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New for 2015 – Magic of Muffa

 The magic of Muffa

 Vino Muffata Nobile is the romantic name given to a dessert wine  made from  Grechetto grapes which are  harvested obarberini 4nce they have been  allowed to develop a fungal mould  (quaintly called ‘the Noble  rot’) which  is uniquely found around the area of Lake Corbara near Orvieto due to  a  combination of early morning damp mists and afternoon dry sun .  The  grapes are picked by  hand when partly dried to ensure optimum  condition giving the wine its wonderful    concentrated flavour.  The fermentation process takes a year and then the wine remains in the  bottle typically for 2-3 years.  As well as being an excellent dessert wine it pairs well with a  mature cheeses such as Pecorino, Gorgonzola or a well flavoured goat’s cheese such as can be purchased nearby at il Secondo Piano Alto.

The beautiful Corbara Lake region is home to a number of excellent vineyards that not only produce the Muffa    Nobile but also wLago_di_Corbara_1onderful white wines and some  interesting reds.  We found it    hard to choose  between these quality vineyards but finally decided  on three that  we consider best represent the diversity  and quality of these wines.  Pick up for  this tour is    from your Hotel (if you are staying in Orvieto) or  from the railway  station if you are coming from  further afield.

Driving through beautiful  countryside we cross at  the foot of Corbara dam and drive through the tiny  village of Corbara to our first vineyard Il Castello di  Corbara. This vineyard  uses modern technology  but as an adjunct to their absolute commitment to producing quality wines.   Grapes are picked by hand during the cooler periods of the day to prevent unwanted fermentation, then there is strict selection to ensure only the best bunches arbarberini5e processed.  The different varieties of grape are vinified separately before a final blending takes place and the wines  then aged in oak barrels – all of which ensures a quality product -it is this attention to detail we found so impressive.  The friendly informative staff are happy to explain not only the wine process as you progress round the winery, but also their philosophy. You will sample three of their wines selected from their four reds, two whites and three ‘reserves’ with time to purchase wine and to visit their small on site shop selling local sauces, preserves, olive oil and honey.

Just a short drive away is our next stop a small registered biological estate Freddano producing great wines and the famous Muffa Nobile . This is the only certified biological winery in the area, born out of the care and rural passion of Giulio Freddano who despite recently selling the vineyard, remains at its heart as the onsite consultant and ‘expert’.  His enthusiasm, knowledge and old world courtesy makes this small vineyard an absolute must see.

Lunch is taken at a trattoria located on the shores of Lago Corbara, in good weather we eat on the terrace overlooking the lake whilst in winter time there is a roaring fire to keep patrons toasty. The pasta is ‘Fatta a casa’ (made by hand) and the style of cooking typical Umbrian country fare. Delicious local Orvieto Classico or Grechetto wines are served with the meal but robust reds are also available.

After lunch wevigneti move to our final destination a well known vineyard dei  Barbarani.  set in the hills above LagoLUIGI-E-GIOVANNA-s Cobara .  Barbarani   is an organic vineyard committed to environmental sustainability yet producing excellent wines and the wonderful vini muffata of great personality – their white LUIGI E GIOVANNA Orvieto DOC Classico  Superiore 2011 has been  awarded the Tre Bicchieri®award in the 2015 Gambero Rosso Guide. The Barbarani family are committed to respecting the environment  & sustainability, for example burying the pruned branches in the soil and using bean crops to produce organic fertilization. You will tour the winery and enjoy an explanation of their organic methods before tasting three of their wines with the opportunity to purchase before we take a leisurely return journey to your hotel.NB.  If for any reason one of these vineyards is unavailable on the day of the tour we will select one of the excellent alternative vineyards in the area.

Wine Tours

Wine Tours

cal3bicc1415BOX-1024x552Gambero Rosso, Italy’s prestigious organisation committed to quality wines, olive oil, restaurants & coffee recently published its ‘Tre Bicchieri’ 2013 awards for wines.  Before detailing their Umbrian selection they had this to say about our Umbrian  wines –

There are many good, even excellent wines, but there is a concern that in the quest for producing quality wines the local identity, originality and personality of the wines may be lost.  They particularly appreciate that traditional vines are being re-introduced – Sagrantino, Ciliegiolo, Grechetto, Trebbiano Spoleto and the Trasimeno Gamay for example and see this as the way forward.

dellatteThey gave special mention also to the wine ‘L’Andrea’ Colli Perugini Rosso 2008 which is produced by The Old winery, Il Castello, Monte Vibiano  which this year won the Award for Sustainable Viticulture www.montevibiano.it.  Situated near Mercatello between Castiglione della Valle and Marsciano it is the first vineyard to claim zero CO2 emissions and is committed to sustainable high quality production.

Reproduced below is Gambero Rosso’s ‘Tre Bicchieri’ Umbrian selection –

                                                                                                                                             

‘Cervaro Hall’ 2010     produced by Castello della Sala
‘Andrea Colli’Perugini Rosso 2008 produced by The Old Winery Castello Montevibiano
Montefalco Sagrantino 2008 produced by Antonelli San Marco
Montefalco Sagrantino ‘25 Anni‘ 2008 produced by Caprai
Montefalco Sagrantino ‘Field to Cerqua’ 2008 produced by Tabarrini
Montefalco Sagrantino  ‘Colleallodole Antano Miltiades   2009 produced by Larks Hill Farm
Montefalco Sagrantino ‘Well the Cure’ 2009 produced by Villa Mongalli
Orvieto Classico Superiore ‘Bianco di Decugnano’ 2011 produced by Decugnano dei Barbi
Orvieto Classico Superiore ‘Terre Vineate’ 2011 produced by Palazzone
Torgiano Rosso ‘Vigna Monticchio Res’ 2007 produced by Lungarotti

 

1465232_242694229227955_1329453403_nSo if you want a particularly nice wine to go with your Turkey this Christmas there are several vineyards within easy travelling distance and some delightful wines to choose from –Salute.

New for 2015 – The Etruscan Way Gourmet Tour

 

1412431_380259655471411_3026905806078705963_oNew for 2015 – Orvieto  gourmet tours

We are very excited to bring you two new white wine tours set in the beautiful countryside surrounding Orvieto. There are so many excellent young vineyards producing  predominantly white quality wines in this area that we have decided to make the tours ‘pick & mix’ so that Clients can select for themselves the elements you want to make up your tour.

Tour 1 – The Etruscan Way

– 2/3 vineyards and/or a visit to a goats cheese farm

Between Orvieto city and Lago Bolsena there can be found many examples of the ancient Etruscan civilisation – Italy’s first known winemakers!  At the heart of this area lies the locality of Canale and here you will find our first vineyard ‘Custodi’, founded in the 1960’s by Gian Franco and now run by his two daughters.  They produce two DOC ‘Orvieto classico’ wines and two IGT rosso wines from 37 hectares of land.  You will tour the cantina, bottling and labelling plants and sample three of their wines, with the opportunity to purchase these and local honey and jams.

chamberFrom there just a short distance away is a second vineyard ‘Poggio Cavallo’ which is brand new, opened just last year and housed in an ecostyle Cantina half buried under a hill. When the building was being constructed two Etruscan burial chambers were excavated and these are now used to store some of their wine.  The Vineyard produces one rosso and two white IGT wines on 24 hectares of land and unusually has chosen to grow more internationally known varieties of grape such as malbec, shiraz, viognier and cabernet  franc rather than the indigenous varieties.

dapeppeJust a pretty drive away lies the delightful hamlet of Canonica where we will stop for lunch at ‘Trattoria da Peppe’, feasting on pasta ‘fatta in casa’ and home reared meats.  In summer we can eat al fresco beneath the vine covered pergola, at other times in the very pleasant restaurant dining room.

 

 

In the afternoon you can choose between visiting a third vineyard or a marvellous Goat farm.

goatsThe goat farm – ‘Fattoria il second Altopiano’

High above Orvieto, this wonderful place is set amongst woodland and paddock, produces 30 different cheeses from beautiful goats reared in the most natural conditions.  You will visit the farm, learn how goat’s cheese and milk are produced and sample several of their cheeses.  There will be the opportunity to purchase cheese and local honey and we can thoroughly recommend the blue cheese, wonderful on crackers or served hot over pasta.

Alternatively you can choose our optional final vineyard ‘Madonna del Latte’ which is situated at the edge of Sugano village, looking across the valley towards Orvieto. Founded in the year 2000 it enjoys a high reputation locally.  The vineyard produces five DOC wines -two Rosso’s, two Rose’s (one of which is a brut sparkling  wine) and a white single varital Viognier .  Here you will tour the cantina, view the mineral strata of the territory which gives the wine its unique flavour, visit an Etruscan burial chamber (now used to store wine) and sample three of the wines before having  opportunity to purchase the wines, estate olive oil and locally produced grappa.

 

dellatte

Your tour ends here and we will transport you back to Orvieto city.

Buon Gustaio Gourmet Tours

Buon Gustaio Gastro Tours –a business in the making?

One day, Adje and I hit on the idea of organising one day food tours along the Umbria/ Tuscany ‘border’.  Like all good ideas hatched over a glass or two, the idea seemed simple and a winner in the making.

First came the research, several  very pleasant days were spent driving round the countryside visiting different vineyards, restaurants, Frantoii & gourmet outlets  – of course sampling as we went and coming away with an amazing number of free bottles of wine!  We visited hire car companies to discuss daily rental charges & insurance and after this leg work finally narrowed our choice down to three basic tours with a bespoke option.  Of course the website side of things fell well behind whilst we were ‘researching’ but we did create a Facebook page, make an application to Trip Advisor and create three stylish presentation documents.

Almost as an afterthought I approached the Tourist Office to ask what we needed to do to register with ‘THEM IN CHARGE’ and hit not just a snag but a dirty great boulder.  Apparently in order to do the tours on a regular basis we need to be registered tour guides, which involves a year long course, no doubt a sizeable fee and worst of all a written exam –eeek!  Also these courses may not run every year and we need to enquire again for 2014!  We were told that there was some kind of ‘get out’ for occasional tours which we need to follow up with a Commercialista, or we could try and find a friendly travel Agent who will let us use their registration as umbrella cover.  In desperation we could also use the time honoured method of trying to remain under the radar.

wine tour 1In the midst of all these deliberations we got our first booking –three South American ladies wanted our Fabro to Montegiove tour. We confirmed everything, did a dry run to check timings and spent hours cleaning our cars (anyone who knows the state of Adje and my cars will fall about laughing at this point).  We had a last minute panic when one of the party informed us they only drank white wine and our selected vineyards produced only reds, so we had to nip out and purchase several whites from other vineyards so she could participate in the wine tasting.

On the day we filled freezer bags with iced water, provided first aid kit, glasses, wet wipes, itineries  maps etc , got up at the crack of dawn and arrived early (yes, really I got there early) .  Surprisingly the tour went really well.  We took them first to a little gourmet shop at the foot of Fabro where they feasted on truffle Bruscetta, cheeses and pastries from the local baker.  Luckily they repaid the generosity by buying lots of goodies.  From there we travelled through Ficulle to the VitaLonga Estate where they toured the vineyard before sitting down to a delicious three course meal paired with the estate wines, all charmingly explained by one of the proprietors. A pretty drive later we arrived at the Il Castello vineyard in Montegiove where our guests again toured the Cantina and tasted the wines, hosted by the handsome Il Conte.  Helped by the wine no doubt, there was a great deal of flirtatious banter going on.  Finally prizing them away from Il Conte we ended the tour with a visit to a sheep farm near their hotel where they bought Ricotta and the best Yoghurt ever.

Feedback from the tour was very complimentary –well organised and professional -we were thrilled, now all we need are more clients.  (Click here for more on Jan and Adje’s Tours )