Wine From Italy’s green and hilly heartland

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

Umbria is known as Tuscany’s ‘gentler sister’. Like so many parts of Italy it has a fascinating history. It was originally populated by a peaceful farming tribe called the Umbrians who were later colonised by the Etruscans and later again by the Romans. Umbria’s atmospheric hilltop towns were independent city-states until coming under the umbrella of the Papal States and eventually part of a united Italy in 1860. The province has many of the attractions that Tuscany offers without the crowds. We met some old friends from the States in Rome a few years back and after seeing the sights of the Eternal City, we took the train to the beautiful Umbrian city of Spoleto, one of Italy’s many hidden gems. Spoleto boasts a beautiful medieval centre, a spectacular 14th century aqueduct, an amphitheatre with a grim past, (some 10,000 Christian martyrs are said to have met their end here) and a massive Papal fortress overseeing the town.  It hosts one of Italy’s most important arts festivals. Aside from Spoleto, famous hilltop Umbrian towns include Assisi with its stunning Basilica di Francesco, restored to its former glory after the damage suffered during the earthquake of 1997, Orvieto, set high up on a volcanic outcrop, and smaller towns like Spello, Trevi and Todi. Umbria is the only Italian province without an international border or a coastline.

Another reason for visiting Umbria is its wonderful produce including justifiably famous olive oil and wine that has improved dramatically since the 1990s when the ‘Indicazione Geografica Tipica’ classification was introduced to the region, one of Italy’s smallest production areas.

A relatively small number (13) of Umbrian wines carry the higher DOC label and only a couple the highest DOCG rating. ‘Sangiovese’, the predominate chianti grape is most used in Umbrian wine making, but there are other indigenous grapes most notably the red Sagrantino from

Montefalco, considered a rising star of the Umbrian style. The most famous identifiable white is ‘Orvieto’ made with Trebbiano and the little- known Grechetto grape. Orvieto accounts for 70 per cent of DOC production.

While in Spoleto, we stayed at the atmospheric ‘San Luca’, located in a beautifully restored villa at the foot of the hill leading up to the historical centre of the town.

Writing this article is making me want to make a return visit!

Recommendations: Tudernum Rosso – from an excellent Cantina outside the beautiful hilltop town of Todi. €13 from Urru Culinary Store, Bandon.

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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and AsIAm.ie will host a unique exhibition which will enable the entire town of Clonakilty to experience what it is like for people with autism to deal with the world around them. The exhibition, which is free to visit, will be hosted in the Clonakilty Parish Hall from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 27th September. The exhibition represents the final part of the four month journey the town has been on to becoming Ireland’s first ever fully accredited Autism Friendly Town and guests are invited to join on a ‘pop-in’ basis.

The exhibition uses an engaging “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition. This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.

“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “Through visiting this exhibition we believe people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”

Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland. Over the last four months Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, and his team have been working with the entire community to receive official Autism Friendly Accreditation.

To do this the town as a whole must deliver:

Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
Engagement and training of 50% of public services
Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
Engagement of 3 employers
Reaching 25% of the town’s population
The town has almost reached these targets with this exhibition representing the last piece of the journey reaching and educating as many of the community as possible.

The exhibition was developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with Autism who act as advocates for the organisation. It is part of a larger campaign to engage young people in Autism issues which includes a social media campaign and a website, youthhub.asiam.ie

Around 1 in 65 people in Ireland live with Autism and are to be found in every community and school in the country. They apply for every type of job but are often misunderstood, excluded or left behind due to a lack of understanding in society.
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25th September, 2018  ·  

Schull Regatta have made some changes to the schedule due to adverse weather. Still lots of fun to be had... ... See MoreSee Less

10th August, 2018  ·  

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