Vino Contadino

Porta vino in action.

In Umbria many get their wine out of vats. Big stainless steel vats. They bring whatever container they have and have it filled, to the brim. Some cantina (this means wine maker) are simple, others have impressive systems with unending rows of vats and endless shiny piping which make you feel like you have just entered an oil refinery. The price of these wines is low, mostly between €1,25 and €2 per liter I have even seen it for less…………

Last week we visited our favorite cantina with a friend of ours. It is still a bit to early for the normal wines, they aren’t ready yet, but a Novello could be had. The cantina we go to doesn’t make use of bought yeasts, no chemicals and only a modicum of sulphur is added. This makes for very fresh wines which go down a treat. After a little chit chat with the winemaker and his father we tasted the wine. I looked up from my glass, smiles all around! Our friend went to his car to get his container and came back with the most sweet winecarrying device I have ever set my eyes on. The winemaker immediately was raving with enthusiasm about the bottle carrier and wanted to know who made it. My friend told him that he didn’t know. ‘A picture, we need a picture so I can ask someone to make one for me as well.’ As you might have guessed I felt a bit uneasy grasping my ugly white plastic 5 liter container in an increasingly sweaty hand. What a boor I am I said to myself, here is a winemaker who clearly knows what he is doing in the cellar and I lug his carefully crafted artisinal product around in some smudgy piece of plastic. Definitely have to improve on that front I thought while other people entered the cantina and approvingly almost genuflected in the direction of the basket. We might have a new trend on our hands here folks.

If you are to visit Umbria make sure to visit these small cantinas. To be honest some produce wine with peculiar taste but a friendly winemaker will mostly make up for that and there are so many you’ll definitely find something you’ll like at a fraction of the price that a lot of big winemakes will charge you.

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