Tag Archives: Massolino




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!


Barolo ANTEPRIMA: Monforte and Serralunga 2005


Barolo ANTEPRIMA: Monforte and Serralunga 2005, by Filippo Bartolotta

The last day of Alba wines we had the Monforte and Serralunga lot.

These two areas are considered the toughest of zones of Langhe, so let’s see if they stood up to the expectations!

Compared to La Morra, Barolo, Castglione Falletto, Novello and Verduno, the two township of Monforte and Serralunga tend do give always tougher Nebbiolos which usually stick out some years later then their fellow colleagues.

After a heavy and delightful dinner at Bovio,


the restaurant owned by the former owner of Belvedere in La Morra, where I sat at a table with some four producers and a group of other journalists the morning after I was promptly ready with my computer at nine 09:00 a.m. at the Centro Congressi in Alba.


The first few tastings are always a bit puzzling and so I always go back with these wines twice, just to make sure. At that time in the morning one is more inclined to go for a second cappuccino and a croissant rather then some tight tanninc Barolos!

’05 is a difficult vintage. I would be cautious to call it a bad one as many are already claiming. It’s not as easy, fruit driven, dense, consistent and smooth like 2004.

It’s a vintage to watch, it’ a vintage to listen to very carefully, but I am sure that it will give a lot of pleasure in the coming fall.

Even more so with the Serralunga and Monforte ones. I am always very skeptical about “vintage statements” like: the vintage of the century and so on.

Due to the heavy rains in october, ’05 hasn’t been an easy one, but if you are careful enough to choose the small and thorough producers you will most definitely be rewarded.

These two areas in particular seemed to be.like always firmer and tighter then, say La Morra Barolos. In general terms expect more austerity, more astringency, less generosity, less expressiveness and more body, tannins, but also aging potential.

I am not one of those who thinks that tough tannins means long aging; not in the slightest! I think balance from day one is the real key to fine wine, but when it comes to Barolo an extra ear must be out in to play. In fact too many times I have opened young Barolos that where either very silent or very stinky; above all those from the old school.

Also far too many times I later found out how these wines change a lot in the glass and if one only allow them the chance to speak more freely  they will open up letting you know how they really think and behave!

So with ’05 be doubtful, but also very open minded.

Even said that, I have to say that on a negative note, far too many Barolos in Serralunga and Monforte where over done with oak. It seemed to me that in general terms in Langhe everyone is moving away from the “extra-modern” concentrated black inky overly toasted and oaked wines, but her more then in the other areas quite a few wines could have done much better without the excessive oak driven spices and dry astringent palate.

On the other end i liked the firmness of these wines, their full body and robust structure and the very powerful persistent finish.


As soon as I manage to match my tasting notes from the blind tasting with the names we where given, I will let you know who stood out from the crowd. I have a list of 17 wines out of 75 that I liked better (more then 20%) and among these 3 really good good ones.

Among the lot this is some of the stuff that i liked.

Podere Rocche dei Manzoni, Perno 2005 Vigna Cappella Santo Stefano- Monforte

balsamico e terrosità con una frutta viva, fresca ed energica. IN bocca il vino vola con estrema leggerezza pur essendo costruito su una fitta trama tannica. bella complessitò, ma soprattutto mineralità sapidità e persistenza.

Balsamic and earthy with a lively fruit bouquet, elegant and bright. A very uplifting mouth fill  with a dense tannic and a mineral and savory complexity.  Very persistent. Now-20025

Massolino- Vigan Rionda -Margheria-Vigna Margheria 2005

Tar and violets with a great fruit concentration. Important tannic structure which allow the wine to get on a different level. Sweet natural fruit, balance and length and a great drinkability. Great terroir expressiveness, powerful and elegant with a mineral lingering finish. 2010-2025

Elio Grasso Gavarini Chinera 2005

QUite silent but with a good floral character which meeds some time to come out. Nice cehrry and balsamic complex nose with a fresh and energetic tannic structure. Forrest fruit and licorice with a youthful and still tight character. Very natural energy, needs time. 2010-2025

Before I go to bed a note of many many thanks to the great team of people in Wel-come and the two greatest sommelier couple in the world Claudio and Pin. Thank you very much for all your help and “mind reading” support.