Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another job finished, winery construction update

29 agosto

Yesterday, we finished the job of cutting away grape clusters from the last rows of Montepulciano.  Raffaele was in such an excited state on the last row he was cutting away the good with the bad, but certainly there are fewer than before.  By my calculations, that little exercise took over 250 hours to complete and if we are lucky, we can rest a bit and just analyze the grapes every few days to see when they will be ripe enough to harvest.  The last analysis hints at 2 weeks from now for the earliest ripeners.
There is a nice fellow working on Sunday to put in the refrigeration circuit tubes and we are now proud owners of 5 tanks with 6 to follow tomorrow, maybe.

We are still full here at the b and b,  tonight: bbq with some americans who live in Rome, a bit of veal, bruschetta and misc,  lots of prosecco and our stomped wine.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lunch for 2 Diu's and friends and the first of the fermenting tanks have arrived

26 Agosto

We were happy to host some old and new friends from England and Abruzzo this past weekend as our classmate Fabio Diu's brother and sister came to visit and brought along 7 others to partake of some of our specially selected cured meats and pecorino cheese from the best producer around, Petacci, who can be found in the beautiful little town of Visso.  Add some catered items from Borgo Miriam's restaurant, La Mattra, some of our cooking including risotto bianco and my bruschetta and wash it down with 3 or 4 liters of our 2008 stomped wine and you can get pretty full.   They all recuperated at the pool for 4 hours after, so no worries about the .05 legal limit for driving in Italy.
Here is the first published photo of our initial fermenting tanks with pistons and bells and whistles for fermenting our red wine and automatically punch down the cap.  Of course, the salesman forgot to mention we needed a compressor purchased separately to power the pistons, but there you go.  I am excited nonetheless.
See how lonely these guys look.  There companions were to arrive the 21st, no... the 24th, no... the 26th, no.. for sure the 27th!   No need for comment, right, you know where I live.
We have just 13 more rows of montepulciano to thin out, but today, I am taking a break after one of the plants attacked my left eye yesterday and left me with a little, but uncomfortable corneal abrasion.
We are still full up this weekend at Nascondiglio di Bacco, but the 31st marks the end of the season and September we switch countries from Italy to the USA which will be fun as most everyone hails from KC!
Thanks to all our guests, now friends, who made this year great!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Winery construction update, grapes, olives and work around Nascondiglio di Bacco

20 Agosto
I think I will stop at 3 posts today after this update, The grapes are looking pretty good, and we have finished cutting away all the excess and ugly grapes from the french varieties and pecorino and I started today on the Montepulciano.
The winery part of the construction is nearing completion with the electrician putting in the lights.  The refrigeration unit will arrive 5 Sept. and the fermentation tanks on Monday the 23rd.  That will be a grand moment.  The walls have been sealed and varnished, the floor is down and painted and work is continuing on the upstairs tasting room and office area.
Here are photos of our Merlot grapes, the "U-shaped" picture window which looks out on the next photo of our vineyard, vallley and hills, the barrel room, the fermentation room, upstairs construction and some of our carboncello olives which have a bit of fly damage already, unfortunately.  Going organic is tough!

Norwegian junior cycling team at Nascondiglio di Bacco, World junior cycling championship at Offida

20 Agosto
I am trying to catch up on blog posting.  We were the fortunate hosts of the Norwegian junior bicycling team who voyaged south to Offida, Le Marche of all places for the junior bicycling world championship.  They were a great group, 12 in all with coaches, trainers, cooks and riders and I was able to snap photos of most during either the time trial or road race.  I can tell you, our Fiat Doblo has a hard time with the hills these young men and women raced around.  The top finisher for the squad was a young man who snagged 10th of 130, I believe with youngsters  from plus or minus 55 countries, including Namibia.  All the Norwegian males were in the top 40 for the road race and was the only squad to finish 4 in the top 40.
As you can imagine our meager breakfast of homemade breads, jams, dessert cakes, yoghurt, etc wasn't enough to fuel their engines, so they augmented our fare with stuff that would make a good supper for most of us.  There were a few cases of road rash, but otherwise no serious injuries and we are hoping to see many of them again next year for the European junior championship.

Birthday peaks through Bacco's eyes. Mt. Sibilla and Cima Vallelunga

20 Agosto
Man, I'm bored here at Nascondiglio di Bacco. papa' promised  me we would hike up a mt. for my birthday and it's been a month and a half now.  He is always telling me about the 14,000 foot peaks he's climbed in Colorado, but here we have to be satisfied with little ones just over 2000 meters.
Ok, let's go dad!

This one looks good, Mt. Sibilla, about 2200 meters and famous as the home of a famous Sibyl or prophetess who lived in a cave here and predicted future events.  She must be why the mountains around here are called the Sibillinis.  After a steep start from a refuge at about 1500 meters, we have arrived on the ridge and will start our quest for the summit.
Wow, I've never seen Gola dell'Infernaccio from above before!

Dad had to carry me up this 4 meter cliff using the rope,  I'm glad we didn't both fall, I am 33 kg now!  I bet we take another route back down.
Here's the cave where the prophetess lived, I think my room at Nascondiglio di Bacco is a lot more comfortable!
We made it!  Here I am atop Mt. Sibilla with my padrone who luckily brought enough water and a bit of prosciutto for me to have a picnic.  Now I am seeing another mt. calling my name in the distance.  We can scale that one and then take the road back down that scars the side of this mountain and has never been used except by hikers and shepherds with their flocks.
Here's a view of Cima Vallelunga from the top of Sibilla and then a photo of the mouth of the Gola looking towards the sea.
Both of us have our tongues out because it is 85 degrees, I 'marked' this mountain top and now we can "hit the road", literally.  I hear the descent is twice as long this way, but there will be no cliffs to climb down.
Man sure can make a pristine place more ugly with their roads to nowhere.  I take one last look back at the sheep who graze here in the mountains and are responsible for one of the best pecorino cheeses in Italy, Sopravissana.  Thanks for sharing my adventure!  Bacco

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Winery and vineyard update, mirabelle plums, junior cycling world championship at Offida!

1 Agosto:  This blog post dedicated to my friend Larry who has no other way to keep up with me as he refuses to join us on facebook.  I even gave him a good alias!
Another 5.5-6 weeks and we will be harvesting something, I hope as the veraison has arrived in the merlot and some of the cab grapes.

I am busy cutting away grapes which I don't think pass muster or in the case of the pecorino are too closely bunched or overcropped.  The winery is coming along with the electricians inside trying to get us wired in time to be closely followed by the folks who route the water pipes and refrigeration tubing ( I think we would call them plumbers).

We are full until 21 August in the B&B, this week with junior bicyclers from Belgium, here to participate in the junior world championship which for some reason chose Offida for the venue.  Who am I to argue.
We just got a couple of nice rains which should see us through almost to harvest and the landscape is turning green again after more than 4 weeks of dryness.
If you go back to my query on my June 10 posting, the answer has arrived and the identity of the mystery tree was Mirabelle.

I have made jam and breakfast cakes with the bountiful harvest and today I had 17 people who tried out a roll cookie which i used to make a 3 layer dolce with cooked plums in between the cookie layers.  No one left any, so I guess it passed muster.
Finally, I'll leave you with a photo of my smart black dog who will only play in the shade and a full moon in the east with our pool in the foreground.