Thursday, June 30, 2011

AWOL from Nascondiglio di Bacco, in the Sibillini mountains with Bacco

 Starting the hike out right with a big drink and a cool down.  This is a drinking fountain for the local sheep and from this point, about 2 km from the trailhead (unless you drive up to this point to save yourself some work, the road isn't at all bad)

 Bacco, taking time to smell the flowers
 The flowers on and around this trail were spectacular and nearly in full bloom
 Bacco on the summit of Sasso Borghese
 And the next stop, the top of Palazzo Borghese
 And finally, the summit of Mt. Porche
 This is a view of Castelluccio, the home of the famous lentils and beautiful flowers, now showing.
 A look down into a canyon below Mt. Porche
 A view of Sasso Borghese in the left foreground and Palazzo Borghese to its right with a saddle between the two, our first 2 summits and in the distance you see Mt. Vettore to the left and Cima del Lago and Mt. Redentore to the right.
And this is how Bacco ended his hike, in another fountain
30 Giugno
Bacco and I played hooky yesterday as I had worked something like 16 days straight and needed a break.  We or I decided to climb 3 peaks, Mt. Porche, Sasso Borghese and Palazzo Borghese, all above 2000 meters. The flowers are just incredible now and will be in full bloom for at least another week.  You can add a visit to the plateau of Castelluccio with the hike and get your flower fix, for sure.  The hike takes about 2.5 hours to scale the 3 summits and an hour and fifteen minutes for the return.  You will be adopted by families of flies, but they don't bite and hang around waiting for the sheep which graze in the mountain pastures.  There are excellent views of the Sibillini mountains, Lake Fiastra, the plateau listed above and one can see all the way to the sea, into Abruzzo and Lazio and of course, Umbria.  It is a nice hike and except for some scree in the early going which is tougher on the descent, not too difficult.  I headed first to Sasso Borghese, then backtracked for Palazzo and Porche, although the last one might be better to scale first as it is the most difficult.

Flowers of the plateau of Castelluccio are now blooming, don't miss it!

 June 29th, Bacco and I headed above Castelluccio for a hike but 1st stopped to take 100 pictures of the plateau which finally has bloomed.  The poppies are the red flowers, yellow is a weed in the mustard family, some of the blues are corn flowers and some may be lentils and finally white ones are also weeds. Enjoy and hope you get to see this area in the next week or so or in future years!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WIN BIG PRIZES! Design our 1st ever artist's wine label for the reserve wine

14 June, 2011
We are sending out a challenge to all artists to design our first ever reserve wine artist label alla Ch. Mouton or Kenwood.  Here are the rules: you may use any media: oil, watercolor, mixed media, photo, sculpture?, woodblock print, etc.  The winner gets a case of the reserve wine and a week stay at Nascondiglio di Bacco for as many as 4 people in one regular room or the apartment,  international fame, prestige, power, a chance to run for President of Italy etc.  (For those who prefer, we will give a cash prize of 200 euro instead of the B&B stay).  We get to keep the original and shamelessly market and sell any posters, t shirts, aprons, socks and underwear.  The only iron fast rule is we need to see some representation of Bacco in the artwork.  Deadline will be All Saint's Day, 2011 or November 1 as all good things in Italy must occur on a saint day and then we will utilize scientific analysis, Bacco's nose and a high degree of subjective preference to pick the winner.  For those who are like me and are artistically challenged, please pass this on to all the artists you know and thanks to all for participating!
To get you started, here are some photos of Bacco from today and days past; scroll back in the blog as far as 2008 to see many more.  The label will be used for either our bordeaux blend or our Offida Rosso which is a blend of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon and feel free to use your imagination.  There is no need to confine yourself to any particular theme, just let Bacco make an appearance somewhere inside the work. Good luck! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nascondiglio di Bacco framed by wheat

From the north with our neighbor's olive trees to the right foreground and our vineyard to the right of the road

The winery still under construction to the right, Nascondiglio in the center

Looking towards the Monti Piselli in Abruzzo to the left of Nascondiglio just after dawn

The church of San Filippo up the street from us, lone poppy in the foreground amongst the maturing wheat bound for Barilla pasta

the p s vineyard

Climbing the Sibillini mountains, how to choose

11 June, 2011
If you have just one day to climb a mountain in the Sibillini chain, which should you choose?  I have climbed a representative sample, so let me help you decide.  1st question: do you like to climb the highest mt. in a certain region? A: Mt. Vettore which is a nice climb with about 950 meters to go up and then down and views of the coast, parts of distant Umbria and Abruzzo, Lazio and the Marche.  2nd: Would you rather have a beautiful hike?  Try Cima del Lago with the same starting point as Vettore at Forca di Presta, but amazing views of the Lago di Pilato and the altopiano (plateau) of Castelluccio.  If you want to bag 3 peaks continue on to Mt. Redentore and Pizzo del Diavolo, all listed at above 2400 meters.  3. If you want a safe, short period with a rope to assist you and views of the Gola dell'Infernaccio from above, try Mt. Sibilla and you can easily add the next peak Cima Vallelunga and descend via an unused road.  Here are some photos of all of them with my favorite being the 2nd option.
Looking back at Cima del Lago from Redentore, this is the ridge you walk along.

One of the views of Lago di Pilato from Cima del Lago

From Cima del Lago, the tallest mountain in the Marche, Mt. Vettore with Lago di Pilato which you can not see from Vettore in the lower left.

Altopiano of Castelluccio where the famous lentils grow and the parasailers glide over the fields of mustard, poppies and lentils.  This view is from near the top of Mt. Redentore.

Looking down on the eastern most part of the plateau of Castelluccio and into Lazio in the distance.

Bacco is looking at Lago di Pilato while above his head you see the top of Mt. Redentore and the prominence to the far right is Pizzo del Diavolo.

On top of Pizzo del Diavolo looking back at Redentore to the right and the crest you walk across to get to Cima del Lago to the left.

The crest from Redentore behind me to Pizzo to Bacco's left in the near distance.

A view from Pizzo del Diavolo to the Z-shaped scar of the road on Mt. Sibilla with Cima della Vallelunga to its left. Below right, you see the town of Foce where you can start the hike for Lago di Pilato.

Bacco, happy as a clam on a little snow remnant.
 Last look at Lago di Pilato before descending.
I have a pace which is close to 1.5 mph going up steep inclines, so I took 1 hour and 15 minutes to arrive at the refuge where you choose whether to hike right up Vettore or left up Cima del Lago.  To arrive at the latter was another 30 minutes and to continue on to Redentore and Pizzo del Diavolo was an hour.  the return took me about an hour and a half.  I figure the hike I took was between 7.5 and 8 miles round trip.  Happy climbing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fraternal twins born at Nascondiglio di Bacco

10 June, 2010
After a little less than the normal 9 month gestation, I would like to present not only the newly fledged p s cantina but its newborn fraternal twins, Thalia and Aurai.  The former is a blend of 75% Montepulciano and 25% Syrah while his sister is 100% Pecorino.  Thalia, named for the god of comedy, weighed in at 13.5 and Aurai, goddess of the fresh breeze at 14.  They are dressed up with quasi matching outfits, a photo I took of a Cabernet Sauvignon leaf shown in true color on Aurai and photo-shopped rosso for her red brother Thalia.
p s has 2 meanings, post scriptum signifying life changes from one profession (the main body of my life's letter) to the 2nd part and also for Paolini, Stanford, the cognomi of the proprietors.
 I showed the new bottles around the place and the photos below show them taking in the sites of Nascondiglio di Bacco.

Hangin' at the pool

On the ledge looking south, the 500 y.o. part of the B&B

Looking out from room 5
Now, we can look at the "delivery room" and the personnel involved in their arrival.
Mobile bottling unit

The bottles need to be placed at the start of the conveyor belt, I volunteered wearing my 
"not all who wander are lost" t-shirt

1st bottle heading through and getting filled

1st bottle getting clothed

Raffaele ready to take the 1st photo of the newborn white

Finally, some evidence of the fruits of our labors.
It is a tradition to give the 1st bottle to someone important, so I gave Thalia to my neighbors who got us through the first year with all the organic treatments of the vines, tilling and planting of the soil and subsequently help with sage advice;  thanks Luigi and Tiziano, we couldn't have done it without you!
Give our new arrivals a couple of weeks to get over yesterday's spanking (bottle shock) and we will have them for sale.  Keep an eye out for the new fb page and friend us for a discount.