We have settled into our new home, and plan to stay here for a little over a month with a small break soon. We have our own apartment next to the main house. The cats and dogs are always wandering around. We have decided that Zenzaro (italian for ginger) is our cat. He sleeps in our house every night now and sometimes comes in when it is raining. The other 7 cats are named Lucretzia, Kanella (cinnamon), Meggy (nutmeg), Gilda, Muton, Smokey, and 37 or Trente Sette. The dogs are named Gastone, France, and Bella.
Isaac Talks About Wine
We have been here at Colombaia for a mere seven days now and have already participated in almost every facet of wine production other than actually tending to the vines throughout the year. We have harvested grapes on three different occasions so far. We spent two days on the vineyard that is located on site; harvesting this years crop of Sangiovese, which Dante and Helena use for their Toscana Rosso; a great red that they make in an almost old school manner by following the biodynamic calendar and the ways of natural winemaking. This means that it is also organic and that they do not add sulfites to the wine. While the wine is fermenting they do nothing other then circulate the wine over the caps and stems to help the fermentation process. All of the yeast that creates the alcohol is naturally occurring from the fields of Tuscany. We also spent a day harvesting 90% Sangiovese 10% Cabernet plot located about 15-20 kilometers away. We did this because Dante had made a deal with a nice Frenchman named Pierre…(not a joke). Dante has helped Pierre grow and harvest grapes for the past three years. This however is not natural wine, or wine that will be for resale. Pierre is making this wine for his two sons and is also using a different method than Colombaia. Pierre’s “Jollie” cuvée is pumped into 400 liter barriques, where at first he stops the fermentation process by adding dry ice to remove the oxygen from the vessels. He does this so he can preserve aroma and color before the fermentation process begins. Pierre is also adding sulfites to his wine (still much less than your average wine). He ages his wine in the same french oak barriques in which he used to ferment the grapes. I’ve found Dante’s, Helena’s, and Pierre’s knowledge of wine and willingness to teach me about it invaluable to my experience.
Country Living has Become Normal
After the first week on the vineyard has come to a close, I must say that the large Italian meals of fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, and pastas have become normal. These days we are repeating most of the same tasks that we have done the days before. Some harvesting occurred in the last few days for a man named Pierre who is friends with Dante and creating a wine for his family. We have also been bottling wines; as well as labeling and packing them. Everything that happens in the cellar connects to an outdoor building called the cantina, so when we bottle the wine we do it with a machine in the cantina that is pulling the wine from the cellar. When we bring the grapes in from harvest we just connect tubes down to the cellar from the terrace above ground where we eat lunch a lot of times. The food has continued to be delicious. We have had a few nights with leftovers, which were probably the best leftovers I have ever had. Most days we wake up around 7 for breakfast and coffee, and start work at either 8 or 9. We stop working around 12, have a two hour lunch and a half hour siesta, or something around that. Some days we skip the nap in favor of getting done work early. Today we ate lunch a little bit later, so we napped until 3, and worked until 5. It was a very easy day, but to the Italians it was a lot time spend working. They prefer to work only here and there. Today we also met the horses that roam free on the other side of the farm.