Italy, March-April, 2009

“SOLDERA’S OLD BRUNELLOS AT DA DIVO” by R. Greco

In the evocative medieval location of the “Antica Osteria Da Divo” restaurant, in the heart of Siena and a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, there was a tasting dinner with some old vintages of Gianfranco Soldera’s Brunello di Montalcino: the 1982 vintage, 1983 riserva, 1991 riserva, 1994 riserva and 1999 riserva. Pino Di Cicco, the restaruant’s chef with international experience, thought up/created a menu to accompany the real/true protagonist of the evening, Brunello from the Case Basse winery. The dishes were simple and traditional: bruschetta with Roberto Rossi’s “Silene” (Olivastra Seggianese olive oil), quail with rosemary, egg tagliatelle with cinta senese pork ragout, rabbit with roast potatoes and taste of San Gimignano Pecorino cheeses with acacia honey and Bruno Bruchi’s apple mustard. Gianfranco Soldera, the producer of the wines uncorked for the occasion, took part and talked about his personal point of view about wine. He amazed everyone by giving them a surprise: a very rare magnum of his Rosso di Montalcino 1979. Soldera also used the occasion to give out his book “Tra natura e Passione” (Between nature and passion), offering signed copies as a present to all the guests. There were three great protagonists of the evening: the wine, the food and, last but not least, the environment, obtained from tufaceous vaults of Etruscan origin. The menu is constantly updated with products in season, the dishes are well thought out by Di Cicco, who, as well as having previous international experience before taking over the management/running of the restaurant in Siena, still continues today to act as consultant, drawing up menus and wine lists for the Stone House company, owners of the five star Goosewing Hotel in New York. “It is very important,” says Pino “because working abroad you meet new people, make cultural exchanges, discover new points of view, techniques, ingredients and new tastes/flavours. It’s important to take these experiences to heart and draw on them for your own cuisine: a door that is open on the world and its thousands of possibilities.”

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