Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Revisiting the Men of Monforte

When last I visited the cellars of Elio and Gianluca Grasso in Monforte, they had just begun an immense, elaborate engineering and architectural project. Their plan: to excavate a tunnel deep below their estate on the Gavarini hillside to provide ample space for barrel storage and, thereby, to open up space in their winery for freer, easier movement in the vinification stages of their wine producing regimen.

Four years later, the barrel chais — pehaps chasm would be a better word — is complete. And it's magnificent. It's more than just eye candy, though. When there's more time to write (meaning, when I get back to the US), I'll fill you in on all the details and share some more photos of my visit with the Grasso family.

That's all for now.... I'm off to the third day of Nebbiolo Prima. A blind tasting of 75 Baroli from the communes of La Morra, Castiglione Falletto and Verduno. And that's just the morning session.


Joe Manekin said...

Very impressive barrel room - and a very nice photo, I might add.

Look forward to your write-ups when you get back.

David McDuff said...

Thanks, Joe. There'll be lots of great (and some not so great) things to write about when I return stateside. (And hey, watch out with those "folically challenged" cracks, buddy.)

Joe Manekin said...

Gegege! (that's a Spanish 'hehehe') You got it. My co-worker said it was a great time, though he didn't understand why the assorted importers/retailers were separated from journalists? And you rolled with the journalists, right?

David McDuff said...

Yep, I rolled with the journalists. However, at the insistence of a couple of my producer pals, I crossed over to one of the trade dinners -- a group tasting for the producers/members of the Langa In -- where I got to meet "Guido."

It's my understanding that press and trade were intermingled in the past. I think the separation this year made sense for the morning tastings, where the press tasted blind and the trade tasted un-blind. But I think mixing the two groups for the afternoon and evening sessions would have made for a more dynamic experience.

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