by Filippo Bartolotta
Among the million ways one could rap up a wine and food event in the Bay Area, I can’t think of a better one thenÂ Chez Panisse in Berkley with Alice Waters.
And this dream came true after Alice an I spent some time together in Washington at the Martha’s Table Charity event and at the White House where we spent a whole Monday morning between the kitchen and the great green garden revolution so much wanted by Michelle Obama.
So with a succulent prawn burrito with guacamole and jalapeno sauce, Barbara and I get on the Bart train to Berkely.
Alice invited me during Joan Nathan‘s birthday party: you have to go to Chez Panisse, Filippo!
Five minutes later the sweetest and most efficient P.A. ever met –Sarah Weiner– makes it happen and with one phone call I have an Italy at Your Table evening booked at Chez Panisse! Â Grande Sarah. thanks!
Jonathan has been working for nearly 26 years as the wine buyer and sommelier at Chez Panisse.
He has been insisting on having me there at 1500. I didn’t quite catch why till I entered the restaurant:
a full classroom of people were waiting for me to learn more about Italian wines: it was Alice Waters’ collaborators!
The wines where all laid out, glasses on the table and everyone staring at me.
I looked at Barbara a little perplex, then I see Master Chef Jean Pierre MoulleÂ waiving towards me while looking at some of our labels. Jonathan cracks open a bottle of Vernaccia di Sangimignano Panizzi 2008, he hands me a glass and I kick off.
I must admit that I was coming out of the blue sky and got a little paralyzed Â thinking I that I was right in the hear of American food Revolution started right there thirty years ago with Alice Waters! Jonathan somehow put me right on track opening a second bottle of Vernaccia -Panizzi EvoÃ¨ 2006. A macerated style with an almost salty palate. Â Everyone loved this wine and I begun to enjoy my time at Chez Panisse.
From here we jumped to Italy at Your Table reds, going from the minerally juicyÂ Uvaggio-ProprietÃ Sperino 2006 to the red berry crush and cherry packed refreshing Chianti Classico Monsanto Riserva 2006 and the thick, leathery, earthy, meaty and gun flintyÂ Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino 2003 Selezione 25 anni; then its time for a compare and contrast dense, sweet and lusciousÂ Tenute San Leonardo 2004 and Montevetrano 2005.
Everyone is taking notes while sipping Italy away
Jonathan is contributing with his fantastic knowledge and passion to the tasting right till the end, making the while day at Chez Panisse the smoothest and most enjoyable experience possible.
Also Messieur Jean Pierre joins in with participation when we open the savoury sweet dessertÂ Aleatico dell’Elba 2006 of Tenute delle Ripalte.
This has been our only dessert wine of the entire Road Show making everyone’s mouth salivating!
After the training session is time to go back to work and soÂ Cal Peternell and Benedetta Vitali go to finish off the evenings preparations
Barbara get Italy at Your table wines and products ready with the Malpighi Traditional Balsamic vinegar and Pasolini dall’onda Extravirgin Olive oil. Guests arrive promptly at 1900 and Chez Panisse Dinner is featuring some of Benedetta Vitali best dishes.
Benedeta that night show what a tremendous woman she is. starting early in the morning all the way through to the evening and then haning out with us till late at night despite in the morning we all had to depart for LA! Che donna!
Meanwhile I receive the picture of my sweet little Daphne who seems to be growing at a faster peace while in New York!
I love you baby!