One Amazing Winery in Italy

So I know there are thousands of wineries to visit in Italy, let alone the rest of the world. But I discovered an amazing one that you must know about.

the vineyard

 

On a recent trip to Italy in late September, I was visiting in and around Florence and Bologna in the province of Emilia-Romagna. I had wanted to explore the small towns of Modena, Reggio-Emilia and Parma, so I went researching what wineries were in that area. There are a few, however I would say only a handful stand out, and in that handful is the gem I discovered!

the owner and the view

Emilia-Romagna province is known for growing and producing a traditional yet modern wine called Lambrusco. Have you heard of it? I hope so, because its not just delicious, but unique. You see, it’s slightly frizzante (light bubbles), and meant to be chilled and paired with charcuterie, antipasto and well, it’s just perfect with pizza! I am a super fan of Lambrusco, I love that it has history, it’s complex, and it can range from a natural rosé style to a deep, rich burgundy in colour and style.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned Opera 02 Winery made 4 kinds of Lambrusco, had their own cellar for producing Balsamic Vinegar, were a small hotel and had a restaurant. I couldn’t have booked it any quicker!

aging barrels in the vinegar cellar

Located just 15-20 mins. taxi ride from the Modena train station in the countryside. This quaint yet very modern winery is a slice of heaven. The views are like being in a painting, it almost doesn’t seem real. From the restaurant and its patio and every single room you overlook the valley filled with vineyards. It offers a mini retreat with a steam room and sauna for guests, a pool, private or public tours of the Vinegar cellar and of the winery. If you care to take a country walk, just 30 minutes or so is a small village called Levizzano. But really, who would want to leave this beautiful place! The rooms are simple yet modern and extremely comfortable with linen sheets and pastel colours, which just add to the view outside the window.

pasta with zucchini and truffles

I did a tasting of vinegars and can now really appreciate why Modena is home to the true original Balsamic Vinegars, and why they are what they are. They offer 6,9,12,20 and 51 year aged vinegars, a great way to discover your favourite style. Mine was between the 9 and 12 year aged. I also tasted through the delicious, naturally made, bio-dynamic Lambrusco wines produced. Out of the 4, the Opera Pura was the highlight for me. And let me tell you, these Lambruscos were the best I have ever tasted (so far). From a traditional dark coloured to a rosé version, all naturally made, these were all pure finesse in a glass. And to be able to have them with lunch or dinner was a perfect way to enjoy them. On their restaurant wine menu they also feature their neighbours wines which represent the area – and on of their own still wines –  Fiano (an overlooked white and not often available).

the view from my room with a glass of rosé lambrusco

I left with a full and happy tummy, luggage bursting at the seams with lambrusco, and a slight glitter in my eyes from the wine I’d been drinking at lunch while taking in the view. Probably the best way to depart any beautiful place. If you get the chance and are in the area during your next trip to Italy, please visit this wonderful gem of a place – Opera 2 Winery.

Until next time, ciao! 😉

The view

Exploring Natural Wines

Marisa and Jessica of AmoVino

Learning about wine for me, is an ongoing thing. Because I will never know it all when it comes to wine, probably ever, as there is so much to discover behind every winery, vine, winemaker, vineyard and grape.

So a few months ago I hopped on an Amtrak train early in the morning for the 4-hour trip from Vancouver south to Seattle, in order to attend the “Slow Wine 2017 Tasting” put on by the Slow Food Guide who also has a Slow Wine Guide (an important marketing organization celebrating sustainability, minimal intervention, cellar practices, environmental impact and respect of employees and the market). I expected a room full of unique and different natural wines and a great way to talk with the winemakers, learn and taste what their wines were all about. And… it was a fantastic afternoon of tasting everything from crazy rustic farmer wine to finessed and elegant wine that you would never realize was natural.

So, do you know what natural wines are?  Here’s the easiest way I can explain it… think back to hundreds of years ago when wine was made in the 19th century. They didn’t have the enhanced knowledge that we do today or the demand, therefore they used the simplest techniques to produce wine. Simple farming, no chemicals, no sugar (for the dry wines), no addition of wood chips, no filtering and no fining agents (however between the 1800’s and 1900’s as winemakers became more knowledgeable, they began using animal proteins, egg whites, bentonite clay, gelatine and even charcoal to fine their wine). Wine was just wine back then, naturally fermented with wild yeast, bottled and enjoyed. So think of natural wine in this way, it’s a simple and old-school practice but with the creative skill of todays winemakers.

To read the rest of the article on my website Cork Affairs click HERE.