Visit to Tidone Valley

This visit was most certainly mixing business with pleasure, and definitely the kind of work that we will always be happy to do on holiday! I have to admit feeling a little nervous as neither of us are very confident speakers of Italian, and this was a really key relationship that we were potentially embarking on, though this very quickly faded as we met Gabriele who introduced us to Chiara and her Teamates, who all made us feel very welcome, especially after we all had a good laugh about Brexit, everyone’s favourite icebreaker!

As we were visiting in January, the tasting room was being heated by a glorious fire, and with full length windows overlooking the vineyards, this made for something of an idyllic setting for reminding ourselves of how the wines from this wonderful place tasted. To accompany the wines, there was a selection of local antipasti, cured meats and cheeses, which paired beautifully with the wines on show that day. I had forgotten just how good the Metodo Classico Chardonnay Spumante was, until that moment, which is definitely etched on my memory now as a wine that deserves being still for, and not drunk in a hurry of any kind.

We were taken around the rest of the winery by Chiara, whose own journey of falling in love with the Vineyard over the years was inspirational, and then out to the vineyards with her colleague who also demonstrated her absolute love of the land, which we were quickly caught up in. To see the vines in their winter state meant that we were able to see the different pruning methods that were used for each grape, and it made me realise how many factors there are in the creation of a great wine. The soil make up, the aspect of the plot, the drainage, the way the vines are trained and pruned, the distance apart they are planted, all of this before we even get to the grapes themselves and how they are treated after harvesting. Then, even after all possible care and attention has been given to all these things, Chiara told us of how the weather and disease as well as changes in the market add uncertainty into the mix.

This was our first visit to a vineyard as a business, though we felt very much welcomed as friends, and were treated to a fantastic day of being shown around the vines, cellars and, of course, the tasting room, before being treated to a fantastic lunch at a wonderful local restaurant.

Being only 41 hectares, this is amongst the smaller producers, though the quality of the wines is superb, not least because the owner, Chiara Azzali, puts the importance of quality far above that of quantity. The vines themselves were planted by Chiara’s mother Maria, and there was something really exciting about seeing them out of season, all pruned, in that all important rest phase in preparation for growing again. The Tidone Valley itself is full of vineyards, and at that time of year was an incredibly peaceful place to be, especially standing next to the warmth of the fire whilst looking through the vast windows of the tasting room.

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