Tag Archives: Bruno Giacosa




by Filippo Bartolotta

It’s 0730 in the morning and the fog is all around Langhe. I went for my morning run on the river Tanaro. Again another accommodation near the water. Started in NYC near the East River, then a the Stage Coach in the Berkshires, then time for a lot of Water in San Francisco and Santa Monica, then the lake in Chicago and a little lake in Cincinnati till of course more water in Martha’s Vineyard and now the beautiful Tanaro.

After my shower and home made cookies and cakes at La Terrazza sulle Torri in Alba I got picked up by Gianluca to go to get Lana and Jim at Relais Monforte.

It’s eleven o’clock when we enter Bruno Giacosa’s cellar and the fog is still everywhere.

Once one is in front of Giacosa’s Crus though nothing much matters!

Giorgio Lavagna -the wine maker- and I decide to go for Barbaresco Asili 2005 and 2007 and Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2007 followed by Barolo Rocche dell’Annuziata 2005 (white label) and Barolo Rocche dell’Annuziata 2004 (red label).

What is the difference between the Giacosa Barolo white label and red label?

The white label is the regular Barolo or Barbaresco, whether the red label is the Riserva made only in great vintages.

Which was our favorite? I think the Barolo Rocche 2004 red label was the superior wine because of its density, minerality, broad tobacco and truffles nose with tons of dense balck and red fruit and a extremely smooth tannins and depth. For what I know there’s another element to keep in mind: this wines will age forever. It was only 3 weeks ago when I had my third bottle of Giacosa 1964 and 1967: they were both so young and fresh with so luscious sweet tannins…

Mind you though that the 2007 will all be stunning wines with a lot of ripe, clean and sweet fruit and floral complexity. The Asili is like always the most ready to drink and the most balanced when young, while the Santo Stefano tends to be the deeper one even on the color.

We quickly depart to go taste Marina Marcarino’s wines at Punset estate.

Marina makes very juicy and well structured organic Barbarescos.

She is a serious agronomist who started organic farming in 1982: here they call me “la matta” -the crazy one- as during the first five years I struggled a lot to convert regular farming into organic.

Now a lot of people are moving towards this direction, but in Langhe is still early stages.

Her Barbaresco Campo Quadro 1999 and 2003 are showing today their amazing character with the prior one being very fresh and mineral and the latter with a denser and sweeter palate reflecting the vintage. Marina goes very proud of her ’03 as most wines in that hot vintage came out stewed! I have to say that I enjoyed a lot the structure of 2004 Riserva with a more tar and earthy finish.

Lana and Marina engage for a very entertaining conversation on organic wines and Lana is now deeply in love with Punset wines as I have been now for quite a while. It is now 1330 and we have a reservation at La Ciau del Tornavento with great Maurilio.

Before deciding what to go for Nadia greets us at the table asking what wines we want to go for. Jim asks me to choose and I go for two very different wines: Voerzio Cerequio 1998 and Monfortino 1993.

Nadia is looking after us with a selection of dishes chosen by Maurilio while we start sipping the menthol and tobacco perfumed Cerequio which as time goes by releases more dry roses and dark cherries. It tannic balance is perfect with velvet texture and a tender caress on the finish.

Monfortino 1993 instead  starts very closed and a little dirty to change completely after 30 min. into a licorice, medicinal herbs, mushrooms and leather style nose. The palate is very sweet with a lot of round and rich flavors and a very savory finish.

Lana Jim and I question ourselves several time with the “carne battuta” first, with the snails  later and eventually with the famous Maurilio’s agnolotti’s nest if Voerzio was better then Monfortino or vice-versa.

The funny thing is that we went from one to another and back never quite making up our mind. Traditionalist Monfortino or Modernist Voerzio? Nonsense! These are two vary rare fine wines not to be missed! This is the reason why why drink wine!

By the end of the meal the sun finally comes out and Maurilio brings us coffee and the petite patisserie on the Terrace. I am making my own dessert with Maurilio’s Cugnà -a fig, grape must and nuts marmalade-  with ricotta!

It is now 1730. Time to go home, but what a day! Can’t believe I have another two like this!


NYC Rocks


By Filippo Bartolotta

I know that I am late with my blog and I maybe should follow a chronological train of thoughts, but I just had an amazing dinner at 50WD in Cilnton Street and Rivington.

It has been thank to an great friend and one of the best “absolute palate” I have ever met in my life: AJ Bocchino, an dedicated artist and a serious and yet gourmet lover: http://www.ajbocchino.com.

I had a couple of journeys to Italy with him and his dad and grand nephew, Chas. The first time it was in Langhe with Bruno Giacosa, Bartolo Mascarello and Roberto Conterno of Monfortino and all the best skunky  trattorias and Michelin Star Restaurant.

Then  it was time for Tuscany with the good old man: Gianfranco Soldera, tasting away his savory 1980, 1981, 1989 together with 1964 Angelo Gaja first Vintage and 1968 MastroBerardino -simply one of the densest, most comples and supple wine of my life…thank you AJ.

Tonight Vanessa and I caught up with Aj again. After the Lobester Bar in Lexington and Prince, where the Lobster roll is worth alone a trip to NYC, we went to WM50 for a four courses menu and two amazing wines:

Barolo Bruno Giacosa 1964 and  Chavalier Montrachet Le Flaive 2000.

One first opened the Montrachet was a little oaky, I thought while Aj didn’t say a word. Then after half an hour the wine rock, just like New york CIty.

We had a very enjoyable dinner with a very bitter daring and challenging cuisine all the way through dessert.

The incredible thing is that Aj favorite restaurant is 20m away from Milo and Daphne’s school…this is this morning when Milo woke up saying: Daddy its 0730 and it’s snowing. Now its 0230 and so you get what’s going to happen to me tomorrow!

The Montrachet was rich and fat and velvety and Laprohaigh Smokey complex anisette and butterscotch taste which lingered even after destert. A wine with a lot of shelf life.

We got three appetizers but both wines were opened. The Giacosa ’64 at first was a little dirty, but then it cleaned up and yet always retaining an amazing acidity and life…another 30 years.

The fact is that the evening flew by and the wine with it and the awsome http://www.wd-50.com/ menu.

We had three appetizers:

Pumpernickel soup, smoked sable, blood orange, puffed gruyere
Smoked eel, spice bread, black radish, campari
Bay scallops, bone marrow, bulgur, crosnes, tamarind

The soup was pretty leathery and the Barolo was perfect while I think the Montrachet struggled; the Eel was perfect and perfect was the match with the LaFlaive. The scallops was maybe the best dish with a lot of fatty and savory contrast.

Then it was time for main course:

Arctic char, snow pea, fried yucca, cherry-black bean
Scallops, pine needle udon, grapefruit dashi, chinese broccoli

The Char was like a nice Salmon dish, but nothing too fancy and the scallops where very luscious and complex.

The dessert is absolutely a must here:

Licorice custard, sake sorbet, bartlett pear: very sexy and complex dish, perfect with the Trockeberenauslese Pichler Krutzler 1997.

Cheesecake, pineapple, raisin, saffron, lime. The most enjoyable of all.
Lemongrass mousse, brown sugar, jack fruit, whole wheat sorbet. very fresh and yet not to remember.
Soft chocolate, peppermint ice cream, black cardamom, toffee. Very good but too salty.

Right after this wonderful evening I thought we were going home and instead thanks to AJ we went to visit a NO NAME WINE BAR in the Lower east Side:

where we had a lovely, altoug ha little oxidative Riesling to finish off the night.

I promise I’ll update with Kansas City, the Berkshires with The Nutrition Centre, Davide Manzo and The Stage Coach; the White House and mythical Joan Nathan in Washington…Keep you posted…

Good Night,






A trip to Italy featuring sustainable

food and wine

Benedetta Vitali and Filippo Bartolotta, Italian masters in cooking and wine respectively, are coming to America and bringing with them the Italian culture of fresh local ingredients, traditional foods, seasonal eating and pairing of healthy food with good wine. They will be hosting events throughout the month of February to highlight Italy as THE place to go to experience enogastronomic travel and to learn about healthful sustainable eating. You will spend the evening immersed in Italian food and wine culture with a slideshow, Italian music and tons of tips for planning your next trip to Italy. The knowledgeable and entertaining duo will serve up fresh, authentic Tuscan cooking classes accompanied by hand- selected fine Italian wines, and take you on a journey to Italy without ever leaving the premises.

Each event will be tailor-made and will include either a cooking demonstration or hands-on cooking class. The cooking portion will highlight simple, delicious dishes using local, fresh ingredients. The wine portion will include wine tasting games and activities as well as more traditional wine tasting know-how and information about organic and biodynamic wines in Italy.

The festive atmosphere will be complete as your hosts take you on a virtual vacation to Italy, and help you to start planning a visit to the undisputed king of food and wine culture. What better way to get inspired for your next vacation than to hear about a spectacular biodynamic vineyard in the Chianti or a restaurant in Sicily that serves up the freshest catch of the day.

Make a Reservation!

Let us know if you are ready to discover authentic Italy by creating fresh tagliatelle pasta with ragù, swirling your glass of Vernaccia di San Gimigniano, and taking a guess at the definition of the word “umami.” Events will be offered during the month of February on the East and West Coast. They will be booked on a first come, first serve basis so please contact ….. for more information today.

Filippo Bartolotta is a wine journalist, writing for major European and American wine publications such as Decanter Magazine and serving as the editor for the bestselling L’Espresso Italian Wine Guide (English version). He also teaches about wine at the prestigious University of Siena and hosts countless wine events each year in Italy and abroad. His unique, entertaining style creates the ideal environment for anyone to fall in love with wine.

Benedetta Vitali

is a chef and owner of the renowned Trattoria Zibibbo in her native Florence. Zibibbo has received high prise for its authentic Tuscan flavors in the NY Times, Gourmet magazine, Food and Wine and in all major Italian restaurant guides. Benedetta is also a published cookbook author. She loves to host cooking classes and share her knowledge of the Tuscan kitchen with others, always emphasizing fresh and locally purchased ingredients.


Prosciutto di Parma Dop of the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena Malpighi

Pasolini Dall’Onda Laudemio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Arnaldo Caprai



Bruno Giacosa

Castell’in Villa

Castello di Banfi

Castello di Monsanto




Col d’Orcia


Guicciardini Storzzi

Fattoria di Valiano


Fratelli Revello

Gigi Rosso


Il Palagione

Isole e Olena



Mauro Molino







Tenuta delle Ripalte

Tenute Friggiali

Tenute Nardi

Tenute San Leonardo




Christmas comes but once a year…with "Italy at Your Table"!


Christmas comes but once a year…with “Italy at Your Table”

by Filippo Bartolotta

Christmas comes but once a year and since the arrival of the two monkeys in the old mill, we have decided to make it a big children moment.

Every year we build a green Christmas tree picking branches from the woods around the house and decorating them with various wild berries and leaves and then adding up the most beautiful Christmas balls made by Catia Massai in Barberino.

I buy one a year  to pull them out every Christmas. Artisan products last longer then us, they are all unique pieces and they give a special touch to our home.

And so when opening that refreshing and invigorating liquid that we all love during this time of the year one fills even more pampered and loved.

Usually now is when I manage to take a break, relax and enjoy a slower working peace. But this year is different.

Last summer Vanessa and I decided to organize a long winter break  to the US.

As we were telling friends&family, clients&suppliers about it we begun to realize that we were bound to put together some wine tasting events as we were going along.

So one of our older customers calls us to book an evening, then is time for another and in a couple of months a thirty dates road show was set around the US.

All of a sudden the couple of wine tasting to some of our private collectors and clients became a huge project now called “Italy at Your Table”.

The idea is to get a group of 20-30 friends to gather around one of their homes with me presenting some of Italy’s finest wines in the most friendly way possible. Once the first dates were set and the first wineries signed up for it we understood that Benedetta Vitali from the Zibibbo Restaurant would have gone for a cooking road show on the same period: in a blink of an eye, rather then Tasting with Filippo or Cooking with Benedetta, now is both experiences at once.

This has given the whole project a new boost up. And now we are going to be holding evenings not only with our precious and faithful clients but also at famous restaurants, like Rialto in Boston or Quince in San Francisco.

On top of this in Washington, together with the great Chef Alice Waters,  Tom Colocchio, Josè Andrès and the atomic food&wine journalist Joan Nathan, we will be part of a big charity event “SUNDAY NIGHT SUPPER“. Here LeBaccanti and all the Italian Producers with us will try to make the difference! I’ll be up-dating all this with more details as I go ahead, of course.

These the magic wineries and producers which are kindly and proudly part-taking at this great adventure.

LeBaccanti will of course give a more “serious” account of all the events and press release.

Aceto Balsamico Malpighi

Arnaldo Caprai



Bruno Giacosa

Casa Vinicola Luigi Cecchi e Figli


Castello di Monsanto



Col d’Orcia


Consorzio Prosciutto di Parma

Fattoria di Cusona



Fratelli Revello

Gigi Rosso

Giovanni Panizzi


Il Palagione

Il Solatione

Isole e Olena

Latium Amarone


Mauro Molino

Marchesi Gonzaga-Tenuta di San Leonardo


Poderi Boscarelli

Proprietà Sperino


Silvio Nardi

Terra al Sole

Tenuta delle Ripalte-Meletti Cavallari



Our home is going to be the East-Village in NYC next to a lovely kindergarden for Milo and Daphne.

I will though be spending most of my time on the plane or opening bottles of wine:)

This is a very exciting project that was embraced by almost all of the people I have spoken to with the most up-lifting and energetic approach. Another time, in another post, I’ll give a more precise account of everything with the credits to each and everyone who helped making all this happen.

Actually another little great news coming from Italy at Your Table is related to the Techno-Bohemian movement with John Malkovich, Simone Ramilli, Pierpaolo Moroni. I was asked to join in the group as the wine-guru and so more news to come from this new big project.

Very soon the real thing…

Meanwhile these were my Christmas presents which I had with great joy and pleasure.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

Tenuta di Fessina-Musumeci 2007 (magnum)

Juicy and peppery wine with a perfumed nose and a perfect cranberries and cherry velvet palate. Very easy to finish even the double size bottle!

This is the first and well executed  attempt of Silvia Maestrelli of the Tuscan Petriolo Estate in Etna. A few years ago she kicked off with the reserved help of Federico Curtaz.

Chianti Classico Il Solatione 2006

This is one of the rare examples of pure, simple Sangiovese fruit at its best. A wine with an amazing alcoholic balance, smooth tannins and plenty of depth for a regular Classico from a small and cute family run Azienda Agricola.

Barbaresco Punset Barbaresco 2004

Awesome vintage for the only organic estate in Barbaresco. Marina Marcarino has been starting this adventure alone with a great energy and motivation which is somehow dripped into her wines: rich and savory this Barbaresco with plenty of complex earthy tones and clean fruit.

Tenuta Friggiali Brunello PIetranera 2003 (double Magnum format)

A massivily black cerry packed Brunello with a lot of leathery and tobacco complexity.

Very rich and quite hot palate with a lengthy licorice and forrest fruit finish.

This is the open friendly South-East vineyard Brunellos of the Centolani family in Montalcino.

Tenuta delle Ripalte Aleatico dell’Elba 2006 and 2007

Here comes the end of the Holiday dinners with one of Italy’s most respected wine makers. Piermario Meletti Cavallari after making his Super Tuscan Grattamacco famous around the block he sold it and begun a new venture in the Island of Elba in Tuscany to make an extremely difficult wine: Aleatico Passito. Its a red dessert wine with plenty of juicy refreshing character of forrest fruit and hezelnuts combined with a touch of crounchy chocolaty mouth-fill. The ’06 has got more vanilla and structure, the ’07 is more on the jucy savory fruit. A delight with the Marron Glacè from the Badiani Pasticceria!