On our trip to Italy, we had limited time to see the outskirts of Rome but I was determined to do a day trip some where in the country. Having watched several programmes such as ‘Location Location’ where people sell up to move to the Italian Country, I felt I needed to see it. As I was travelling with my partner and it would be my first holiday to Italy, I romanticised about the image of sitting in terraces with a large glass of wine in my hand, and a fork into fresh pasta with the other. Watching sunsets, listening to the chatter of the local dialect in the mist of greenery and history and beauty and art. Within this idyllic vision was a visit to a true Italian Vineyard, something reminiscent of the current Blossom Hill adverts teamed with a portrait of the rolling hills of Monet. When researching Orvieto it seemed to offer all these spectacular things in one very neatly and rustic sculptured parcel.
And so we set for the Italian Wine Region of Orvieto, by train just some 1 hour 30 minutes from Termini Roma. We pre- booked a 10 am excursion to the Tripadvisor #1 Thing to do= Decugnano Dei Barbi Winery. We hoped to have a slightly later visit as it was abit too early to be sloshing down the wine, but it was the earliest time. It was 45 Euros Per person and 70 Euro for a taxi to and from the main train station. We were picked up from the station by a man who then drove us to the winery. Whilst I had researched Orvieto I was not prepared for how gorgeous the views would be. 30 Minutes of driving up the winding hills of the Umbrian Region, looking out to acres and acres of rolling hills, vineyards, and farms. From the hill top we saw what was the historic city of Orvieto perched on steep plateau amongst the countryside, it was breathtaking.
We eventually drove up to the Winery, a small quaint building right at the peak, with a secondary building at the back followed by endless vineyard all the way down the steep hills.
We met our tour guide, Anna who introduced herself and the winery. We noticed on arrival that we were the only couple there. It was refreshing to have a secluded 2 person tour rather than being dragged around in herds and Anna explained the importance of giving attention to detail on their tours to make the experience memorable.We were explained the history of the wine region, the history of the Decugnano Dei Barbi, and its produce. This crisp and delicate wine was something of a rare breed in that it was not sent for export and was namely purchasable on the Roman market. This winery was the smaller of the nearby ones, limiting their production to closeby regions.
The difference between red and white wine is not the colour of the grape or the fermentation period but instead, is dependent on which part of the grape is used. For Decugnano, red and white wine use the same grape, but the red wine is with skin of the grape where white has the skins removed. The skins contain tannins that effect the colour pigmentation as well as flavour and ageing times.
After visiting this we then took a lovely stroll down the hill towards the cellars. It was so lovely as the morning air was still crisp and fresh. The October season meant that the vines were a beautiful auburn, looking similar to that of the leaves of a tree on an autumns day. The shades of the vines against the blue sky and the greenery of the surrounding area made this area as beautiful as a painting, and a perfect representation of the vision I had before arrival. No disappointment what so ever.
When arriving at the cellar Anna informed us of the waiting time on each wine, how it is kept, and temperatures as well as the importance of the barrels. The cellars were cooling from the warm summers day.
On finishing we were taken to the second building where there was a dining table with a fine array of antipasti and wines. Anna made us a selection of cheeses, olives, fresh olive oil, bruschetta, and a selection of fresh meats. It was at this point we got to know our host better as she explained occupation and her life. She told us of her marriage with an English man, and their move to the Umbrian countryside where they had a farm. She told us of her experience and current masters course in Wine. It is at this point I wholeheartedly understood her passion for Wine and found myself appreciating it in a completely new light. We were given a glass or red, white and sparkling which were all very easy to drink considering I am not usually a fan of red wines.
Admitedly, I wouldn’t recommend it for a person wishing to go for a heavy amount of alcohol though as this is about wine appreciation. Strict timeframe and busy schedules means there’s no topping up, no extra glass or even time to do so. Not that this was a problem for us but some may feel this price includes unlimited wine or at least more than 3. If its about drinking lots I recommend a bar instead.
At the end of the tour we bought more wine to take back with us. We bought around 5 bottles. When we got back to the UK we opened our sparkling, and the magic was not lost. It was a truly memorable experience and some damn good wine.
The Umbrian Region clearly does not have enough credit or recognition for its fine wines. I recommend you try this still quite unknown wine before all the cool kids find out.
5 stars , highlight of orvieto!
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