Day 18: Italy 2018 – Villa Sparina

Monday, July 2nd

We packed up our things from Lake Garda – which I found out is actually not Lake Garda but is Lake Frassino. No wonder it didn’t look like the pictures of Lake Garda – it’s not! It is a famous bird-watching spot for an annual winter migration.  Free fun fact. You’re welcome.

The drive to Villa Sparina in the political region of Piedmont and in the Genoa province took about 2hrs and only required 1 toll. I did dispute the initial toll with my credit card.  We shall see.

Villa Sparina is a lovely, secluded spot tucked away in the hills and nestled between rows and rows of grapevines. The property was a farm from the 1700’s until it sold in the 1970’s. The family converted the buildings into what are now the winery, resort and restaurant in the early 2000’s. They have about 100 hectares of land with 70 belonging to the grapes and 30 belonging to the pigs!

You’ll notice the shape of the wine bottle is different. They based the design of the bottle off of an ancient bottle found on the estate when they began excavating for the remodel. They also use a golden colored glass based on the color of the Cortese grapes (when ripened) which are used in the famous Gavi wines. Only 5 wineries can make Gavi wine and Villa Sparina is one of them.

In addition to the Gavi wine, they also make Barbera, Rose, a couple of other whites using chardonnay and sauv blanc, a red blended with Barbera and Merlot and a sparking brut using the Cortese grapes and the traditional method of hand riddling.  All of the wines are made from grapes they grow on their property and all are fantastic. The rose is one of my favorites, and the brut is also fantastic. The wines are affordable – especially considering the quality. We purchase some of the wines at home, and it was an added treat to get a private tour of the caves and cellars. We also tasted some of the wines I had not had before with our dinner at the restaurant.

They make their own delicious salami and serve it to you with your drinks from the bar. They make the cured meats from the pigs on their land which are allowed to roam freely all over the 30 hectares devoted just to them.

We roamed the grounds and landed at the pool which is a hilly hike about 350m from the main property, surrounded by green in the heart of their vineyards. We had a light lunch at the pool bar, and then took a tour of the caves.


After our tour we sat down in the beautiful garden which is actually the roof of the original caves. The bar overlooks the expansive vineyards and frames the view perfectly. Pretty. Perfect.

Then we all had dinner in the restaurant, La Gallina – meaning hen. Images and decorative pieces of hens speckled the space. We sat on the terrace facing the vibrant view and enjoyed a 4 course meal with wine tasting.

Only one night here, but well worth the detour.

Up next…Milano!

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