Monday, May 23, 2011

Ospiti! Vino!

Guests and Wine

Now that I’ve become more habituated to life in Zagarolo, I’m ready to have some guests. Marco, a friend from Modena, expressed an interest in coming to Rome while I’m here, so I invited him and his wife, Marvi, to spend some time in Zagarolo. I’ll meet up with them in Rome in a few weeks, then bring them here to spend a few days exploring some of the hill towns in the area, perhaps even go to Tivoli. Bolstered by that plan, I also invited Lidia and Carlo, a couple from Rome, to spend a day in Zagarolo with me sometime soon. Another friend who lives in Ostia, on the coast west of Rome, invited me to visit him in June and wants to come here to visit the nearby winery. This gives me more incentive to check out more of the area before my guests arrive.

The other day I drove to Colonna, another hill town that’s about 10 minutes by car. Unlike Castel San Pietro, I wasn’t too impressed. Oh well, there are many others still to see. I have found several roads that have lovely scenery alongside them: one is the road to Tivoli, which only a 15km drive from here.

When I got back to the house, I noticed that the gate to the winery across the road from the house was open, and decided it was the perfect time to meet the owners. A man was driving up to the entrance just as I arrived, and he went looking for the owner, who was out in the vineyard. Then the wife of the owner came out, and I introduced myself. Deborah had told them that I would be staying here for several months, and that I was interested in learning about the growing and making of wine.

Entrance to winery

In fact, I’d met Claudio and Mariela in 2009 when I was in Zagarolo the first time, but I didn’t expect them to remember me. The other man turned out to be a restaurateur from a restaurant in Tivoli, one of the towns on my list to visit. Bottles of wine were brought out to sample and enjoy with bread, olive oil and cheese while we talked.

The Tufaio winery

From their website, http://www.cantinadeltufaio.it/ I learned that

“The Winery "Tufaio Cellar," located in the heart of the DOC* Zagarolo, was founded in 1994 by the Loreti heirs to continue a tradition that has its roots in 1881. The cantina was created inside the farmhouse built by Tiberius Loreti, and includes a cave, dug by hand in the tuff** about 20 meters deep. The name "TUFAIO" celebrates the tufa of volcanic residue in the vineyards that give our DOC and the smell of "wet tuff", typical of the best wine in Zagarolo.”

*DOC Denominazione di origine controllata ("Controlled origin denomination") is an Italian quality assurance label for food products, especially for wine and cheese. It means that products are guaranteed to originate from certain areas, and are produced by specific standards.

**Tuff: a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash.

I'm thrilled with the prospect of having guests coming to stay with me in Italy. Now I've got to get my act together and make it worth their while!

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