Once again we experience the ambivalent feeling that accompanies all travels: sadness of leaving Spain and its wonderful encounters and the pure excitement at the prospect of discovering new horizons.
But this is without counting a new whim of the Betty, just a few hours away from leaving Spain in the small town of Mora in Catalonia. She first begins to stand out with a loud scream from the tank, quickly followed by the pouring of a river of gasoline into the gutter. So we go to Henric's garage, a real surgeon at heart who immediately takes care of the Betty. In the emergency room of the garage, he shouts, swears in Catalan and regularly makes signs of the cross under our bewildered eyes. The miracle intervenes and the Betty is saved only one day later!
We return to our homeland for a few days, stopping first in the Languedoc, near Perpignan, where the Pyrenees flow into the Mediterranean.
On the road to the Rhone Valley, we make the fatal mistake of taking the freeway ... which wasn't free at all. The treasurer's sentence falls: we won't eat for the next four days.
But the blunder is quickly eclipsed by the terraced vineyards overlooking the Rhone and the elegant wines that make the Condrieu region famous. The appellation is mainly known for its two grape varieties: Syrah or Serine for the reds with its pepper, violet and chocolate aromas and Viognier for the whites, with notes of pear and dried fruit.
We spend an extra day there to escape the Alex storm, and then take the road to Italy. The landscape seems unreal and the Betty glides on small roads winding between snowy passes and red forests. We happily honk the horn to all the teams repairing the roads damaged by the storm: the Betty is getting used to her fame!
A short passage in Turin to meet the Italian youth leads us to the Piedmont region.
First stage, the Roero. We find on the ground shells and sand, remnants of the past presence of the sea which allow today to elaborate very pretty white wines with the Arneis grape variety.
After crossing the Tanaro river, we arrive in the Langhe and discover a more clayey soil. We finally put a landscape on the mythical names of Barollo and Barbaresco. Under the late afternoon sun, the changing colors, green, orange, violet or purple of the famous Nebbiollo and Barbera grapes paint a sublime impressionist picture. It is so easy to let oneself be bewitched by the magic of these places, already marked by the nostalgia of autumn.
A few hours drive to the south leads us to the Tortona hill where we discover Timorasso, an autochthonous grape variety that has been in the news for some years due to the longevity and powerful minerality of the wines made from it.
This is an opportunity to confirm the culinary supremacy of Italy, and the generosity of its inhabitants, who at any time of the day will bring delicious pasta dishes to your plate with a flick of the wrist. An Italian will never let you starve, or worse, feed you from cans heated in a van.
We then set off for Tuscany. On the beautiful coastal road we climb upwards and the sea reveals itself majestically. The turns never stop, underlined by Manon's tonic driving, turning the interior of the Betty and Elisabeth's stomach upside down.
At nightfall, we decide to stop by the seaside at Marina di Vecchiano near Pisa, for a cool swim at sunrise the next morning.
The weather is always nice when we arrive in the Chianti region of Tuscany. "Serenity" is the first word that comes to mind when we discover these hills covered with vineyards and olive trees within sight and these small perched villages, real living museums. As far as wine is concerned, Sangiovese is the inseparable grape variety of this region, endowed with a high acidity and cherry notes.
After a short stopover in Umbria, the green heart of Italy, we head for the Veneto region in the north-east of Italy.
Here we discover more industrial landscapes and a real change of atmosphere. After the calm and sunshine, we cross much more urban and active areas. Our Italian journey finally ends in beauty in the small town of Gorizia, at the Slovenian border.
At the end of these two rich and intense weeks, we remember the hospitality of the Italians and their great sense of humor, but above all the importance of the family, an unfailing support which seems to be an essential condition for the success of any wine business!
After France, Spain and Italy, we are now preparing to enter unknown territory. Crossing the Slovenian border, we leave our comfort zone for good - but always accompanied by our faithful Betty!
Ciao Italia, paese meraviglioso !
LE DONNE DEL VINo
Monica & Daniela Tibaldi
The two energetic sisters take over the family vineyards and challenge themselves to make their own wine at the Cantina Tibaldi in the Roero.
The young and sparkling Michela works alongside her father and uncle at the eponymous Marco e Vittorio Adriano estate in the famous Barbaresco region.
The very enthusiastic former veterinarian decided to take over her grandfather's vineyard in Pomona in the beautiful Chianti region.
Great worker and lover of the Sangiovese of Chianti, Angela creates her brand Istine within the family business.
The inspiring President of FIVI (Federation of Independent Winegrowers in Italy) holds her estate Le Fraghe in the Bardolino with a masterful hand.
Together with her brother and always with a big smile, she contributes to the radiance of the Veneto region thanks to her work in the family business.
With elegance, Chiara continues the work of her father, a pioneer in the region of Umbria with various activities: wine production, international wine museum, agrotourism...
And finally, a big thank you to Marco, the next generation of the Cantine Volpi for his warm welcome in Tortona!