Italian Wines from the Cellar Paired with Roberto Donna’s Cooking

Chef Roberto Donna

Roberto Donna, is one of the pioneers of Italian alta cucina in Washington DC, especially at Galileo. [If you are of a certain age, you may have seen the video of him with Julia Child in her program, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.] Today he has a new restaurant, ROBERTO’S RISTORANTE ITALIANO, in Vienna (Virginia). We couldn’t think of a better place to taste the special Italian wines that we’ve been storing in our cellars.  Roberto’s dishes were more than up to the challenge.

Our meal started off with a basket filled with diverse Italian breads including the sublime Pane Sfogliato.  This was followed by Fried Zucchini Blossoms [shown here] stuffed with ricotta, mint and the zest of lemon served on a fresh pea purée.  Next came the absolutely stunning Vitello Tonnato, shaved veal served with a tuna and capers sauce.  We finished with a fresh pasta dish, the Taglioni al Porcini.  We were tempted by the Poussin, beautifully presented at a neighboring table, but decided to save that for our next visit, which will be soon.



The Wines

COS 2010 PITHOS BIANCO SICILY, a 100% Grecanico made in amphora with skin contact.  We gave this 93 points in our 2013 report on THE WINES OF SICILY; it has aged beautifully and is still vibrant, flavorful, and original. We visited the winery and its amphora sunk in gravel on our trip to Sicily.




VOLPAIA 2011 COLTASSALA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA, a wine from the Castello di Volpaia estate in Radda. We gave this wine 91 points in our 2016 report on CHIANTI CLASSICO; it has matured well and merits an even higher evaluation today.  We enjoyed homemade pasta and a mature 1990 vintage of Coltassala (it was spectacular!) with Giovanella Stianti during our visit to Castello di Volpaia.



CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI 1998 SIEPI TOSCANA IGT, a Super Tuscan from the Mazzei estate in Greve in Chianti Classico. It’s a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot aged 18 months in 70% new French barriques.  We tasted both the 2005 and 2013 vintages of Siepi for our earlier CHIANTI CLASSICO reports, and we commented on the firm tannins and dense palates of those then youthful wines. But those tannins are resolved in the 1998 vintage, and the wine merits at least the 93 points we earlier gave to the 2013 vintage.


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