Why did nobody tell me that Living the Dream would be such hard work? I had visions of days spent mountain biking through the vineyards and evenings passed sipping G&T on the terrace, watching the sun go down.
Instead, life has become a succession of long, tiring meetings with bathroom, kitchen and window suppliers interspersed with making big decisions at the house and fighting many a losing battle with out of control thorny bushes. I have battle scars. Lots of them.
Of course, the good thing about all this is that it means the house is continuing apace. When I think how things have changed in just a few short months, from moments of desperation in the spring when we thought we might never be able to actually start work to now, with the roof complete, the internal walls up and the plumbing about to start I can’t help but feel just a little bit pleased.
The builders continue to impress us, both with the quality of their work and with their attitude. It’s become a real collaboration. They are continually asking us questions and making suggestions and the design is evolving day-to-day, small changes that I’m sure are going to make a big difference. I’m so grateful to GrandaCasa for introducing us and saving us from eternal despair. If you’re renovating in Piemonte, you really have to check them out.
After two weeks of madness, forever rushing from one meeting to the next, we decided that on Sunday we’d take a day off. We felt we’d earned it. It just so happened that our day of rest coincided with a huge number of local festivals (what are the chances?) so, scanning the list we picked the two that involved the most wine, called some friends and headed out. (You can read what one of those friends made of the day here).
First stop was Degusta La Morra, where around 30 local producers served a selection of their wines from on top of barrels lining the town’s main street. For 10 Euros you get a glass and the obligatory fabric glass holder neck thing (it must have an actual name…) and can then wander up and down tasting as many wines from as many producers as you like. It’s kind of like the speed dating version of wine tasting. I’ve never tried so many Barolos, and it was great to meet some of the producers we’ve spent the past year trying to find the time to visit, as well as a couple I’d never even heard of.
After two laps of town, and feeling a little Baroloed-out, we packed up our glasses and headed to our next stop – Verduno, for the annual Pelaverga festival. Another 10 Euros bought another glass (with neck holder thing, of course) and unlimited tastings of Pelaverga, a great summery wine which is produced only in Verduno and Saluzzo. Think red wine but lighter and fresher, with a bit of fruit and spice.
There was food, music, dancing and, as always, lots and lots of wine. We even bumped into a couple from South Carolina who follow the blog!
For one day, we almost felt normal. It was amazing. And it confirmed what I’ve long believed… that this really is the best time of year in the Langhe. Perfect weather, harvest just starting to get underway, truffles nearly ready and weekends packed with amazing festivals.
Now, back to those bathrooms. To bidet or not to bidet…