ViniToscana in New York Cityby Filippo BartolottaSo America, here we come again. I am about to go to bed. This has been one of the fullest week of my life.
It started in Piedmont browsing around the best restaurants and the best wine makers with some friends. First pit stop La Ciau del Tornavento with Chef Maurilio Garola. Maurilio is the owner of one of the most scenographic restaurants in Langhe and definitely one of the most talented. And -big bonus for wine enthusiasts- a to die for wine list.[caption id="attachment_2945" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Maurizio Garola and Filippo Bartolotta"]
[/caption][caption id="attachment_2944" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Barolo Borgogno 1967 Roberto Voerzio Brunato 1998"]
[/caption]Arriving in Langhe straight from Florence knowing that Maurizio is going to cook for me and some good friends is a reassuring thing, even if one has to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive for four hours. Borgogno '67 (original bottle!!! watch out for the re-corked ones as they tend to be a disappointing experience) was in very smooth and sweet conditions and Roberto Voerzio Brunate 1998 rather closed and dark with good weight.Afternoon is spent trying to recover from the big lunch and then is time to go for dinner again. I choose Felicin as my accommodation. Nino isn't just a truly wonderful person, but he also knows how to cook:). A little crazy, straight forward and honest, I like him a lot. His wine cellar is fantastic, but that doesn't count as he will let you pick only what He wants!
The night with Nino we drunk Elio Altares Barbera Vigna Larigi 1986, a vino da tavola from the beginning years of the master of the new wave of Barolists from La Morra. Very ark wine with pretty spectacular length and power. Then we opened a dense, tar and roses smooth Aldo Conterno Barolo Cicala 1978. Meanwhile Nino was keep going with his fantastic Antipasti: Carne Battuta with black truffle and anchovies, little leeks omelets, various creative small salads till the arrival of the Taglierini with black truffle and white meat ragout.I told him I wanted to open a Barolo from the 60's but Nino didn't even consider me. It was only after the first course that he came with a blind tasting: crunchy red fruit, luscious licorice and cherries, cola action and salty finish...Barolo Fontana 1964. Nino's very vintage, a present from his grandfather! Thank you Nino we won't forget![caption id="attachment_2948" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Elio Altare Vigna Larigi 1986; Barolo Fontana 1964; Barolo Cicala Aldo Conterno 1978"]
[/caption]The morning after we go straight to visit Giacomo Conterno of Aldo Conterno. Giacomo is one of the most welcoming wine makers in the world of Fine renewed wines. He cares about what he does and he does it right. We taste all the 2006 Cicala and Colonello single vineyards in awesome shape and stunning Romirasco 2005: these are powerful and yet elegant Barolo with a very long agin potential.Lunch is at Piazza Duomo di Alba with Chef Maurizio Crippa. My last experience here was during truffle season and I must say that it wasn't too easy. This time I found the service friendly, timely and professional and the food pure and crystalline. Maurizio loves his garden during summer and that comes out with all the possible colors and flavors. I loved the succulent three meat Angolotti and the sweet breads with parsley...so delicious
Barolo Pi Franco 2004 Cappellano is our poison for lunch as one bottle isn't enough: sweet natural fruit, inner force, minerality and balsamic complexity.
After such a great Cappellano we go into Augusto's cellar.Auguto has definitely found his path now alone in the cellar. All his wines aging in the big Slavonian and Austrian oak casks are in perfect conditions: the Barolo Rupestris 2007 and the Barolo Pi Franco 2007 are now showing amazing fruit despite being still young!Augusto also is kind enough to have us trying vertical of Barolo Rupestris from 1998 till 2007. The wines are never disappointing, the fruit always there, the salty natural power never ending and the balsamic licorice complexity to lift everything up...not enough for me to reach Augusto's stature:) Thank you for the wonderful tasting.
Now time to rest a bit. Today I woke up and took a half an hour run. Late in the evening I decided to take a little stroll around Monforte, but I ended up running for an hour: too beautiful a scenery and too much calories in my system!
Another dinner and another lunch to go...I know it's hard.Dinner is at Locanda del Centro a few miles from Barolo town. Lovely welcoming restaurant with super passionate sommelier and perfect service. The cuisine is a modern interpretation of Piedmont. The lamb brought at the table on a hot stone was really one of the best pieces of meat I ever had in my life. The wines were very interesting with a Paolo Scavino Cannubi 1990 with some vanilla, oak elements and a very smooth touch; then we opened a very tar and tobacco and leathery driven 1989 Barolo Josetta Saffirio and seriously sweet and velvet almost perfect Pio Cesare Barbaresco 1961![caption id="attachment_2956" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Paolo Scavino Cannubi 1990; Barbaresco Pio Cesare 1961; Barolo Josetta Saffirio 1989"]
[/caption]The last day is dedicated at Bartolo Mascarello and Mauro Mascarello. Nothing in common between this two families, if not just divine wines.Mauro Mascarello is the producer of Monprivato in Serralunga. This wine is never a disappointment. The Mauro Mascarello Monprivto 2004 is a monumental and yet approachable Barolo packed with great red fruit, licorice and a lot of mushrooms and forrest power. Ca d'Morissio 2003 is already approachable today with ripe red fruit, alcoholic restrained force and minerality. His Dolcettos are also a treat for those who love a little easier drinking wines.Mauro is a great host and very nice person with a delicate profile reflected in the wines like a Sergio Leone's sound track![caption id="attachment_2957" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Mauro Mascarello"]
[/caption]Last but not least before hitting the road again we stop at Bartolo Mascarello. Maria Teresa has been running the show on her own since 2005. She's been working in the cellar from 1993. Today she decides to open the vintage of her first year. Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 1993 is smooth, delicate floral and earthy and very lingering. We also open the very ready to drink savory 2007 and the more structured and austere 2006. Bartolo Mascarello winery is for me one of the most reliable source of great wines around.Time to go home and now, as I right, time to go to be. The week saw me dealing with the kids, the end of the school, Daphne's party and...my best friend wedding! I'll post some pictures from the Big Apple as tomorrow in the morning I gotta catch a flight. One last thing I was asked to marry my friends Jacopo and Francesa and...despite the tacks of emotions -I almost remained speachless, which for those who know me sounds impossible- I actually have married them!A few hours of getting lost in the beautiful forest of Casentino brought me back to life and now I am ready for real city and vinitoscana-nyc.com
.I will be presenting the Vernaccia di Sangimignano and Chianti Colli Senesi to seven of the greatest Italian Restaurants of the Big Apple! I soo look forward to meet with the chefs who designed the menu to go with the the Tuscan wines! Check us out and come and see me!THE RESTAURANTS:ANFORA
; LOCANDA VERDE
.[caption id="attachment_2966" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Maria Teresa Mascarello and Filippo Bartolotta"]