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 Â 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…
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 FumÃ¨.
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.
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.
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.
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 100Â°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…