By YiR Contributor: Owen Phillips
Photo by: Owen Phillips
Jump into a cozy cellar space that’s tucked away on a perfect little cobblestone street and embrace the culinary wisdom that will assault your mind and palate. The City Wonders: Rome and Wine Tasting Tour is a gem for many reasons but most importantly, it’s a place to submit to Italian wine with the confidence that you will be drinking the good stuff. This is because the tasting is run by Alessandro Pepe, an engaging, knowledgeable yet unpretentious guy who carefully constructs an ever changing wine and food list from a giant cellar of deliciousness.
The journey starts with soft whites and wonderfully biased information from Alessandro. He talks and talks, while you swirl and sip. But of course, you don’t just rinse grape juice in your cheeks, you also get to stuff your face with fresh mozzarella and little sun dried tomatoes soaked in oily goodness. From there you get deeper and deeper into the whites and then leap over to the reds all the while flirting with some offensively tasty cured meats and glorious stinky cheeses.
The tasting takes place in a private tasting room that’s jam packed with wine bottles and with a large table in the middle that has an open center. Alessandro occupies this space as he pontificates and pours your, so no matter where you sit, you will be happy. When I did the tour, I got to meet a great group of strangers from around the world. The wine helped of course, but Alessandro also gave us a chance to talk about which types of wine we enjoyed and he happily refrained from any judgment about our poorly informed palates. This put us all at ease and allowed for a nice flow of questions and witty answers.
One thing I must point out is that toward the end of the tasting, we got into wines from the Barolo region. I haven’t had the opportunity to properly enjoy or learn about the wines from this area before. They were fantastic, so I am happy to have rectified the Barolo hole in my wine knowledge.
Worth noting: The tasting room was nice for an individual just dropping in on a tour full of strangers but if you have a small group that wanted to take the place over, I think it would be perfect!
In the end, it’s an experience that’s both relaxing and acutely interesting. Even with the million things to see in Rome, it’s a good time investment (2 hours) because you are getting not only an introduction to some fantastic Italian wines but a tour of the Italian psyche via the food from someone who knows what the hell he is talking about.
Read more by Owen at his website….when he’s not drinking wine, he’s studying your brain!