A visit at Felice's

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Our cookery season is back on track and the first course is near its end. A wonderful bunch of people that truly enjoy cooking, wine and taking in everything Sicily has to offer.

One of our stops was at the Felice Modica estate - an up and coming winery with very promising Nero d'Avola DOC wine with wonderful reviews from both Gambero Rossi and the Veronelli Guide.

Late April, in general, is a great time for any outdoor visit in Sicily since the temperature is just right and the countryside is full of wildflowers.

The tour of the winery started with a visit of the summer house of the Felice family, which is an old aristocratic family of Noto. The summer house was used up until 5 years ago, when Felice's father was still alive. Felice, with the help of his sun, have taken it back to how it was in the 1910s, presenting some of the furniture, clothing and every day items of that the Felice Family used at the time.

In the main bedroom there are little details of Sicilian culture such as the bed with the crest on the centre of the pillow on the man's side and on the left of the pillow on the woman's side.

One of the more interesting aspects of life at the time was the luxury that a well-off family in a small province of Sicily could afford. From Dior hats, to silver cutlery and elegant porcelain dishes. In addition, they travel widely staying at the best hotels in Naples, Rome, Taormina and even Spain.

Following the visit of the summer house we took a walk through the vines, with the rosebushes at the head of every row in full bloom and very healthy looking. (Rose bushes are used as an early indicator of any problems that may attack the vines themselves).

We then had a wonderful explanation from one of the people taking care of the vines about how they were pruning the vines to reduce the amount of grapes the vines will produce and increase the quality.

We then passed from theory and history to practice, with a tasting of Filinona, Ara and the now legendary Dolce Nero, as well as the excellent olive oil produced.

As ever people were impressed with the Nero d'Avola - Filinona and Ara' - but Dolce Nero, which is a Passito of Nero d'Avola grapes and the jewel of the Felice Modica productions - leaves everyone impressed, with its complex and deep character.

In all a fantastic experience.

For those wanting to find out more about the Felice estate please visit their website at http://www.olioevinobufalefi.it/.

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