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Italy at Your Table in Cincinnati


Italy at Your Table in Cincinnati

by filippo Bartolotta

This morning while having breakfast with Kathy at her wonderful wooden, big and cozy home by a little lake in Cincinnati, life seemed to be very sweet.

Here it’s very cold and white by the tons of snow arrived in the previous days…Meggy doesn’t seem to mind though.

Also she is inside where it is all nice and warm and breakfast beautifully displayed by Kathy for us in the kitchen.

Everything is quite all around, only the sound of the birds struggling to fetch for food in the snow covered land.

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday after a last heavy night in Chicago and an early flight into Cincinnati.

After the event with the daughter of one of our sweetest clients Barbara and I are invited to go a check the Green Mill. An old school Jazz Club where Al Capone used to hang around.

Great setting, wonderful music and a lot of fun people, but we got back home late.

I am so glad we have been having so many people inviting us to stay at their places. This is how you get to know a Country and its people. And a lot of the success of this trip is due to these friends. I thank you all and I look forward to seeing you at my home soon.

Energy is contagious and passes from the first player to the second like quicksilver until it becomes a movement with its own momentum and its own direction…or something like that. This is a quotation grabbed from Kathy two mornings ago…

I was talking with a journalist for an interview over the phone and when asked why am I enjoying this trip so much I actually forgot to tell her maybe the main reason: visiting these homes.
Success in business is like riding a bicycle: either you keep moving or you will fall. H. Jakson Brown jr.

And so we move. We head to the very elegant Kenwood Country Club for our Italy at Your Table show where our friends from Provident Travel and Fifth Third Bank had organized a special evening for some of their best clients.

This was my second time in Cincinnati. The first time I got there thanks to the CEO of AAA Alliance with whom we became friends after a trip to Italy with Provident Travel and us.

This time we got here thanks to John Morley -Executive Vice President AAA- who made it all happen. John is a very kind Diesel engine who always manages to get things done, nice and neat.

And so the event came out just perfectly. I guess I shouldn’t be the one praising and leave others to say as they did repeatedly. Everybody simply  loved Benedetta’s food and everybody raved about the wines.

It’s terrific when I have a chance to talk so much in front of  a big audience in such great silence and positive tension.

Our wines where the stars of the evening. We started with the very crisp cherry driven and well structured Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Col D’orcia to move onto Gigi Rosso Barolo Arione 2005. We had used this wine already one or twice during the road show and it always required a little bit of time to show off, but then it shows a great floral and yet austere bouquet.

Right after it was time for the “loved-by-everybody” Isole e Olena Cepparello 2006 followed by the Pinot Noir Like Proprietà Sperino Uvaggio (Nebbilo, Coratina, Vespolina). I forgot the creamy and mineral Vernaccia di Sangimignano Panizzi 2006 which opened the evning pairing Benedetta’s Cauliflower Sformato with Prosciutto di Parma and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale 25 years Malpighi.

After this a Cincinnatian style prwan dish and a Tuscan style Arancino.

I was on stage taking people on an Italian Wine Journey with video projection and Benedetta Vitali demonstrating some of her creations.

Her Parmigiana arrived after the Stracotto and everyone raised their hands in a spontaneous applause.

The second lot of reds kicked off with the new 2007 very peppery and dense refreshing Montevetrano (well done again Silvia!) and then back to back the most elegant Italian northern eat Red: SanLeonardo 2004; to finish off this round with monumental earthy and graphite like Sagrantino di Montefalco Arnaldo caprai 2003 Selezione 25 anni.

The last round was done with the classy Grattamacco 2001 and Brabraresco Punset Campo Quadro 2001. then it was time for ripe black fruit Collemassari 2004, a splash of the great terroir driven Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 Monsanto. On the table right at the finish we also let the guests taste the two fantastic Elvio Cogno crus of Vigna Elena 2004 and Pernice 2005.

I will never forget this evening and I will never forget the warmth and welcome of these people.

As I will never forget what it is to come back home with two chirpy little kids jumping, kissing and hugging me.

I am very proud of my kids who are enjoying the New York School so much. Milo is speeding up with his learning path and now not only can he put together LEGO’s on his own, but apparently he seems to be having a special gift for chess.





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!