“Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth turn as the days turn” ~ Homer, taking just this snippet from Odysseus’s own Odyssey; it reminds a bit about the eight day Italian Odyssey that I and a great group of other wine writers [bloggers] had embarked upon just a few days ago. Homer’s words in my view not only foretell the future; but also recount the past and, perhaps, explain the lessons it has taught us all about walking in another’s shoes, experiencing their travels and travails and coming back to our own homes better from the experience.
Speaking for myself, I learned so much more about a destination I truly love to visit, despite the “bumps” in the road that made the trip all the more memorable. After completing a trip like and experience all the different wine and food regions, as I have the pieces of the puzzle are all coming together nicely and I really like what I see so far, I hope to return again soon.
The very last of day of our collective journey found us in Napoli or Naples as it is known by many folks in the U.S. Our fearless bus-driver, of Wine Bus fame, delivered us all in fine shape from the freak snow storm which delayed our arrival to the beautiful Romeo Hotel. A great place to recharge the travel-batteries, it sits just across the street from the harbor, with grand views of Vesuvius and makes a great jumping off place for other tourist and travel destination like Pompeii [a must see]. The only thing I would recommend that they change is the form over function of the shower and “lukewarm” at best water are definitely not my cup of tea.
Just moments after check-in, our group was invited to an Aglianico Taurasi Tasting, where we encountered four different wines of widely divergent vintages. There was a 1999 Radici Taurasi Aglianico, which I thought was just about over the hill, but still had nice fruit and very mellow tannins. There was a 2001 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine, a wine that left me breathless, wow a real stunner. Of course attempting to procure a bottle [by any means] before returning home, left me empty handed [sigh]. Nearly none of the group had a good experience with the Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine Feudi di San Gregorio 2004, it was a bit too tannic, chalky, with too much campfire nuances. Finally, there was the 2006 [black label] Taurasi, which was quite good, loads of ripe fruit, leather and smoke, but pulled up a bit short on the finish. Overall, it was a great introduction into the Taurasi Aglianico, all wonderfully powerful wines from one of Italy’s premier grapes, along side Sangiovese Grosso, Nebbiolo and Sagrantino. Finally it was time to head over to La Citta del Gusto in Napoli [Gambero Rosso] for our Blogger Fam-Trip farewell dinner. Where of course there was more wonderful wines for us to experience, that we had missed the opportunity earlier, because of weather related conditions. Gambero Rosso’s easily found in Napoli and is a must stop for you dinner or lunch plans. Città Del Gusto is considers itself a Tavern at lunch and easily makes the transition to well stocked Wine Bar in the evening, they also boast an authentic wood-fired Pizzeria, Cafè that prepares some of the best Nepalese style pizza in town. Last but not least, if you like to get your chef-hat on, they have brilliant, fully equipped home cooking schools, which can include wine pairing recommendations. From my experience; Città Del Gusto provides the right environment to bring together great food, tasty wines and the budding enthusiasts for some of the gastronomic experiences you will find in Napoli. Our evening included a wonderful selection of authentic Campania style foods, wines and desserts, which bowled us all over at the end of the night. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but nonetheless most of us were ready to head back to our different destinations, so that we could get our stories about our wonderful experiences out on the web for the rest of the world to see and hopefully inspire them to make a similar trek. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!
Bill Eyer, San Diego, Ca Cuvée Corner Wine Blog