Allegrini 2018

From Piedmont to Calabria, the 16 Michelin-starred tables owned by Italian wine brands

WineNews analysis: 16 out of 378 restaurants feature the wineries’ “macaroons” among the rows of vines of Italy’s most important wine-producing areas

2021, despite the recrudescence of the pandemic in this last part of the year, has returned to their role the great tables of the Belpaese, those celebrated, as every year, by the “Michelin Italia 2022” guide, which has returned in presence in Franciacorta, which will be the setting for the “Rossa” for the next few years, where a few days ago the veil was lifted on the 378 starred Italian restaurants, which reconfirmed all 11 “three stars” and saw the number of “two star” addresses rise to 38 and the number of “starred” restaurants to 329. This is a sign of health and optimism for the entire sector, which has been hardest hit by lockdowns and closures, but also for wine, which finds its rightful place at the table, especially in its “higher” declinations. It is no coincidence, then, that over the years many wineries have decided to focus on haute cuisine, reconstructing a “natural” combination of wine and food that is capable of becoming circular, from the vineyard to the table.

The result, as the WineNews analysis reveals, is that today 16 Michelin-starred restaurants (one less than last year) are linked to a wine brand: well over 4% of the total. The journey between the tables of the “rossa” between the rows begins in Piedmont, with Tenuta Carretta, in Piobesi d’Alba, in the heart of the Langhe, which in addition to producing Barolo from the vineyards of Nebbiolo Unesco Heritage, focuses on quality cuisine with the Restaurant 21.9, of chef Flavio Costa. Among the 11 “three stars” - the pinnacle of quality in Italian catering - Alba’s Piazza Duomo is closely linked to the world of wine: in fact, it was born out of the intuition of the Ceretto family, the Barolo griffe that, in 2003, bet on Enrico Crippa to give the territory a veritable temple of haute cuisine, which soon became one of the most prestigious tables in the world. Damilano, another historic Barolo family, in the Morra d’Alba winery complex, has been home since 2013 to the cuisine of Massimo Camia, a benchmark chef in the Langa and beyond. At Villaggio Fontanafredda, on the estate surrounded by vineyards that was the scene of the love affair between King Vittorio Emanuele II and Rosa Varcellana, “la bela Rosin”, which passed into the hands of entrepreneurs Oscar Farinetti and Luca Baffigo Filangieri in 2008, catering plays a central role, and revolves around the starred Guido restaurant run by Ugo and Piero Alciati, who carry on their father’s culinary tradition. Remaining in the Langa, where the Boroli family arrived in the 1990s, between the rows of the three crus of Barolo (Villero, Cerequio and Brunella), stands the Locanda del Pilone, a wine resort with the Michelin-starred restaurant of Turin chef Federico Gallo. Chef Alberto Bai’s La Rei restaurant at the Boscareto Resort, owned by the Dogliani family, who also run the Beni di Batasiolo di La Morra estate, has taken a break, leaving the Michelin Guide, at least temporarily, pending its imminent reopening.

In Veneto, Villa Cordevigo, in Cavaion Veronese, is a wine relais housed in a large wine estate - where the Vigneti Villabella labels are produced - enhanced by chef Marco Marra’s Michelin-starred restaurant Oseleta. The Trentodoc bubbly griffe, Ferrari, led by the Lunelli family, one of the landmarks of the Italian wine scene, has had its own starred restaurant for several years: Locanda Margon. At the helm of the restaurant in Ravina, in the province of Trento, is Edoardo Fumagalli, who has now firmly taken the helm of the kitchen led for many years by Alfio Ghezzi. Still on the subject of sparkling wines, Bisol, the brand that symbolizes Prosecco (which passed under the Lunelli family’s control in 2016), has kept the reins of Venissa, the project to relaunch wine and food on the Island of Mazzorbo in Venice. A jewel in which Gianluca and Matteo Bisol have relaunched Dorona, the Venetian grape variety from which a rare white wine for aging is made, with 18 rooms and a starred restaurant led by the couple Chiara Pavan and Francesco Brutto.

In Tuscany, Montalcino, the temple of Sangiovese and Brunello, confirms its Michelin star with the Sala dei Grappoli, the restaurant led by chef Domenico Francone at Poggio alle Mura, a village and relais owned by Banfi, a leading company in the Brunello area. Borgo San Felice, the widespread relais surrounded by rows of Chianti Classico di San Felice, with properties also in Brunello di Montalcino and Bolgheri, is home to Poggio Rosso, a one-star restaurant resulting from the collaboration between the most starred (with nine stars) Italian chef, Enrico Bartolini, and the young executive chef Juan Camilo Quintero. In the heart of the Val d’Orcia, Pasquale Forte’s wine and food project has been centred on the winery, Podere Forte, and the starred restaurant, Osteria Perillà, run by chef Marcello Corrado. Moving towards the sea, in Castiglione della Pescaia, in the heart of the Maremma Park, is L’Andana, a luxury resort housing Trattoria Enrico Bartolini, a Michelin star since 2014. The property is owned by the Moretti family, which, in the world of wine, controls brands such as Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi in Franciacorta, Acquagiusta, Petra and Teruzzi in Tuscany and Sella & Mosca in Sardinia, and has a long and prestigious relationship with haute cuisine: for years the greatest Italian chef of all time, Gualtiero Marchesi, worked in the kitchen of L’Albereta in Franciacorta. In the heart of Chianti Classico, at Badia di Passignano, a symbolic estate of the Antinori family, surrounded by vineyards, is the Osteria di Passignano, founded by Marcello Crini and Allegra Antinori, one Michelin star, led by chef Nicola Damiani. In Cortona, land of Syrah, among the 32 hectares of Baracchi Winery vineyards, is Il Falconiere, a Michelin starred restaurant led by the family chef, Silvia Baracchi.

Finally, in the South of Italy, in Calabria, there is Dattilo, a Michelin-starred restaurant on the Ceraudo farm in Contrada Dattilo, run by Caterina Ceraudo, the family’s chef, who graduated in enology from Pisa in 2011 and who chose cooking after training at Niko Romito’s school. And, in Puglia, Pietro Lacaita’s Vinilia Wine Resort is a stone’s throw from the family business, Trullo di Pezza, a Primitivo di Manduria label, and home to chef Pietro Penna’s Casamatta Restaurant, a Michelin star from 2019.

A long journey through the temples of taste set among the rows of vines, through the extraordinary territories that produce Italy’s greatest wines, the natural companions of cuisine linked to the land but capable of keeping up with the times. Sixteen tables that perfectly illustrate the close dialogue between the kitchen and the vineyard, in the wake of the tradition that links Barolo and Agnolotti del Plin, Chianti Classico and Cavolo Nero, Brunello di Montalcino and Tortelli Maremmani. But also the bubbles of Trentodoc and Coregone, Amarone della Valpolicella and Porcini mushrooms, Fiano del Salento and Ricciola, Gaglioppo della Val di Neto and Chicken. Ingredients from the earth, which the hand of man makes unique, and the entrepreneurial ability of wine companies has been able to bring together under the same starry (Michelin) sky.

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