On Easter Friday, we were a group of friends meeting up in the evening to drink, eat, chat, and hang out in the centre of Florence. We had chosen a quite new and very trendy wine bar in Florence, the Spumantino, owned by Castello di Verrazzano. It is situated beautifully in front of Ponte Vecchio and with a view of the river Arno. You can sip a glass of Verrazzano’s own sparkling wine while watching the sunset over the Arno. So how do wine, Easter, bowties, the Fifth Canto of the Second Circle of Hell in Dante’s Divina Commedia, selfies, and sushi, etc. all go together in one evening? Well, read on to find out more about our evening at this fantastic place in the heart of Florence.
To use a bit of a Shakespearian language…
’Twas the night between Easter Friday and Easter Eve,
…when the Lustfuls in l’Inferno of Dante’s Divina Commedia are punished for ”letting their appetites sway their reason.” So in our lustfulness, we had gathered at the Spumantino this Easter where we let ourselves go to our passions, talking about men (the men present were probably analyzing women 😉 ) and drinking wine, especially Verrazzano’s Chianti Classico and IGT Supertuscan.
Together with my friend, Silvia, I arrived early to make sure we had a table for all of us. With Silvia, we were immediately taken well care of by the really nice Alberto working at the Spumantino, and he brought us a glass of their sparkling ORO 24 straight away. After a while, all the friends started dropping in, and we were ready for more wine and to try out their different sandwiches and sushi, of course. According to one of my friends, they have the ”best sushi in Florence.” The menu looking similar to a newspaper, is one of the many things showing a great attention to detail, that you find at the Spumantino. Another detail are the historical maps hanging on the walls, alluding to the history of the city as well as the world as it was known in 1524.
Then we ordered the first bottle of the evening, Verrazzano’s Chianti Classico DOCG 2012. This is a classic Chanti wine based on the grape varieties Sangiovese and Canaiolo. It is a ruby red wine with fruity aromas of cherry and blackberry, as well as a more floral flavour of red rose. It is an elegant and well structured wine, balanced with a bit of tannins, and a taste of red fruits.
At the second glass of red wine (or third, if one counts the sparkling wine in the beginning) the owner of the Spumantino himself, Luigi Cappellini, entered the scene together with one of his daughters. He came over to say hello and to chat with us for a while. In fact, you often see Luigi Cappellini and his wife, or any of their daughters, around.
Bowties and selfies, a personal brand
When you meet Luigi Cappellini, you straight away notice his passion for bowties (apart from wine) and how he wears a new model with a new specific pattern every time you see him. On Easter Friday, he told us how he is producing them himself, as a side activity to the wine production. The bowties are made of wool from Tuscan sheep, totally embracing the 0 chilometer concept, as he further informed us that evening. These bowties do seem like small pieces of art in different colours and patterns. Furthermore, talking in a social media language, you could say that these bowties are the personal brand of Luigi Cappellini, making him seem authentic as a person with a specific personality in parallell to his position as the owner of Castello di Verrazzano. Of course he is going social with this personal branding too, having an account on Instagram under the name Bowtie Academy. So he is not afraid of sticking out from the crowd, to show different sides of himself.
Another trend he has picked up on, is to take selfies wherever he goes and with the people he meets. If you follow his facebook page, you can see that it is a general theme he uses, and also to showcase his bowties. Of course, we also snapped a selfie this evening.
A Verrazzano glass design
Another typical trait, of Spumantino and the Verrazzano brand this time, are the glasses they use at the Spumantino wine bar.
These glasses are used mainly to serve sparkling wine, such as ORO 24 Brut and Rosé. If you order a red wine, they serve that in more traditional wine glasses. While Luigi Cappellini passed by to chat further during the evening, he also told us more about the idea behind the glasses and referred to the wine tasting, Vini Eccellenti d’Italia de l’Espresso, last year with glasses from Georg Riedel. I did not attend the tasting with these particular glasses, but I had read the article “La forma del bicchiere modifica il gusto del vino. Riedel conosce la Veritas? Abbiamo fatto la prova” in Intravino, thus we further discussed how the form of the glass is indeed greatly important to bring out the bouquet and the taste of a wine; and how the form of a wine glass can change your perception of a wine, negatively or positively.
At the event with Riedel glasses, referred to above, they experimented with drinking only water, to show how the taste really does change depending upon the form of the glass. In this context, Luigi Cappellini also told us about his idea that if you taste fruits from the local area around their estate, before a tasting experiment, it will make you recall the main traits of the different wines.
Una Bottiglia Particolare
The next red wine of the evening was chosen on a suggestion by the owner himself, being his special IGT Supertuscan wine, the Bottiglia Particolare 2009. On the website, they write that this wine, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, is the result of the “winery’s research and innovation.” It is a ruby red wine with elements of purple. It is a very elegant and full-bodied wine with aromas of red fruit, vanilla, and oak. Its taste is very rich, with soft tannins, and notes of chocolate and vanilla.
At this point in the evening, the atmosphere was very relaxed and chatty, but I started having difficulties separating the discussions with my friends sitting next to me, and in front of me, as well as talking about wine with Luigi Cappellini. 😉 However, I heard one of my friends commenting on the fact that red wine does not go well with sushi. Following that comment, we entered a discussion about traditional versus more innovative wine and food pairing. Of course, a fresh white wine or a sparkling wine might go better with fish in general, and with sushi, but we also agreed that one should not be afraid to try out new combinations. Why not try out a wine with great character such as Bottiglia Particolare with sushi, which in turn are also dishes with great character? Another example of daring pairings is the Bistecca & Champagne dinner that Da Burde organizes every year.
Another discussion that came up with Luigi Cappellini during the evening hinted directly at the land, the soil and the ability to assess your products. He told us about how Luigi Veronelli had once visited him, asking him not to let him taste their best vintage, but rather a bottle of the wine that had been most difficult to pull through and from the most complicated year and harvest. Veronelli, as I think any farmer would have done, had stated that a wine producer, or a farmer, knows his crop, or his wine, by acknowledging the most problematic and difficult year and harvest. This is a bit like saying that only the person who stands strong in hard times, will know what success is. A bit corny expression perhaps… 🙂
The evening ended with a yummy chocolate cake and some almond cookies. We did not have anything more to drink as at that point we had had enough for one evening.
The Easter Friday was not my first time at the Spumantino, I had already been there other times together with other friends. It is a nice place for an aperitivo as well as a drink after dinner. It is a trendy, but also a cosy, place to have a drink at. Sometimes you might even run into people well known in the Florentine circle, such as the former goal keeper of Fiorentina, Giovanni Galli.
Have you already been to the Spumantino? If so, what are your impressions and stories about the wine bar? And if you are going to Florence soon, you should definitely go for a glass of wine there and enjoy the view of Arno.
Written by Katarina Andersson and proofread by Susie Holman.