October 18 2011
Part: 1 | 2
Spa Junkie is experiencing vinotherapy treatments at Le Tre Vaselle, the Lungarotti family’s inn and spa in Torgiano, Umbria.
“Shall I pour you a glass?” my therapist motions towards the Rubesco 2007 sitting on the counter. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course you should pour me a glass.
“Salute.” I sip on the deep ruby-coloured liquid, its palate a complex mix of blackberries, sweet spice and tobacco. Quite a shift from the bitter tisanes based on liquorice and fennel preferred by most Italian detox centres.
I watch as she empties a magnum of sangiovese into the barrel-shaped bathtub already filled with warm water. Wafts of wine permeate the room and seem to be entering every cell in my body. (I strongly advise against this treatment if you are teetering on a red wine hangover, as the experience will almost certainly push you over the edge.)
She tops up my glass and leaves me to soak in this antioxidant-rich tub. Resveratrol is a polyphenol, one of the antioxidants found in the skin and the seeds of red wine grapes. It’s produced by the plant in response to stress, fungus and injury; in humans it is credited with strengthening blood vessels, reducing cholesterol and preventing blood clots. A comprehensive review of human clinical research on resveratrol by the University of Florida has found that it has anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, but, as with many such studies, more research into its benefits is required.
I loll around a bit in the oversized, built-comfortably-for-two wooden tub; the experience is quite pleasant but would be a lot more fun à deux. Before the raisin wrinkles set in, she returns to wash me down and prepare me for the massage.
Banjaxed, I crawl on to the bed, face down, and more or less pass out until she gently nudges me to turn over. “It must have been that extra 60 per cent soaking into my skin,” I protest. She laughs as she leads me to the relaxing zone in the indoor pool area.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It’s been a lovely afternoon, and a wonderful bit of fun to add on to my Umbrian adventure. My skin feels soft and revived by the home-made potions. For a quick stopover while taking in the historic and religious sites, Le Tre Vaselle is as authentic as one can get, and worth a detour. This approach mirrors my feelings on vinotherapy in general: in my opinion it’s far more interesting as an addition to a wine tour or a weekend stay on an estate. I’m in no big rush to book a long stay at a destination vinotherapy spa.
After my nap, I pore through the pages of the recommended restaurants in the region, my senses on alert; there can be no room for error, as tonight I will be administering my own vinotherapy, in conjunction with a local organic steak.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.