All thirst abandon, you who enter here
The entrance, a gate worthy of a castle, was impressive. So impressive in fact that you had not dared to enter before, the many times you passed Azienda Agricola Travaglino (dal 1868 grande vini dell’Oltrepo Pavese) by car. Interesting though … you mused, driving on. One Sunday however, the nobility of Travaglino decided to open their doors for a degustazione (ingresso libero). This at least meant you could enter unnoticed among the many other visitors of the day and wouldn’t feel obliged to really buy wine. Fancy! You just came out of curiosity.
The wine cellar looked interesting nonetheless and you were lured in. You sat down and six wines were offered to you, buy the Lady of the Cantina. Very polite, the lady, so refusal was out of the question. Mmm, quite special, that wine. The idea is to taste and spit the wine in a bowl, in order to avoid drunkenness in public. But that’s a waste, you think, so you decide to taste and swallow instead. The wine did contain alcohol, so far became clear. Each glass became tastier. The lady was smart and saved the best wine for last. A little tipsy, you bought six bottles of this most expensive wine and still felt strangely satisfied.
Strolling through the sun burnt vineyards, the same where the grapes of your dear wine were grown, you walked home. Not a gate to be seen. Paradise, not hell.
A very short story about a wine tasting experience in Italy, in the unknown Oltrepò Pavese region, 50 km south of Milan. The Oltrepo Pavese is the largest wine producing area of Lombardy in the North of Italy, but is also virtually unknown abroad. This is a pity as the landscape is beautiful, the people are kind, the food is authentic and there are lots of possibilities for walking, hiking, cycling and sight-seeing. The smooth hills are covered with vineyards, castles and medieval villages and this landscape reminds one of Tuscany. Pace of life is slow, food is traditional and wine can be tasted anywhere, in one of the over 100 independent cantines.