Tag Archives: Veneto

Wine trip to Lake Garda continued…

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.

Località Castello, Via Castello, Ferrara di Monte Baldo VERONA

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.

Rosato Lu.Mi, Rosso Verona I.G.T, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Ripasso, Amarone, Recioto

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…

Wine/wino trip to Lake Garda and Valpolicella

Wine tasting at Zeni wine shop in Bardolino

I was looking forward to sharing the first sagra of the year when this recent trip to Veneto was in the planning stage over 2 months ago, but as it turned out, the asparagus festival in question changed the usual date (it had been the same for years!) and I learned a hard lesson: call and confirm an event instead of trusting that everything will go according to plan. Hmpfh!

Fortunately for us, the area we stayed in – just east of Lake Garda – is noted for some delicious wines. And as if that weren’t enough, the agriturismo that was our home base for 3 days even makes their own wine (and olive oil).

Corte Patrizia Country House https://www.cortepatrizia.com

You know you’ve arrived at a great place when the ambassador of the property comes along, tail wagging, happy to greet you (or your female dog). After settling in, we drove west toward Lake Garda to the Zeni wine shop/museum for a free tasting. Yes, FREE, all you can taste for the cheap stuff (top photo), and a moderate fee for the more precious wines, on request.

The weather in northern Italy hasn’t been the greatest for weeks now, and the next morning we woke to more rain and a glum forecast the rest of the day. No biggie though, especially when you get to pick up your Breakfast Box from the common room and spread out the goodies wherever you wish. Each apartment has a corresponding box that has everything on the first day. Then, to specify items for the day after, you just mark x (no) or ✓ (yes) from the list on the underside of the lid.

You can take your breakfast (by the way, those blueberry muffins in the photo were from home) outside in your own private terrace, at the pool, at the picnic tables or even next to the vineyard if you want. Breakfast in bed? How romantic! A shame for the rain, but anyway, the apartment is good for when you’re forced to eat inside.

The nice thing about our apartment was having so much natural light during the day. I was able to catch up on my reading while drinking a glass of Corte Patrizia’s Bardolino Chiaretto.

Up next: cheese hunting through the fog and more wine tasting.