Sunday, October 25, 2009

Check out Amy and Corrado's blog, 1980 petrus

This is a link to the beautiful prose and photos of my friend Amy who came to visit with her new husband Corrado and his family. As it is miles better than what I do, here is that treat. It is all written in Amy's wonderful italian. Enjoy!
They are in the process of restructuring and old farm house up in Emilia and I hope you all will go visit next year for a stay or dinner when they are in business.
Here at NdB, we have survived another rainy period which interrupted our olive harvest. We have harvested a third of the trees and have about 55 liters of new oil in our tanks. Another 70 or so trees to finish up.
My friend Bill is here from KC for a visit, so in light of the rain we have been forced! to visit wineries and artisans instead of work outside.
I am seeing the beginnings of grass sprouts in the vineyard after my long labor to seed the entire 6 hectares. 700 kg of seeds which I hope will start growing and choking the life out of the unwelcome weeds.
Today, we gained an hour and it is sunny, so it will be off to Castignano for the fall festival. For dinner, tenderloin of beef to be served with Bill's generous gift of a 1980 Petrus and my meager offering of a 1978 Pichon Lalande.
The pictures are from Bill and show an above cloud view from Ripatransone, Santa Maria della Rocca church in Offida and our visit to Le Caniette to try out a couple of the best Marche wines. Then, some photos of Bacco in the portrait studio, dinner for tonight in prep and our "spider wall".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

more modern winemaking photos and Our Organic Olive Oil, 2009

21 Ottobre
Fall has arrived here with some cold fronts to remind us what awaits. The "Piedi Rossi" wines are reposing in barrel and stainless steel tank, so our attention has turned to the olives. It started out a very rainy year until mid July when the faucet turned off for 7 weeks. In the last 2 weeks, we have received enough rain to plump up the suffering olives which were taking on raisin characteristics during the dry period. We started out with a load of 230 kg, from which we obtained only 12 liters of oil and then yesterday, you can see in the photos, the fruits of our labor-350 kg of lechino olives and we don't know exactly what was extracted yet as we left them in the hands of our neighbor at the mill.
I have also posted some photos of Raffaele and Gianfelice stomping the 2nd batch of grapes, which were syrah and petit verdot varieties.
Last weekend we hosted our old tutor Corrado and his new bride Amy, who was my roommate for a short time during the master program. They brought 12 family members and we had a great couple of days with cooking, shopping, sightseeing, etc. They bought 9 pairs of shoes from my new "find", the shoemaker of Force, so he will be my friend when I visit him again.
Up next, my broker Bill is on his way to visit and we still have another 70 or so olive trees to harvest. I am curious to see if the oil this year is better with the low yield. I stayed up thinking about how much it costs to make a liter of oil with our treatments, my pruning and renting of the mechanical harvester and the mill cost and we are selling our oil for cost. Aii! farming is tough

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sagrantino excursions, Spello and Assisi

Another wonderful outing with Brenda in the sagrantino region of Umbria was enjoyed by my MO guests. We started off on the road early to see Assisi, then on to Spello to meet up with our CA tour guide who has now lived in Italy for 10 years. We started with a great lunch at Fongoli winery, then on to another tasting before exploring the artisans of Spello and the city.
Jim, Fred and Jan had a great day and then spent a few days exploring the coast, Ascoli Piceno, Civitella del Tronto and Offida.
They headed off on the train yesterday to explore Tuscany. As often happens, their train was late, so they missed their connection in Bologna. Luckily, there is always another coming along to take you where you want to go.
We are in a rainy period right now and although I got 100 kg of olives picked before the precipitation, you need 300 kg to go to the frantoio to make your oil. Hopefully, things will clear up soon and as it is cool, the olives picked should stay unoxidized for a couple of more days.
The stomped grapes got destemmed day before yesterday and the wine is now reposing in the old wooden barrel and the stainless steel tank. We will keep a close eye on the 225 Liters in the barrique as we had a bad experience with our 2007 which saw the inside of the same barrel. I am hoping the wood is more seasoned and coated and we won't pick up the harsh tannins of before.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Black truffle hunting in the Sibillini mts, fresh egg pasta and more

Friends from Missouri came to visit, so I tried to fill their week with fun activities. We headed off one day to the nearby Sibillini mountains where we went truffle hunting with a cute little dog who found 3 healthy black truffles. Back at the agriturismo, the owner's mother showed us how to make egg pasta and let those with interest help roll out the pasta in sheets. We had the truffles for lunch and then headed on to Force where we visited a great shoe manufacturer and the copper artisans who are dying out like the lace makers of Offida.
I finished planting the 700 kg of grass seed in the vineyard just in time for the Fall rainy season and the 1st shoots came up today in the yard.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wine fermenting nicely, time to plant the vineyard "lawn"

5 Ottobre
The ground is all plowed, smooth and waiting for a mix of grass seeds in the vineyard. The plans for our winery were approved by the commune of Offida and we are going to be picking out stainless steel tanks and barrels soon. Lots going on at least on paper.
The 2009 "Piedi Rossi" is fermenting well with help from little insects and bees who are having a grand old time as the alcohol level rises. Thanks to Steve and Cindy for the excellent stomping!
Bacco and I took a little waterfall hike and had the trail to ourselves, so here are the photos from that excursion.
We also visited the beach yesterday and Bacco discovered a couple of guys with their pants down in a position similar to Bacco with his girlfriend and charged them. I almost wish I could have seen their faces when he came near. Instead, all I saw was an arm going up to fend him off. Bacco wasn't really all that interested and returned to chasing his stick in the sea shortly after.
We are expecting some folks from my old hometown soon and that is exciting. I have them set up with wine tours, truffle searching etc.
The photos are of the trail near Acquasanta terme and show and old bread baking post, a bit of falling water and Bacco.
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