When I was the wine director for I-Trulli restaurant in NYC, a young man from Florence spent 3 months working with me in the restaurant and the Enoteca. Ciro Beligni already knew about wine and was a quick learner. We spent a lot of time speaking about wine, food, and Florence. Ciro them returned to Florence and is today one of the owners at Le Volpi e l’Uva, which I consider to be the best wine bar in Florence. Over the years, whenever I visit Florence I stop to see Ciro and we talk about what is happening in the wine industry. On this visit I asked Ciro to choose all of the wines for us.
Ciro just received this prestigious award for the wine list Le Volpi e l’Uva from Milano Wine Week.
Ciro suggested we try Franciacorta DOCG Satèn Brut “1701” 2016 Società Agricola Cazzago San Martino made from 100% Chardonnay from a 10 hectare vineyard with morainic terrain with stones. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. Harvest takes place at the end of August. 80% of the hand picked selected grapes are crushed in a pneumatic press and fermented in steel tuns at a controlled temperature. 20% undergoes cold maceration with fermentation in new barriques. Aging is for 7 months in steel or barriques. The second fermentation takes place the spring following the harvest. The wine remains on the lees for at least 30 months and 3 to 4 months following the disgorging. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, yellow fresh fruit, with a hint of brioche and a touch of pastry cream.
Etna Bianco 2018 DOC Feudo Cavaliere made from 100% Carricante coming from a very old ingrafted vineyard and a recently planted one. The vineyard is on the south side of Etna at 950 to 990 meters. The training system is spurred cordon with high plant density. Volcanic soil and “ripiddu” sands rich in minerals. Harvest is in October. The wine in aged in stainless steel tanks on the lees for one year. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, floral notes, a touch of honey and balanced acidity
Anchovies, lemon and butter on a brioche roll was a fantastic little bite to enjoy with the wine.
Italian Cheese plate with several interesting condiments
Barbaresco 2018 DOCG Vicenziana made from 100% Nebbiolo from a two hectare vineyard. The soil is clay with lime rich marl. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks for about 20 days. The wine is aged in Slavonian botti (oak barrels) of 20 to 30 hectoliters for 2 to 3 years. This is a traditional Babaresco that will last for 25 years or more. It has hints of black raspberries, cherries, leather, tea and a hint of spice.
Finocchiona, a typical fennel flavored salame and mascarpone on toasted Tuscan bread.
Barolo 2013 DOCG Scarzello made from 100% Nebbiolo from five different plots of Vigna Merenda in the Sarmassa cru at 300 meters on clayey and calcareous soil. Fermentation is in temperature controlled steel vats with long maceration on the skins. The wine ages for 30 months in oak barrels of 25 and 36 hl for 30 months. This wine will last for a number of years. 2013 was an excellent vintage. It has hints of red fruit, tar, licorice, leather and balsamic notes.
Dessert was a chocolate topped crostata with almonds and pastry cream.
Torcolato Riserva 2017 San Bortolo made from 100% Vespaiola from a 1.5 hectare vineyard planted in 2006 with a north/south exposure. The soil is medium textured alluvial and clay. The training system is single and double curtain overturned guyot with 8 to 10 buds. There are 4,400 vines per hectare. Harvest is in mid September. Carefully selected grape bunches are hand harvested and then naturally dried in an airy granary.The grape pressing is in February with a yield of 25 to 30%. First fermentation on the lees in French oak barriques for almost one year. The wine remains for 24 months in new barriques. It has hints of citrus, apricot jam, and hazelnuts with a note of honey and an aftertaste of dried fruit and almonds.
On our last night in Florence, Ciro let me taste a wine that he produces Sangiovese Toscana IGT 2019 “Altreviti” made from 100% Sangiovese. Ciro Beligni. The grapes are from an old vineyard at 450 meters. Harvest is by hand. Spontaneous fermentation takes place. The wine is aged in cement tanks and tonneau for 15 months before it is bottled. Only 2,542 bottles and 44 magnums were produced. If you go to the wine bar ask Ciro for a glass or a bottle. It is a very impressive wine.
Le Volpi e l’Uva is located at Piazza dei Rossi, 1, in Florence, Italy. Open every day from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM.