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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Autumn Jobs

After we had quite a lot of rain last week (mind you we needed it after the dry summer!), we’ve had nice weather for 3 days running now which we used to get on with some work. Sunday and Monday we were mostly pruning trees on our own plot at Arcola (olives, apples, pears and vines) and today we carried on clearing our friends place in Villa, chopping down trees and turning them into firewood. At Villa there was a small woodland area consisting of what I call weed trees. I don’t know the name of this particular tree, but it grows very quickly and accordingly burns very quickly. But hey, all wood burns, so we put it into the existing stone cottage to dry and use for fire wood.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of sausage (shop bought), baked beans (our own beans and tomatoes, spiced with our chillies) and chips (alas we have already eaten our own potatoes, so shop bought spuds). The wine to go with was and will be shop bought, or rather local winery bought, for some time. The vines on our own plot are in an awful state and are mostly the Fragolino variety. There are commercial offerings of wines made from this variety and they taste as the name suggests of strawberries. I wouldn’t mind this, I like strawberries, but to me it tastes of artificial strawberry flavouring, and that’s disgusting. So we need to replant the lot with Vermentino, the quality grape of the region. That is going to involve a lot of money as well as hard work. Maybe I will get around replanting some next February.

The vines at Villa look slightly more promising and we are hoping to get a crop off them next year.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Fragolino, you wrote,

"......The vines on our own plot...are mostly the Fragolino variety. There are commercial offerings of wines...but to me it tastes of artificial strawberry flavouring, and that’s disgusting........."

Don't rip out your vines!

The commercial "Fragolino" you tasted from the shop, is not made from genuine Fragolino grapes, but is made from common grapes that have been artifically strawberry flavored. Real fragolino wine cannot legally be sold in the EU; it has been banned because of the EU prejudice against American grapes.

The real fragolino grape, also known as Isabella, is an American grape that was widely planted during the phylloxera days, when Europe's native grapes were in danger of extinction and grafting techniques had not yet been developed. After it was discovered that European grapes could be protected from phylloxera by grafting them onto American rootstocks, Fragolino and several other American grapes fell out of favor with the authorities (although not the people), and were eventually outlawed.

However, I'm told that it's still legal to make fragolino for personal use. If I were you, I'd keep those vines and make some of the real fragolino.

Heiko said...

Thanks for the tip. This post having been 2 years ago, I have ripped out the vines. I'm aware of the history of the vine, and have had offerings from local growers of fragolino. I still don't like it and much prefer re-planting with the local quality grape Vermentino.

In addition the vines were badly diseased anyway due to years of neglect.