Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A LOCALIZED VISIT TO TUSCANY
“How did you find us?” The woman stepped from the shadows of the steel warehouse. I dismounted and was removing a yellow Scheuberth that had rendered a hotspot to my forehead. She repeated: “How did you find us?”
I’d been exploring off-freeway lanes near my new Sonoma County digs and had taken a westerly turn onto Mountain House Road in Hopland. “The poppies.” I pointed to a small stand of poppies planted where the asphalt apron at Terra Sávia abuts the roadway. “I was thinking of getting a shot of my bike with the poppies in the foreground.”
“That’s a beautiful bike,” she said as I peered into the shadows of the warehouse.
I stepped inside. A few pallets of cased goods sat close by next to a table with an adding machine and some strewn papers. As my eyes adjusted from daylight to warehouse light, a few more pallets came into view. To the left was a tasting bar.
“Like to try some olive oil? It’s all Italian varietals.”
“Just like the bike,” I said.
Terra Sávia is a wholly organic small operation specializing in estate grown wines – cabs, pinots, merlots, a nice Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) and a non-oaked chardonnay; Italian varietal olive oils from trees on the property; and wildflower honey from their own stash of bees.
Striking is the olive press imported from the home country. The machine is active in October where Terra Sávia organics are first crushed, then fruit from other local growers.
Wandering through the facility, I see that local artisans display seating and tables, all far too big to be packed away on a motorcycle. Flat art festoons the walls and a classic Porsche begs one to salivate.
Outside, a rustic cabin awaits those wishing to stay for an overnight experience.
I purchased a bottle of Tuscan oil and set to stowing it in the Joe Rocket seat pack on the motorcycle.
“Do you need a bag?” the proprietress asked. “Is it padded enough? Moto Guzzi. Where did you say that bike came from?”
“About two hundred miles north of the rootstock for your olive trees.”
And the conversation ensued. Guzzi and BMW tourers know the routine…
I didn’t taste wine on my first visit because I don’t do alcohol – even a sip – if I’m riding the bike. But I did return a few days later with family. I’d been charmed not only by the honest, small operation feel of Terra Sávia, but also by the woman who showed such great interest in the Guzzi.
She recognized me as the fellow from earlier in the week as she poured first the Chard, then the reds. More conversation. More exploration. More of that honest, small operation, down-to-earth, workin’ the land goodness.
Folks touring US 101 out of the Bay Area and north of Santa Rosa: this is a stop not to be missed. (Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.)
The Mertiage complements nicely a grilled peppered New York Strip Steak. I drool as I type this.
Info about this unique and interesting little place is found at: http://terrasavia.com/
US 101 South from Eureka, Willets, Ukiah or North from SF, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg to Hopland. West on Mountain House Road at the burger joint. Look for the Terra Sávia sign on the right.
Church of the Open Road Press