Relaxing and checking out the wine

This morning started with sitting around drinking Nespresso coffee and enjoying the vineyards. Our peace was interrupted only by barking dogs and farm implements. Dave thought about when we lived in California and the people who bought way out in valley for the solitude of the agricultural setting. Once there, they became upset because of the smells and sounds associated with farming … lol. Dave took a little walk before stopping because the insects were bothering him.

Sunrise from the Airbnb in Mango
Grape leaves getting into autumn

Early in the afternoon, we took off for our wine tasting at Azienda Agricola Dante Rivetti. Our guide was the daughter of the owner, Dante. It was a nice adventure. Grapes were being harvested and that meant processed. It was an interesting process to see the grape skins and juice being separated from stems and leaves. We then went past stainless-steel fermenting casks. From there we went into the aging room and saw many barrels and bottles being aged. It was overwhelming to think how much wine was in this room.

Church in Rivetti from the winery
Pomegranate tree at Dante Rivetti
Harvested grapes ready to begin the process
Hopper of grapes
Workers processing grapes
Machine that separates the juice and skins from the vines and leaves
Our guide explaining to Dave how the juice is processed (the skins float to the top, five times a day the juice is pumped to the top to run through the skins)
Stainless-steel tanks
Aging room – The casks at the end are about a five-foot diameter
Special barrel at Dante Rivetti
This wine was bottled 22 years ago when we moved to California for the second time
Dante Rivetti wine barrel
Packaging area of winery

From there we headed to the tasting room. It was much bigger than we anticipated. We suspect that they do wine tours, including larger buses. As it turns out we had the place to ourselves. That was, until another couple from the US (New Jersey), showed up. They had just arrived in Milan and drove down. They knew far more about the area and grapes than we did. Last time they came to visit they shipped three cases home.

Tasting room

On to the tasting. We started with a white wine, Langhe Arneis Briccodoro. We both liked it, especially, Linda. We then had the Moscato D’Asti Riveto. Dave, not the one for sparkling wines, in general, thought this one too sweet. As he went to pour it out, Linda intervened and finished the glass. From there we went to the Dolcetto d’Alba Sitovarei. It is a red wine from young grapes that is fermented in steel. Neither of us found it interesting. Next, we tasted two vintages of Barbaresco Bric’Micca which comes from younger Nebbiolo grapes and ages for 24 months. The 2018 vintage was quite spicy (not normal for this varietal according to our NJ friend). The 2016 was much milder. We moved on to the Barbaresco Riserva Bricco di Neive. This is a 2015 vintage that is made with older vine grapes and aged for 36 months (24 months in French Oak casks, 12 months in large casks, and 18 months in the bottle). It was very good and liked by both of us. We then tasted three vintages (2013, 2017, 2020) of Barbera d’Alba Alabarda Superiore. All three of the vintages were liked by both of us, but the 2013 was our favorite. Unfortunately, when it came time to buy, we found that the 2013 was only available in magnum bottles.

Wine, cheese, meat, and breadsticks … everything looks good here

In the end we purchased six bottles to be shipped to us and took one of the Briccodoro with us to enjoy in Milan tomorrow.

As we finished up, a group of men came into the tasting room. It seemed that they must be regulars. As it turns out, it is a group of men from Switzerland who come each year. They are a group of “hobby chefs” and when they visit, they cook a meal for the people at Dante Rivetti.

The gang from Switzerland is in the house

We decided to drive into Neive (we were here briefly yesterday) and walk around the town. It is a cute town. Though Dave does not understand why, Neive seems to have quite a draw for tourists. There doesn’t seem to be that much here; though, there are two churches.

View from vineyard road
View from Neive
St. Michael’s Church
Cheisa San Michele – this church was odd; seems more like a museum now
Mary in Chiesa San Michele
Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Neive
Sanctuary of Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Altar in Church of Saints Peter and Paul
St. Michael, the Archangel statue in wood
Back of Church of Saints Peter and Paul
View from Neive
Flowers adorning the street in Neive
Chimneys on old palace in Neive
Downtown Neive

Since we attempted to make reservations too late for the restaurant we wanted to visit in Barbaresco, we needed to make other plans. So, what do you do if you can’t get into the white tablecloth restaurant? You get take-out pizza, instead. We stopped in Santo Stefano Belbo to get the pizza. While waiting for the pizza, we checked out a grocery store. Dave told Linda that he thinks grocery store walk-throughs are like walking through a museum for Linda. Dave wandered down the street to the local church, but realized it was about 18:00 on Saturday and there were a lot of people starting to enter to attend mass.

Church in Santo Stefano Belbo

We got our two pizzas for a total of 12.50 euros and, well, it showed. They tasted okay, but there was not much quantity of toppings. Such is life; we’re on vacation.

Linda navigated us home the back way, avoiding the early evening Mango traffic (that’s a joke). While Dave didn’t get to see much (the road was narrow and the edges dropped off), what he did see was beautiful.

View from road near our Airbnb
Vineyards along the road by the Airbnb
View of maturing vineyard

At the house, we put the pizza in the oven to warm it back up and settled in for the night.

If you would like to see the pictures in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-08 Mango-Neive.

One last day to enjoy Orvieto

The morning started slowly for all of us. We finished up Monday’s blog and then Jim prepared breakfast for us. He made eggs and mushrooms. Anne took care of toasting the newly baked bread. It was a fantastic meal.

After breakfast, Jim, Linda, and Dave took a walk on a trail below and around the town.  We started near where we took sunset pictures the other night and then walked around the “middle” base of the butte to where the funicular station is located. It was about a 1.6 mile walk with elevation changes of about 400 feet that took us about an hour to complete. It wasn’t extremely strenuous, but the pace had more to do with stopping to take pictures in multiple places. It was a nice walk.

Street scene in Orvieto
Street in Orvieto
Map of hiking trail around Orvieto – we entered at Ingresso 5 in the lower left and exited at the Piagge e fuicolare in the upper right which was about 1.6 miles with a total elevation gain of about 400 ft.
View from trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
Linda and Jim hiking on trail around Orvieto
Dave & Linda on trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
Linda and Dave on trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
Jim and Dave on trail around Orvieta
View from trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto
View from trail around Orvieto toward the train station in the middle of the picture
Funicolare ascending to Orvieto

After the walk, we decided it was important to stop and have an adult beverage (a well-known Gateway tradition). We visited the Tennis Bar which is next to the funicular station. Linda and Jim each had a beer and Dave went with an Aperol Spritz. We got an aperitivo of potato chips and two kinds of cheese puffs.

Our reward for our hike (Gateway people understand this))

We then walked home a spent a little time visiting.

Jim and Dave walking back to the apartment. Note the snowflake light. It seems they can’t wait to put up Christmas decorations any better than we can.
It seems we need to come back in December to confirm “Does Santa Claus exist? … YES!!!”

Jim got a call from their friend and landlord, Pasquale, about getting together to discuss something he is helping them with and he wanted to meet us, as well. Linda and Dave went with them and spent about a half-hour talking with Pasquale. Pasquale invited us to see the cave under the home which they use as a wine cellar (they only use the first level of the caves). It was very cool (figuratively and literally). He then showed us the rest of the family space we were in. He was a gracious host and we were very happy we got to meet him.

Part of the wine cellar in the caves below the house Jim and Anne live in.
Pasquale explaining to us how they remodeled the caves and the desire to have a more Tuscan approach where things are not in a line and protrude from the wall. Unlike the “straight” walls built by Orvietans.
Wine cellar in caves of house Jim and Anne live in.
This glass circle in the floor in the family space we were in is open to the caves below the house.
Pasquale, Jim & Anne’s “landlord” and friend. In case you couldn’t tell that Pasquale is Italian, we thought we’d show how well he can speak with his hands.

After Jim and Anne finished their meeting with Pasquale, we left for an appointment Anne had and the rest of us went to the Blue Bar. Anne met us there and she, Linda, and Dave left to go back to a leather shop we saw yesterday. Linda and Anne each got a leather bracelet at the shop. We then headed back to the Blue Bar. After staying about one and one-half hours, it was easy to see why they find the bar enjoyable. It was less crowded than the other night and the people that were there were all very nice to be with. Anthony, the owner, treated us like family. We also got to see Phillip again. Jim told us that Phillip used to be a very highly sought-after fashioner designer. Well, before we left, we heard both Anthony and Phillip sing. 

Anthony signing to customers
Phillip singing to us
Blue Bar – A gift from Anthony for us to remember him by

We then went back to Tavern Engel Keller where we had dinner the other night. This time we each had the pork shank (Dave and Linda shared one and Anne took half of hers home; Dave wishes he had his own, but half was probably better for him). We also had salad with the meal.

Tavern Engel Keller – Salads
Tavern Engel Keller – Stinco, pronounced “Steeko”, pork shank

It was then time to head home and get ready for bed. Tomorrow’s departure for Siena was going to be an early one. The train leaves at 8:20, so we’ll need to be moving by 6:30 and out the door by 7:15.