The first place we visited was Le Chiusure in Portese. The entrance to the vineyard was a big wooden gate in an ancient stone wall, there were two very old trees standing gaurd on either side of the gate.
As we stepped through the gate into stone courtyard we were greeted with an ambiance that made it feel like we had been been transported back in time. Not quite sure what to do or where to go I called to a lady through a window who was pottering about in the farmhouse kitchen.
I told her that we had come to taste wine and asked if the Cantina was open. She immediately stopped what she was doing and led us across a very pretty garden and into the cantina shop. There was lot’s of noise coming from the other side of a door, which she disappeared into. She returned soon after and told us her husband would be with us shortly.
Moments later a man appeared, who spoke perfect English. I told him that we had come to taste a few wines and that I hoped to write a few words about his wine and his winery. He seemed very keen to help but told me I had come on the perfect day, but a few hours too early. He showed me a poster that advertised a wine tasting and tour of his wine cellar, vineyard and olive groves at 6pm every Thursday.
He said he could spend some time with me there and then but he was very busy and I might benefit more if I came back later for the tasting, which is precisely what we did.
We went off and visited two other cantinas, Turina and Taver, which you can read about soon in the ‘Il Vino’ section of this website. We would have visited more but we treated ourselves to ‘Pranzo di Lavoro’ in the restaurant at Taver, after all we were working.
The lunch was fantastic, two pasta dishes, two meat dishes and we were told to help our selves to contorni at a table set out with insalata, vedure, cold meats and fish. We also had a litre of water, half a litter of very good Taver wine and an espresso each, all for €10 each. After lunch we were full after that we needed to go home for a ‘pisolino’ before returning to Le Chiusure at 6pm for the tasting and tour.
It was a lovely evening and when we arrived we were met at the gate by the man we had seen earlier. He introduced himself as Alessandro and showed us into the garden where about twenty other people were relaxing on garden furniture waiting for the tour to begin. We waited a few more minutes in case of late arrivals, but when Alessandro was sure that no one else would turn up the tour began.
I wont give it all away because I want you to go there and experience it for yourself, but I will say that Alessandro was a fantastic host. He took us into the vineyards and gave us and excellent explanation of his growing and production. He also explained about the history of Le Chuisure and was very informative of wine producing in general and particularly wine producing in Lake Garda. He was so passionate about it that he could have spoken all evening, but manged to control himself and he allowed us to ask some questions which he answered with great authority.
We were then taken inside to the cellar where Alessandro explained the production process. He also told us that he had spent the day bottling last years production and that was why he was too busy earlier.
After this we were taken back into the garden where Alessandro positioned himself behind a table laden with bottles of wine and nice looking food. We were invited to taste four excellent wines, each offering given with an explanation by Alessandro of the grapes used and the growing/production methods used. He also invited us to taste his olive oil which was so good I could have drunk it by the glassful. The wine was fantastic, the nibbles were fantastic, it was a fantastic experience and I recommend that you try if ever you are in this area of Lake Garda on a Wednesday evening between April to September.
It transpired over the evening that Alessandro was not continuing a tradition of wine making passed down through generations of his family, he had started the business himself. After studying the business at university, Alessandro rented the land from his grandparents and by using his knowledge learned from his studies, trial and error and from other growers, his thirty year experience and his hard work (he only has one other permanent worker) has rewarded him with some fantastic wine which we were all too happy to go in to the shop and purchase after the tasting had finished.
Don’t forget to visit the ‘Il Vino’ section of the website for more information about Le Chiusure and other local cantinas.