Thursday, October 2, 2008

When in Romagna ...

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View of the vineyards at Tre Monte
Well-looked after, that's your correspondent. One of Italy's leading sommeliers as personal guide, a car & driver, a full-time translator, a press officer who checks in regularly, and a succession of wine makers, enologists, and political figures at every meal and tasting, every countryside visit. We make up our own convoy as we travel through the plains of northern Italy's Romagna region. Much industrial activity and commercial traffic but also 10 percent of Italy's vineyards.

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Outside the town of Imola (home of auto racing's San Marino Grand Prix), a winery called Tre Monti owned by brothers Vittorio and David Navacchia. They name their premium wines "Thea" in their mother's honor. Good boys they are and fine wine makers, too. They do a particularly great job with their albana, a grape variety that grows only in Romagna (all of 2,000 acres) and is its only DOCG (Italy's highest guaranty of quality). Comes in dry (fragrant, serious) and passito (from raisined grapes, sweet, lively acidity), both wonderful.

Victor's busy pulling hoses so David leads the tasting, then hosts lunch. Thin-sliced prosciutto and thick fresh-from-the-oven piadini are passed. Then raviolli filled with herbed ricotta, topped with meat rag├╣. Stuffed roast veal. Meringue with berries for dessert. "A simple lunch, home cooking" David explains, "because I know you're having a big dinner." Outside the kitchen door, Tommy the winery dog takes his siesta. Our little convoy, however, must move on.

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Winery dog at Tre Monte takes a siesta

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