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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sparone for the Day

We were invited to the little town of Sparone, about an hours drive from Torino, by friends (Alessandra and Mimma) of friends (Jane and Moya). Alessandra and her family live in Seattle during most of the year and Mimma, who is from Torino, has a country home in Sparone. Deme and I spent the afternoon with Alessandra’s children in a magnificent villa. Her children took to Zavier and after lunch, everyone was treated to a dog show, featuring of course, Zavier.

On the way home we stopped by a cantina sociale near Sparone. This cantina is a communal one; it grows none of its own grapes and instead buys the grapes from small farms. The price that is paid for the grapes depends on the alcohol content of those grapes. We took a short tour of the cantina, saw the giant vats in which the grapes are fermented, saw the machines that filter the wine, saw the machine that corks and bottles the wine and in the end got to taste a bit of the finished product. The proficiency of this place was quite remarkable. After the grapes have been fermented they are aged in metal vats built into the walls of the building. There were some wooden barrels in the basement that housed “the good stuff” but not a single square inch was wasted. There was wine in the walls, ceiling, floors and basement. I think I heard the guy say they make 2.5 million bottles of wine a year.

While we were tasting the wines, a man came in with two large plastic jugs, the size of 10 gallon gas tanks and had them filled with white wine. The jugs were weighed; he paid the cashier and hauled them to this car. In many parts of Italy wine is made and distributed this way. For those who are wine snobs, this just would not do. (I think I am married to one.) But for many “regular Joe’s”, wine is essential to a meal and this is an economical way to keep a steady supply for your table.


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