22 August 2016

2015 ITALY 26 - Florence - Wine for Breakfast !?

Another 0830 departure. This time from Parma to Florence (or Firenze in Italian). There was one stop en route at the Folesano Colli Bolognese Winery, about 1-½ hours out of Parma.

Upon arrival, we hit the bottom of our van on a metal "ridge" on the way up the driveway. It scrapped off a plate that affected the entry stairs into the van. Giuseppe spent his time trying to repair it while we visited, but to no avail. After that we had a giant step in and out of the vehicle. No problem. Giuseppe was there to lend a a helping arm.

At Tenuta (estate) Folesano, Carla and her son Andrea are the owners. Carla was our host today and she was lovely, gracious, and full of vim and vigor. It was obvious that she was totally invested in every part of their operation and product. Although this was the smallest operation we were to see, we were impressed.
This land was first cultivated by Etruscans and then Romans. In the Middle Ages, the land was owned by the Counts of Panico, a powerful Italian family. Eventually it came to the Folesano family through Carla's grandfather and it continues to produce quality wines. Some of the vines are from the 19th century. First we took a stroll around the nine hectors of vineyards. The fields and vines were beautiful in this mountainous setting.
Carla pointed out that the vineyard is designated a sustainable and earth friendly agricultural operation. It was obvious that this is a source of great pride to the family. This bio-dynamic way of farming takes into consideration the soil, animals, insects, weather, and phases of the moon. Different parts of the vineyard are micro climates and are cared for in specific ways. No pesticides or chemicals are used. Grapes are picked by hand.
Even the wine stems are dried and recycled for future use.

Next we saw the small, but impressive operation. Lots of stainless steel and updated equipment.
Then we passed through the lower level of the winery where the barrels are aged.
Upstairs was the tasting room. We also got a taste of more delicious fresh parmigiana and cured pork shavings. I had a taste or two. We'd had a continental breakfast at the hotel, but not as good as this.

We had several wonderful wines including a white named Gariete, a merlot, a sangiovese (one of my very faves), a rosato, and a brute rosé. Carla pored from the bottle into a large wine glass shaped-decanter and then poured our individual glasses from here. Very elegant.

At the end of our tasting, John gave Carla a photo card from John's wife. She is a photographer and sent this thank you card with photos from the winery. Carla was touched and shed a few tears of fond memories from last year's visit.

Before our departure, Carla took us to the family home across the road from the winery. I'm not sure how old it is but certainly over 100 years. It overlooked the rolling hills and valley below. Herbs and flowers grow on the patio. A little bit of heaven.
We did not go inside the family quarters, but we saw the agritourism flat that is for rent to travelers. It is a mix of old and new. Living and bedroom are "old" with rock tiled floors, stone walls, wood beams, and homey furnishings. The kitchen is modern with the latest equipment. There was even an outdoor stone pizza oven. Chef John said he would love to cook here.

Finally we had to say our good-byes and head down the road to Florence. 

Here are Carla and Chef John. The winery's website is www.Folesano.it

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