Tag Archives: Col d’Orcia

Italy at Your Table once more in San Francisco


Italy at Your Table once more in San Francisco

by Filippo Bartolotta

After Quince Restaurant it is time to go for a private event with our friend and client Miriam. She came along for a trip to Venezia, to Verona and the Amarone wine region as well as the Collio and Carso regions near Trieste and the  Croatian border.
Miriam and her mum are two of the most omnivore people I have ever met in my life. I thought I was bad, but…

Radikon Stanko

It is great when I take guests around italy and the fully appreciate every single bit of the experience. Miriam is getting more and more serious about her Italian wine collection and appreciation and so are her lovely friends who bombarded me with tons of questions: It’s terrific when I have such an interested crowd.
Like always we begin our private events with one of Italy most forgotten and yet most classy White: Vernaccia di Sangimignano.

Many years have passed since the dilute/cheap Vernaccia was sold as a souvenir in Sangimignano. Now Vernaccia is back on track with its centuries of traditions and quality.Wineries like Panizzi, Cesani, Guicciardini Strozzi and Palagione are making this appellation more and more important every year.

Now with the new President of the Consorzio Walter Sovran and the new director Letizia Cesani it looks like the Vernaccia di Sangimignano is going for an even more radical change towards the quality path.

Vernaccia isn’t a spicy, aromatic and on your face wine, but rather an elegant, gentle and mineral White with a surprising aging potential. Most people, even among trade members, believe Vernaccia is good for the first two years, but I had a vertical tasting of over thirty years old Vernaccia which were so crisp, clean and delicious that I strongly recommend you buy now to enjoy the crispiness and store it to get complexity and minerality.

The price point of this wine is amazing: it starts under the $10 to get to max $25. When I first did the tasting with my friend and colleague Master Italian wine expert Ernesto Gentili -simply the greatest Italian wine expert today- we were gobsmacked about the quality we found. The tasting was so successful that later on there have been a series of comparative tastings with the best Whites in the world, including Grand Cru Chablis and Puilly Fumè.

And I am so glad that the great majority of our Italy at Your Table are enjoying this wine so much. For that matter everyone is enjoying our full wine list.
This time we had for the first time Gigi Rosso Barolo Arione 2005. This is an old School tough Serralunga Barolo which needs a little time to open and show its true amazing floral and truffles complexity.

It was also the first time for the very structured and leathery/earthy Brunello di Montalcino Col d’Orcia Riserva Poggio al Vento 1999. A great classic from an underrated vintage.
So the evening was a blast, I had a lot of fun I think I talked flat for three ours and then we carried on for more tasting and nibbling with the Prosciutto di Parma and the Malpighi 25 years old Balsamic Vinegar.

Why is there such a huge demand for Italian Fine Wine Tastings? Because the Italian wine scene is getting more and more complex and interesting by the year with over four hundred grape varieties it is just a delicious wine heaven. And Americans are eager to learn and share that for me this is becoming the best environment ever to teach.

I love this job, I love to teach and I love to share my passion and my knowledge with hungry wine lovers. Italy at your table is becoming a great hit. Anyone can organize a wine tasting but LeBaccanti with Vanessa, Barbara, Carrie and Valentina doing all the leg work in the back office to support me during my travels and evenings is just another thing. So why do so many people sign up for LeBaccanti wine tastings events wine tours and holidays? I think because people don’t want just to have something to drink, they want to have an experience, they want to have information, they want to increase their knowledge and possibly while having fun.

So this is what LeBaccanti Tours does: organizing made to size wine and food experiences, wether one wants to organize a Wine Challenge Evening for friends and business partners or the greatest Italian Gourmet holiday.

Grazie Miriam for having us!

Now it is time to rush to Palo Alto for an event at the Barton’s. Richard and Megan Barton are friends of some friends of ours in Chianti: Enzo and AnnaGloria Corti. The Cortis live in a beautiful Tuscan House in Chianti, not too far away from were we live. They rent a wonderful Renaissance Villa Castellare di Senigi: http://www.castellaredesernigi.com/eng

This is an authentic Tuscan Villa with authentic antiques furniture and the most spectacular location possible. The Cortis are partecipating to Italy at Your Table giving away seven nights for ten people to one of our guests of thi Road Show. At the end of our tour we will have a draft and the winner will get this amazing and very generous prize.

So my dear Italy at Your Table wine lovers, do not forget to send us your email for the final draft!

Prior our event in Palo Alto we stop for a quick bite at The Ferry Building were we had to do some shopping at the farmers market.

Fresh sea food and then indulging in a delicious chocolate cup cake!

We got to the Barton’s in less then an hour drive with Leigh being our Captain of the expedition. The house was kissed by the sun with fresh flowers all over the places and a stunning setting.

Like always Benedetta Vitali would start preparing dinner around 1430 while we set up for the evening and get the wines ready.

This time we start with nibbles and some wines are served :

Fratelli Revello with their very thick and yet fresh and round single vineyard Vigna Giachini 2005 which was a very big hit of the night.

I enjoyed this evening as it was very “active” in the kitchen an in teh dining room.

Being with a great Football Champion like Harris Barton the day after the game with the Saints dishing out their first victory ever in the Super Bowl was quite something!

Photography by Michael C. Hebert

And here is Richard and myself: of course…I am the big guy:)

The morning after Athena woke us up really early . . . as I mentioned I would have liked to attend a yoga class to relax and gain some energy. She told me about a Bikram steam room Yoga Class: www.bilramyoga.com. At 0730 -more or less, right in my favourite street in San Francisco: Dolores. This is a palm tree roller coaster to be done with a crazy cab driver, possibly mexican!
So at 0800 we are in a 100°F room with another 7-8 people sipping water and waiting to kick the lesson off.
Amy, our sweet teacher looks all ready and smily…Barbara and I instead a little worried to pass out during the class.
It has been one and a half hour of empowering sensation, great stretching and body and mind cleansing. This was a super start of the day. Thanks Athena for persuading us to do it!

After such a demanding workout session we were bound to be hungry! So nothing fits the picture better then a Mexican authentic grill with my favorite: shrimp Burrito and Guacamole!

I have been loving these San Francisco days sooooo much! And this making me into a better taster indeed!
Everything has its price though as we had to gobble down our burrito to avoid being late for Alice Waters…





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!