"Orvieto itself is built on a plateau of volcanic rock, overlooking the Tiber valley, where it stoically watches over the Autostrada del Sole and a steady stream of tourists passing between Rome and Florence. This is a shame because Orvieto is a charming town and definitely worth a visit. In the surrounding countryside you can find some beautiful white wines and this was to be the next stop for Vinnie and myself. Deep in the countryside, and not far from Orvieto or the Autostrada del Sole, the winery, Madonna del Latte or the breastfeeding Madonna, is named after the house it is built around which, in turn, was named after a small chapel on the edge of the grounds.
We were welcomed by Ruta and Leon who were happy to show us around this small estate that, from four hectares of vines, produces around twenty thousand bottles of wine per year. The house was bought as a ruin by Leon’s parents and it has been meticulously restored. Possibly the most unusual feature is the huge cellar. This was discovered during the restoration and was full of accumulated rubbish. Having been laboriously cleared out, the resulting space is reminiscent of an Etruscan tomb although it is impossible to date it with any confidence. What is certain is that, excavated into the soft volcanic tufa, it provides perfect temperature and humidity for the wines stored there in barriques of French oak. "
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