Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wine Tasting in Avellino

I decided that we don't go wine tasting enough locally.  We always seem to be driving up to Tuscany or Umbria to drink wine up there.  We've got land here in Campania!  We've got vineyards!  Let's save the gas and tolls and just drink here.  And so we did. 

I found this winery, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, outside of Avellino - about an hour away from Naples.  But we got lost, so it took us about 2 hours.  Whoops!  Milena Pepe, the owner, is a Belgian-Italian and probably one of the sweetest women ever.  She took us around the vineyards, explaining the various different types of grapes, how they are classified, etc.  Her 3 or 4 year old son, Angelo, was riding around on his little plastic Ducati motorcycle screaming the whole time.  In true Italian style, this child was wearing about 10 layers of clothing, including a puffy jacket, despite the fact that it was nearly 70 degrees outside.  But Italians have this magical date, before which it is unsafe to walk around outside without a puffy coat.  
Because you'll probably die.  Never mind that they allow their children to ride on Vespas with no helmets, at least that kid is warm.  Angelo kept saying "Momma, fa caldo!"  (Mommy, I'm hot!)  and she would smile and say "Si, Angelo."  No wonder this kid is hot!  He's wearing like 8 layers of clothing more than he needs!!  Maybe we're foolish Americans.  Maybe we just don't understand how to dress appropriately.  But I was wearing dress pants and a short sleeved top at the time and was very comfortable.  And somehow, by the strength of my immune system, the amount of wine, or divine intervention, I'm pretty healthy right now.  It's a mystery!

So Angelo is dripping sweat and we're all hot, Milena judging some of us for wearing sandals in March.  After a glass (or two) of prosecco, we caravaned to lunch.  The thing about Italian meals that is hands down the most amazing is any time they don't have a menu.  This is when you know that you are going to eat very well.  The tour + wine tastings + lunch was 40 Euro a person and we definitely got our fair share of everything for the price!  Plate after plate after plate of antipasti arrived.  Sausage, eggplant, cauliflower, cheese, goodness upon goodness.  Milena brought a few cases of wine and about 10 decanters and they just kept arriving like clockwork.  Some were disappointing but consumed regardless.  No point in wasting it!  We tipped generously, convinced that Americans were being cursed everywhere based on the sheer volume of wine that was consumed. 

One gloriously long (read: 4.5 hour) lunch later and we stumbled back to the winery to purchase wine.  Milena loved us extra upon our return, seeing the growing boxes of stock that she was off-loading.  Our good names were restored, at least temporarily!  Below, our friend, Eric, photo bombed me with his butt.  This pretty well sums up the end of the day.

Monday came all too quickly and most assuredly, painfully.  But we had a lovely day with great friends, amazing food, and a hearty amount of laughter.

Cin cin!

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