|Above and below: the valley below Pienza in the morning|
|Elaborate grave goods, including lots of fresh flowers|
|The church close up|
|Religious allegory at the top: the two folks on the right are|
rejecting the snake while the others have been impacted.
|Inside of the church -- quite simple compared to the others|
we have seen
|Short telling of the three wise men above the|
door -- they come on horses and the babe and
star are on the right.
We skipped the opportunity to visit the local pallazio, but joined up again for what was billed as wine tasting. On the way, we stopped at the Church of San Biagio, nearly hidden in the low lying fog, and explored the interior, which has fabulous accoustics.
|Hard to see the shape of the church in the fog, but the front|
elevation exactly matched the floor plan.
Back on the road, we finally reached Villa St. Anna, a winery run by Simona Ruggeri and her two daughters. Their process and equipment is quite different than the process we have learned about in California. They have various sizes of clay-lined vats as well as the more common stainless steel and oak barrels. She has a couple sizes of barrels for different kinds of wine and uses the large barrels much longer than in the US by scraping the insides and revealing new wood. Her barrels are stored in brick caves that date to the 1750s and are lined with really icky looking mold, which is considered helpful to the wine by slowly osmosing in through the barrels.
|The smallest of the clay-lined vats|
|The large oak vats used for aging. - the green and black on the|
walls and ceilings is the mold that is supposed to help the wine.
|This is a device which keeps air from entering|
the barrel by overfilling the barrel and counter-
filling the upper part with water.
She also has an ultra-aged port type of wine that is made with a yeast 'mother' that is over 200 years old. Because the wine is oxidized as part of its process, it ages well for long periods and is good for months even after the bottle is opened.
|Most of the barrels of this type of wine were not as old.|
|The is the last of the 1975 production, which is not for sale.|
|Our first view of the valley from the hilltop|
|Sunset with San Biagio from this morning|
below -- no way to see it was so close
to the town in the fog!
|Entrance to an Etruscan crypt in a store|
|Another interesting feature in the same store|