We spent a delicious afternoon at this winery in Castiglione in Teverina, Viterbo.
It was quite the ordeal to arrive there as, well, rural roads and GPS don’t tend to get along and we had a bit of trial and error. Even the owners were starting to think we had given up on visiting!
The property was derelict when it was acquired in 1990 by the current owners, the Verdecchia family, who expanded the premises (initially there was just the taller, bigger building) to turn them into a full-fledged winery.
We were shown the fields (the azienda), almost guided by their very lively dog who happily jumped and pranced about, and eventually we reached this opening where we could see row after row of vineyards in the valley.
It was quiet and calm as the afternoon had already started its morose, leisurely ease into the evening—truly a contrast compared to the agitation we had experienced to come there with those bumpy roads in our minibus! ?
We then came back up to the main building (la tenuta) and looked at the equipment.
Crates filled with recently picked and ready to be processed grapes:
They looked very plump and pretty, but I managed to restrain myself and not to snack on them ?
There was also this mound of leftovers, or what is left behind after removing the grapes from the branches:
… which reminded me of that character in Fraggle Rock – the Trash Heap!
Moving into the premises, I was [pleasantly] surprised that there wasn’t a strong smell. For some reason I sort of expected it to be the case, like in olive oil mills. Brains are weird.
There were lots of tanks, barrels and pipes connecting them:
… and some more examples of wine-making by-products:
After learning about the wine making process (or sort of, as it was all in Italian and my knowledge of the language was a bit lacking to fully understand all the details!), we went outside again and to the back of the house, where a long table and benches had been set up for us.
We were to partake on a wine tasting, paired with some cheese, hams and some really stunning and piquant olive oil (also from their own production):
It was quite interesting to learn some “tricks of the trade”, such as placing a white napkin under the glass to better see the colour of the wine, and also to do things such as comparing wines made with grapes harvested the same year, but bottled in different years.
There was also an interesting discussion about the restrictions on how you can name wines so they are distinctive enough. For example, you cannot name them with just a given name, as that would be too generic, which meant they couldn’t name a wine after someone’s daughter, if I remember correctly.
We’re normally unaware of all these aspects of branding and naming, so it is always enlightening to learn about them.
The evening was firmly establishing itself as the tasting finished, covering the sky in a blue to pink and yellow gradient, which really reminded me to the sunsets of summers past.
I thought I was feeling very lyrical and connected to nature at that moment, but it might have been the result of the wine I drank, too ?
Before we left, we bought a couple bottles to take home. If you pad them with enough clothes, they can safely travel in a checked-in bag and survive. Wrapping them with a t-shirt is a classic!
Tenuta la Pazzaglia
Strada Bagnoregio 4 – 01024 Castiglione in Teverina (VT)