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Kirk Drake
October 21, 2023 | Kirk Drake

Wine Castle + Good Friends + Beautiful Night + Surprise Champaign Tasting = Awesome

When Kimberly, Mark, and I set foot in an amazing Wine Castle Resort in Manduria, Italy, we knew we were crossing a historical threshold. Kimberly has a knack for finding amazing places all over the world, and this one was not to be outdone. This was no ordinary hotel; it was an architectural symphony, reverberating with the echoes of a storied past and the elegance of the present.

Newly restored, the place was stunning and the hospitality warm. We had spent the afternoon trying to find the place. At one point, the google, took us down a dirt road that got perpetually narrower until we could just simply go no further.  As we walked through the grand foyer, we couldn't help but marvel at the vaulted ceilings and intricate stonework. "I feel like we made a good choice!" Kimberly quipped, her eyes dancing with excitement. Mark, always the history buff, was enamored by the neo-eclectic design, a nod to the Roman school of architecture that inspired the original mansion.

 Just when we thought our experience  couldn't get any more surreal, a golden envelope arrived at our door. It was an invit

ation to a soirée hosted by a leading Champagne producer for sommeliers and Michelin Star chefs from the region. "Well, it looks like our evening plans fell in our lap" I said, unable to contain my excitement.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the Italian garden transformed into a celestial ballroom, with stars adorning the night sky like diamonds on velvet. Mark, glass of Champagne in hand, looked up and mused, "This is what happens when the universe decides to throw a party."  This is officially “Kirk luck” I thought.   It’s what happens when you just go with the universe and stop thinking we are somehow in control.

The evening reached its zenith when our host revealed cellar vaulted Champagne, selected from great years past, exclusively for this event. As we raised our glasses, I found myself saying, "To moments that defy disruption." It was as if the universe had conspired to blend the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable memory—surprises, stimulating conversation, and, of course, exceptional wine.

As we retired to our chambers in the heart of this castle-turned-resort, I replayed the visual memories, the stories, the tastes and the friendship from the evening. Each thread—be it the bubbles in our Champagne, the words that sparked stimulating conversations, or the stars that dotted the Mandurian sky—contributed to a mosaic of memories that would forever be etched in our minds.

So here's to an amazing Mandurian Castle Wine Resort, to serendipitous evenings, and to memories that linger long after the Champagne flutes are empty. Because, as this night proved, life's most memorable moments are often those we never see coming.


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