Even after all this time living in Italy, I still get queasy whenever we come across conditions like this. Just can’t stand fog. It’s damp, eery, and gives me the creeps. But figuring that wine is no good without some local cheese, I got it in my head to check out a cheese farm that I had found earlier on google maps. A half hour north from where we were staying, Il Castello was tucked away in quiet mountain location, reachable only by driving a bunch of skinny, twisting roads.
After coming all this way, I prayed that someone would be there… And someone was! An old man who didn’t know what to make of the Asian-looking gal stepping out of a bright orange Jeep. Only when MotH emerged from the driver’s side did everything fall into place. We, well he (the old man) talked some, lamenting the weather conditions because it was the period for bringing the herd to graze at higher elevation, but there was still snow on the ground and they had to wait.
A few minutes later an elderly woman comes out to show us into the cheese shop. They sell a little of everything: cheese, butter, salame, beer (from a local producer), ricotta, and fruit jams. She let us into the storing room for a look and photo op, and I was happy as a clam. We bought a small chunk of raw cows milk cheese, a salame, beer and apricot jam to bring back with us.
With the cheese squared away, and the fog thankfully lifted, later in the afternoon we went for a wine-tasting at Le Bignele Winery in Valpolicella. Located a half hour east from Corte Patrizia, the area of Valpolicella is known for its wine production (Wiki says it ranks 2nd after Chianti) and there are numerous wineries to visit and taste. I picked Le Bignele because of the high scores on Tripadvisor and it did not disappoint. Reasonable fee (6,45€ per person) for 6 tastings each, complete with a matching cheese or cured meat pairing. Of course we had the Italian-speaking guide but when we arrived at the last stop of the tour – the tasting room – there was a guide speaking in English to a couple of visitors.
The 6 bottles above? We liked all of them for various reasons and bought one of each. 72 euros well spent. I swear we’ll just have to get out to Valpolicella more often and check out several wineries on a weekend. It’s certainly closer than driving to Chianti but next time, I’m bringing our own cheese…