Monday, October 24, 2016

Trip to Sardinia (Day 3)...Visit to Giovanni Battista Columbu in Bosa

(October 24)

We left Alghero in the morning to head to Bosa, a coastal city, about 48 km (30 miles) south.

 photo IMG_4065_zpsn1a16jwj.jpg  photo IMG_4070_zpswd2oxy2v.jpg
The sky was hazy but it was so warm and the temperature was just around 30C (about 85F). Our micro bus was not small enough to be allowed to enter the historic city central, so we parked to the closest point and walked across the bridge to enter the city. Bosa was a cute little city.

 photo IMG_4075_zpsjd9mlyy0.jpg  photo IMG_4073_zpssgrii7el.jpg
After a short walk, we got to the cantina of Giovanni Battista Columbu, where we were welcomed by Vanna.

Late Giovanni Battista Battista (he passed away in 2011) dedicated his later life to study and cultivate the historic and noble grape of Malvasia. His effort contributed to the establishment of Malvasia di Bosa DOC in 1972. He is also known to have appeared in a documentary film, "Mondovino". This DOC is a small production and there are only 5 producers making Malvasia di Bosa there.

He acquired about 3 ha of vineyards in Bosa and planted only with Malvasia. He has been making only Malvasia di Bosa, first under different name, then his first bottling under his name was 1992 vintage. There are only two kinds of wines are made here. Their current production is only about 6,000 bottles (500 ml bottle) per year.

 photo IMG_4084_zpssihqef3a.jpg  photo IMG_4080_zpsrlqbavjl.jpg
Vanna is a daughter-in-law of Giovanni. She and the remaining family now take care of the vineyard and cantina after the passing of Giovanni. We tasted the followings:
2013 Malvasia di Bosa "Alvarega" 13% al
2011 Malvasia di Bosa Riserva 16% al
Both wines are made from late harvest Malvasia grapes. The harvest time was late October and they finish harvesting in one day. To make Alvarega, grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks, then the fermentation is arrested to reserve some sweetness by cooling down the temperature meanwhile. To make Reserve, the must is fermented all the way, then the wine is aged in chestnut barrel for at least 3 years up to 5 years depending on the vintage. This wine is aged under flor then oxidized, so it has some similar characteristics to Sherry.

 photo IMG_4079_zpskhc2gof3.jpg
Both were really beautiful wines and had the natural nuance of the minerality, as the vines are grown in the chalky soil. With these wines, smoked ricotta cheese and semi-aged pecorino cheese were served along with honey from wild garlic plant. And, there were also pane carasau, Sardinia's traditional crispy flat bread. They paired so well with the wines.

 photo IMG_4089_zpszitikm6r.jpg  photo IMG_4100_zpstil9rzvd.jpg  photo IMG_4094_zpszexglurt.jpg
After the tasting, Vanna, took us to their family vineyards, which was about 15 minutes drive south from the city center. There were some relatively new Malvasia vines (8 years old) as well as older vines.

 photo IMG_4088_zpsipyeejgr.jpg
The harvest for this year was over just recently, but we found some leftover grapes that were already like raisins.

 photo IMG_4097_zpsnhdqgsbr.jpg  photo IMG_4092_zpshzqdwn82.jpg
The soil is primarily chalk, and there were many fossilized chalky rocks on the ground.

 photo IMG_4107_zps96laoyt3.jpg  photo IMG_4108_zpszygwp1qj.jpg
We went back to the city center of Bosa, and had a casual lunch with pizza etc.

 photo IMG_4116_zpsdmap5dmb.jpg  photo IMG_4113_zpsdn96om0w.jpg
Then, took a walk all the way up to the Castello di Bosa, a ruin of an ancient castle from 11th century. The view from the top was magnificent.

Finally, we left Bosa and headed to Bitti, about 2 hours to into the inland. We arrived at a beautiful hotel, situated in the old village overlooking mountain and valleys. We are going to stay here for the next two nights.

 photo FullSizeRender 2_zpswbohpf4q.jpg
The hotel also has a recreation of the traditional kitchen space where they sometimes do events including cooking class of traditional Sardinian dishes. I would have loved to take their cooking class.

 photo FullSizeRender_zpsytompm5c.jpg  photo IMG_4132_zpsaapmzuvh.jpg  photo IMG_4133_zpsuolyseae.jpg
We had dinner at their restaurant. It was going to be very traditional Sardinian mountain-style dishes this time.

 photo IMG_4139_zpsg9skeo0p.jpg  photo IMG_4140_zps8mszclhh.jpg
The hand-carved prosciutto was so good.

 photo IMG_4145_zpsgh1kum4e.jpg  photo IMG_4146_zpszwrqqihi.jpg  photo IMG_4147_zpsccdrbiya.jpg
Everything was served family-style. Antipasti included stuffed mushrooms with pork meat, which was so tasty.

 photo IMG_4155_zpsdffychdt.jpg  photo IMG_4157_zpsn4y2fthy.jpg
Macarrones de errittu was homemade rolled pasta with holes. Served with tomato meat ragu. Then, homemade mushroom-stuffed ravioli was served with herb cream sauce.

 photo IMG_4158_zpsqchw4dyy.jpg
The main course was pork spiced rolls.

 photo IMG_4166_zpsu6matsja.jpg
Dessert was "Gazzas" al miele - sweet fried pancakes with wild fennels with honey.

 photo IMG_4162_zpspvqer8mv.jpg
Wines were great, too. We opened two bottles of each.
2014 Val d'Oca, Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore (DOCG). Made from Glera grape.
2014 Colle Nivera, Punta Catirina, Cannonau di Sardegna (DOC) Rosato.
2014 Cantina Mesa Buio, Calgnano del Sulcis (DOC)

I ate too much again! It was another fun day.