By Filippo BartolottaSo...so...sooooo,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 Propriet 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!f