Today as we drove the SS1 "Via Aurelia" highway from below Grosseto to Bolgheri, the traffic was thinner than I had thought; this being one of the days Italians pile in their car in droves and go on vacation for the month of August. Around La California though, the traffic slowed, halted, and for 15 minutes or so, we crawled. Very exciting stuff to be in a traffic jam with all of the Italians going on holiday.
Our journey took us away from the water and inland to a mountainous area, seeming very much like Liguria. One in our group ran into a friend at a porchetta stand and he invited us to his place to taste some Lambruschi and salumi.
“King Rudolph I” Allenbach of Podere San Gastone in Pomarance (where I am based out of for the next few days while working on a special project) came to Tuscany in the late 1980’s from Switzerland. He worked in a factory, managing 60 people and got a case of the nerves from the daily grind. He bought this old podere with the intent to come on weekends and work on the place. But as Rudy says,” It’s hard to keep one foot in the old life and another in the new.” So he broke away and cast his fates to rustic Tuscany.
The area around Pomarance isn’t the Tuscany folks dream of visiting. Dante described the area as the Valley of the Devil. But for those individuals who are looking to really crank it down and leave the busy, mad world behind, it’s the perfect antidote to civilization. Close to the Pisa airport if one needs to go be “somewhere.” Rudy invited our group to taste some wines from Emilia Romagna, specifically organically grown Trebbiano (in sparkling version) as well as a duo of Lambruschi, one slightly pétillant, and the other full-tilt “metodo ancestral”.
Azienda Agricola San Polo of Paolo Ghiddi, a “biologic” garagiste in Castelvetro, where some of the more exciting and delicious Lamrbruschi are being born. The Trebbiolo is a Trebbiano di Modena IGT, the “Re Guerro” is a Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC and the “Saio Rosso” is a Lambrusco di Modena IGT. My favorite was the Re Guerro, at 11.5% and in a cage free cork finished bottle, a perfect coda to the exhilarating climb earlier in the day.
Perfect wines to go with his special salumi and sitting under his outdoor yurt, where the breeze was blowing gently and delicious as the wine and food.
|Some of the folk art inside Rudy's yurt|
More pictures below...
|Signs of summer|
|"I couldn't arrange to have a Jaguar, so this will have to do."|
|An original door "knocker"|
|Rudy is Swiss - very practical|
|The nail puzzle - an homage to Japanese architecture|
|Rudy's son invented this salumi slicer - low tech - high impact|