Here’s where to drink well in the Eternal city
For wine lovers it is not always so easy to find well-stocked cards and tailor-made food and wine tours. Research and constant study are the basis for the selection of new families. Experience and inspiration for the confirmation of the best known labels. Those who prefer bubbles, those who leave room for new discoveries, those who remain anchored to the great classics. Each card offers a story and a tasting journey. Here’s what the local sommeliers reveal to us with the most interesting wine lists in Rome.
In a place rich in history, in Piazza Cavour, the first real wine shop in the capital is born. Since 1972 with Pietro and Rosy, Enoteca Costantini has been a point of reference for the best of labels in the Roman territory. Built on the foundations of a simple auto parts, today it has more than 8000 bottles, including 2000 of spirits and champagne. Wine shop and training go hand in hand, offering various tasting courses in collaboration with various sommelier associations.
With its 800 square meters, it houses spirits and champagne on the upper floor and the world of wine, of every vintage and taste on the lower floor. The bottle symbol of the wine shop is a Brunello di Biondi Santi from 1841. Complementary to the wine shop, the “Symposium”, defined by the owner Ivano Daffina as “the restaurant of the Costantini wine shop”, draws delightfully from the cellar, teasing customers with requests of particular bottles when booking and organizing unique tasting itineraries.
Marco Reitano, reference sommelier of the Pergola for twenty-seven years now, tells us the story of one of the most important wineries in Rome. Today it has about 3700 labels for a total of 76,000 bottles. It can only be visited since 1994, now it has seven dedicated rooms for a total of 370 square meters. In a perfect environment designed for conservation, there are bottles purchased in lire that today have assumed an even greater value: so much care and foresight have allowed a long-term investment. The search for the right vintages, rare wines, future bets and old bottles is widespread and constant. It is purchased from all over the world trying to give the maximum completeness and offer. To crown this spectrum of flavors, the cuisine of Heinz Beck, on which combinations and tastings are studied according to the customer’s needs. Given the amount of labels, two different wine lists have been designed, one for Italian wines and one for foreign wines, in order to make the selection more readable and attractive. “I recently opened a 61-year-old bottle, therefore sixty years old, born in the Bordeaux vineyards during an early flowering following which a frost did not produce new berries. A unique vintage that produced small, ripe, sweet berries with a high level of concentration “, Reitano tells us excitedly.
IDYLIO by APREDA
The Idylio by Apreda restaurant is headed by starred chef Francesco Apreda, inside The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, and has about 850 labels. The maitre sommelier of reference is Alessandro D’Andrea, also restaurant manager and wine director assisted by the sommelier Christian D’Antoni. The wine list is extensive from the beginning of the project, including the best-known Italian Tuscan and Piedmontese bottles up to niche biodynamic productions. Card defined by D’Andrea himself as fun, wide and versatile. It embraces a wide audience, initially conceived for a more international audience, it focuses on Francesco’s cuisine, particular and spicy with oriental tones. It marries refined wines, it enhances Italy but also France, Slovenia and Germany. The goal it aims at is to offer different realities trying to find the perfect match that can be adapted to the customer journey. Frequent tastings not only of wine but also of cocktails, given the training and professional background of the maitre, an expert in mixology. Two small open cellars in the Idylio room, one with reds and one with whites and bubbles. The actual cellar cannot be visited and is located in the basement of the hotel. Among the goodies of the restaurant the Paraschos del Friuli, which tells the story of two Greek brothers who have started to produce a biodynamic wine.
FOR ME – TERRINONI
In a place that seems designed for the post-covid era, with thirty seats outside and an internal cloister, Giulio Terrinoni’s Per Me offers two tasting menus with a four-course course with four glasses and another with ten courses and seven glasses, one of which offered by the sommelier Fabrizio Picano. The labels are over 500 and the focus is on the little known, on wines from emerging wineries, only 10% is made up of the hard core of the “inevitable” wines. Picano’s philosophy aims to orient the customer towards an indigenous wine that recalls a chardonnay rather than the classic known chardonnay. Lover of Burgundy, he dedicates a large part of his card to her.
The 1978 Restaurant is not only known for the presence of the now well-known winner of Masterchef, Valerio Braschi, as well as winner of the young award of the year for the 2021 Espresso guide, but stands out for the wine list told by the sommelier Mirko Di Simone . Over 200 labels with a great deal of space for bubbles, such as champagnes from large houses and small vignerons. The novelty of the year is a page dedicated to foreign wines, called precisely “around the world”, at least with the palate. The selection highlights Israel, Chile, Argentina, California, Lebanon. And then here we play: both with dishes and with wine: this is the “wine experience”. These are not the classic combinations of three, five or seven glasses, but a tasting with covered bottles during which the sommelier gives indications on five wines and the customer must try to guess the wine or the grape variety in addition to the adjective that characterizes that bottle. Territoriality is highly sought after: an entire page is dedicated to the cru of Cesanese del Piglio. Mirko Di Simone also has fun with verticals. There are only six tables available and part of the cellar is visible in the dining room: a small living room in which to experiment and have fun while tasting.