After a long flight from Philly to Paris, what seemed like twenty laps around Charles de Gaulle airport in a terminal transport bus, and another short flight (which happened to feature some truly stunning views of the Vosges and the Alps as "my" jet passed over Strasbourg and Grenoble before taking the slight bend down toward Italy), I finally got to greet my patiently waiting cast of fellow wine warriors with a big hug for each as we united in the Venice airport.
Another ninety minutes later, I'm pretty sure we were all more than a little happy to jump out of our team van and stretch our legs in the courtyard of our home base for the week, a winery and agriturismo called Il Roncal, located on the outskirts of Cividale del Friuli.
|I've yet to ask how old this olive tree is but it's got to have some serious time on those roots. As its canopy attests, it's still very much alive in spite of that seriously gnarled, hollowed trunk -- a true work of art, sculpted by nature.|
On the Wine Trail in Italy, enjoying a glass of said sparkler, above; Nicolas Contenta, the prime shredder behind 'na cica de vino, along with Wayne Young, who writes a blog called Old White Wine (and also works at the Bastianich winery), sitting down to our welcome "snack," below.
That aforementioned snack turned out to be quite a lovely lunch, incredibly typical of the hospitality shown by Italian wine growers and industry folk. I walked in expecting a little antipasto and walked out, four courses later, quite the sated traveler.
We're really lucky to be staying in such a lovely place. No, I'm not trying to rub it in, gloat, schmooze, shill, etc. It's just how I feel right now. I'm sure you'll see and hear more about our home base at some point in the days to come. For now, though, I'm off to our first official event of the week (even though where I really want to be off to is slumber land...), so more later.
|Some of the vines, still waiting for their winter pruning, situated directly across from the driveway and courtyard at Il Roncal. I could definitely hang here for a while....|