We slept soundly last night, and woke to a prolific breakfast before hitting the road.
First stop: Ca’ dal Non Acetaia, where they make balsamico tradizionale. I’ve done such a tour twice before, but D hasn’t and this is a bullet I’ll gladly take for the team.
We headed out amongst the cars and and onto the autostrada. We found that our old friend the beep had returned, utterly unaffected by last night’s volume adjustment. Today we decided that it wasn’t necessarily related to velocity, and nor did it seem to relate to acceleration. Also we noted that no warning lights went off in relation to this noise. It truly seems unrelated to any behavior on our part.
Down surface streets *beep beep beep*
On the autostrada *beep beep beep*
The warnings kept on in this unpredictable manner until we reached the acetaia. Giovanna, who is the grandmother of the family that lives here, gave us a tour. D and I were the only ones here today. Our visit was scheduled to take an hour and a half, but we were there for two and a half hours.
Giovanna explained the process to us. The picture is wrong though, as they don’t actually press the grapes with their feet.
She showed us where the grape must is cooked (I haven’t seen that on either of the other tours) and took us into the attics and storage areas where the batteries of aging balsamico are nestled away.
Then we tasted their many delicious products. Balsamico tradizionale is made of grape must, and nothing else. It is aged for at least 12 years or at least 25 years. When you see a bottle advertised as 100 years, this is not a sanctioned designation. All of my tours have been clear on this – 12 or 25, that is all.
Finally she showed us the 200 year vines in the yard, that managed to survive phylloxera.
She was an amazing hostess and it was an over-the-top morning. Of my balsamico tours, this is my favorite because it was so personal and Giovanna offered us such a warm welcome.
We stopped for lunch in a recommended trattoria, having tagliatelle al ragu, tortellini in brodo, and Zampone di Modena!
And then we had to hurry to our next stop. As you recall, we had planned to rent an Alfa Romeo. With this in mind, we had also made a decision to visit a local track, the Autodromo di Modena, to take it out for a drive. D races cars as a hobby, and this seemed like a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Well, with the Alfa falling throught, the fact that we had a Fiat 500L wasn’t going to stop us. The GPS led us along rural Italian roads, barely wide enough for two bicyclists to ride abreast, until we arrived at the track, where things were pretty quiet and nobody seemed to know much about us.
Still, they let us in, where we did a few laps around the very tight turns, as a fighter jet did much tighter turns overhead. Notably, there was no beeping on the track.
Finally done, we headed back to the hotel, all the while doing our best to ignore the beeps. We pulled into the parking area and backed into our spot. Still moving at a good clip, we were stopped suddenly as the rear bumper hit the wall behind us.
I asked D why he didn’t stop.
His response: “I was waiting for the beep.”