Wined and Dined by Valentino

An Evening with the Umbrian Wines of The Briziarelli Estate

I can’t help myself, I know this story is all about a great Italian wine and food pairing, but first I just have to tell you that I TOURED ONE OF WINE SPECTATOR’S 74 GRAND AWARD WINNING WINE CELLARS – OVER 90,000 BOTTLES – WITH VALENTINO’S PROPRIETOR, PIERO SELVAGGIO.

Take a deep breath.  It happened like this: I tagged Valentino’s in my Facebook status update because I was going there that night for dinner.  Valentino’s, and Piero, tagged me back.   Then between courses at the dinner, and bolstered by some amazing wines, I went right up to Piero himself and asked, “Hi, I’m your Facebook friend Eve, any chance of seeing the cellar?”

Piero took me by the hand, led me through the busy kitchen (though the chefs took the time to say hello and smile broadly) and up a narrow staircase – so narrow I had to go up sideways with Piero motioning for me to grasp the handrail.

Once on the second floor, we were met with a small hall lined with framed Wine Spectator covers of Piero, James Beard awards, his latest Grand Award designation…I was already so overwhelmed.

Then, one large room, with built-in large wooden boxes bisected with boards, held the start of the treasure trove.  After that came hall after hall – going further back into a great beyond than we had time for – were more and more boxed sections of wines.  Piero pointed out special selections dedicated to the best from Italy, California…before we had to turn back.

But Piero made sure I saw the Pièce de résistance: the private dining room set for dinner, lined from floor to ceiling, on all four walls, with cellared wines.

When I reluctantly returned downstairs, overhearing Piero telling his maitre d’ that I had “kidnapped” him, I was already planning how to get back and…into that private dining room.

It all began with…

(If you want to continue with the story in words please go to: after 8am today. )

Our tale in photos:

Valentino 40 yr anniv bag held a lush tour book by Briziarelli
One of our Valentino appetizers
Valentino (blurry) cheese plate, served before dessert
Carbonara w/black truffles, paired w/ROSSO MATTONE 2008, 89 Eve pts.
WS Grand Award winning Valentino cellar goes on and on
l-r Briziarelli winery family member, Luigi Cremona, chef Nico Chessa
New Valentino entry (from website)
Hazelnut-chocolate semifreddo, carmelized bananas
"Kidnapped" Piero Selvaggio in cellar w/me!
Sausage penne paired w/UNO NOVE ZERO SEI 2007, 87 Eve pts.
Suckling pig, roasted potatoes, w/VITRUVIO 2007, 100% Sagrantino D.O.C.G, over 90 Eve pts.
Veal Carpaccio, w/DUNA ROBBA 2010, 85-87 Eve pts.
Valentinos wine room - photo from website, but it was set for dinner just like this!