May 2019 saw a visit to Abruzzo of our first guests from Malaysia.
Our Malaysian Wine Tour in Abruzzo started after a pleasant flight from Kuala Lumpar, when all our guests arrived at Fiumicino airport and were greeted by their English/Italian speaking host (me!) and driver (Raffaele) and whisked off to Tivoli for a tour of the fantastic ‘Villa d’Este’ gardens and fountains.
Tivoli, Rome, Lazio
The Villa d’Este is a 16th-century villa in Tivoli, near Rome, famous for its terraced hillside Italian Renaissance garden and especially for its profusion of fountains. It is now an Italian state museum, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
We then headed off for a sumptuous lunch at ‘Torre San’Angelo’, a magnificent ancient palace, now a hotel. We first enjoyed a look around this gorgeous building, taking in the stunning views over Rome and taking some time to relax by the pool, before being presented with an array of fresh, local produce, served with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some great wines from Nicola di Sipio, one of our great Abruzzo wine producers.
Hotel Torre S. Angelo
The Hotel Torre S. Angelo is located in Tivoli (25 km from Rome) in a privileged position overlooking the Tivoli waterfalls and the entire Roman countryside.
The building is an ancient castle that has been completely renovated and has 2000 years of history in its foundations. In fact, it stands on the ruins of the villa of Catullus, a famous Latin poet, and was later entrusted to the Olivetan monks, until it became, in the 1500s, the summer residence of the princes Massimo of Rome.
After lunch, a slow drive across the Apennines, the backbone of Italy, with its winding roads, scenic views, snow-capped mountains and medieval hilltop villages, brought us to the undiscovered and unspoilt region of Abruzzo, the ‘Green Lungs of Europe’ and our tour destination for the next few days.
Our Malaysian wine tour in abruzzo started at our ‘Agriturismo’ (country hotel), our usual stopover for our Abruzzo wine tour, by the enigmatic, Artisan, sparkling wine producer, Fausto Zazzara, a larger than life fine wine producer from Tocco da Casauria.
His classic method production of sparkling wines known as ‘Majgual’, meaning ‘None Equal’, are all produced by hand by Fausto, in his small cantina under the medieval hilltop town of Tocco, near the Majella Mountain range in Abruzzo.
His sparkling wines are a particular favourite of a cardinal in The Vatican, along with strawberries grown in the nearby town of Francavilla al Mare, which he has shipped to Rome on a regular basis, but not on this occasion, as they were consumed at the tasting, but don’t tell the Cardinal!
A sampling of his great Classic Method sparkling Pecorino soon got us all relaxed and enjoying the Italian sunshine before the evening meal, all opened by our guests using the Sabre as seen in this picture, a traditional way of opening sparkling wines, using a sword and chopping the top off at the neck!
The evening meal, all made by hand using local, fresh produce was prepared during the day by our host family and wines over dinner were from Nicola di Sipio and Paride d’Angelo, two producers we were to visit later on in the week, details to follow. However, suffice to say, the wines were thoroughly enjoyed, as they were all used up!
Our Unique Wine Safaris are very personal and geared towards the best experience possible and ‘Living Like an Italian’ for the duration of your stay with us.
Great local fresh food, high quality accommodation, friendly knowledgeable local guides and some of the best wines we have personally sourced, all of which are available from us, once back in your home country!
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We look forward to welcoming you on our next Abruzzo adventure