Elegant Wine Tasting in Torre in Pietra

This place has atmosphere.

This wine tour is now on my “M’s Adventures Tour” of Rome. The wine tasting at Cantina Castello di Torre in Pietra is a “must” (so punny, sorry, not sorry) on the tour.

It was cleaning day when we were there.

So why another wine tasting? Didn’t I just write about another? Yes, read about it here. The background to all this wine tasting is this. I had a visit from a friend who is a wine enthusiast/expert who came to Italy for a round birthday. I had this wild plan to go on a wine tasting for every decade of his life. He told me that we didn’t have to go that wild, and that surely we would drink wine every day. We almost did. But, we only did two official wine tastings. Which keeps more in line with his celebration, once again, of his “21st birthday.”

Outdoor grill for warmer weather.

Torre in Pietra has an elephant as its logo because prehistoric elephant bones were discovered here when the castle owners expanded the tuff caves in the 1500s.

The reason for the elephant theme.

The vineyard is located north of the international airport (layover? go for a lunch) and cost 35 euro by uber from inner Rome. It is off in the countryside so a bit hard to find.

Castle tower.

The location is also used as wedding destination and includes a chapel just for that reason. Castle, wine, chapel, it’s got it all.

The four wines that we had.

One can go just for lunch but for 40 euro, we had lunch and a wine tasting. All four wines were from their own vineyard. One was bubbly, one was white and two were red. I think. Christian, the manager, presented them and poured while he explained about them. I don’t recall too much about the wines because I’m not a wine nerd. The vineyard is located near the coast so the grapes benefit from the salinity of the air and soil.

Appetizers of meats, bean puree, tomato, porchetta, and plain with olive oil.

After tasting all four wines, Christian said that he would take the white away to the fridge to keep cool. When my friend asked if we keep one of the wines on the table to have with our lunch, Christian responded, “they are not for looking.” We did not manage to finish four bottles of wine as there were only two of us.

The main dining room.

The lunch was the massive appetizer board, carbonara, and tiramisu. The appetizer board included house made porchetta, allowing one’s guests to try that specialty as well.

Cement aging containers. Unusual. Ask about it.

The really good thing was that we started with the meal and the wine tasting before going on a tour of the aging room. This tour does not include walking in the vineyard (no touching grapes) but it does include the bottling area, the aging cellars, and the lunch. The day that we went, it was a drizzly cold wet day, but as we were inside the dining room, we were cocooned in our wine drinking hug.

Christian, the manager (has a degree in agriculture and wine), is half Danish and half Italian, making him this combination of efficient and warm. When you communicate with him before, he is not overly responsive but once you get there, he is immensely warm and friendly.

Christian speaks, Italian, Danish, English, French…

After the lunch and the tour, we bought wine and olive oil. We had house olive oil during lunch and immediately asked about it because the aroma was so heady.

IGT is a lower ranking than DOC but on the way.

Winery hours:

Monday to Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Sunday from 09:00 to 16:00

Osteria hours:

Lunch every day, no Wednesday. Dinner on Friday and Saturday.

To book:

Telephone: +39.06.61.69.70.70

Email: info@osteriaelefante.it

Antique corker.

As mentioned, the place is also a regular restaurant, Osteria dell’Elefante, so they have a full menu. As I said, this is now on my “must” list so I look forward to going back.

Cork tree on site.

As you wait for your ride (we took a taxi back for 55 euro), we enjoyed the company of the pet donkey, Arturo, the burro.

Picturesque door.

Elephant Limbo in Kenya

Elephant gate.
Elephant gate.

African elephants are huge and they cannot limbo. To prevent the elephants from eating everything, the safari camps use dangling metal rods strung up like a belly dancer’s belt. These gates are so tall that our safari jeep fit underneath with only a rattle.

The elephants look small with the mountain in the background.
The elephants look small with the mountain in the background.

On Safari in the Masai Village

There is almost no way to avoid being exploited as a tourist. If we accept it, then we pay. My friend wanted to go to an “authentic Masai village” and so we did. It cost us about $25 per person. We were shown around and encouraged to contribute to the school and the well, etc. then we were encouraged to buy souvenirs. A horn soap dish and two elephant hair bracelets were the only thing my friend wanted. The chief’s son started the bargaining at $100. We did not buy anything. My advice to anyone when dealing with cash cows is to give us the feeling that you respect us. That is the best sales technique.

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Victory Day Elephant

Elephant strolling down a Dhaka street

“Did you see the elephant walking down the street?” We were driving speedily through the streets (for once) and I was looking at the rickshaws and decorated houses, soaking it all in like the newcomer that I am. My friend had not noticed. She didn’t notice it until we had whizzed past. I asked if we could go back. It’s not every day that you see an elephant strolling down the streets of Dhaka (in the exotic imaginings perhaps, but in the honking traffic jams rarely). Quickly, she yanked the car around and we darted down the street after the photo-op.

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December 16 was Victory Day in Bangladesh so it was a special day. I should have expected something special… The Bangladeshis celebrate. They put flags up. They ride elephants.That’s how they do it here in Bangladesh.

Thanks, Victory Day Elephant!