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A visit to Piedmont – Day 2

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

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December 1st, 2015 started with a visit at Gaja winery at 10:30. My first visit to this famous producer situated in the center of Barbaresco village. Angelo Gaja, for anyone that does not know the history of the region, was the one that through his continuous efforts brought the spot light on the wines made in Piedmont.

The winery sits on top of the hill in Barbaresco and offers splendid view through some of the family’s vineyards. The wine making is both traditional and modern employing a combination of small French oak barrels and large ones with an extended process of maturation and long maceration on the skins.

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There are several wines produced here one more famous and adored than the other, starting with the whites made from Chardonnay: Rossj Bass and Gaja&Rey, then the reds probably the most famous is the flagship Gaja Barbaresco, then moving to the denser and structured Sperss made from Nebbiolo from Serralunga d’Alba, the silkier and aromatic Conteisa made from vines in La Morra, and the three single vineyard wines Sori Tildin, Sori San Lorenzo and  Costa Russi. Gaja’s portfolio in Piedmont contains other wines also.

IMG_20151201_104822After a 1 h visit in the winery the next and final stop was the tasting room where 4 wines were prepared for tasting:

  • Gaja Barbaresco 2012 shows a velvety structure of tannin (like all the other Gaja’s wines) but a soft and elegant side as well, with a lush aromatic profile of sweet and pure red cherry fruit.
  • Gaja Barolo Dagromis 2011 is more powerful, with strong tannin, high acidity and a grippy mouth feel, here there is nerve and tension.
  • Gaja Barbaresco 1986 from Magnum is a fully mature wine, where tannin is fully integrated, and the aromatic profile is filled with brown sugar, balsamic notes and dried sweet red fruit. Very silky and mellow mouth feel, it has a medium black aromatic tea finish. It is a wine that should be consumed.
  • Gaja&Rey 2007 was the Chardonnay served at the end. Its deep gold color glows in the glass. Butter, dry pineapple and apricot fruit, toast are just some of the lush aromas you can feel on the nose. Very creamy and buttery on the palate, it is a pleasure to drink today.

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Closely but surely approaching mid-day, the next stop was for lunch at now my favorite restaurant in Piedmont: La Ciau del Tornavento.

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Started lunch with a beautiful Ca’ del Bosco Cuvee Annamaria Clementi 2005, a brilliant sparkling methode traditionelle made wine where it seems you have everything one would expect: intense and complex nose filled with fine pastry, vanilla bean, ripe citrus fruit and white apricot, creamy and vibrant on the palate, with a long finish.

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Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2007 is liquid poetry. There is nothing out of place here. It is so pure in its aromas where it starts delicate with fragrant aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit, sweet spices and rose petals, and then starts to get deep and profound with savory notes of undergrowth and leather. Very silky in the mouth, but with so intense and pure flavors of red fruit, tar, spices and truffles. Finish is endless. There is grace and refinement in this wine. (99/100)

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I can not think of a better corresponding wine from Tuscany than the 2010 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino that we had after. You can find the same Burgundian character in the Sangiovese as the Giacosa, but in a less refined way and a more powerful feel.

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Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2010 is surprisingly already singing from the glass. It has purity of red spicy fruit, with a velvety mouth feel and a long and intense finish. Really beautiful wine. Take the best producer and the exceptional 2010 vintage and you have a winner. (96/100)

Food was amazing again at La Ciau del Tornavento, all dishes are flawless and the wine pairing just made this lunch probably the most notable for me for 2015.

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Pastry and dessert were served outside on the sunny terrace, where we enjoyed an unexpected 17 Celsius degrees and a bottle of 2004 Ca’ del Bosco Annamaria Clementi Rose. Its coppery color, its savory aromatics and the richness and intensity you can find on the palate are just amazing. It deserves its place in the class of grand rose sparkling of the world. (94/100)

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After such a fulfilling 4 hours lunch it was time to hit the road and head to Turin for an official reception organized by the Romanian consulate. The sun setting at the end of the meal is still fresh in my mind.

IMG_20151201_160052The final chapter of this trip was dinner in Turin where a Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004 showed once again that Italy can make stunning sparkling wine. Gold color with rich mousse in the glass, it is rich, bold and fresh. (94/100)IMG_20151201_220311

Another stunning Nebbiolo made wine was the 2008 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato, a wine of sheer class and refinement. All its characteristics make you think about the Grandest Cru of Burgundy. It’s pure, fresh and profound, silky in the mouth and really intellectual.  (97/100)

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Next to a medium-rare pigeon dish, it was the most supreme wine-food experience for me for 2015 and as far as I can remember. I would recommend it to be put on the technical sheet of this wine. It is simply perfect. For this pairing I am giving 100/100.

 

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Vinuri noi din Bordeaux in sortimentatia real,- wine boutique (II)

December 17, 2015 Leave a comment

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L’Aura de Cambon provine de pe o parcela mica de doar 0.5 ha cumparata in 2006 de proprietarul Chateau Cambon La Pelouse. Este situata aproape de Chateau Cantenac Brownm intre parcele de vie detinute de Chateau Brane-Cantenac si Chateau Margaux. Densitatea plantelor este de 8.000 vite/ha si parti egale de Cabernet Sauvignon si Merlot. Randamentele sunt de 37 hl/ha. Mustul a fost fermentat in tancuri mici de 32 hl din inox. Fermentatia malolactica in baricuri 100% noi de la Chassin (50%) si Darnajou (50%) pe drojdii fine in primele 7 luni, maturat inca 12 luni in aceleasi baricuri. Transferul vinului se produce strict prin forta gravitationala. Se produc doar 2.500 de sticle.

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L’Aura de Cambon este un cupaj de 50% Cabernet Sauvignon si 50% Merlot. Cele 2 vinuri prezente in magazin din doi ani de recolta diferiti 2009 si 2010 au o culoarea visinie inchisa, aproape opaca. Note dulci de lemn dulce, cirese negre, fructe rosii de padure si prajitura de fructe caracterizeaza vinurile. Stilurile sunt diferite pentru ca 2009 este mai expansiv in arome si mai deschis in gust, in timp ce 2010 se prezinta mai retinut dar la fel de intens in gust.

Domaine de l’A este un domeniu de 9 ha ce are expunere sudica pe dealurile din comuna Sainte-Colombe, cu sol format din lut si calcar. Densitatea viilor este de 6.000 plante/ha si este alcatuit din 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, avand o varsta medie de 35 de ani. Vitele sunt o parte tratate biodinamic. Randamentele in 2012 au fost de 34 hl/ha inainte si 27hl/ha dupa selectie si triere. Ciorchinii sunt alesi manual, boabele sunt puse in cuve mari din stejar pentru o macerare de 30 de zile. Vinul este tras in butoaie pentru fermentatia malolactica si pastrat pe drojdii fine cu agitare in primele 7 luni. Maturarea se desfasoara timp de 16 luni in baricuri din stejar 40% nou si 60% la un ciclu, cu butoaie de la Taransaud si Ana Selection. 23.000 de sticle produse.

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Domaine de l’A 2012 are arome frumoase de cirese negre si mure sunt prezente in nasul intens si complex. Senzatie de carnos pe palatin, cu profunzime buna a gustului si note intense si clare de fruct dulce si copt, este un vin seducator care iti da senzatia de plenitudine. Un vin excelent.

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Domeniul Château Sansonnet este compus din 7 ha. Merlot-ul este majoritar si acopera 85% dintre vii, restul fiind de Cabernet Franc. Ciclul de maturare dureaza intre 16 si 18 luni cu o proportie mare de stejar frantuzesc nou. Château Sansonnet 2013 are un nas intens si bogat in arome de mure si fructe negre de padure, lemn dulce, grafit si flori de primavara. Are o corpolenta medie spre plina, cu profunzime buna, cu fruct bine copt si tanin ce animeaza si energizeaza intreaga textura.

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Château Fleur Cardinale  este un domeniu de 18.5 ha plantat cu o densitate de 6.000 de vite/ha si cu o varsta medie de 40 de ani. Soiurile de struguri sunt 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc si 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Solurile sunt bogate in lut peste calcar, aflate intre Chateau Valandraud si Rol Valentin. Culesul este manual si se desfasoara intre mijlocul lui Octombrie si mijlocul lui Noiembrie. Strugurii au fost desciorchinati si sortati in doua etape inainte de fi transferati in cuve pentru fermentatie. Fermentatia malolactica se desfasoara in butoaie din stejar 100% nou de la patru producatori: Berthomieu, Saury, Quintessence, si Marsannay. Procesul de maturare se desfasoara intre 13 si 15 luni. Château Fleur Cardinale 2013 este rotund, opulent si elegant cu note dulci de afine si mure de padure, note de cirese, frunza de tutun, lemn dulce si senzatii usoare de stejar in plan secund. Corpolenta este medie spre plina, foarte atractiv si poate fi consumat sau pastrat cel putin 8-10 ani.

Categories: Bordeaux, France

Vinuri noi din Bordeaux in sortimentatia real,- wine boutique (I)

December 16, 2015 Leave a comment

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Recent au fost listate in cadrul real,- wine boutique din cele 4 magazine real,- cateva vinuri noi foarte interesante din Bordeaux pe care le-am si putut incerca in cadrul unei degustari tematice si pe care va invit sa le descoperiti. Sunt vinuri produse in cantitati relativ mici in genul vinurilor de garaje: randamente scazute de struguri la ha, utilizarea celor mai buni producatori de butoaie din stejar frantuzesc, maturare indelungata in butoaie. Sunt vinuri care pot fi consumate azi dupa o decantare de minim 1-2 h sau pot fi pastrate in functie de vin intre 3 si 15 ani.

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Château Bolaire este un vin atipic pentru Bordeaux datorita procentului extrem de ridicat de Petit Verdot din cupajul final: 54%, alaturi de Cabernet Sauvignon si Merlot, fiind maturat 12 luni in stejar 30% nou si 70% la un ciclu de folosire de la urmatorii producatori de butoaie: François Frères (55%), Taransaud (25%) si Cadus (20%). Este usor de apreciat si seducator cu arome de afine si visine, intr-un stil curat si proaspat. Corpolenta medie spre plina cu tanin soft si neintruziv, este un vin delicios, in care condimentele sunt la putere, tipic Petit Verdot-ului. Exista ambii ani de recolta: 2012 si 2011. 2011 pare sa beneficieze de un an in plus la sticla fiind mai expresiv azi.

Acesta este al 10-lea an produs de catre acest domeniu care a devenit o stea in modesta sa apelatiune. Are acelasi proprietar ca si Chateau Belle-Vue, regretatul Vincent Mulliez. De pe cele 7.7 ha, 7.3 sunt plantate cu o densitate a viilor de 5-6000 pe ha in solurile uscate din Macau. In 2012, aveau 47 de ani vechime in medie, dar majoritatea Petit Verdot-ului are cel putin 90 de ani vechime. Cupajul include o proportie uimitor de mare de Petit Verdot (54%), 36% Cabernet Sauvignon si 10% Merlot. Culesul se face 60% manual si 40% automatizat, si a avut loc intre 5 si 17 Octombrie. Randamentele la ha in 2012 au fost de 36 hl/ha. Mustul este fermentat in cuve de inox cu o macerare pe pielite de 50 de zile la nu mai mult de 25 gr Celsius. Vinul a petrecut 3 luni pe drojdii dupa fermentatia malolactica si a fost maturat 12 luni in butoaie noi (30%) si la un ciclu (70%).

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Château de Cap de Faugères 2011 este un cupaj de 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon fiind maturat 12 luni in butoaie de la 5 producatori traditionali din Franta: 40% Taransaud, 15% Vicard, 15% Saury, 15% Berthomieu si 15% Nadalié. Vinul are arome bogate si intense de afine si cirese negre, cu izuri de stejar si grafit. Corpolenta medie spre plina, surprinde prin stilul expansiv care creste pe cerul gurii pe masura ce este aerat. Este un vin care este usor de indragit de la prima gura. Acest domeniu de 30 de ha a fost cumparat de antreprenorul elvetian, Silvio Denz, in acelasi timp cu Faugeres si Peby-Faugeres in vecinatatea Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse (exact la granita care separa Saint-Emilion de Castillon). Randamentul in 2011 a fost de 45 hl/ha inainte de triere si 40 hl/ha dupa triere.

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Clos des Lunes “Lune d’Argent” este cel mai nou proiect al lui Olivier Bernard, proprietarul de la Domaine de Chevalier din Pessac-Leognan. In August 2011, Olivier a cumparat aceasta vie de 27 de ha plantata cu o densitate de 6500 vite/ha situata in apelatiunea Sauternes langa orasul Sauternes. A crescut de atunci la 45 de ha. Varsta medie a viilor este de 30 de ani. Acestea include 70% Semillon si 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Vitele de vie sunt inconjurate de cele ale Chateau d’Arche, Guiraud (unde Olivier este partener de asemenea) si celebrul Yquem. In 2013, culesul s-a realizat 100% manual in diferite etape, pe parcele individuale in functie de maturitatea strugurilor. Culesul a inceput pe 13 Septembrie si a fost finalizat pe 5 Octombrie. Boabele de struguri au fost separate manual de ciorchine. Randamentele au fost de 24 hl/ha. Mustul a fost fermentat si maturat intr-o combinatie de tancuri de 50 hl (75%) si 25% butoaie mici din stejar frantuzesc cu batonage regulat. Se folosesc 30% butoaie noi, 30% vechi la un ciclu si restul la 2 cicluri. Cupajul este in aceeasi proportie ca si vitele plantate: 70% Semillon si restul Sauvignon Blanc. Vinul din 2013 pe care l-am degustat are o paleta aromatica mult mai complexa si o aciditate mai vie decat excelentul 2012.

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Dominique si Florence Decoster, proprietari ai Chateau Fleur Cardinale, au cumparat aceasta proprietate de 7.5 ha aflata in imediata vecinatate a Fleur Cardinale in Aprilie 2011. Soiurile de struguri plantate sunt identice cu cele de la Fleur Cardinale: 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc si 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Totusi, varsta medie este ceva mai mare de 40 de ani. Din momentul achizitiei, familia Decoster a inceput un proces de modificari majore in modul de abordare al viilor: au crescut taierea in verde si eliminarea frunzelor, totul pentru a obtine un fruct mai de calitate. Randamentele sunt de 28 hl/ha. Mustul este fermentat in vase mici, de 50 si 70 hl de inox, cu macerare pe pielite timp de 30-35 de zile in functie de soi. Fermentatia malolactica si maturarea se face in butoaie noi din stejar frantuzesc de la Quintessence, Berthomieu, Miquel, Marsannay, Nadalié, Bossuet, si Saury si dureaza 18 luni. Cupajul este similar ca cel de la Chateau Fleur Cardinale: 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc si 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Château Croix Cardinale 2011 este suplu si matasos in textura, cu corpolenta plina si somptuos in arome, impresioneaza prin intensitatea notelor de afine si cirese negre. Un vin bogat si intens aromat care poate fi consumat in urmatorii 10-12 ani.

Gironville-2011-Label-500x500Chateau de Gironville a avut initial 7.68 hectare dar s-a micsorat la 5.23 ha. Apartine familiei Vincent Mulliez care l-a achizitionat impreuna cu Bolaire si Belle-Vue la inceputul lui 2004. Densitatea plantelor este de 6.666 vite pe ha cu o varsta medie de 26 de ani. Soiurile plantate sunt 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, si 10% Petit Verdot. Aceste vite sunt plantate in soluri in care pietrisul patrunde in profunzime in partea de sud a apelatiunii Haut Medoc. Randamentele sunt in jur de 53hl/ha. Este maturat in baricuri de la (42%) François Frères, (41%) Cadus, si  (17%) Taransaud. Chateau de Gironville 2011 are note florale extrem de atractive alaturi de cele de afine, intr-un nas in care abunda aromele fructate si-ti amintesc de cele mai bune vinuri din Bordeaux. Impresioneaza prin textura sa densa si intens aromata.

ArtikelID_1759___JeanFaux_Chateau11Château Jean Faux este un domeniu de 6.5 ha cu expunere sudica a vitelor de vie se afla peste raul Dordogne in zona Castillon-La Bataille. Densitatea viilor este de 7.400 vite/ha, plantate cu 80% Merlot si 20% Cabernet Franc, cu o varsta medie de 25 de ani. Primul an de recolta produs de actualul proprietar, Pascal Collotte (a lucrat ca International Sales Manager pentru producatorul de butoaie Saury) a fost in 2003. Randamentele au fost in 2008 in jur de 28 hl/ha si au scazut selectie si triere la 23 hl/ha. Fermentatia malolactica si maturarea pe drojdii fine in primele 6 luni in butoaie din stejar 45% nou si 45% la 1 ciclu, toate de la Saury. Urmat de inca 12 luni de maturare in aceleasi butoaie si inca 6 luni in tanc inainte de imbuteliere. Château Jean Faux 2011 are note dulci de lemn dulce, cirese negre, fructe rosii de padure si prajitura de fructe. Este un vin bine realizat, cu corpolenta medie, concentratie potrivita si textura matasoasa care poate fi baut cu placere acum si in urmatorii 3-4 ani.

Categories: Bordeaux, France

Visit to Piedmont – DAY 1

December 11, 2015 Leave a comment

A trip to a beautiful landscape and the encounter of some superb wines paired with exquisite food makes any one having a tripping experience. It was the case at the very end of November and for the 1st day of December. Over 2 days I experienced some of the top wines of Piedmont and dinned in two of the most praised restaurants of the region: Bovio in La Morra and La Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso near Alba.

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On Nov 30th it was the first visit at 11:00 am at one of my favorite producers of Barolo: Cavallotto in Castiglione Falleto. Had the chance to taste the 2011 and 2009 vintage for its Barolo’s together with its Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba and the elegant Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009. All wines are at the highest level from the juicy Barbera d’Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2012, elegant but powerful series of 3 Barolo’s with their highest expression of Nebbiolo found in Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009. This are all traditional style made Barolo’s with prolonged maceration on the skins that can last up to 1 month and aging in big Slavonian oak barrels for up to 2-3 years.

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Lunch at Bovio in La Morra at noon was a treat. The restaurant has a beautiful view over the vineyards, while the season menu included white truffles. There was a serious lineup of wines tasted during lunch: a nutty Ferrari Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2002 (93/100) that sports a deep gold color, rich and deep on the palate, a stellar Silex 2011 (94/100) by Dageneau that took about 45 min to start to open up and needed more time but who gave it. Good wine drinks fast, great wine the fastest. At this moment in time, the mineral part is quite intense in Silex 2011, and as experience proved with this wine, in time minerality fades in the background leaving rich and pure aromas of fruit to take the front stage. Time will do it.

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IMG_20151130_142459Red wines were a Burgundian style Barolo, very pure in its red fruit aromas: 2011 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo (94/100) and a powerful 2005 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis (94/100) that drinks very well today already.

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Next visit was at Ellio Grasso in Monforte d’Alba where I tasted the 2011 Barolo’s. Monforte d’Alba is known for very structured Barolo, sometimes with forceful tannin that needs time to smooth. The use of small French oak barrels tames the tannin in Nebbiolo and makes the wines more accessible in their youth. I tasted 2011 Gavarini Chiniera and Ginestra Casa Mate. Both are powerful and elegant wines, but not very open for discussions for now. Cellars at Ellio Grasso are impressive, built directly into the hill.

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IMG_20151130_164222Not much time to spend here as the next visit was already due and we were running late. Next stop to Massolino in Serralunga d’Alba. Had the opportunity to have the company of Franco Massolino, one of the owners, and after a short visit into their newly built cellars and winery where the amount of concrete tanks is high nowadays, the tasting room was the final stop. Tasted through all the range and it is easy to understand why they are famous after one tastes Vigna Rionda.

IMG_20151130_171537_panoramapanoramic view at dawn from Massolino winery

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Last stop for the day was dinner at the exquisite La Ciau del Tornavento restaurant. They have a wine list to die for with amazingly friendly prices. Food was a royal treat, wines were spectacular. Ca del Bosco Annamaria Clementi 2004 was the opening. Great expression of Methode traditionelle sparkling that deservedly rivals the super premium cuvee’s from Champagne. IMG_20151130_232534

I wanted to compare same vintage from two different style producers: 2001 Roberto Voerzio Rocche dell’Annunziata Torriglione Barolo (95/100) from La Morra that shows grace and elegance, with pure red fruits and spicy mouth feel, silky tannins and long finish, a real treat, and 2001 Luciano Sandrone Cannubi Boschis Barolo (93/100) that sports a riper aromatic profile with more black fruits and fig, powerful tannin and high density on the palate, that next to Voerzio seems a bit too much. Pictures for food are self explanatory.

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IMG_20151130_2213581.4 kilo bistecca alla Fiorentina

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Finished dinner with this 2010 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino that received the supreme accolades from Robert Parker’s contributor for Italy: Monica Larner that awarded it a perfect 100/100. The wine has everything: depth of aromas, richness, smooth velvety tannin and an incredible freshness in spite of its high 15% alc.

Before leaving the restaurant the chef invited us to visit their impressive wine cellar just underneath the front entrance. If the wine list is to die for, wait to see the actual wine cellar.

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Categories: Italy
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