A park which hides the seven wonders: a 4-star hotel, a restaurant, country houses, a spa, tennis courts and soccer fields, a fishing lake and a wine cellar where the Bianconi family wine collection “rests”
by Emanuela De Pinto
The password is “time.” Slow down. From the large entrance window of the Valle di Assisi Resort you can see the Basilica of the Patron Saint of Italy and the green plains of Santa Maria degli Angeli. This enchanting place, like a Russian doll, hides one surprise inside another. In the large park on the Bianconi family’s property there is an elegant 4-star hotel (Best Western) with an underground spa, pool, restaurant, country houses, a carp-fishing lake, a soccer field and a tennis court. Last but not least, there is a wine cellar where the Cantina Valle di Assisi wines “rest.”
We are on the “Strada dei vini del Cantico”. Susanna Bianconi, 34, is driving. Susanna is the daughter of Giampiero Bianconi, and runs the family winery. In 1993, Giampiero had the idea to join two ancient farms. Today they lie between English-style meadows, six hectares of vineyards and 800 olive trees which produce Valle di Assisi extra virgin olive oil. The hotel opened in 1997, together with the Villa del Fattore and the large and elegant reception hall in the center of the park (capacity 800). The winery and restaurant were built a decade later.
The Bianconi family chose to entrust their wine production to Maurilio Chioccia, a wine expert who has already helped produce many high-quality Umbrian wines. There are three DOCs: Assisi Grechetto (90% Grechetto, 10% Trebbiano, straw-colored with scents of broom, peach and melon), Giottesco (pure Merlot which arrests the palate with its aromas of plum and wild berries), Assisi Rosso (70% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, ruby red with balanced tannins). And more: Vigna d’i Frati, a Grechetto with notes of yellow plum, to accompany savory pies and seasonal vegetables; the Ceccomatto (85% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot), which fills your mouth with the taste of alcohol-soaked cherries and aromatic herbs, excellent with grilled meats and aged cheeses; then the Canto (another pure Merlot), sharpened in French oak barrels, and finally the top wine: the Recanto (50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon), intense red color, perfect with game and bleu cheese.
They produce around 40,000 bottles of wine a year. “We only use our own grapes – says Susanna – hand-picked and prepared immediately. We sell the wine mainly in our restaurant, but it’s also possible to organize wine tastings any day of the week.” Recanto, which is also the name of their scenic restaurant, is a Brazilian word roughly meaning “nook”, a cozy place in the house where you feel calm and secure. Not by chance, then. Valle di Assisi is a pearl in an oyster shell: a sacred place to contemplate, a country resort to experience, a wine to appreciate. Enjoy the ‘recanto’ at Valle di Assisi.