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Food & Drink

Sommelier to the Stars, Filippo Bartolotta on Italian Wine

What super-sommelier Filppo Bartolotta doesn’t know about Italian wine isn’t worth knowing. The wine authority has shared his expertise with an elite that includes a US president and Hollywood’s A-list. Here, Filippo reveals his insider secrets on Italian wine, from what to drink to what makes it so special.

Where did your love of wine come from?

“My grandfather had a few vineyards on the outskirts Florence and I used to help him make Chianti. I then went on to study wine at university in London and worked at Vinopolis, then the biggest wine museum in the world. London is the wine capital of the world and my love for and knowledge of wine just went stratospheric from there.”

You’re known as the ‘sommelier to the stars’. Who have you hosted tastings for?

“In 2017 I did a tasting for the Obamas in Italy, which was an amazing experience. It was wonderful to work with them—they’re incredible people. I did a phenomenal tasting with chef Massimo Bottura, and one at London’s National Gallery for Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, who were really cool to be with. In fact, Emma Thompson is a big wine lover.”

What easy-to-drink, accessible Italian wines would you recommend?

“Chianti Classico is an incredibly reliable wine with juicy red berry notes and lots of gastronomic power. It’s not too tannic and good value for the quality. Make sure it has a black rooster on the label. For white, I’d recommend Vernaccia di San Gimignano. It’s not an in-your-face aromatic wine; it’s affordable and refreshing. They’re widely available in Italy and internationally.”

Are there any up-and-coming wine producers and regions that are on your radar?

“Definitely Mount Etna. White and reds from there right now are good value and easy to drink. They’re not produced using too much oak and come from the mountains so are very fresh in terms of character. Valtellina in Lombardy for a wonderfully refreshing red, then rosé from Salento, Puglia is fantastic and perfect for summer. If you like sparkling, try Prosecco Col Fondo, an ancestral refermentation of Prosecco. It’s a bit cloudy with great creaminess in comparison to regular Prosecco.”

What makes Italian wines so special?

“Italian wines are so special because of the size of the terrain, which starts at the base of the German Alps and runs all the way down to Africa. The diversity of Italy makes its wines so intriguing and old cities like Florence have long winemaking traditions. Italian wines have great gastronomic power and go very well with food—plus, they’re excellent value for the quality.”

Meet Filiippo and learn from the master himself with a wine tasting experience at Hotel Savoy, Florence. To discover more about the masterclass click here. To book the experience call +39 055 2735836 or email concierge.savoy@roccofortehotels.com