Campania Uncorked: IWINETC Farewell Dinner

“Our lives, our mood, and mind as we pass across the earth turn as the days turn” ~ Homer

Just this snippet from Odysseus’s own Odyssey, and it reminds me a bit about the eight-day Italian Odyssey which a great group of IWINETC wine writers (bloggers) and I had embarked upon just a few days ago. Homer’s words in my view not only foretell the future; but also recount and reconnect the past and, perhaps, explain the lessons it has taught us all about walking in another’s shoes, experiencing their travels and travails and coming back to our own homes better for the experience.

Speaking for myself, I learned so much more about a destination I genuinely love to visit, Italy, despite the “bumps” in the road that made the trip all the more memorable (if you were there with me, you know what I mean). After completing a journey like this, it takes time to digest the experience. Time to carefully unwrap all the nuances and flavors, like folded up clothes that have been sitting in your carry-on for weeks (ugh). I mean there is all the different wine and food regions crammed into an eight-day journey down Italy's palette of varied bold colors, but as I've had the time to decompress a bit; the pieces of the puzzle are all coming together nicely, and I really like what I see so far, I hope to return again soon.

The very last of day of our collective journey found us in Napoli or Naples as it is known by many folks here in the U.S. where I make my home. Our fearless bus-driver, of Wine Bus fame, Gaetano delivered us all in good health from the freak snowstorm which delayed our arrival at the beautiful Romeo Hotel. A great place to recharge the travel-batteries, it sits just across the street from the harbor, with grand views of Vesuvius and makes an excellent jumping-off-place for other tourist and travel destination like Pompeii (a must see) and the many sightseeing opportunities in Naples.

I must admit, it did look like it could have been a great shower experience, providing the hot-water heater had been working that day (sigh). Now they also boast a Sushi bar and cigar lounge, yes to the Cigar idea, but honestly who goes to Italy thinking, I've got to get me some sushi and sake? I did love the room, it was gorgeous, well appointed and featured the first comfy bed (which I slept in all of 3 hours]) of the many different locales I slept in the past eight days. The I-anything docking station is a nice touch as well.

Just moments after check-in, our group was invited to an Aglianico Taurasi Tasting, where we encountered four different wines of widely different vintages. There was a 1999 Radici Taurasi Aglianico, which I thought was just about over the hill, but still had lovely fruit and very mellow tannins. There was a 2001 Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine, this wine that left me breathless, wow a real stunner. Of course, attempting to procure a bottle (by any means) before returning home, left me empty handed (sigh).

Nearly none of the group had a good experience with the Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine Feudi di San Gregorio 2004, it was a bit too tannic, a chalky remnant, with too much campfire nuances overshadowing the fruit. Finally, there was the 2006 [black label] Taurasi, which was quite good, loads of ripe fruit, leather, and smoke, but pulled up a bit short on the finish. Overall, it was an excellent introduction into the Taurasi Aglianico, all wonderfully powerful wines from one of Italy’s premier grapes, alongside Sangiovese Grosso, Nebbiolo, and Sagrantino.

Finally, it was time to head over to La Citta del Gusto in Napoli [Gambero Rosso] for our Blogger Fam-Trip farewell dinner. Where of course there were more beautiful wines for us to experience, that we had missed the opportunity earlier, because of weather-related conditions.

Gambero Rosso’s easily found in Napoli and is a must stop for you dinner or lunch plans. Città Del Gusto is considered itself a Tavern at lunch and quickly makes the transition to well-stocked Wine Bar in the evening, they also boast an authentic wood-fired Pizzeria, Cafè that prepares some of the best Nepalese style pizza in town.

Last but not least, if you like to get your own chef-hat on, they have brilliant, fully equipped bring home the taste of Italy cooking schools, which can include wine pairing recommendations, a full hands-on experience. From my experience; Città Del Gusto provides the right environment to bring together great food, tasty wines and the budding wine and food enthusiasts for some of the very best gastronomic experiences you will find in Napoli.

Our "farewell" evening included a wonderful selection of authentic Campania style foods, wines and oh did I mention the desserts that bowled us all over at the end of the night. As it has been said; "parting is such sweet sorrow," but we had come to the end of the trip, and it was time to sadly part ways. But it was not the end of the journey, it was just the beginning of discovery.

While it was sad to leave all my new all my new friends and Italy, a country where I feel right at home, our collective experiences together taught us some valuable lessons about the wine business, stuff happens and you learn to roll with the punches. Nonetheless, most of us were ready to head back to our different destinations so that we could get our stories written and published about the extraordinary experiences we had in as part of the IWINETC press group.  It's my hope, that these stories once published for the rest of the world to see that it will inspire others to make a similar trek. Until next time folks, sip long and prosper cheers!


Marcy Gordon said…
Great re-cap of our Napoli part of the trip. I think @bigpinots had the same hot water issues of which you speak, but I was there an extra night and it figured out. The water was plenty hot but the design of the shower faucet/handle was the culprit. There were actually two inner rings on the temp control that needed to be turned in opposite directions. It was crazy complicated. Steve Jobs would have ripped it out of the wall and fired all the designers. Same with the light switches. Took me forever to turn the lights off. But it was a very lovely hotel with a great view.
Will Eyer said…
Ohh, so thats it, now don't I feel like magilla gorilla. Well at least I feel a bit better knowing I wasn't the only one not in hot water! Like Tom said, "form over function" another traveler not in hot water. Yeah, I had a bit of issue with the lights as well, but finally figured it out. Too, bad I didn't have more time to stay another day, as you're right the view from the hotel is remarkable, glad to hear your extended trip plans worked out so well.

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