Discovering the Gem: A Chance Stumble Across The MarcheJonathan Zeiger
June 2011 Carassai, Italy
Long green valli fingering out, hilltop borghi speckled about, mall aziende set throughout, la costa, warm and gorgeous blue, towering montagne, always a stunning view. Must be in The Marvelous Marche
On my way to study abroad in Spain, I found work as a farm hand in the lavender fields and gardens of Agriturismo Lavanda Blu. Partners Hans and Lisa run the organic farm, campground and bed & breakfast, offering a relaxing, quiet resort for guests.
If you happen to wake up for it, the alba (sunrise) will leave you in absolute awe. The golden sun pops up over the green hills, brushing away the night’s chill. To the west, the Sibillini mountains often peak out, snow-covered at times, appearing as if out of a dream. It’s a magical scene that never ceases to takes my breath away.
I had found the farm through an awesome website called Help Exchange. Anyone with a sense of exploration can volunteer for all sorts of work, exchanging for room & board, nearly anywhere in the world. Farm labor, home stays, teaching English, herding sheep- if you wanted to try something new, here’s the key.
Work stays usually have a minimum of one to two weeks, though some you could likely go for your whole 3-month visa if you wanted (summer internships wink wink). It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, rather than just visit the tourist traps in the big cities. You’ll meet people of all types from all over the world, and may see parts of countries that few outsiders ever have the chance to lay eyes on.
My time at Lavanda Blu consisted of long days under the warm Marche sun- picking weeds out of the lavender and grapevines, setting up tomato trellises, setting natural fertilizers and laying hay in garden beds, everything you could expect working as a farm hand. Hot and tired from my labors in the fields, I would retire ready for my daily ration of vino. Luckily for those around me, I consistently arrived covered with the fresh scent of lavender.
A glass of wine was always waiting for me when I came in (or on occasion a nice Dutch beer). Both the red and the white wines were light refreshers, easy drinking, perfect after a day’s toil. Vitality crept back into sore muscles. I could see why they call it drink of the gods.
The wines turned out to be none other than Centanni’s red and white blends: Rosso di Forca (Rosso Piceno DOC, 50% Montepulciano 50% Sangiovese) and Il Borgo (Falerio DOC, 50% Trebbiano 25% Pecorino 25% Passerina).
Rosso di Forca is medium-bodied and fruit forward, with rich vanilla and spice aromas. Juicy red fruits and a hint of oak-aging makes this a very agreeable red. I like to compare it to a nice Oregon Pinot Noir. An excellent pairing for summer BBQ.
Il Borgo is light and crisp. It’s quite a citric wine, on both the nose and the palate. Comparable to an easy-drinking Pinot Grigio. Oysters and other seafood are the best pairing, or make yourself a Still Mimosa! (half Il Borgo, half OJ).
Both wines, made from organically grown grapes, have an excellent balance of flavor, acidity and alcohol. Glass corks guard the bottles, easy-opening and resealing, making these wines the ultimate pop ‘n’ pour selections, ready for any occasion.
Available for purchase at ZGR Wines in select states. Use the discount code GLASS for 10% off all orders! Must be 21 years old to purchase. By clicking the above link, you agree you are of legal age to purchase and consume alcohol. Don’t drink and drive. Please drink responsibly.