After a fun night out, we got up somewhat early on Thursday to hit the road for the Dolomiti! From our house, it's about a four and a half hour drive up to the Dolomiti. It's not an extremely long drive, but we planned on breaking it up by stopping by a vineyard in the Veneto region for some wine tasting. One of our favorite wines is Amarone, and we didn't even know about this wine until we moved to Italy. It is famous here, probably more so than Barolo, and it is definitely a high end wine. I always seem to gravitate to the higher end items (not only just wine). Apparently I have expensive taste- I learned that from my mom. At the same time, I can appreciate a good inexpensive bottle too!! But none of us were prepared for what we were getting into when we visited the Quintarelli Giuseppe vineyards for a tasting.
|those are some juicy bunches!!|
This vineyard came highly recommended to us from one of Josh's colleagues, so we thought we would check it out. We drove up to the house (after getting a little lost thanks to Tutti- our GPS) and met the grandson of the wine maker Giuseppe. He and his family run the vineyard now and his grandpa helps with the blending of the wines. It was harvest time, so of course it was busy! As we went into the winery, there were crates of the amazing 2011 grapes sitting outside that were just picked. I love harvest time :)
|view of Negrar from the winery|
Inside, it was cool and there were a lot of beautiful barrels- some of the largest I've seen. They weren't as large as the barrels from Villa Cafaggio in Tuscany, but they were pretty big! After a quick tour, we were brought to a small room in the back of the winery basement for a tasting. It was like a stock room, turned into a cozy corner for tastings. We were shown a list of wines that we would taste and we almost fell out of our seats. We didn't realize that we would be visiting one of the most expensive vineyards in Italy! Not only that... but one of the most famous vineyards. We were shown a book with all of the articles written about Giuseppe Quintarelli and learned that he is the "Master of the Veneto" region. There were even articles from Wine Spectator about him. He is strict about his wine making and lets the wine age in the barrels for 7 years (instead of the typical 2 or 3 for Amarone). The grandson was very nice and explained their processes to us even though he knew we wouldn't be purchasing cases of wine (maybe a bottle...). He allowed us to try six of their wines, and we ended up purchasing two bottles. Now we can say we visited the vineyard and have bottles to prove itJ The grandson also explained that 2011 was an EXCELLENT year for wine in Italy!! He said to keep an eye out for amarones and valpolicellos from 2011 because they will be very good.
|the wines we tasted- they have handwritten labels (this is their tradition)|
|the grandsons meticulous pours!|
|looking at the book of articles in the tasting room|
After a little wine tasting, we were on our way to the Dolomiti. It was a beautiful, but hazy day as we left the winery. It was still hot and humid, but that was about to change!! As we drove deeper into the Alps the air cleared and we could tell the humidity was gone. It was amazing!! The mountains were clear and the sun was starting to go behind the mountains for an amazing sunset. As we neared the Dolomiti range, the mountains changed from grassy above the tree line to complete rock! It was so strange. There was one mountain that was at the beginning of the Dolomiti that was like a huge rock just sticking out of the earth. The sun was setting behind it and the scene was absolutely stunning. We stopped for pictures, but we just weren't able to capture it on film. After seeing that, we drove along a winding mountain road by another rocky mountain and up onto a plateau. When we arrived on this plateau it was like we left the world behind and just arrived on another planet. The view was breathtaking!!! Before us was the Dolomiti range as far as the eye could see with pink clouds accenting the sky. We had to stop and get pictures. As we got out of the car we realized that it was no longer the hot, humid weather we left. It was cold!! We grabbed our coats and took some pictures of the amazing view. We finally made it! I've been looking forward to seeing the Dolomiti since we moved to Italy, and we had three more days to enjoy it. I was jumping up and down with excitement!
|my attempt at photography with the point and shoot :)|
|the boys were howling at the moon for a bit ;)|
|another attempt at capturing the beautiful sunset with|
the point and shoot
Tomorrrow: Tre Cime!