Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Brief Winter Reprieve, Time to Work on the Ramie Vines


The past few days have been delightfully sunny, although not all of them have been all that warm. Today it was warm enough, although windy, to bring out the assorted bikes, trikes and strollers, to make a noticeable increase in the number of folks that were out and about. We had errands to run that took us down to Pomaretto, the small village that we gaze at every day and provides us with quite the light display, if not a conspicuous consumer of energy for such a small mountain village. It also provided us with a bit of bare ground and a wee bit of green here and there. The view above is looking back to Bella Baita which is on the right side of the mountains in the saddle there are two little white streaks and we are sitting in that one, but to day we were looking back into it.

It was the kind of clear blue sky that just begs to be enjoyed and we needed to wait an hour for the stores to open back up after siesta, so we wandered up the terraced steep hillside admiring the handiwork of some very diligent wall builders though our only small vineyard in this valley. This only produce 800 bottles a year from the very local grapes called ramie. It's not well know outside or our immediate vicinity, but is has a DOC (denominazione di origine controllata), which is a designation for authenticity for the grape used and area that it is grown on. They are a part of our soon to be inaugurated "La Stada delle Vino Pinorolese", wineries.

The vines have been there for over a hundred years and the terracing of the hill side is a work of art. We wandered to the end of the paved road and followed along the footpath admiring the handiwork of those who tend the grapes. There was evidence of new wood poles to replace the old and worn out or broken ones. Each vine had been recently pruned and freshly applied willow trusses to keep them in place for the coming season.

We came around the corner and there were the workers whose handiwork we had been admiring. They were now enjoying the sun, trying to stay out of the winds cruel ways and having a laugh. The ladies wouldn't hear of having their photos taken as most women always protest, so while Fabrizio chatted away with them in dialect, a slightly different version from the one spoken on our side of the river, I snapped a couple of photos surreptitiously. Pomaretto is on the Valdesian side of our valley, (ie Protestant versus Catholic) where the flavor of the language is more French than the local Piemontese. It's all pretty tough for me to follow. They will be celebrating their liberation day next week. I hope to attend some of the festivities and have a fresh report. In the meantime the vines were tended and the day enjoyed as the cycle of the grape and wine continues on even during the winter, all under an alpine sky.


A info poster in the Frossaco "Museo del Gusto"

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