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    Husband and wife outside winery


    I was on my way to Cantinarte – an epitome of a family run business in Abruzzo, central Italy. They are all immersed in this beautiful winery: her father checks the vines and the quality of the grapes every day and harvest is very much a family affair. They hand-pick and personally select the grapes for the very best quality in Cantinarte. We started buying from Francesca a few years ago and I am reminded why. Her respect and commitment to the land and itssustainability is unquestionable. This is farming at its best.

    Dylan with Francesca at her winery in Italy.

    Finding the Vines!

    Now sometimes it is just not what you expect. Oh yes, I knew I would have a wonderful warm welcome from Francesca and her husband. The tasting was already laid out for me and of course there was food afterwards – a simple and delicious soup of beans and vegetables typical for the area. Cheese and salami followed – the salami a particular speciality of the South of Abruzzo. But where were the vineyards?

    The table in Cantinarte, Abruzzo ready for the tasting.

    A Beautiful Landscape

    Having driven through the mountains to Navelli, the small village clinging to the hillside, I had not yet seen a single vine. Where do they make their white wine? All was revealed as we drove across a muddy field to see the two-hectare vineyard hidden behind the village. Strong protective fences have been erected to keep out the wild pigs and deer! Immaculately trained, at this high altitude they produce wonderful white wines from pecorino and pinot gris grapes.

    Worth the Trip

    The Reds that are so good come from lower down the valley around the hilltop Roman city of Chieti and are powerful expressions of those typical Montepulciano grapes. Don’t take my word for it, as soon as I returned, we put them in the pods for you to taste! They will be there for another week or so, or click here to see our present online selection.

    Cantinarte wines from Italy. One rose and two reds.

    Take a Break in Italy!

    You can also go and stay in this very beautiful area, Francesca not only produces her own organic wine, but also olive oil. You can also organise food activities!  I would highly recommend it with a visit to Cantinarte’s historic olive oil museum.

    Dylan and staff at Bidoli winery

    The Italian Tour

    The Italian Tour

    How exciting it was to set off on our first training trip to some of the vineyards that Gwin Dylanwad Wine import from. The Italian tour promised some serious training and I was looking forward to it. We set off early on Sunday morning and landed in our accommodation at the foothills of the Dolomites late that night.

    I know a lot of people are saying it’s a cushy number being taken off to visit vineyards but it was actually a lot of travelling. Without fail, every wine maker we visited expressed shock at how far away we were staying (about 45 minutes). It was a lot of driving but the experience of travelling through the Italian countryside was worth it and the views were spectacular. And in Wales, we are used to travelling! It was also a good opportunity for a bit of team bonding.

    Dylan and staff at the Bidoli winery, Italy

    The Italian Tour – Bidoli

    Bidoli was a very smart winery. I was very impressed by the quality of the Pinot Grigio. This is the type of wine that I have found bland and uninteresting in the past. Bidoli’s was brimming with lovely stone fruits balanced with a good acidity and was very refreshing. It was a prime example of a well-made easy drinking wine.

    I was struck by the welcoming and kind hosts of these vineyards who were so passionate about their company. Even if they didn’t own it, they were so enthusiastic about showcasing their product to the world – even a tiny company from Wales. As a result, we were wined and dined quite lavishly! Excellent food coupled with lots to drink and an absolute overload of education!

    Dylan and staff at the Bidoli Winery, Italy

    Perlage Winery

    I really appreciated the organic practices of Perlage, especially while growing their grapes in Valdobbiadene for their Prosecco Canah. They use local compost and no pesticides. The steep slopes in this area are very impressive and are key to the production of top Prosecco. It was very interesting to be able to work through the 3 stages of the Canah. So we were able to taste the juice of the grapes before fermenting from one tank, then the wine after the first fermentation and the final product.

    Dylan and staff at the Perlage Winery, Italy

    Special Italian Imports

    So why not give these delicious wines a try? Have a look at Perlage on our website or Bidoli. I think the Perlage Sangiovese is a lovely smooth easy drinker and the Bidoli Pinot Grigio delle Venezie will change your mind if you think all Pinot Grigio is bland! Enjoy!