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So we spent the day cooking. About once every ten years we undertake to make Giuliano Bugialli's incredible Lasagne Verdi. In his world, everything is fresh and made from scratch. It's worth every one of the five hours and counting devoted to today's project so far as, in our experience, results are ethereal due to the delicate pasta. (Total time elapsed from start to sit down: 8 hours, including a little respite to write this.) We dutifully made the thinnest possible pasta -- a job requiring fine teamwork -- with fresh spinach from the farm stand; we confess to using imported, canned San Marzano tomatoes to create the sauce; we harvested (unconventional) purple basil from our garden; we did not manufacture our own ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, or sweet butter. Herewith a slideshow of today's culinary activities (and yes, all those tomatoes on the kitchen counter came from our garden, but enough already).
We promise to report whether Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese -- or Faraona -- was the preferred wine with tonight's feast.
This may be the last photo depicting our attachment since 1977 to growing Sauvignon Blanc. The yellow rows beyond the olive trees and surrounding the barn are 20-year old SB vines being prepared for removal. Irrigation hose, wooden and metal stakes, metal trellis, trellis wires -- all have been removed (for recycling) to make way for the bulldozer that will pull up the vines. It's going to be a bare landscape around here this winter.
The still-green area to the upper left is a new 5-acre block of Cabernet planted in 2013. The horizontal red stripe above that is a block of Cabernet belonging to neighbor Saddleback Cellars. Lots of Cabernet in Oakville...
First came the panel discussion for a group called CEO.org visiting the Napa Valley, organized by A Woman's Palate. They heard about small (Relic with 6,00o cases), smaller (Pfifer-Pavitt at 1,000 cases) and hyper-small (Villa Ragazzi with 200 cases) wineries owned and managed by women. Since the audience was entirely female, the discussion and ensuing questions focused on the personal more than the technical side of the wine business. What is it like to be a woman in the wine business? Mighty fine.
Next (tonight), Michaela is presenting her book, From Bubbles to Boardrooms, in San Francisco to the MBA alumni of Haas, Stanford, Wharton, UCLA/Anderson and Harvard. She thinks it's a sell-out because "her" wines will be tasted: Chandon, St. Supéry and Villa Ragazzi.
The rest of the weekend is devoted to a bank directors' conference in San Francisco. And some visitors to the winery. And helping friends select and saw off gnarly old Sauvignon Blanc vines for home decoration before the vineyard is ripped out next week.
A most gratifying week.
I am Villa Ragazzi's default blogger and wielder of the blue pencil.