domenica 25 gennaio 2015

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Shoes and wine pairing? A mirror of the society!

Did you have ever had the chance to observe people making aperitive, look at what they drink and then look at their outfit, especially shoes? I did! But here comes a little bit of romance.
Ok, I can't say there is a mathematical correlation between what you wear and what you drink but some common underneath elements for sure:
Elegant business-man in black, just after work. They have never time to stop home and wear a pair of jeans, they come directly from the office. They are the worse. You know why? Because they are wearing a mask and you cannot understand how they really are. Multitude of facades. Many type of wines. Many type of drinks. Not too far away the chance they start directly with a cocktail to release the stress and reduce the "time-to-get-drunk" period, especially in the big busy cities. Or simply the time to get tipsy (softer view). Rarely you see them ordering with awareness of the facts. True. I am generalizing now. It's a story. Anyway, they drink it quite fast. Conclusion: there is no type of wine for this category (sometimes).
Elegant woman wairing a pair of high  heels #JimmyChoo shoes. Sophisticated, classical. Black (#Armani) coat, distinctive bearing. A Champagne chalice is what best suits her. Fine perlage, never-ending bubbles, persistent sparkling. She sips it calmly, the drink last quite long. Is this a stereotype of woman? Maybe. You might find her in a big and charming city, not common though. Her wine is the #Veuve Clicquot , no doubt on that. Or a #Franciacorta, in an easier connotaion. Croissant, bread crust, fragrant as the pefume she wears. It suits her like a #Chanel nr.5 would do. The #monterossaCabochon is spot-on. You imagine her on a top-roof bar in NY or Paris, or simply looking at the canal from a luxury hotel terrace in #Venice.

Ripped jeans, last autumn-winter collection of sneakers, alternative but attentive to details. They follow the trend and now the trend is to retrieve the "old-style", not only in the fashion world. Have you noticed how much we are getting back to old traditions? More and more people are fed-up of nouvelle cuisine and want to go back to simplicity. The same with wine. And we are actually assisting to the the "re-birth" to the #sur lie method (in Italy we call it #col fondo which literally means with the residual yeasts). With the natural bottle re-fermentation and no filtration, the wine obtains a natural, "rustic & country" flavor and it is exactly the same type of sparkling wine that our grandparents used to drink. #Costadilà #col fondo wine is now quite in vogue in Italy (#prosecco or #glera grape). I love also #Menti one, made with #garganega. Stefano Menti is an alternative and genuine fellow and he wants his wine to be "deliberately downgraded" (read my post on that if you are curious:,
And what about middle-class bourgeois entrepeneurs? They were a casual studied look. A nice pair of #Tods, a cashmere sweater  in winter which becomes a personalized (with the initials) shirt in spring and a #RLauren polo in summer. The like sailing or golf, they enjoy life staying with friends drinking and eating well, sometimes they become also "experts" in the field and they LOVE to show off their know-how. So here comes #AngeloGaja, a wine producer behind one of Piemonte greatest #Barbaresco. 

The final category is the one I prefer: the rebels. They live surrounded by studs, they love studs. Their colour is black, so their wine must be red. And the producer must me a rebel: #FulvioBressan. Read the story about him:

His pinot noir is atypical. White pepper and vanilla. Ripe fruit. From a rare and noble grape the Pignol 2001 has a great potential too. Served after oxygenation. woodlands undergrowth as well as with aromatic herbs. 

Ah, I forgot, don't you like #Berlusconi? Well, no doubt, go for #BartoloMascarello "I don't make wines with fantasy names. I don't make crus, I don't make wine in barriques, my wines don't have perfume of vanilla and Limousin oak. I'm the last of the Mohicans".
After spending his entire life in the vineyards, in his later years due to illness and obliged to stay in his office Bartolo became a sort of artist, designing his own wine labels. His most famous one is the "No Barrique No Berlusconi", nowadays a real collectors’ piece!!!

martedì 13 gennaio 2015

#"Da Vittorio" - 3 Michelin stars restaurant experience!

A little tale on my experience at "Da Vittorio", a 3 Michelin stars restaurant located in Bergamo, precisely in Brusaporto. As soon as you cross the main entrance with you car you enter into a huge park completely illuminated (you understand so that it was a dinner and not a lunch ;-) ). The restaurant is located on the top of a not too steep hill, from where you have a wonderful view. The last check of my face reflected on my compact mirror (an accessory I can't go out without) to see if it was more (or less) ok ... Acceptable. A quick update to the daily make-up and a last-minute exchange of my shoes. Ok, I agree the last gesture doesn't properly suit the concept of elegance but I am sure you agree with me that with zero degree walking six hours incessantly around Milan with a pair of #Hugs it's not elegant but it's smarter.
As soon as I passed the second entrance (into the restaurant of course, it's not a labyrinth) I got the feeling to be in a fairy tale. Everbody since the first moment up to to end is taking care of you (at this stage I avoid any pecuniary comment ;) ). We got accompanied to our table, whose distance from the others was perfectly measured (I had still the chance to eavesdrop a tiny bit from our neighbours :) ) and instantaneously served an entrè (maybe I remember wrong and it was after we ordered ... doesn't matter). It was really elaborated so don't ask me to repeat it. Nice, indeed.  
As a first impression I have to say that the place looks really traditional. Charming, elegant, warm, all fitting adjectives. But not innovative. It's not a critical point, just an observation. Differently from others Michelin stars where the atmosphere is more artefact, here you feel more .... Ok, I can't say you feel more like at home (do not exaggerate!) but maybe you feel less like in a 3 Michelin stars restaurant. And here let's confess that I have just one term for comparison, which is Le Calandre, by Alajmo, where I celebrated by 30s. But soon I will have a second jolly to spend ;) Let me give the time to save some money after Xmas squandering.
I was a little bit surprised about the Menù. I expected it was more oriented to "themed choices" rather than to the usual Starter/Main/Dessert structure. There was instead just one "dinner package" (let's define it like that even if it sounds more touristic than starred) for which we went for, without thinking even half a second. I might won't return to Vittorio another time in my life or, better, for sure I won't return to Vittorio very soon (it sounds less dramatic!) and therefore I wanted to try EVERYTHING. Let me let eat also the tablecloth! Yes. because "Da Vittorio", differently from the "new-age" Calandre philosophy, you have also the tablecloth. You see, I am not a liar, this restaurant is traditional as I commented before.

As I said we were very convinced about following the Chef Menù, a selection of different tastings, all rigorously made with fish. And I was astonished that the other tables were simply going for a "miserable" (it's rethorical of course) main course, like a tagliolini fresh pasta with some grated #white tartufo from Alba (5.000 euro per kilo). Maybe and most probably they are habitual customers.  Some rich entrepeneur from the area inviting for dinner the 20 years younger (secretary). Oh my God, he was so ugly and coarse. A table of younger "hungry" (in al senses) businessmen with a plethora of models (or, if not models, reinvented girls in their max 30s after some plastic surgery). Last, but not least, a Russian family (for sure not habitual) with another plethora: of children this time. Who for sure aprreciated the three Michelin stars "decomposed zuppa inglese" dessert (but maybe would have been more happy with a MD chocolate & cookies icecream, what do you think?).
Stop to be a blabbermouthing (I am speaking to myself now)!
How was it? Excellent. From the starter (the 1st one, the second one and the third one: so was not actually a starter) to the dessert (the pre-dessert, the second pre-dessert, the real dessert, the afterdessert: which one was actually the dessert? I got lost). 
The pictures speak themselves (maybe they would speak better if they were made by a real photographer and not with my I-phone) but I just want to mention the courses which impressed me more. The Tuna tartare with an oysters marshmallow foam. The fish risotto, where the ingredients were decomposed (included the condensed bouillon) and needed to be melt togheteher to regain their essence in the multitude.  The mixed fried fish where each ingredient was basically part of a complex mosaic. The "decomposed zuppa inglese". Their assortment of homemade (as everything there of course, even the cheese is prepared by them and not supplied) of bon-bon of all colors scale and filled in with the most unthinkable ingredient (even vodka).
From my position I could admire the open-plan kitchen and the multitude of chefs at work.Wow! That looked like an army.
And the same the waiters were walking around like ants. So I can assure you that bread on my table was not missing. From the saulty croissants to the "whatever other kind of bread". Extremely tasty and fresh.
The cherry on the top was our wine. Useless to say that the wine list was like a bible containing all possible religions. We opted for an autoctonous one. We went for a certainty: the Trebbiano d'Abruzzo of Valentini, 2011. Valentini is a myth. They say his Trebbiano he is the only one in the world able to cope with up to 20 years aging. Light but not light; the border between you like/you don't like is very ephemeral. But if you decide to like it, you do it seriously. Those slight mould notes which open themselves leaving space for a unique and irresistible complexity are unforgettable. Not filtered, not concentrated, not aged in barriques. Balanced, fat, fresh. And with that I have said everthing.

mercoledì 7 gennaio 2015

#Milan - a paradise for whatever kind of lover

I love to observe, I love to walk (and observe while I walk obviosuly), I love to write down what I have seen to fix it, like a sort of guarantee I freeze my emotions, the same emotions that after a while can fade, just because time makes it happen. During these Xmas holidays I have spent few days in Milan, just to relax and chill-out a little bit. I neglect to listen to that slice of cake of opinions which categorize that city as grey dyed, just business-oriented, where you have nothing to see.  Excuse me, can you repeat? Do you have a soul?
On the contrary, I got absolutely captured by the massive amount of colours, lights, tastes and flavors.
I have been living there several years for study (mmm, and not only ...), but this time I had seen it from a different angle, with different eyes let's say...And, frankly admitting it, with a thicker wallet, a particular which always helps...
1st: Useless to say that if you are a fashion addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. That's why I strongly recommend to walk around the quadrilateral fashion district on the 1st of January, as I did. You can still enjoy the glitter of the Xmas lights and the dazzingl haute couture maison's windows, having their doors locked. Ok, the sensation is not exactly like the one you have when you come out staggering with a countless number oh shopping bags on your wrist (passing by an hyper-strapping man in black), but at least you can dream about your dinner without any sense of guilt (so, my advice is: wait until the day after, when the sales start!). 

2nd: Useless to say that if you are a foodies addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. And this time, not only for your wallet, but also for your shape ;) Unless you decide to avoid the subway and walk, walk and ... walk...No matter if you freeze, just walk. And after a visit at the fantastic and majestic cathedral and all the surrounding area, stop by Luini, and eat one of their panzerotti. Simply amazing. One of those that you eat with all the voracity left after the Xmas blowouts. 
Especially if you have skipped lunch to pretend to be healthy. Or, maybe more realistically, because you have skipped lunch after having filled yourself like a pig at one of the #California Bakery formats. I am not a passionate of formats but let me say that this one is extremely cute. You can have your scrambled eggs bagel and pancakes next to a very alternative and cool Milan couple, speaking about their just recent night of sex (I am joking :) and wearing the same trendy stripes hat.

And what about Navigli? is it about food lovers? There are a couple of places I would recommend to go and one of this is #El Brellin, the "Milanese style", especially their brunch is excellent. 
The massive part of this suburb is made of small bars and pubs where you can enjoy an happy hour. Amazing if you are a student under your 30s ... (sobh :-( ) To avoid if you have a sensitivity (just a slight one is enough) for decent food and beverage. I am not generalyzing of course, I am not the one going for the "black and white theory", exception exist in life, always. But, in general (and I have just said I am not generalyzing ;-)) in the "happy hour" (where the formula is: pay for the drink and eat whatever is served on the buffet) the quality of the food is quite low.... and dangerous, again.. And, I would bet that whatever kind of pasta left hours and hours there macerating would lose its appeal (so quality and timing are playing toghether!). Finally I have learnt (after years and years) that maceration is not always good!
Always speaking about Navigli, what can I say of traditional trattorias serving traditional food? I have been at "La Trattoria Milanese", located at the start of one of the two Naviglio lanes. You can enjoy an #ossobuco "alla Milanese" and a #risotto "alla Milanese" and something else "alla Milanese". But let me say that the place has lost some shine throughout the years. It looks like time hasn't passed there but not in a positive connotation. It looks somehow a tired environment. I am sorry :( ? Yes, I am.

3rd: Useless to say that if you are a wine addicted, Milan is extremely dangerous. Wine everywhere. Go to the Peck wine cellar in Via Spadari and if you want (and can!) you might leave there 8K euro for a bottle. Extremely rich cellar, wit labels from all over the world, a prestigious place.

Go to the Eat's food hall at the #Excelsior luxury shopping center and you can find the most trendy labels, also natural and orange wines. And also a very nice guy (well prepared) which after half an hour chatting with me and disclosing his knowhow, started to give vent to its frustration about the professionalism of some colleagues and bla, bla, bla...That's life!
Or go to Eataly at Milano Smeraldo and there you can find many interesting labels (a part from those where Farinetti business is involved...). I personally do not like Eataly so much (you see it? I am not a lyer, before I said that I don't like formats), but a visit to it it's worthed at least to understand towards which direction we are moving. Should I cry now? A small tear, come on!

Anyway, anyhow, I personally love more rustic places. Those place that to get there you simply need to know them beacuse they are not famous. Do you understand what I mean? The case is that I got the luck to bump into a very "vivid" and "traditional" winery quite far from the city center, precisely in Via Paolo Sarpi, in the heart of the Milan Chinese ghetto. Simply I loved it. As it's often the case in such places, conversation with the staff and management was part of the experience. Browsing the shelves full of handwritten tags helping in understanding what wonders are you looking at was the most fascinating part. And the excellent glass of German Riesling I had too. If I remember well it was a Dönnhoff of 2012 Vintage. The name of the winery? #Cantine Isola.

Last but not least, if you cannot fully dissemble your hidden posh impulse donate yourself a dinner at #Iyo …"what makes Iyo truly special is the quality of the ingredients and the uncommonness of the flavours, which catapult you in to a parallel sensory universe" ( It's the first fusion restaurant in Italy who earned a Michelin star.  It deserves it. Just my personal opinion.
And please, do not forget to try the tuna belly with goose foie gras & Maldon salt. Upss, I forgot to say one thing, it's dangerous! You can like it so much that you prefer to explode rather then stop eating.

Conclusion: if you are not a scaredy cat, go to Milan eat, drink, make shopping and enjoy it!


lunedì 29 dicembre 2014

Arcari e Danesi + Azienda agricola Solouva: two interesting projects

I got impressed and fascinated by these two realities, that's why I would like to speak about them in the same post.
Let's start with the first one.
Arcari e Danesi is basically the assembly of three friends, a terroir and a project driven by passion: Giovanni Arcari, Nico Danesi and the producer Andrea Arici.
Giovanni Arcari and Nico Danesi were and are working in the wine field with different roles. Giovanni in the communication and as a wine blogger, a "wine talent scout" (as the notorious wine journalist Franco Ziliani defined him). Nico an oenologist  instead. Both vivid consultants in the field, helping in the promotion of some smaller wine companies in the Franciacorta area, in all the steps of the production chain.
TERRAUOMOCIELO is actually a project born in the Franciacorta area from the meeting of the three men during the 2002 grape harvesting of Andrea Arici producer.  TERRAUOMOCIELO is a project for the safeguard of the small agriculture in the wine world. It's a manifesto against the standardization and homogenisation. Successful I would say.
And ...  a part of advicing other producers, Giovanni & Nico challenged themselves with the realization of their wines. The dosage zero is what I have personally tried and I have found it extremely enjoyable. 100% Chardonnay, fermentation in steel, 30 months on the yeasts. White flowers and citrus notes. Sapid, vertical, crispy, direct. Ideal with raw fish.

Let's continue with Solouva.
It's a small reality which took part to the TERRAUOMOCIELO project, property of Andrea Rudelli. Only 1,5 ha and around 10.000 bottles produced per year. The name Solouva (Only Grape) derives from the production method: in no step of the process are added any sugars. @ONLY GRAPE. The grape is picked up fully riped and the wine is bottled when fermentation has not ended yet, so that there are still some sugars left. For the dosage the must previously frozen is used. Again 100% Chardonnay. Yellow fruits. Pleasant acidity notes on the finish.


domenica 14 dicembre 2014

#Sandro Sangiorgi: a unique experience!

I had the chance to attend some wines classes held by Sandro Sangiorgi, a guru in the field. Director of the Porthos magazine, sommelier, wine writer and expert, supporter of natural wines, the only ones who deserve to exist.
I entered the class and I had the feeling he was a little bit presumptuous. I changed my mind. Ok, he likes provocations, especially if directed to women (I guess he has a weakness for beautiful women ;-)). But he is definitely an open-minded character, he loves to listen to the "naive" opinions of people who do not know as much as him about wines and are not affected by external influences like whoever is in the field. And he genuinely loves PIZZA and often use it in his "wine-food" pairing quotes!
He started the lesson with the extract of a poetry, called  the "Cipolla"/ the "Onion". I guess the message is that the wine has different substratum and that you need to discover them one by one to understand its essence. But that is just my personal interpretation.
We tasted 7 different wines. I enjoyed the first part when we were served exactly the same wine, the same grape but coming from different parcels, the only difference from the fact that one started to be grown byodinamically in a second stage.
In Sandro classes you taste natural wines basically. Because for him the only wine is the natural one, with no exception. It has a strong identity, able to overstep the boundaries of its territory. And to be natural it's not enough the lack of use of sulphites (SO2). Long maceration is not a sign that a wine is natural either, nor the fact that it  tends to the orange color. It's a multitude of factors that need to be combined. In conventional wines "universality" fades.
A real natural wine producer cannot have a unique commercial objective but it needs firstly to be a custodian of its land. He has a big responsibility towards the community, because wine is a form of cultural and spiritual nourishment, before everything else. Nothing to deal with nutrition. Just "if and when" we speak about natural wines. And, I stress it again, natural doesn't mean only lack of sulphites. 
I loved when he defined the knowledge of wine as a journey inside ourselves. And it comes with experience. I totally agree. Day after day. We do not need to rush. We will learn by discovering places, meeting men and women who hoe the ground. Discover unsual beauties. Choose the wine because we love it and not to show it to friends.
If you seriously want to know something about wine because you have a passion, I recommend to read his book: "L'invenzione della Gioia"  ("The invention of joy").  No other title could be better spot-on!

To conclude my post I want to write about an episode who touched Sandro, which is one of the first arguments you find on the web when you Google his name. That's why I wanted to start my article with a different and more enthusiastic topic.

People in the field know actually Sandro also for a story behind the scene, who involved him and the Porthos edition, being arraigned both from Gambero Rosso Holding and Slow Food edition. Accused of defamation, Sandro & Porthos won the case in the 2nd stage of the legal process. Responsible from 1993 until 1999 of the tastings and reviews for the "Vini d'Italia" guide (at that time co-edition between the Gambero Rosso and Slow food), it happened that Sandro left his role suddenly.
During a session of the TV program Report focused on wines ("In Vino Veritas" special edition), Sangiorgi revealed the truth about his leaving, declaring the pression received from the two organizations in order to favour in his reviews some wineries who stongly invested in advertisment, to the detriment of others . Specifically he signaled the publication of a review he never made on a wine company he thought was not deserving it. This declaration provoked the Gambero Rosso and Slow Food edition reaction and the consequences I wrote abut before.
I let yourself express your own opinion.

I thank instead Sangiorgi for the beautiful classes and for the great wines I had the chance to taste. Cheers!



domenica 7 dicembre 2014

Fulvio Bressan: the rebel winemaker

I had no clue about the controversy on Fulvio Bressan before they presented me his wines during a tasting. Expelled from Slow Wine due to his racist comments in Facebook against Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s Minister for Integration.

Difficult fellow. Direct, overheated, polemic. After the FB episod, his wines got  boycotted. A case of #web-reputation? Did he drink too much maybe ? His philosophy is "to hate moralists. In front of you they make the purist and criticize you. But then, they stab you in the back and make the most revolting things in the world". For sure he applied this philosophy (to be direct and not moralist), he shouted his thoughts in front of everybody (in the web) and he got punished. I don't have a clear position on that. I totally disagree of such a direct and offensive way of shouting furiously and with racism ideology. On the other side, I fully disagree on the boycott positions taken in the wine world and business. Especially after he excused himself. Especially because it looked quite evident that he did it in a naive way driven by his hot temperament.
That he was a rebel personality was quite clear. That he got easily overheated too. So I see as an outsider too strong the positions taken against him and his wines. Like a sort of "moralist" attitude to take advantage of someone else mistakes, an excess of righteousness? Maybe.
Anyway, I tasted his wines before knowing all this story, so my judgement was 100% naive  & still is impartial

The Schioppettino or #ribolla nera was spicy and full of wild aromas, quite complex. Moss, wood, mulberry. I liked it.

His pinot noir is atypical. White pepper and vanilla. Ripe fruit. It reminds to his other wines I tasted, despite the non-autoctonous grape variety. I liked it too.
From a rare and noble grape  the Pignol 2001 has a great potential. Served after oxygenation. woodlands undergrowth as well as with aromatic herbs.  Honestly, I found it amazing.