Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Passito experiment 2009

23 Dec.

I am skiing in Colorado, so decided to borrow Raffaele's post discussing our passito pressing.  We searched far and wide for a "torchio" or wine press and not finding one, bought a little one at the local cooperativo.  It is big enough for about 30kg-40kg a pressing and as we had about 120 kg of grapes in all phases of moldiness and dryness, we pressed 3 times to yield about 27 liters of juice.  It is very different from previous years as we had taken out the old vineyard and the mature white grapes included therein.  We used a majority of montepulciano grapes which were either left on the vine and harvested the day before we pressed them in mid dec., harvested in sept and tied to the cables or harvested in sept and left in containers full of wholes to air and sun dry.  As I said, they had all sorts of mold, noble or ignoble, I won't say, but our friends from Aurora vineyard advised us to just throw them all in.  Have no fear, we will drink it before our guests and if we die of fungemia, we won't foist it on the unsuspecting public.   It will ferment with natural yeast and at least, as of yet, is also sulfur free. 
I will post about my US trip soon, but am having a blast in Colorado skiing right now. 
Il momento più 'dolce' dell'anno è arrivato anche quest'autunno e così, raccolti i grappoli che abbiamo lasciato ad appassire, ci siamo adoperati per la spremitura e la raccolta dell'ultimo mosto. Del passito e della tecnica con cui si ottiene, ne abbiamo già parlato, ma quest'anno abbiamo attuato ulteriori esperimenti: prima di tutto abbiamo in maggioranza uve rosse di montepulciano, poi l'appassimento è avvenuto in tre modi: in cassetta, sui cavi e con l'uva ancora attaccata alla pianta.
Abbiamo effettuato la spremitura in una bella e fredda giornata autunnale e abbiamo poi iniziato a seguire la fermentazione, lenta e costante, del mosto ottenuto. Sarà un processo lungo che per il momento lasciamo fare alla natura e che un giorno seguiremo in maniera più cosciente e partecipata. Negli scorsi anni il passito, un vero nettare di dolcezza, è sempre stato eccellente e ha ricevuto tantissimi complimenti, nonostante la produzione fosse ugualmente semplice e molto ristretta. Quest'anno, cambiando piante e tipologia di uva, ci troveremo di fronte ad una nuova ed eccitante sorpresa!

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Labels: degustazione, vino, vita al nascondiglio

Friday, December 11, 2009

Persimmon dilemmas and Poetry reading at Nascondiglio di Bacco

My persimmons had finally ripened after spending an eternity locked in a sack with apples to speed up the process.  As a persimmon novice, I thought it was time to pick them when the leaves fell off the tree, but no, you need to wait until they are soft.  I had thought to make persimmon cookies but feel much to short on the ingredients called for, especially shortening, so I switced to persimmon pudding.  It must be some distant cousin to bread pudding, only twice as good and spiked with brandy and with a brandy whipped cream sauce on top, it is deadly. (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mrs-Reagans-Persimmon-Pudding/Detail.aspx)
We were honored to have Carlos Sanchez and 15 guests at Nascondiglio di Bacco for the launch of his new book called La Poesia, Le Nuvole e L'aglio which translates as the poetry, the clouds and the garlic.
It was entertaining for everyone as you might imagine from the title and many of the guests read the poetry as well as our protagonist.  I searched out some good cheeses and cured meats from our area and made some bread and mulled wine for appetizers afterward and hopefully made a good impression.  Passa parola or word of mouth is one of our strongest publicity machines.
Getting everything ready for my voyage to the states: 8 liters of oil, 6 pairs of "Wild Shoes" and not much else will fit in the luggage.
I am watching the forecast and it looks good for KC while I am there with clear weather and snow coming to the Vail/Beaver Creek area for skiing.   I can't wait!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

6 Dicembre
It has been a pretty slow week around here, although today I am hosting 16 people for a poetry reading complete with prosciutto, ciauscolo, salami, pecorino, pamigiano and another cheese with mulled wine etc.  Only in Italy, I imagine.
We had a photographer visit us during the week and he is doing freelance work for a couple of italian travel magazines, so hopefully in the 1st part of next year we will be featured in 2 different ones.
We also have a full page ad in Marche di Bere which highlights all the best wines of the region thanks to the wonderful bartering system we are starting to employ.
I am still hoping for a January start time for the groundbreaking for the winery, but that may be a bit optimistic.
The pictures show a timballo I made from one of Jasper's recipes I stole from facebook and made the same day.  It is really good, almost a drug, so don't expect leftovers.  The ingredients at the bottom made the dish at the top.
I am addicted to dealnews.com and doing too much shopping, but I have a long list of things to buy in the USA.  I may have to shut off power to my computer!
I just added the last 3 pics, of the inhabitants of Nascondiglio di Bacco, made by our visiting photographer, Dr. Price from Harrisonville... thanks!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving in Italy and Open Baladin, the new beer joint in Rome

1 Dec

I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with new and old friends in Spello where even Arlo Guthrie would have been envious.  A dinner which "couldn't be beat (sic)" was enjoyed by 7 americans and 1 italian with an 8 kg turkey, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes wrapped with prosciutto and sage, pecan, pumpkin and quince pies, green beans, and enough wine to satisfy everyone's thirst.  I am forgetting many things like the olive all' ascolane, but it was a great time and my 1st thanksgiving celebration since 2006.
The next stop was Rome where I visited the christmas market in Piazza Navona, the 3 layer church of San Clemente with the home church from the 4th century, the old church from the 5th and the "new church" built in 1100's.
Not to be missed on your next trip to Rome is the birreria opened this year by Teo Musso to spotlight the artisanal beers of Italy and the world in the zone of Campo dei fiori.  It is hidden away in via degli specchi, but outside signs are easy to follow from the major streets.  There are over 40 beers on tap and more than 100 in bottle available to try with light and heavy appetizers, 3 levels, couches, barstools, you name it.  All done in a humorous style sure to please any beer fan.
Rome at night this time of year is beautiful and still comfortable with temps in the 50's and surprisingly, there are still (or perhaps there are always) lots of tourists.
Driving home to the Marche, it seems the italians are trying to pad the tax coffers with speed trap fines as there are now at least 4 autovelox (radar with cameras) on the Salaria with more sure to come.