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Wine for Breakfast

Wine for Breakfast

Saturday, February 4, 2012
Umbria, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

When we met with some of the wineries and travel providers from Torgiano while in Perugia, they told us that it does not snow in their area. And sure enough, although it’s freezing cold, there has been no snow on the ground in Torgiano and surrounding villages.
You don’t have to look far to see the sheen of white, though, as the mountains in the not-too- far distance are draped in snow.

As we begin our journey we appreciate a rare sight – olive groves in the snow!

Doesn’t that white stuff make the patchwork of fields look more defined and beautiful?

We’re enjoying the vistas – and SO glad that we’re not doing the driving! We’ve heard that the other two post-conference tours – one to the region of Tuscany, the other to the Marche coastal region – have been stalled by the severity of the snow, and that the participants are stuck in their hotels, unable to see the scheduled sights. What a blessing that we’re able to keep going and see nearly all of what was planned for us!
On our itinerary we read “Breakfast at the winery” – but the gracious owner of Villa Zuccari would not hear of sending us away without something – “just some coffee and cakes”. She prepared a spread of scrumptious home-made cakes, and it was a good thing because when we arrived at the Antonelli San Marco winery, the tour of the facility came first.

We shivered in the wind as Brunella told us about the wine beneath our feet,

and were happy to get inside, taking a huge wine-box- lined elevator down to where it was a little warmer for the rest of the story.
After seeing where this award winning elixir is made, we dashed across the snow and into the house, gathering ‘round a roaring fire. Due to the storm the house lost power, and the heat has been off all night, so it’s a while before the room warms up enough and we can take off our coats and scarves.

The lack of electricity sure didn’t affect the breakfast preparations – platters of crunchy bruschetta, cheeses, and wine preserves,

melt-in your-mouth pears baked in wine,

and this may be the first time we’ve had wine with our breakfast – generous pours of both white and red.

Sated and warm, we climb back on the bus, trusting our competent and cautious driver Vanni to get us to our next stop, the Barberani winery near Orvieto.

The road situation worsens as we drive south, and our tour guide gets a call from the winery: their driveway is impassable, and they will meet us in Orvieto, bringing their wines to us instead of vice versa.

Dinner with Salvatore at Caprai Winery

Dinner with Salvatore at Caprai Winery

Friday, February 3, 2012, continued
Umbria, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

We cooked and we ate, now we’re back on the bus, heading for our next wine adventure.
Snow covered Umbrian towns flash by the window,

and we soon pull into the courtyard of Hotel Villa Zuccari, an historic family home from the 15th century that is now a welcoming and lovely hotel. Oh how we’d love to relax in this cozy salon, leafing through the books and magazines. But we have just enough time to check in, drop our luggage in our room, and then back on the bus once again!
Another winery awaits – the Arnaldo Caprai estate in Montefalco. First, a wine tasting – Sagrantino, of course. Caprai, founded in 1971, has since been the leader in the revival of the Sagrantino di Montefalco grape. Grown in the area for more than 400 years, it had fallen out of use and favor, but thanks to research and long-term experimentation, Caprai and other local producers now offer top quality wines that uniquely express the terroir of Montefalco. And there’s nothing like sipping a wine just steps from where it was grown – along with a nibble of that other Umbrian/ Tuscan delight, bruschetta. Once again it’s doused with the estate’s own green and grassy new olive oil.

Upstairs, a beautifully appointed table awaits us, silver glowing, glasses
sparkling in candlelight from the massive fireplace.

Salvatore Denaro and his minions have been hard at work in the kitchen, preparing dinner . He walks us through the feast that is coming our way – pasta, hearty beef and savory sauces on the stove, and dessert chilling in the cooler.

A few of us can’t resist that pasta dough and just have to help roll out the umbrichelli (thick spaghetti).

After that fantastic lunch we created, it’s hard to believe we can devour another feast, but we rise to the occasion, enjoying course after course,

accompanied by more excellent Caprai vintages.

We are really enjoying this group of wine-loving travel experts. Nearly every year we join a group of fellow travel professionals on such a tour, and this bunch has been the most fun – each one is a pleasure to spend time with as we make our way from one Umbrian vineyard to another.