Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Peace, quiet and beauty of the Lake Como area in Gittana

28 Marzo, 2012
I had a week between pruning and tying, so headed up to my new S.O.'s territory around Lake Como.  I had been there before to tool around on one of the ferries for half a day, but to really experience the beauty of the place, I suggest a few days of exploration.  A great place to start is with this website where you can find reasonably priced, beautiful apartments for rent in the peaceful town of Gittana,   Below you see a view of Bellagio, a short ferry ride from Varenna, which is just 5 minutes from Gittana.

Ca Pina, one of the apartments with a really cute patio and everything you need for your vacation, including a personally selected group of wines (mine included), a fully equipped kitchen, washing machine, etc.

Wall painting in the street above Ca Pina

Gittana, from one of the most important hiking trails which skirts all of the eastern side of Lake Como

Castle di Vezio with its "real ghosts" 10 minutes away

The castle has a raptor program with all sorts of birds of prey, mostly from the US

2 swans I saw on Lake Pusiano, but an even better refuge was Lake Segrino with a trail circling the lake and a great little mobile restaurant at the end with wonderful porchetta!

Lecco, another nice city to visit
This is only a small sampling of the things you can see on the lake and it is a very short drive from Malpensa, so you could either start or finish a vacation in Italy/Europe here and recharge your batteries.  I recharged enough to start 7 days a week vine tying!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

8 New Wines, Spring is arriving

New rosemary plants in the winery landscaping project

Almond blooms

2 more almond tree photos, above and below

Pruning completed, next job is to tie those branches sticking up to the wire, but I have to wait for the sap to flow freely and then they become more flexible

Slightly out of focus peach blossom

And finally, apricot blooms

Greeting from PS winery and Nascondiglio di Bacco and the beautiful Marche.  We sat down with our 2 winemakers and a beautiful redhead to come up with our Bordeaux blend last week and after trying each of the 4 bordeaux varieties we had "in purezza", we proceeded to try the first logical blend which was based on how much of each we had in barrels.  That was pretty decent, but decidedly towards the Pomerol style with lots of Merlot.  I encouraged our chief winemaker to try some other blends and thus the next try was with 25% of each.  This was actually a bit better and really brought out the Cab. Franc.  Finally, we tried a bit less Merlot, more Cab. Sauvignon and equal portions of the Petit Verdot and Cab. Franc and that seemed to be the consensus favorite.  Final blend for this wine will be 1000 liters of Merlot, 750 L of Cab. Sauvignon and 500 L of the other 2.  The IGT Rosso or base red (with no barrel aging) for 2011 will either be half Cab. Sauv. and half Merlot or perhaps 40% of each of those 2 and 20% Syrah.  The 2010 Syrah has decided it will stay in its wooden barrels/tonneau for another year before release and rules dictate the same for the DOC Offida Rosso from 2010.  We will also be bottling the slightly wood aged Pecorino from 2010 as well as the 2011 Pecorino, which had a very low yield but is of high quality.  Finally a limited edition of 300 bottles of each of the Bordeaux varieties will be available in wooden display cases along with the blend.  Bottling is scheduled for May and release of the reds should be around Christmas, 2012.
The snow is gone for good and the fruit trees are blooming one at a time, beginning with the almonds, then just yesterday, the peach and apricot trees.  In waiting are the apple, plum, cherry and quince trees.  The grass was becoming a bit of a nuisance, so I broke out the weed eater today to clean things up a bit for guests coming tonight, so I guess spring is springing.
I can't wait to show everyone the labels, once they are ready, really cool ideas from our designer Cristiano with input from Raffaele, Alessandra and me.  The artists series is still in the works and will be used now for the Offida Rosso.   For those with an interest in these things, all the DOC wines from Offida have been elevated to DOCG status as of the 2011 harvest and we have a few new rules to follow, but this will be good for marketing purposes.
Congrats to the MU Tigers for a great season and winning the Big 12 championship and boos for leaving your traditional conference.  Good luck in the tourney!