Conte Vistarino-staying in a 18th cent. Italian villa while sipping on Italian pinot nero

Oct 06, 10 Conte Vistarino-staying in a 18th cent. Italian villa while sipping on Italian pinot nero

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In yesterday’s post I mentioned that we were going to be staying in a 17th century Italian villa. I was wrong. We stayed in an 18th century Italian villa. I really should pay more attention to my notes. I was looking forward to a bit of rest and relaxation after all that sparkling rose at lunch. As we wound through the hillsides of Oltrepo Pavese, past rows and rows of vines, I idly wondered what this villa would look like. In my mind, Italian villas are terracotta roofed edifices set atop dusty brown hills. I think I’ve watched Under the Tuscan Sun too many times as the Villa Fornace was nothing of the sort. The family seat since  the 1700′ s it was originally designed by Achille Majnoni, personal architect to King Umberto I with additional wings added in the 1800’s. It wasn’t exactly like visiting Versailles but close enough. I was afraid to touch anything but Ottavia, the contessa, assured us that the villa was used by guests on a regular basis. Some of those guests from the past have included the British Royal Family, who liked to use the villa as a base for their hunting trips in the surrounding countryside. We were greeted by two members of the Giorgi di Vistarino family, Conte Carlo the patriach and Ottavia, his daughter. Ottavia now runs the Tenuta di Rocca de Giorgi estate and gave us a brief run down of the history of and philosophy behind the wines of the estate. Pinot Nero was introduced to Oltrepo Pavese  by their ancestor, Carlo Giorgi di Vistarino in the late 19th century and the family’s objective has always been consistent. To produce wines that are elegant and authentic while also reflecting the terroir of the region. Ottavia said they don’t want to be Burgundy clones but rather want to make wines that are uniquely Oltrepo Pavese and at the same time showing truly quality pinot nero. Ottavia has visited the great estates of Burgundy and...

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