The first winery we visited was Pomaio. It was a short bus ride from the monastery and the view was absolutely breathtaking.
We are visiting the wineries after all of the grapes have been harvested and before any of the leaves begin to grow back onto the vines. We were first given a tour of the vineyard and given some information about the way the Pomaio winery is run. Pomaio is an organic winery. Among other things, this means that they cannot use any irrigation systems. However, if the weather is too hot and there has been a long period without rain they may be allowed to irregate to keep the vines alive. While in the vineyard, we were visited by a sweet little cat that lives on the property.
Next, we were taken into the cellar where the wine is stored in vats or barrels to undergo fermentation. Pomaio does use natural yeasts for the fermentation of their wines but they will also add some yeast to get the fermentation processes started if they need too.
After learning the ins and outs of wine making at Pomaio we were treated to a lovely lunch and wine tasting. We were taught how to correctly hold the wine glass when smelling the wine (the base of the glass should be held between your index and middle fingers with your thumb against the stem for stability). The glass should be held this way so any odors on your hands do not contaminate the aroma of the wine. We tasted three wines at Pomaio; my favorite was the Chianti. The younger red wine we tasted first had a very high amount of acidity and the Porsenna that we tasted was very bitter in my opinion. I would make the assumption that the Porsenna contained a larger amount of tannins than the other two wines because it was quite drying (makes your mouth feel dry).
A week later we visited a winery called La Vialle. Rather than taking a tour first, we were treated to lunch just minutes after arriving. It was an amazing lunch; they treated us to meats and cheese, salads, various spreads, and a dish made from chickpeas that I cannot seem to recall the name off. We were also given six different wines to sample during our lunch.
Most of the wines we sampled during our lunch were white wines and many of them were quite lovely. I really enjoyed the ‘il 35’, it was a very bubbly white wine (seen below), perhaps the most carbonated wine I have tasted while in Italy.
We were also given unfiltered wines to taste. They were very interesting and much sweeter than many of the other wines we tried. After being given more food than we could possibly eat (including the coffee and desserts we were served after lunch) we were walked down to the wine cellar to hear about the fermentation process and sample some red wines. One major difference I noticed about La Vialle is that they only use barrels to hold the wine during the fermentation process. There were rows upon rows of these oak barrels filled with various wines.
While in the wine cellar we were told that once the unfiltered wines were passed off during competitions because it did not have the clarity that the judges looked for but now these wines are beginning to win awards. I think it is very cool that the world of wine is changing in a way to be more exclusive of unique wines and wine making processes.
Overall I don’t think it is possible to choose a favorite of these two wineries. Pomaio taught me how to properly taste wines and La Vialle gave us a more in depth tour of the winery and were very eager to answer any questions we had (they brought along a wine “expert” to answer our questions if they did not know the answer). I would return to both of these wineries on my own and I hope that one day I will be able to.