Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico by Coralie Hughes Jensen

Book: Chianti Classico by Coralie Hughes Jensen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Coralie Hughes Jensen
of stories about events there during the time of Pia’s discovery. Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue which ones might have contributed to the drop off.”
    The chief detective picked up his lunch box and accompanied the nun to the exit. “Tell me some of the stories, and I’ll give you my opinion.”
    “Let me see. There was an avalanche in the hill above Alceda. Three people were killed in addition to injuries. Then there was an armed robbery of a bank in Castel Valori. At least two thieves dressed up in masks. There was a ten-car pileup on the autostrada near Poppi. Three people were killed there.”
    The two stood on the curb outside the station.
    “One paper reported on three different domestic disputes two weeks before the drop off. And there was a single car accident on one of the back roads where the driver was killed. There were no passengers.”
    Pagano scratched his head. “None of them seem promising, but at least you’ll sound like you did your homework in preparation for meeting with the police.”
    “And the nuns. I plan do that in person.”
    The chief detective looked up. “Where’s your car?”
    “It’s the truck. I parked it right across the street, and it’s still here. Please give my regards to your wife, Chief Detective.”
    “And good luck with your investigation. We’ll continue to search through the local vineyards for Pia and our old nun.”

    Sister Angela pulled the truck up the drive next door to the orphanage. She heard someone in the large building near the house and walked up to its open entrance.
    “Good evening, Sister. What can I do for you?”
    “I’m looking for Signor La Barca.”
    “I’m Martino La Barca. Are you from the Mission Sisters next door?”
    “I’m visiting them, yes.”
    “I’m so sorry they’ve lost a child. When I heard, I checked all around, but I found nothing.”
    “I’m staying with Michel Matta and his lovely wife. He mentioned that you were an authority on the use of amphorae in making wine, and I was wondering if you might have a bit of time to tell me about it. I know you’re busy, but if there’s a better time…”
    “Please, I can tell you now. My wife’s visiting her mother, and I’m on my own for dinner.” He took the nun by the arm and led her inside.
    A long row of strangely-shaped clay vessels stood upright in a row in the center of the chamber.
    “It looks like the aliens have landed,” she said.
    “During the Bronze Age, the Greeks used pots called dolia. They buried them in the ground and fermented the grapes that way. The Romans had open pots. They spread olive oil over the top of the wine and emptied the amphora from the bottom. Still serving as a lid until the pot was empty, the oil on the top would spread over the surface as the wine level went down.”
    “But yours have lids.”
    “More recent history has shown fermentation in terracotta can yield new and very fine wine characteristics.” He patted the one closest to him. “ I moved away from oak and steel because I was looking for a less-aggressive medium to ferment and age my wines. Whereas in ancient times amphorae were the natural vessel of choice, now it’s a conscious or a philosophical decision to use clay jars. I swear by them. There’s a marked difference between wines fermented in wood or steel and those aged in terracotta. We need that—variety, I mean.”
    “These don’t look that old. They’re works of art. How long do you think it takes to make one?”
    “It takes months for the local artisans to deliver one. They’re local to Tuscany. Terracotta amphorae cost more than wood or stainless, but they’re worth it. They’re free standing. We don’t bury them anymore, and they have removable lids.
    “Do you produce Chianti?”
    “Yes, and I follow the rules set down by the DOCG. I grow several rows of the Sangiovese grapes that I use in the Chianti. I also had some Cabernet grapes. That’s what the controlatta requires for both Chianti and

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