Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
Elisa met us at the Allegrini Wine Cellars for a walk through the winemaking operations before taking us to the Villa della Torre for a tour and lunch with wine. The palazzo includes sections that date back to Roman time, a private chapel, and some esoteric furnishings that reflect the taste and beliefs of Giulio della Torre, an intellectual and humanist involved in significant social, political and religious activities in the mid 1500s. The highest part of the villa is dedicated to God, the middle section to earth, and the lowest level is hell. There are devils and angels and all sorts of bizarre pieces attached to the walls.
Lunch was set for us in the devil fireplace room. Plates of meats, including a fabulous mortadella, and pickled vegetables paired beautifully with a 2011 Soave. The cheese course came next so the kitchen could process our gluten free requests. Elisa poured a 2007 Amorone that was so good that we had to get another bottle after our meal. The pasta and risotto were served with a 2008 Valpolicella Riserva. Dessert, a strawberry panna cotta with berry sauce paired with a lush Giovanni Allegrini reccioto. Reccioto is a sweet wine-not too sweet-it's like port, but not fortified and lower in alcohol. Some of us were getting too cute!
We returned to the Musella Relais and rested for twenty minutes before our wine tour with Paolo. He ran
quickly through the wine operation and we got down to the serious business of tasting. The fresh wines, a white and a rosé, were perfect beverages for a warm summer evening and went well with the cheese and salami he had for us. We tried two Valpolicella styles, both delicious, a Monte del Drago, named for the mountain on the property, and the Amarone, an excellent example of the classic style.
Then came the most amazing part of the most amazing tasting we've ever had. Paolo told us about the grappa, olive spread, and balsamic vinegars, suggested we finish our wine before trying them, and then excused himself. He left us alone with six bottles of wine and a mostly full bottle of grappa! By the time we finished up, a splash of grappa was all that remained. Some of us are a little vague on what happened next, but we all agree that the Musella wines are marvelous.