Di Karen Phillips, Andiamotrips
As I parked my car in front of Tenuta San Francesco Tuesday, I could hear music, laughter…a celebration. The weather was cloudy, windy, and rainy. I pulled aside the plastic tarp that served as the door and stepped inside. Ahh! “This is why I love Italy,” I thought to myself. I entered alone and was instantly greeted by Eva Bove, the owner. She along with relatives and friends were over by the camino, fireplace, preparing a meal for the 40 plus people who were to arrive that day. The smile on her face made me happy that I braved the brutto tempo that hit the Campania region that morning.

This was a party and party we did, beginning with a great meal. I sat down and was instantly given a plate of pancetta, salami, ricotta, and mozzarella by Elena. She and her husband Rino (Ristorante Il Pirata, Praiano) adopted me for the day. So my plate was never empty; minestra maritata, pasta e fagioli, polenta with beans, frittata di pasta, salsiccia e friarielle. They made sure that I knew what each item was, the ingredients, how to prepare, etc. Brava gente.

But where was Gaetano Bove, the man behind the scenes? I mean, I came to Tramonti so that I could talk to him about his winery, his wines, his reason for the celebration. The opportunity arrived between glasses of Gaetano’s finest. I tried his Tramonti Rosato 2009, a blend of aglianco, tintore and piedirosso, 4 Spine Riserva 2006, another blend of the ‘big three’. Gaetano, however was interested in his guests opinion of his E’ Iss 2007, 100% tintore, handpicked from the best prefillossera vineyards around Tramonti (Scavata di Gete, Madonna del Carmine di Campinola, Colle Aveso di Corsano, Pecorari di Capitignano). A sneak preview, anteprima..since this wine will not be available until September. I appreciated how he wanted our input on everything from the label, name, and of course what was inside the glass. Later, Gaetano took me for a walk through the vineyards. An amazing sight ahead, vines dating from the 1700s. Wow!

Caffè, dessert and music carried us into the late afternoon. As I looked around, I felt good to be in the midst of family and friends. I made some good friends that afternoon, and I look forward to going back.