Panettone Elegante

Leave it to the Italians to take fruitcake and make it all good. One of these babies is from Luca and Valeria (exotic fruits…the panettone, not the friends) and the other from master earth shapers, Andrea and Moreno (figs). Buon Natale!


Red Vendemmia I – 2015

We took advantage of the visit from the boys to pull a couple hundred kilo of our montepulciano d’abruzzo grapes up from the vineyard.  We did it all by hand, loading 20kg cases and then lugging them up to the shed.

St. Peter scored us a crusher-destemmer machine for us to borrow… which made the crushing far easier.  For good measure, however,  Sweet Baby G gave the grapes an extra crushing the old fashioned way.

It’s always great to have some help with a harvest (even a little one) and especially great for the help to come from the boys.  The house wine we make will be a genuine family effort!

Next up: harvesting the rest of the montepulciano!


White Grape Harvest, 2015!

The 2015 pecorino (indigenous white grape from our area in Marche) is in!  With a little help from our friends, we managed to harvest 3.75 tons… cluster by cluster, bucket by bucket!  Our young vines are not quite at 40% of full capacity, but they’re doing well.  And the berries were beautiful and perfectly ripe.

Next up: the montepulciano d’abruzzo!


Abba Dabba Do!


It’s a beautiful day, and with the tractor out of commission until the end of the month, it was a perfect time to make a quick run to Abbadia Di Fiastra.

ADF is a little borgo tucked into an enormous nature reserve.  It’s home to Sweet Baby G’s favorite church on the planet (ultra plain but large and beautiful) as well as a fantastic BBQ joint with outdoor tables.  Great time with Ron Secura!




Bottling Time!

This is a no-no; too much air hitting the wine.  (Tanbay and I aren't big on following the rules.)

This is a no-no; too much air hitting the wine. (Tanbay and I aren’t big on following the rules.)

After nearly a year of resting in barrels and tanks, it’s time to put our inaugural red wine into the bottles for a long rest.  This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was hauled up from the vineyard by hand, and after being fermented (in the utility room under the outside stairs) was pressed by hand (using a kitchen colander).

Thankfully, Sweet Baby G and I had some great help with the bottling.  Ron’s here for his summer visit, and we’re also happy to have another set of “kids” – Laura and Tanbay of the Travelling Weasels.  So much fun!

This one’s a bit to acidic for my taste, but it should settle down after a couple of years in the bottle.  Hopefully we’ll have the patience to find out!  (Come visit, and we’ll pop open a bottle to see how it’s doing!)


New & Old Friends

Hopefully Not the Last Lunch

This past week we had lots of friends visit TD!  Colleen and Julianne came from St. Louis for a few days, and the Nowatskys from New Jersey spent the day with us while making a bank shot on their way from Florence to Rome.

The highlight of the week was our lunch at the abbey in town.  We learned about this place from Andrea and Emanuele who are doing all the landscape work at TD.  They go there every day for lunch.  You don’t get to pick what you eat but they said they every meal they have been served was fantastico!  We all agreed!  Maybe an odd setting but it was a blast trying to communicate in Italian and English, telling stories, and waiting for the next great dish to arrive.

We finished off the day with hikes in the vineyard, up to the grotto, then a pizza party on the parcheggio, followed by Karaoke until midnight! We love when old and new friends gather at TD and are willing to go along with our crazy ideas of fun!  That’s what happens when you live in the middle of nowhere!


Mexico & Cuba in Rural Italy

My slow-roasted pork shoulder (overnight in the wood burning oven) is being put to good use.  The masa harina for the tacos was brought to us by our friend Meghan, and SB Hadley Wilson (#sxsb) provided moral support (and taste testing) of the pork shoulder.

Sweet Baby G’s made a couple of incredible meals… with more to come!