Tag Archives: Grattamacco 2001



It took me a while to recover from home adjustments in Tuscany.

Kids had to tune in with the Italian school again, catching up with old bills and fines and thankfully also some friends.

I left the blog in Chicago and Cincinnati right before going back to New York.

In the Big Apple we got hit by another snow storm and so I decided to enjoy some children time.

After a few snow balls I take Daphne back home and go with Milo on 18th and 5th to one of the loveliest book shops in town: Books of Wonder. Milo and I go for a Latte and a chocolate cup cake and some nice books to warm up after the cold snow afternoon.

It doesn’t take much to get a nice feeling in this town. A lot of people find it difficult to live in, but I like how New York lives.

The morning after we all went for a Gospel at the Brookling Tabernacle to get some proper NYC fuel and right afterward one can either go for a classic Brunch in a Deli like this one:

Here all troubles and sorrows are going to be drowned into gigantic burritos and welcoming smiles.

Alternatively one can always have a Sutarday or Sunday Dim-Sum Option which our kids love sooo much:

…and yet not so much like my pasta with broccoli and wild Alaskan Salmon. Meanwhile Barbara and Vanessa are working at the bar…

My stop in New York City was too quick though as I had to hold an event in Katona. And so let’s go to Grand Central, track 12 charging our spirit with a Magnolia Backery luscious red velvet cheese cake!

The trip to Katona was pretty and easy. Amy comes to pick us up at the station to get us in a beautiful mansion house in the middle of an enchanted countryside. I liked Amy’s house for its elegance, light and integrity. Benedetta get me straight in the kitchen to taste the food. I obey without any hesitation. I am trying to be more and more obedient these days…

While the pasta challenge was taking place, Barbara and I set all the wines up in the living room and by the time I feel ready for a drink…guests arrive.

I held a little introduction with the creamy Cusona Vernaccia di SanGimignano 2006 to make sure everyone read the music from the same sheet.

This is when I usually kick off with a “How to taste wine session” to break the ice. Then we all get to know each other better and dinner can start.

What a great evening: ice-cold outside fireplace on inside, great Italian Fine Wines and Italian cuisine!!!

We usually start with the schiacciata with chicken liver pate and extra-virgin olive oil appetizers.

Dinner started with:

Cauliflower and broccoli soufflé

Fresh pasta with duck ragu

Roast pork

Chocolate cake

On top of our Cepparello 2006 and Proprietà Sperino 2006 from the De Marchis we went for a great Brunello selection of the small Tornesi Wine Estate 2004 and the slick Barolo Massolino Parafada 2005. The earthy and leathery Grattamacco 2001 was contrasting the very ripe and round ColleMassari 2004, while Tenute di SanLeonardo  together with the duck ragu pasta was possibly the best match of the night. The evening went on and we finished off with the big Arnaldo Caprai Selezione 25 2003: a wine that needs to be treated badly with a lot of oxygen to make sure it opens up at the right time…and when it does it is pure pleasure.

And, as you know, Italy at Your Table can’t finish with a drop of the sweet and savoury Red Aleatico dell’Elba Tenuta delle Ripalte with Benedetta’s Chocolate Cake!

Now jacket on we have to catch a train to New York City before it’s too late. Next stop will be Boston.





By Filippo Bartolotta

This morning we woke up early despite the heavy Beverly Hills night to go to the farmers market near Main Street in Santa Monica with Private Chef Kelly Thompson and Barbara.

The objective was the get the freshest food for a surprise LeBaccanti Saint Valentine’s day at Bryan Adams Studios.

We were after strawberries, chocolate and Parmigiano to use our 25 year old Malpighi Balsamic Vinegar and then fresh vegetables and salads for our Pasolini dall’Onda Extravirgin Olive Oil.

Before getting there I have some time for a little vegan snack while we head to Kelly’s place to prepare everything.

KELLY THOMPSON works as a private chef around the L.A. Area. This is her phone number  229-347-3107

Kelly tossed some fresh asparagus on the grill for a minute, we washed the salads and roots and off we go to the Studios.

We get there right before lunch break. Unload the car and set silently everything up.

Bryan was working at his computer, while splendid Nia Vardalos was having some coffee.

We laid everything out in a split second while the wines were getting served: Grattamacco 2001, Bindella 2006, Proprietà Sperino 2006, Terra al Sole 2004, Montevetrano 2005, Cecchi Chianti Classico Riserva di Famiglia 2005, Tenuta Friggiali 2004, Castell’in Villa Poggio delle Rose 1998.

Meanwhile Barbara and Kelly were finishing off the last touches with the Aceto Balsamico and the Extravirgin Olive Oil.

Vally comes to great us with her calm smile and Mr Adams turns up nice and easy and goes directly for the Extravirgin Olive oil, I was about to talk to him about Laudemio and with a perfect italian accent he goes: hoo yeah…I know Laudemio very well, and the Balsamic Vinegar!

He prove to be incredibly tuned in with high quality Italian gourmet food. Then he sips a drop of Brunello Terra al Sole and a drop of Uvaggio and goes back to work.

Now it was for us time to leave not before having Bryan taking a picture with us though!

What a great start of the day! Usually good starts always bring good rest of the day.

We managed a half an hour beach time, lobster roll -at Lobster in Ocean Ave with some Vernaccia di Sangimigano and catching up with computer work before the big event with Kelly and Van and their great friends.

Their house in Santa Monica has a pretty big garden with all sorts of herbs and vegetables, an outdoor kitchen and a brick oven where Van was making sure that Kelly’s Pizzas were nicely done. I was putting the wines in the wright order.

Here is where Italy at Your Table Santa Monica took place. Three round tables with white linen, six glasses per person, twelve great Italian wines, Kelly great cuisine and a lot of fun.

We started with Il Palagione Vernaccia di Sangimignano Hydra 2008 which everyone loved  and carried on with our Grattamacco 2001, Montevetrano 2006, Caprai Selezione 25 anni 2003, Proprietà Sperino Uvaggio 2006, Cepparello 2006, Barbaresco Punset 2001, Tenute Friggiali 2004, Bindella 2006, Castell’in Villa Poggio alle Rose1998, Amarone Latium Campo Leon 2005, Collemassari 2004, Meletti Cavallari Aleatico Tenuta delle Ripalte to finish everything off.

It was a great night where we travelled from Florence to Montalcinio; from Siena to Montepulciano; from Bolgheri, land of the Super Tuscans to Langhe -land of Barolo and Barbaresco- from Amalfi Coast, Capri, Revello and Positano di the land of Romeo and Juliet: Verona; and from Montefalco land of Sagrantino to the Island of Elba for the sweet/non sweet Aleatico.

A trip that is difficult to forget, a trip into Italy true wine Dolce Vita for a very romantic pre-trip to Italy starting right here in Santa Monica.

Van got us a cab while sipping a drop of one of his favorite Armagnac Francisc Darroze Les Piéces Oubliées 15 ans. He told me a great story of the same producer but 45 years old Armagnac as the best spirit of his life. I wondered what that could have been in considering the 15 ans was sooo the smooth and gentle.

I love Italy at Your Table, my wines and my very sophisticated and yet laid back hosts!


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.




The Berkshires: the land of local farms and sustainable agriculture

by filippo bartolotta

So Heading towards the land of sustainable agriculture and local farmers market and actually great food.

Leaving NYC in a cold sunny Friday morning to go north gives a nice feeling of freedom and peace. Maybe a little less when you have two little monkeys jumping in the back of the car:)

We get to Great Berrington after two and a half hours (and two cream cheese beagles) drive.

Everything is so America, like it can be seen in the movies: frozen rivers, forest and beautiful wooden houses with stars and stripes.

The roads were clear but with ice and snow everywhere.

Our house is a red big wooden place which seems to be nice and warm with the smoke coming off the chimney. We get in real quick as the temperature outside is way below freezing.

Milo is on top of the world while Daphne seems a little spaced out by the size, the snow outside and the super spaciousness of it all. During this trip Vanessa and I were expecting Daphne to be easier to accept the changes then Milo, but the little one hasn’t been adjusting as quickly as Milo, who instead seems to have changed his social behavior for the better.

We have time for a quick run in the cold -I come back with my legs almost falling apart for the ice- and hot shower. As I get off it Robert is there waiting for us, afraid of Davide Manzo from Trattoria Rustica who just told him that we have some problems with the wines.

It turns out to be that there was not any issues and it was all ok, just a matter of a sorting all the bottles out.

Davide is a Napolitan who built the coziest Italian restaurant on his own, running the show “solo” every night. He built an authentic Italian oven shipping all the bits from Italy.

When one first meets Davide has the feeling of being in a real Italian setting.

The truth though is that he is a very sweet guy with an amazing passion for Italian food and produce. Needless to say that his pasta has been the best in the US so far.

He put together a seven courses menu that everyone loved while I was conducting a Wine Journey to Italy with our selection.

Among Italy at Your Table  wine selection the Vernaccia di Sangimignano Cusona 2006 and Vernaccia di Sangimignano Palagione 2006 opened the evening right after Lunelli-Ferrari Perlè Brut served with Proscoiutto di Parma appetizers with a dash of 25 years old balsamic vinegar.

Right after this it was time for  Fontodi Chianti Classico 2007 with its fresh and fruity character was a blast with Davide’s stsrters.

Davide likes to finish all his dishes off into his brick oven, adding texture and flavor to everything,  The dense and dark fruit driven followed with the wild boar pasta dish.

Then again we carried on with the fruit concentration of Bindella Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006 and travelled to Langhe with Mauro Molino sweet red fruit and smooth tannic structured Barolo 2005. At this point it was like being in a restaurant in Italy. People were almost speaking the language.

And like always we went for Italy at Your Table resident wines, which I have described many times and that always never fail to make everyone fall in love with.

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2006; Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 2003 -Selezione 25 anni-; Proprietà Sperino Uvaggio 2006; San Leonardo 2004; Grattamacco 2001; Collemassari Riserva 2004; Montevetrano 2006.

The day after we chilled a bit, we went for brunch in Pittsfield in a gourmet cheese shop.

LEBACCANTI guardian angels -Robert Morrison and Jan Burghamn- took us here for a lovely morning.

That same day we went to the Stage Coach -http://www.stagecoachtavern.net-

where Sara Dibben the chef cooked a lovely farmers’ market dinner:


Brodo & parmesan-leek ‘frico’


fry bread with house-cured lardo

butternut squash pate & honey


winter spinach (tossed with) apple cider  & crumbled sausage (& topped with) fried ‘new layer’ chicken egg


Fettuccini tossed with chicken liver ragu


meyer lemon delight, strawberry conserve

25 year old Malpighi balsamic vinegar

Before the dinner we had a tasting of Italy at Your Table wines and Prosciutto di Parma while having a round table on Nutrition today and hoe the mediterranean and of course the Italian diet can help changing american way of living.

Italy at you table contributed to raise money for the Nutrition Centre Foundation www.thenutritioncenter.org-.

Peter  Stanton has been working all his life to raise awareness on this health topics and with the Nutrition Centre is helping a lot of people to improve their life style.

Dominic Palumbo supplied the organic sausages and gave talk on sustainable agriculture and also was a great baby sitter with Milo: thank you.

We also met Amy Cotler -who joined us- for dinner author of a book on local farms and foods: THE LOCAVORE WAY –

Amy is actively promoting a healthier and more sustainable way of life and we are working on an international project about this subject.

As mentioned this trip isn’t just about indulging in amazing wine tastings but in getting together with people to exchange ideas and to learn from each other.

I am holding almost a wine and food evening a night talking about Italian wines and foods and nutrition issues. But why are Americans so interested in Italian wines and food, in nutrition so much? Why is the White House working on a major food program?

The reason is energy. Life is all about energy, and food is the foundation, without it we do not function, with bad food we at best function badly and eventually we get sick.

People want to feel better and increase their energy levels. Good food from a good source is the most natural and enjoyable way to do it!

Boding with people about foundational values also makes us feel better.

I always have very open sessions where people have their say and share their experiences: this is a lot of fun, a lot of growth and a lot of great energy.

This is why Italy at Your table rocks: good wines and foods, good people and energy: it is a big snow ball, becoming bigger by the day,