Tag Archives: Grattamacco

Kansas City


By Filippo Bartolotta

while in Washington for the mega-charity week, we had set the first Italy at Your Table event in Kansas City.

Gina and Kevin were among the very first to book Italy at Your Table on January the 23rd, right before the 15 Villas event.
I felt bad leaving Robert and Anders and the rest of the volunteers sorting all the wines out, but it had to be done. Early in the morning Barbara and I head from Baltimore to Kansas City. Four hours and we are in the middle of America. I met Gina and Kevin during a wine tour and cooking class in Tuscany and we talked about me going to the US, but now that we made it it all has a different taste.

On one hand it is all brighter and more fun then expected, on the other, it is also very tiring. But I am not complaining.
Above all when I get to places and the hosts are so welcoming and so nice.

Gina also has the smile and the energy which will set you in the right mood regardless.

I loved the event in Kansas city. People listened for over two hours to or Italian Fine Wine Journey while the Culinary Center was dishing out some risotto with wild mushrooms and other exquisite recipes.

We travelled for a wine journey starting with the creamy Panizzi Vernaccia di Sangimignano Riserva 2006 to open up in the right mood.
When ever I open a Vernaccia here in the US, I always have people reacting with a lot of surprise when they taste how good it is. A lot of consumers have got the wrong perception about this wine which is due to the many cheap ones sold in the 70’s. My selection though is only about the very good one: with Cesani, Guicciardini Strozzi, Il Palagione, Panizzi.

I am very proud of these Whites which are available in the market under the $25!

From here we did a compare and contrast of two 2001: Grattamacco and Campo Quadro Barbaresco Punset.

These are two my two oldest bottles of the tour together with a very structured 1999 Riserva Poggio al Vento Col d’Orcia.

I have to say that these great wines made my life easier as it is difficult not to like them all.
The ’01 are always nice to open up the evening for the are a combination of austerity and smoothness: wines with awesome aging potential.
So our Piedmont/Tuscan match set everyone off with the right mood to take us for another trip this time a Barolo/Brunello 2004 pairing: the dense and silky Elvio Cogno Vigna Elena 2004 vs the black cherry, leathery Friggiali Pietra Nera 2004.
Sangiovese and Nebbiolo can have a lot in common and it is always enlightening to pair different regions and varieties together to understand them better.

While some roasted lamb chops were served for main I opened Tenute San Leonardo 2004 and Montevetrano 2005. Trentino vs Campania. Two super dense and silky Cab based wines with a lot of terroir character. Very seldom these slick wines don’t appeal to the public, more often people just can’t get enough and with the lab they were a blast.

I almost forgot to mention another two groups of wines which were served during our Kansas Expedition:
Chianti Classico Riserva Monsanto 2006 which always shows tons of crisp red fruit and such a Tuscan style!
From here we travelled to Biella to the forgotten Lessona area were Luca de Marchi is carrying out an amazing project Proprietà Sperino to revive this very northern Nebbiolo.
He makes an austere Lessona which opens up a little slower then the super naturally sweet fruity Uvaggio 2006 made of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina.
Right after Uvaggio we went for a trip to Montecucco, between Montalcino and the Costal area. Claudio Tipa has been giving a boost up to this Denominazione.
His Riserva Lombrone 2004 right now show so well and so rich that people wonder where it is from. Montecucco sounds a little obscure I have to say, but once tasted it becomes a very popular bottle.
Finishing off the night with Cepparello 2006 is never a bad choice. This wine never fails to make everyone happy, whether is the beginning of the evening or the end or the middle; whether a modern or an old-school wine lover this is home.

Kansas City has been a GOOD pit-stop and I look forward to make it a longer one next year.
Thank you Kevin and Gina!


Italy at Your Table kicks off!


Italy at Your Table kicks off!

by Filippo Bartolotta

So here we are in the US for a few months.

I broke my camera, so I haven’t been uploading too many pictures recently, but I’ll get one in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile I have a Milo and Daphne getting ready for School:)

Milo seems to be born in the Big Apple. We found a place near China Town, in a lovely neighborhood and an amazing school: “Love a Lot Children School”. Milo is so happy that when we go to pick him up he doesn’t want to leave!

I am not over jet lag and so i taking it easy at the moment with few walks in the blue sky winter NYC sunny days.

Taking the children to school at 0800 in the morning is awesome. Everything is quite, at every cross road there’s a kind person checking that car stop, saying hello to the kids, then steaming coffee shops are offering the best beagles in the world: the New York Bagels!!!

Daphne would eat half on the way to school, which is only a few blocks away from home: Milo instead bounces around like a small kung-fu hero! His mood is 110%, I think he feels the Big-City’s energy.

While the kids are in school, Vanessa, Barbara and I instead are working in a near by coffee place, where our cups are refilled every hour!

I got to NYC after the big dinner with John Malkovich and the TechnoBohemian gang and the TB wines.

Technobohemian Wines

for TB minds

By Filippo Bartolotta

The Wines

After sharing some thoughts about wine, food and life-enjoyment with Pierpaolo Moroni and Simone Ramilli along the lines of John Malkovich’s  new collection and the TB movement, I have selected a few fine wines for you to savour.  The result isn’t just a gathering of fine bottles, but the participation of great men and women wine makers in this extraordinary project.

Elvio Cogno

Following in the steps of the mythical Elvio Cogno, Valter Fissore and his wife Nadia Cogno produce one of the very best Barolo wines. Barolo Vigna Elena 2004 and Barolo Bricco Pernice 2005 are extraordinary examples of two totally different wines coming from adjacent vineyards.

Le Sorgenti

Filippo and Christian have been working for a few years to revitalize a project initially started by Filippo’s father. Today they have successfully gotten the attention of the top Italian oenologists without loosing simplicity and independence of thought. Their style is best shown in their Scirus, a warm, dense and structured wine with incredible aging potential.

Mattia Barzaghi

A worker in the wine cellar for many years, Mattia finally found his own way by producing one of the most flavorful, succulent and mineral Vernaccia di San Gimignano ever produced in the shadow of the “city of a hundred towers”. An extraordinary interpretation with force and expressiveness.


An old and authentic Tuscan farm house in the remote hills of Empoli, with a wine cellar which still has

cement fermentation vats that were used before the over take of steel. Here, in this lesser known area, they produce a Sangiovese with a pure determination and thickness that surprises everyone with its perseverance and elegance.

Stefano Amerighi

Young Stefano has been drinking and tasting the best Syrahs in the world for over 10 years. Now he

produces his own in the countryside around Cortona. He has chosen to produce his wine according to the

biodynamic method to respect nature and with the ultimate goal of bottling the purest fruit possible!

Tenuta delle Ripalte

Piermario Meletti Cavallari has a highly refined palates and a free mind. After having launched and made famous the Grattamacco Estate in Bolgheri, he now has a new and even more difficult undertaking on the Island of Elba. Here he is producing a unique sweet red wine with hints of berry and a little saltiness!

Tenuta di Fessina

Musumeci is born from the lava covered slopes of Mount Etna. A juicy, succulent, rich and mineral red wine with incredible drinkability. In just a few years, Silvia Maestrelli has successfully used his Tuscan experience in Sicily with mastery and wisdom.

Terra al Sole

Eclectic Mario Bollag is the owner of one of the southern most wineries in Montalcino. His indipendent spirit results in a spectacular dense, smooth Brunello packed with fruit.


One of the oldest and most well respected Super Tuscan wines. From the pristine hills of Bolgheri, two miles from the sea, this is a wine of structure and austere class.



Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera 2005

Elvio Cogno Barolo Vigna Elena 2004

Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino 2004

Le Sorgenti Scirus 2006

Mattia Barzaghi Vernaccia di San

Gimignano 2008

Villa Petriolo Golpaja 2006

Stefano Amerighi Syrah 2006

Tenuta delle Ripalte Alestico 2006

Tenuta di Fessina Musumeci Etna Rosso


Simone Ramilli and Alessandra Ofir Ortolani the inventors of the TechnoBohemian  have also put together the new TechnoBohemian Blog: http://roqkrealitybook1.wordpress.com/, go and check it out if you like and follow all the new adventrues here!

All of the wines above where  tasted and then drunk by the TB Group including the Designer - philosopher Riccardo Rami: www.riccardorami.com; Alex from Abaco: www.gruppoabaco.it and of course the Simone, Alessandra, Rosalba.

John loved the wines and we carried on till 3 in the morning!

Here John,  Imai  and myself.

Just before dinner we spent the afternoon in Riccardo Rami’s Studio which is a super Zen open space where I will be soon doing a wine tasting.

For our TB WINE MAKERS amazing news: Riccardo Rami was a teetotaler till he met me and your wines.

When in March I am back from the US we will put together a very cool tasting evening: thank you Riccardo for your magic words of wisdom (by the way I am way taller then you…ha!ha!).

The evening with John was very enjoyable, long but enjoyable.

John is like a Diesel engine that never stops. He has track loads of inspiring stories.

I like his way to tell stories, following his direction, then pausing to listen to people and changing his direction a bit to the left, then some else is pushing to the right and he is listening and adjusting.

He remembers everyone and everything and handles everything personally with no middle men what ever the business!

He has a passion for cinema and literature I discovered while sipping the first glass of Mattia Barzaghi’s Vernaccia: Pasolini is still one of the most independent and unique writer we have ever had, he says.

From Pasolini we jump in a second to Anna Politoskaya, then Mastrojanni and Catrhine Deneuve: the TRUTH was the thin red line of our conversation. At this stage Silvia’s Nerello Mascalese Tenuta di Fessina opens the red wines tasting. John ask if that was an Italian Pinot, giving me a clear clue that he has an idea of what good wine is about. Musumeci was a little cold for me, but he likes red wines that way. Massimilia at Ratz Mataz in Prato brings some nibbles while we are waiting for the rest to join Rosalba, John, Pierpaolo and me. John is never late.

Moving on to Petriolo, Silvia’s Sangiovese John show again to be able to appreciate fine wines with quick snappy descriptors while having a bite to eat: this has tighter tannins, but is still very good.

We open Mario Bollag Terra al Sole Brunello 2004: a deep, clean fruit and smooth Brunello.

Mario just managed to get away from a major heart-quake  in Haiti where he spent an important part of his life and where he found inspiration for a lot of good things in his life and for his wines too.

If you buy any of Terra al Sole wines he will give away €20 per  each bottle plus his giving 300 bottles to contribute for this cause. If anyone wants to help send an email to Mario: mario@terralsole.com

John and I manage to talk about the TB wines. On the 19th of this month we will be tasting here in NYC some TB wines to decide how to dress them with new John Malkovich designer’s label.

Barolo Cogno Vigna Elnea 2004 and Bricco Pernice 2005 need decanting as they were too tight. Meanwhile everyone arrives and so we start ordering some food. John never stops talking and telling people interesting stories and anecdotes of his personal life and professional one.

Vigna Elena seemd easier to drink from the beginning while Bricco Pernice, unlike John, needs some serious oxygen to start talking, but then is a true pleasure.

We end our dinner with overwhelmingly energetic Amerighi’s Syrah 2006: everyone love it and here again we had to open more then one bottle to make sure we got the point across: finally we get it!

The day after is the preparation of John’s show at Museo Pecci.

He is always calm, looking after every single detail on his own. I have to say that I was a little skeptical about Malkovich’s fashion line with Rami. I though: this is another VIP brand adventure with neither content nor soul.

I am not a big fashion guy, but his creations are just like him: eclectic, kaleidoscopic, decadent, romantic, karmic and full of life and color. It’s like all his characters, films, trips, dreams are condensed into his creations. Riccardo has been working really hard to make John’s dream come true, and now it is happening.

So now its time to celebrate and enjoy it.

Thank you John for sharing all that with us.

See you soon,






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!