Friday, 4 December 2009

Filippo is our great friend and head winemaker of Farnese.

He will be driving JMS and I around southern Italy tomorrow and Friday where we will be tasting and blending his wines for the Chai.

Had a great meal last night and we left our food choices in the knowledgeable hands of Filippo. He knows the food and what wine matches and his selections didn't disappoint.

The antipasti (starter) lasted for what seemed like forever, as small but endless dishes of fresh, uncooked, delicately marinated and thinly sliced squid, langoustines, gambas, sea snails, swordfish and slithers of red mullet were served, accompanied with fine sparkling Francecorte. The main was baked Turbot, roasted zucchini accompanied by Filippo's top Chardonnay 'OPI' 2008.

This morning was glorious, the sun reflecting from the Adriatic sea some 50 metres from my hotel window and behind me, the snow-capped mountain of Della Maiella!

After breakfast we head off into town to Farnese's head office which also happens to be a castle!

Valentino is in fine form and waiting for us with the tasting all prepared. I almost thought it was going to start on time but then I remembered I was in the south of Italy!

After lots of banter and coffee the tasting finally got started. We began with the 2009 whites; Trebbianos, Pinot Grigios, Pecorinos, Greco di Tufo, Passarinas and Fiano di Avalino. Then the reds, consisting mainly of Sangioveses and Montepulcianos.

We tasted and blended until early afternoon and once the blends were decided we made for the excellent restaurant 'L'Angolino di Filippo' on the sea front. Absolutely fabulous fresh pasta and seafood finished with a 'sorbeto' – a blend of sparkling wine and lemon sorbet, whipped up with cream into a sort of milkshake – perfect!


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