meno di un’ora di volo da Pisa, attero per la seconda volta ad Alghero, per riprendermi il cuore lasciato in questo gioiello incastonato nella “Riviera del Corallo” a  Nord Ovest della Sardegna . Ancora ebbra dei paesaggi, della gente, dei colori, degli odori, e del vino,  sorseggiando un calice di Chelos, vi racconto una bella  storia: Alghero in un bicchiere! 

Piero  le Tenute  e i Vini Delogu

Piero Delogu  viene a prendermi all’aeroporto di Fertilia Alghero . In pochi minuti  raggiungiamo il  suo splendido Wine Resort le  “Tenute Delogudove ci aspetta il figlio Lorenzo, per continuare una chiacchierata tra amici iniziata con Valeria Crabuzza, manager di “Alghero Conciergie”, all’hotel Carlos V di Alghero , in occasione di una degustazione dei vini d’eccellenza dell’inesauribile imprenditore sardo.

Piero , classe 1962, nasce a Ittiri , Sassari, inizia la sua carriera lavorativa alla fine degli anni Ottanta.  Partendo da zero, Piero si dedica alla produzione di  impianti all’avanguardia di mungitura degli ovini. Nel giro di pochi anni raggiunge un grande successo e reinveste quanto guadagnato nella realizzazione dell’azienda “Carpenterie Metalliche” (attività di progettazione sviluppo e realizzazione di strutture in profilati di acciaio), nell’acquisto di dieci ettari di zona industriale e nella costruzione di appartamenti da rivendere a Olmedo. Questi sono alcuni dei  capitoli della vita di Piero, raccontanti  con un gran sorriso lungo un tragitto in macchina verso la  sua elegante bottaia, e i primi di un libro che hanno poi per protagonista la  passione di famiglia: il vino. Il salto dalla realtà al cinema, per narrare con ironia delle gioie e dei dolori di una cantina vinicola sarda è in “Bianco di Babbudoiuou”.  Si tratta di un film comico del 2016,  girato in parte nelle “Tenute Delogu” , diretto da Igor Biddau , con l’esordio cinematografico del trio comico Pino & gli anticorpi e la partecipazione della esotica Caterina Murino. Tutto ‘made in Sassari’ !

Nel 2004 nasce “Tenute Delogu” : da 5  ettari di superficie vitata sotto il  Nuraghe di Palmavera a 20 nel 2008 tra le campagne dorate e pianeggianti  della Nurra e il mare crsitallino di Alghero, la cui brezza soffia gentile in una zona dove la coltivazione della vite è una tradizione dai tempi dei tempi. Si tratta di un terreno con caratteristiche uniche per la viticoltura, con i suoi inverni miti ed estati ventilate.  Ed è proprio in questo territorio, fatto di argille rosse, calcare e ricco in minerali, che si adagiano i filari (allevamento Guyot) di Vermentino, Cannonau, Cagnulari, Merlot, Cabernet e Syrah. Vitigni autoctoni e internazionali di grande pregio che Piero cura personalmente insieme al giovane enologo Antonio Puddu e la consulenza esterna di Piero Cella ( della scuola di Tachis!) .

Un patrimonio straordinario e Piero ne ha subito  capito il valore e lo ha lavorato con amore: l’attaccamento alla sua Terra, il suo  instancabile lavoro e quello dei suoi preziosi collaboratori sono racchiusi nei suoi vini e nei  nomi delle 6 etichette dell’azienda vinicola (circa 100 mila bottiglie annue): “Ego”, Cannonau in purezza, “Geo” riuscitissimo blend di Cannonau, Cabernet e Syrah, “Cagnulari” pregiato vitigno autoctono,  “Ide” Vermentino maturato in botti per un anno, “Die” Vermentino di Sardegna DOC,“Chelos” spumante di Vermentino e Chardonnay (Metodo Charmat).

7 giorni in Paradiso: Tenute Delogu

Piero e Lorenzo mi accolgono come se fossi di famiglia. La mia vacanza  inizia sotto un sole cocente di Luglio nell’orto delle “Tenute Delogu”, ettari di terra in cui sono coltivati e allevati  tutti i loro prodotti a km 0!

Allievo la calura estiva con  una doccia fredda nella mia camera “il Grappolo”, arredata con gusto e dotata di tutti i comfort, un tuffo nella magnifica  piscina tra palme e cicas ed è ora di cena. Mi incammino attraverso un percorso di fiori e statue in pietra.  Una luna gigante e il sottofondo delle cicale mi accompagnano fino al ristorante della “Tenute Delogu”, composto da una sala interna ed una esterna su prato, una  location immersa nel verde alle quali fanno da cornice delle scenografiche cascate. Conosco Vincenzo il cuoco, un signore gentile, che mi anticipa il menù della cena, senza svelarmi però i segreti della sua cucina. La tradizione sarda in tavola, tra vini superbi e tavoli sapientemente imbanditi: antipasti di verdure, gnocchetti sardi e  ‘culurgiònes’  (gnocchi di patate con formaggio e menta) al sugo di pomodoro fresco, basilico e pecorino, ‘porcheddu’ con patate, e in fine il mirto ! Piero e Lorenzo mi guardano con aria soddisfatta, perché faccio fuori tutto compiaciuta! Si fa tardi e gli ospiti della sala tornano a casa loro con un’aria leggera di chi è stato bene. Piero e Lorenzo continuano il romanzo della loro vita. Passione, costanza, perseveranza,  duro lavoro, attaccamento alla terra, rispetto delle tradizioni,  modernizzazione strutture aziendali, amore per la gente: gli ingredienti del loro successo. Incredula di quanta bellezza ci sia in ogni gesto loro, mi sento per un attimo come la protagonista di una favola, in cui c’è sempre qualcuno che ti fa felice, protegge e ti mette prima di ogni altra cosa, fosse anche la più urgente. L’attenzione ai dettagli fa la differenza e io l’ho provato sulla mia pelle! Ascolto con grande ammirazione un padre e un figlio che portano avanti il loro progetto di vita , e con molta naturalezza mi rendono partecipe di questa gioia tra una telefonata e l’altra, mille pensieri per iniziare la giornata a seguire, compreso il mio tour ! Non ho con me un orologio, e la sveglia per alzarmi  la mattina alle “Tenute Delogu” non serve. Apro la finestra e davanti a me lo spettacolo in prima fila di una natura rigogliosa. Colazione, e giro per le tenute: parcheggio  molto ampio, spazi immensi costellati da due blocchi di appartamenti nuovi del residence,  cantina e  vigneti. Cerco un po’  d’ombra e la trovo sotto una folta  bouganvillea , leggo la mia guida sulla Sardegna e sogno di percorrere  tutta la costa Nord Occidentale , perché la posizione della tenuta a tal proposito è strategica. Seguitemi!

10 Posti Top da non perdere

  • Pranzo con famiglia sarda:  patrimonio dell’UNESCO! Piero conosce tutti ed è di casa ovunque! Non riesco a non divorare spaghetti al tonno con gamberi freschi, parago con patate, insalata di polpo, tre tipi di formaggio,  “casu marzu” compreso, e vassoi di dolci infiniti!
  • Bombarde, Spiagge: un chilometro di sabbia finissima affacciata su un mare azzurro, rallegrato  dalla dolcissima Annapaola, che prepara le cozze cotte al carbone nel suo lido. Indimenticabile;
  • Stintino:  il profumo della salsedine si respira da lontano  e fa venir voglia di tuffarti a mare. Un mare, quello di Stintino, che una volta scoperto, assaporato e vissuto, non ti lascia più!
  • La Pelosauna spiaggia tropicale  con un mare turchese sul  Golfo dell’ Asinara; 
  • Cala Mugoni: a ridosso di una pineta si trova questa baia di sabbia bianca calda e mare blu , nei pressi di Porto Conte;
  • Fertilia: fondata nel 1933 con lo scopo di diventare il centro economico amministrativo di tutta la zona rurale della Nurra di Alghero, colpisce per la sua terrazza severa  prospiciente un porticciolo;
  • Sugheria di Suni: piccolo centro in provincia di Oristano, noto per la produzione di sughero e malvasia;
  • Bosa: un incantevole e affascinante borgo mediterraneo fatto di case colorate, dove tradizione e modernità si fondono;
  • Alghero:  catalana, superba e altezzosa che ti abbraccia e non si fa scordare con i suoi paesaggi mozzafiato, le strette viuzze piene di storia, e un mare tra i più belli che abbia mai visto;
  • Ristorante “Sa Mesa” ad Alghero: per capire ed assaporare in fondo il meglio della Enogastronomia Sarda, con  una cucina tipica rivisitata e  la ricerca dei migliori prodotti locali.

L’unico rimpianto quello di non cogliere i segni del destino, del  mio volo di ritorno cancellato per i soliti disagi della Ryanair . Riparto per la Toscana. Qualcuno forse vuole che rimanga  più a lungo ad Alghero e alle “Tenute Delogu”. Quel fine settimana mi perdo il concerto dal vivo di Piero Marras , un famoso cantautore sardo,  in occasione dei suoi 40 anni di carriera, un grande artista a cui Piero, dedica una Magnum di Geo , come fa  anche con il gruppo dei  Tazendas. E insieme ai musicisti e i poeti,  Piero canta della sua Sardegna attraverso l’Arte del suo Vino.

Grazie Piero &  Lorenzo

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

 

Fattoria di Fibbiano

Pisa Hills Wines

On the 6th December 2018 I attended a Conference Press hold by the Pisa Chamber of Commerce  for the lunch of “Terre di Pisa”, the New Tourist Brand and Project for promoting Pisa’s Cultural Heritage and its Wine Making Tradition.

On that occasion I met Nicola Cantoni, who participated as  moderator and as President of Pisa Consortium Wine . This  was founded in 2018 to protect  the Appellation of  “Terre di Pisa Wines” and to develop an internationally-renowned model for producing High-Quality Wines in Pisa and its Province.  That event was open to the Members of  “Terre di Pisa” , and during our Wine Tasting Break , I had the pleasure to exchange two words with Nicola,who invited me to visit his estate at Fattoria di Fibbiano  in order to comprehend better his Love for his job and his complex and fascinating Tourist & Wine Affair Management in Tuscany. With the sunny season approaching fast, It was time to go to Fattoria di Fibbiano , but It was quite impossible to fix a date ,  as Nicola was always really busy  !  I was afraid of losing this great chance to be there, but few days ago  his brother  Matteo Cantoni welcomed me at their  Fattoria di Fibbiano with open arms. I came in this beautiful place as a guest, and  left as a friend! Matteo did everything possible to be available for My Interview and my  Exclusive Wine Tasting despite his daily commitments. Lucky me! As I arrived at Fattoria di Fibbiano , Matteo  greeted me with a friendly smile and a firm handshake. First Matteo told me all about his Family’s History and activity , then I visited the cellar and the vineyards , and finally I had my Great Wine Tasting. I had lots of fun with him for the whole duration of my tour in a sunny day of  March. Moreover, I learned lot of things about this stunning part of Tuscany where his estate is, that is called the Era Valley, close to Pisa and Volterra, which is not well-known to a general public for its Wine production. This territory is fast becoming an essential reference point for Tuscan Wine, indeed for Italian Wine. Matteo‘s Kindness , and  Passion for What he Does  deserve a honorable mention! Let’s discover together his treasure hidden among  Tuscan sunflowers.

Fattoria di Fibbiano’s History

In 1997 Giuseppe Cantoni, with his wife Tiziana and sons Matteo and Nicola, moved from  Lombardy to Tuscany. They were looking for  a successful  Wine Making business living a life far away from the noise of the city and close to nature. Therefore, they purchased a  Medieval Villa at that time, that belonged to the noble family Gherardi del Testa Barasaglia in the 12th century . They  renovated it all and turned it into what Fattoria di Fibbiano is today, a thriving Agricultural Entrepreneurship.

Their adventure from North Italy in Tuscany  was not only the result of a  desire to search for  their El Dorado, but  also  a sign of Destiny printed in one of their first  label “Fonte delle Donne” (“Women Fountain”) .  This exquisite White Wine is made from Colombana, an old grape that grew spontaneously around a miraculous water source near the estate. According to tradition, the Colombana grape was introduced by San Columbanus ‘ followers in the 17th century , when these famous Irish abbots decided to settle here living behind their Milan area. Upon their arrival in their estate, Cantoni Family realized they were not the only foreigners who fell  in love with Tuscany,  finding  the right place where to be ! Bringing to light  the old farmstead was not easy, but all that work  devoted to transform an old ruin into a jewelry was fully rewarded, as Cantoni Family carries on a prospering farming activity today, respecting land and the local traditions. Giuseppe, the father, deals with the General Management of the Middle Age Estate and takes care of the vineyards and countryside. Matteo, the eldest of the two sons, is in charge of Marketing the Wines and his brother, Nicola, is the Winemaker . 

Fattoria di Fibbiano, a Corner of Tuscan Paradise

Fattoria di Fibbiano is not only home to a prestigious Agritourism with a pool,  but also to an exclusive Modern Winery and an amazing Lounge Bar .  It is  located at n. 2 via Fibbiano , in the municipality of Terricciola.

Terricciola is a delicious hamlet surrounded by high walls and defense towers,  in the heart of Tuscan countryside, where History, Culture and Art, join the magnificent Beauty of the Nature in a unique way. Fattoria di Fibbiano is situated in a territory, that has its roots in the culture of the Etruscan civilization, and where Wine is produced  since more than 3000 years and it is  a part of the Local Identity and Culture.  Fibbiano’s philosophy is to continue on this thread of Culture and Tradition, cultivating indigenous grape varieties, suc as Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, ColorinoS. Colombana, and Vermentino ,  instead of more international grapes. Fattoria di Fibbiano extends over an area of about 20 hectares of vineyards, 5 hectares of olive groves, 12 hectares of woodland and the rest is arable land. Some vineyards (around 2.5 hectares) are over 100 years old and 17.5 hectares are up to 20 years old. This  mixture of Old Vines and New Vines  keeps the vineyard alive, with red grapes planted on the top of the hill, and white grapes on the lower parts.  Due to Fibbiano‘s proximity to the Mediterranean and Ligurian seas, the soil originates from the sea and is rich in fossil shells from the Pliocene epoch, and medium-textured corals .  In terms of climate, this part of Tuscany has warm sea breezes during the day and cooler nights, which helps the grapes to retain acidity and develop flavor. This particular terroir provides to complex Wines with a certain minerality,  and aging capability.  I appreciated a lot of things, above all that Fattoria di Fibbiano is certified organic. Their Practices, Farming and Wine-Growing Methods are truly natural. They even use  their own wood for central heating. Further, this Sustainable Winery uses a solar plant to conserve energy and produce fresh water. They are always ready  to face new challenges, not least of which  exporting 80% of their Wine to the following countries: United States, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, China, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Lebanon, Mexico. 

 

Fibbiano’s Wines 

The best part of this incredible Life Experience was my Top Wine Tasting. I was led to a lovely Wine Bar with a large wooden table full with  Fibbiano  Best Wines and platters of Tuscan salami, pecorino and bread.  I sampled 6 different Wines, guided by Matteo who talked me through what I was enjoying, from the colour/appearance, the bouquet/smell and then the flavor. Each Wine was different, but wonderful in its own way.  I tried Red and White Wines, but the majority of the ones I  tried were Red. Most of them are  made from the Sangiovese grapes and some are mixed with other grapes to produce  new fantastic blends. 

White and Rosé:

Red Wines:

  • Le Pianette IGT Toscana : This is a 70% Sangiovese and 30% Colorino Wine;  It  is aged for 6 months in barrels of Slavonian oak and 3 months in bottle;
  • Casalini Chianti Superiore DOCG : This is an 80% Sangiovese and 20% Ciliegiolo Wine. It is aged for 8 months in barrels of Slavonian oak and 3 months in bottle. It has the typical notes of cherry . It is  a well-structured Wine with smooth tannins;
  • L’Aspetto IGT Toscana :  This is a 50% Sangiovese and 50% Canaiolo Wine. It is aged for 12 months in tonneaux, 6 months in cement tanks, and 6 months in bottle. This is an intense ruby Red Wwine with notes of mature red fruit and spices; 
  • Ceppatella IGT Toscana : This is a 100% Sangiovese Wine, which is made with grapes selected from the oldest vineyard of the estate – it’s a 120 years old vineyard . It is a wine aged for 6 months in tonneaux , 14 months in barrels of Slavonian oak, and 5 months in bottle. It has notes of marmalade, spices, tobacco, and cacao and a long persistence. 

Matteo entertained me happily and answered all my questions  by sharing  the secrets of their Quality Wines: “Sun, soil and patience”! 

Pisa Hills Wines 

Fattoria di Fibbiano offers up a bunch of very Tasty Wines for Wine Lovers and Experts to experience.

Fattoria di Fibbiano is situated predominantly in the Wine Trail of the Pisa Hills, an itinerary through the Tuscan countryside, which highlights many small towns that boast great traditions. It’s an area between Pisa and Volterra, and it  extends in the vicinity of the Arno, Egola and Elsa rivers. It embraces  stunning landscapes and places, such as  Casciana Terme, Capannoli, Chianni, Crespina, Lari, Palaia, Ponsacco, Terricciola, Cascina, Collesalvetti, Fauglia, Laiatico, Lorenzana, Montopoli Valdarno, Peccioli, Pontedera, Santa Luce, San Miniato and Collesalvetti .

The rolling Hills of Pisa  gives birth to Top Red & White Wines:

Like other talented Wine Producers within  this zone , Fattoria Fibbiano is an example  of Pisa’s Great Winemaking Potential, that is  only to be revealed in all its splendour.  I am feeling optimistic that this area is set to receive long overdue attention. Matteo was an Excellent Guide and Wine Educator. It was so natural for him to explain all that concerned his farm and how Wine is made from Grapes to Wine. His Passionate Wine Tasting remains for a long time among my memory . I am eager  to learn much more about the Super Wines of Pisa, that’s why another visit to Fattoria di Fibbiano will be a must!

I can just  imagine myself relaxing and sipping a Glass of Your fabulous Wines under a grape vine trellis with a  view of green cypresses marking the contours of the  gentle Tuscan hills! 

Grazie mille Matteo! 

 

 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

Alghero: a DiVine Trip

“…L’ Alguer de sempre se vanta
de ésser país català,
la ginqueta me vol recordar,
a mi ella me canta…”
( “La Ginqueta”, song of Pino Piras , voice of Claudia Crabuzza

 Alghero 

There are places where I want to go without knowing why. Alghero, in Northen Sardinia, is one of these. 

It all starts out with an urge to be somewhere that I’m  not. I travel for several reasons, but even just a short vacation to the beach or an unfamiliar city can serve as a  kind of escape.  I often loosen up, allowing for  learning. I push myself forward in new cultures, try new things, get myself into uncomfortable situations, and find out the best part of me. It is easy to get high off the sense of anonymity that can be experienced while travelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a weekend  or a year long trip, if nobody knows me, I  often feel free to break out of my  shell.

I remember when I started planning my first trip to Alghero, which is only 40-minutes flight from Pisa on  Ryanair , I had no idea what I was doing! 

I wanted to get lost in Alghero, but at the same time, I didn’t want to miss the most beautiful things of this unique pearl of the “Coral Riviera”. I thought it might be impossible for me to arrange everything  by simply  following  my guidebook for two days! I had to try something different. I searched the Web for information about Alghero. I just needed someone special to hold my hand and show me the way.  That’s why my first choice was Valeria Crabuzza, Managing Director & Founder of  Alghero ConciergeValeria was the first person I turned to for tips and information about Alghero, and she was always prepared to offer help and understanding. Before my departure for Alghero, I contacted Valeria by mail and then by a phone call. Valeria provided me with outstanding concierge services creating my tailor-made holiday in Alghero. She provided me  with  free advice on accommodations, holiday activities, cultural events, archaeology sites and  other services.  Thanks to Valeria, I saved a great deal of time and effort researching and comparing on the net. I simply told Valeria my  preferences and I packed my bags!  Valeria was my Good Angel in Alghero , a paradise just a few steps from home! Valeria made me fall in Love with Alghero . Now I long to return to this enchanting place!

1st Day, Tuesday , 12th June 2018

I landed in Alghero’s Fertilia Airport on the 12th June 2018.  There were only 6 kilometers from Fertilia Airport to the city centre, a short trip of less than 15 minutes drive. The airport is  well connected with the major Italian and European airports with low cost flights the whole year round. If you don’t want to drive or if you don’t want to rent a car, the city has an excellent transport service to and from the airport. 

It was lunchtime and I reached Alghero’s Old Town  where I met Valeria at Alghero Concierge, her  Holiday Counsultancy and Tourist Services Office in the heart of the city. Valeria was my “Welcome to Alghero” , the best a traveller can wish.  Valeria was charming-a true Mediterranean Beauty. The gentle nature of her soul, was reflected in her love for Life and for the History and Tradition of her beautiful Island.  After my arrival in Alghero at midday and my interview with Valeria, I was excited to  uncover and bring to light  what she reserved . It was incredible, and  Valeria did an incredible job to ensure a perfect vacation in Alghero which covered all my requests. First of all it was very easy for me to visit all the best parts of Alghero , because Valeria booked a nice room  for me in  the b&b “Benebenniu” in Via Carlo Alberto,70,  the carrer major of the medieval town: it was a Bed & Breakfast nestled in the heart of Alghero’s Old Town.  It was in a very  central location  in Alghero among its cobblestoned streets (no heels, but comfortable shoes!), few steps away from the picturesque Sea-Front Promenade, the Bastioni and the Towers. Bus station, harbour, city beach, all the best bars and restaurants were all in the immediate proximity.  After having unpacked my bags, I walked around Alghero’s main streets, having all its Beauty around me , just in the area where I stayed.  I took terrific photos of all that drew my attention and sensitivity . I explored each corner  of Alghero , in any direction from the bottom towards the top and the from left to right! I went on strolling till the afternoon, when Valeria picked me up by car , leading me out of Alghero toward a breathless itinerary : from Punta Negra, Bombarde, Lazzaretto, Cala Dragunara to the final and gorgeous destination of  the Protected Area of  Capo Caccia. I enjoyed the awesome scenery and admired the spectacular landscapes of the -North-Western tip of Sardinia. I was enough lucky  to watch the sun dipping down in the blu sea among its impressive cliffs and to hear the seagulls crying out . As soon as I ridiscovered Nature in all its glory,  Valeria remembered it  was time to go away!  On the road back to Alghero, while I was thinking about that dreamy holiday,  Valeria explained the value and the importance of those places and the story of her life!  

Valeria Crabuzza

Valeria was born her in Alghero  where she spent the first nineteen Years of Her Life before travelling abroad to work in Hospitality.

Initial economic hardships during her childhood didn’t stop Valeria cheerful and strong  temperament, but strengthened her character and  her spirit of adaptabilty. Valeria reflected on  those hard days with a smile, because they made her grow. Valeria has got a brother, Francesco, and a sister Claudia , who eventually became a very well-known Italia songwriter. Claudia Crabuzza won the prestigious Music Award  “Targa Luigi Tenco 2016” (Minority Languages Category) for Best Album in “Algherese” Dialect . She  worked  as author and interpreter with many famous national artists such as the most popular Sardinian ethno-rock band Tazenda, Pippo Pollina, Mirco Menna, Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti, and others . Valeria graduated from the professional hotel school of Alghero and started working in the field of tourism in Italy, Switzerland, Egypt and on  Canouan Island (Eastern Caribbean). She was inevitably drawn back to her native land . Valeria  wished to combine her experience, her local knowledge and love of Sardinia, her passion and her positive attitude to best welcome and assist anyone coming to visit Alghero and the north-west coast of Sardinia. On her personal note: she is married and had two wonderful children. The love story with her Egyptian husband  Ehab Rashwan , a pro-active hospitality professional with over 25 years in the hospitality industry , is another incredible and long chapter of her life ! I hope you will have the chance  to listen to it , when you are her guest! 

That one hour drove to Alghero with listening to all  Valeria‘ s tales  astounded me, because it seemed so familiar. 

The  sunset was unforgettable . The artificial lights of the lamps adorning Alghero transformed this noble city in an elegant living room. The closed shops were making the way for the night-loving people. I felt the infinity poetry which emanated from this peaceful and ordered city, but at a certain moment all that enchantment was suspended by my rumbling tummy that looked forward to the dinner time. Soon after  Valeria and me seated  comfortably on a terrace of   the casual “La Botteghina” restaurant . She said it was the right place for tasting local fresh Food &  Wine and it was true!   A friend of Valeria, Carlo Deffenu, a very polite person did the honours. He was a lovely worker there and an Italian writer as well, who proposed a vast range of pleasures! I had typical Sardinian Food & Wine:  a sparkilng  “Vermentino” called “Sessantaquattro” paired with a mussels soutè,  “fregola “ (it’s a type of semolina-based pasta) with seafood,  and “culurgiones” (pasta filled with boiled potatoes, extra olive oil, pecorino cheese, garlic and  mint ) with tomatos sauce and parmisan, best new dish I ever had in the last period! The night was flowing slowly while Valeria was entertaining me with all her knowledge  about Alghero . I was totally immersed in all those stories: a journey in the past of  Alghero, and an understanding of its present, a multifaceted world of an island within  the island that is trying to grow and to improve despite the cumbersome Italian Political system and the closed-shop mentality of the major part of its  inhabitants. By the way, I realized  that Alghero  is considered one of the most charming towns of Sardinia. Ryainair flies  at least here twice a day. Take this as an opportunity to explore some of the amazing Art the city has to offer. Alghero is the perfect blend of History, Gorgeous Beaches, lovely Food & Wine, Traditions and so much more. The town provides excellent hospitality for a constant flow of tourists, with a range of entertainments, facilities and nightlife that is ideal for young and old alike. 

Alghero was inhabited since prehistoric times, and  was founded by the Genoese in the 11th century. For many years, it was controlled by the dynasty of the Doria family, despite a brief period of Pisan domination in 1283 and 1284. Many different conquerors launched assaults on Alghero  until the Catalans expelled everyone in 1372 and created a home away from home. From then on, the town came to be known as “Barceloneta”, or “Little Barcelona”, and maintains its Catalan identity to this day. Control of Alghero passed to the House of Savoy in 1720 and this marked the start of a long period of steady decline. This continued right up until the Fascist Era which resulted in heavy damage to the town during Italy’s participation in WWII. The removal, from the surrounding countryside, of malaria in the 1950s and the growth in package holidays during the 1960s saw the start of a transformation in the fortunes of Alghero. A large number of hotels and restaurants have been built on the investment in the town and development has spread northwards alongside the city’s sandy beach. Today, tourism has not completely overtaken Alghero and the town still retains its distinctive Catalan identity with the local fishing industry an important contributor to the local economy. 

2nd Day, Wednesday , 13th June 2018

It was late in the night. I opened the window of my room that overlooked one of the main square of Alghero

There was nobody outside, but few tables scattered among cafes and restaurants and a  silhouette of a  bell tower that raised above the rooftops of houses and churches. My thoughts wandered and I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of what it happened, but I was tired and I fall asleep. The following day I woke up late in the morning, and the weather was awful.  I thought it was  perfect to visit Wineries in Alghero.  I sat down at my table for eating something.  I took a look  in blogs and travel forums about  all the Top Wines. In the meanwhile ,  Valeria and her friend Katya attended my breakfast with  a  homemade lemon cake, hot coffee and orange juice. Katya is another fabulous character of this Sardinian Novel. At first sight Katya, so pretty with big green eyes, seemed to be an easy going person. Actually, Katya is a  romantic bohemian, a very deep fellow, a strong worker with the soul of an artist  in sewing technique. She said she was from Pesaro, Marche. She met Valeria on the Caribbean Resort 20 years ago. Since that time they were not only colleagues , but above all close friends. After having travelled a lot,  with a long stay in Peru, that changed her mind placing greater emphasis on the “being” and not on  “having” in this life, Katya wanted to help Valeria in her aim to create something unforgettable in Alghero, with the intent of promoting this area in Italy and abroad. What a marvelous and spiritual conversation! Katya withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying I was in  a good service with Valeria about my trip in Alghero. Of course she was right! I glanced at the clock on my phone and a last great moment awaited me to complete my journey: visit the best Wineries in Alghero. The weather promised to get worse, far more than I could expect! Never before had I seen so much rain in summer . Before my  appointment with Valeria and with the divine nectar of Sardinia in the early afternoon , I had little time to visit the old churches of the historic core, that provided sufficient protection against rain and wind: “San Francesco Church”, the Alghero’s  Cathedral, and the  “San Michele Church”. The churches were unadorned, the simple churches of a simple  fishing village. I liked these types of churches- built solely as a religious sanctuary for the towns people with no more boisterous intent. Alghero’s Old Town was large enough to be interesting and small enough to tackle in a day of exploring. Walking around Alghero, I didn’t feel like I was in Italy, but in a foreign land with such an atmosphere you had to live. Colorful facades, an almost derelict elegance , all complete with beautiful sea views from any given angle.

Pietro Delogu

It was lunchtime and to my surprise,  Valeria came to take me to a luxury Hotel called “Carlos V” in Alghero to attend a Wine Tasting organized by  “Tenute Delogu “ .  

The  terrace of  the 5 stars Hotel  “Carlos V was magnificent , it  afforded panoramic views that encompassed everything from the Capo Caccia promontory (which has a silhouette resembling a sleeping giant) to the costal road that conceals the town of Bosa. The grey of the sky made visible exceptional views that resembled a Monet canvas,  with a mix of rough and soft colours and sparse and evanescent  brushstrokes. That landscape inebriated my senses just like the Top Wines  did in the tasting room. A  light seafood buffet accompanied the Wine Tasting that included the best labels of the  “Delogu Winery”: “Die”, “Ide”, “Geo”, “Ego”, “Cagnulari”, and  “Chelos”.“Tenute Delogu “ extends across approximately 60 hectares, encasing a modern Winery, vineyards, a prestigious Wine Resort and dining options. Amongst palm and olive trees, the vineyards are immersed in Sardinia’s Mediterranean scrub. This is where the “Tenute Delogu “ arises and from where its Wines derive.  I had the honour of knowing personally the owner of the “Tenute Delogu “ Mr Pietro Delogu. Pietro was present at that event to increase potential with his own customers . He was busy to give interviews to the Japanese press about his Wine production, then he was able to spend a little time  with us. We had lunch in that exclusive hotel and talked about that pleasant moment relaxing over glasses of his bubbles. After a while  Valeria had to go away to  collect her children from the residential home and Pietro invited me to spend a couple of hours at his estate “Tenute Delogu “ . We arrived there after an hour’s drive under that heavy rain! Pietro was very proud of all he did in his life, and this was the feeling I perceived during our conversation before to reach his estate.  Finally we arrived at his  “Tenute Delogu “, and we  had no guided  visit from outside due to the standing rain.  We took  refuge in the estate’s restaurant , where he  made me feel at home. That place was lovely and the grey overcast made us long for drinking good Wines! At the very moment when Pietro was describing last lable of his Wine collection, foreign clients entered the reception despite it being closed. As an Islander and a business man, Pietro opened the door . I helped him with attending to them. He regarded my attitude  as polite, but I explained it was a pleasure for me.  It was also  a way to thank him for his dedicating time to me.  We ended our time in the barrique cellar of his Winery , where I finished my friendly interview writing down as much as I could. Pietro’ s passion and love for his job and land emerged from his words.  Pietro wants to pursuit his dream to get better and better.  If only one day the Italian government , in Sardinia as in the rest of the nation, could provide financial and legislative  support for the development of enterprise policies. Pietro and Valeria are strongly attached to their  native land but open minded by nature . I hope their courageous choice to invest all the necessary efforts in ensuring the implementation of their projects and ideas   will find support in a fair and  effective  policy  at local and national level, as soon as possible.  His was the sort of honesty  speech that does one good and it was lightened with a glass of Canonau . Valeria returned to take me back in Alghero. So, I said goodbye to Pietro, a smart and multi-faced man. I knew that this was not a farewell. 

Sardinia is an island that strikes its visitors with natural contrasts, the lights and colors of a region that boasts old traditions and a wild and pure nature.  Sardinia is a land full of archaic Wine Traditions.  Sardinia offers fascinating Wines, it merits to be considered as one of Italy´s most unique wine regions.  There are international varieties and  indigenous grapes, such as Bovale, CagnulariMonicaCarignano, and others. All this  makes it worth to go for a Wine-Discovery tour as I did  at “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” .

“Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was a nice place to visit, they offered a free tour in their estate and I liked it a lot despite the rain. “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was  founded in 1899 and it is the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy and one of the largest wineries in Europe – it is a 1,600-acre property with more than 1,200 acres of Wines. From vibrant whites to nuanced reds, “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” has a Wine for every mood and meal. My favourite one is Torbato: a grape originally from Spain with only about 200 acres left in the world. Torbato produces refreshing, pale-straw wine marked by white flowers and hints of sea minerals. The sparkling version is a must as an aperitif but there are also still versions–ranging from gentle, mid-low body to richer, creamier versions. All are definitely worth trying with light fish appetizers, oysters, and clam spaghetti! 

 

For my last night in Alghero , I spend long hours meditating the goods things in Life with Valeria, then after a drink  and an appetizer in a bar , I went to bed .

When the alarm clock rang at 5 o’clock in the morning, I realized I had to leave Alghero. Before to get the airport, I relaxed at the harbor edge while I was investigating  the best picture angles for my  last photos. As I sat on the bench gazing at the rocky faced hills across the harbor, a local fisherman jumped down from his boat and strolled past. His nutty brown skin indicated a life on the sea, his complete lack of self  consciousness as he sang aloud. I lapsed into a fantasy of a  simple  village life. Give me a week here, and I’m quite sure I’d sing along!

I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s safe to say this city far , exceeded my expectations. 

Ti amo Alghero.

Enjoy it !

Stefania

Thanks to the  travel writer Paula Cullison for her precious help