When you first walk up the old steps to the 18th Century wine cellar you have no idea what you are about to walk in to. The Cantina Follie is very much the wine cellar and dates back to the 18th Century, although it feels much older! A cave like dwelling the building itself sits just off the main road, and a 5min walk from the connecting ferry terminals at Cadenabbia and Tremezzo that take to Bellagio and Menaggio.
When you first walk in you are greeted warmly by the owners and sommeliers, the Dutchman Joost and his kind and attentive Italian wife Deborah. They take you through the myriad of tunnels that make up the interior of the wine cellar and eventually out onto the sun terrace where the introductions begin. Guests sit at long old wooden tables whilst the sun gently warms them, the vines that grow on the awning are in blossom, the lake lapping on the western shores, it really is an idyllic setting…
And then begins the wine tasting! Joost and his wife spend an hour and a half with us and go through a selection of different Italian wines, some beautiful whites made very locally and other more classic wines like a Chianti or Barolo. The resident sommeliers take you through each wine you try, talking initially about the origins of each wine, right through to the tasting notes – those subtle hints of leathery smoked wood you know! There is even the option buy the wine you taste at the end of the afternoon with a 5% discount for Inghams guests. (So take a bag with you!)
It is a fantastic way to get to know some of Northern Italys finest wines as well as socialise with other guest, and more often than not – the Inghams reps too!
Words & images by Richards Mansfield, Resort Manager in Tremezzo, Lenno, Menagio & Bellagio.