August 04, 2014

Roscioli Wine Tasting (Rome, Italy)

Trevi Fountain selfie!

Guys-- seriously. This trip was so incredible that every time I'd sit down and try to put it into words, I'd feel it was too impossible a task. (For more photos of the deliciousness we sampled in this post, visit my blog's Facebook page here!)

I'd been to Rome once before on a pass-through, spending less than 8 hours in the city (back in the day when you could leave your bags at a random hostel while you went sightseeing-- I can't even believe that happened)-- I saw the Coliseum, the Spanish steps, ate some so-so pizza, and felt generally underwhelmed with the city. I knew I'd go back someday, but then 15 years had passed and I'd still not returned.
A group of girlfriends & I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, so one of them (I'm looking at you, LaShauna) decided it was time to go wild and take a crazy, once-in-a-lifetime trip together. We hit a ton of cities, one right after the other, and had amazing adventures in each one. Sleep later, enjoy now! (And this is why we have credit cards, right? Um...right?)

So my first, super-long-overdue entry, was about a lovely, personalized, worth-the-trip-just-to-visit-here wine tasting at Roscioli in Rome, Italy. 

Jet-lagged, rain-soaked, over-tired, but ready to learn..and sip!

 LaShauna had heard of this class after seeing Anthony Bourdain give it high ratings, and that was enough for us. (Spoiler alert: Bourdain was right, right, RIGHT!)

Alessandro Pepe is the purchasing manager for Roscioli, a restaurant and wine-tasting venue in the heart of Rome. He normally does open classes, but we opted for a private class, as our group was at least 10 ladies. It was a little extra money, but worth every penny (euro)!

Alessandro had picked out a gorgeous selection of whites and reds for us to try (8 wines in all). He first asked our wine preferences, and realized that they mostly swerved to the sweet and maybe not-so-sophisticated, so he  vowed to educate our palates by the class's end. Quite the challenge!
I, personally, adore an Italian red, but wouldn't necessarily be able to say why. I also don't know a lot about Italian whites, and I couldn't wait to learn. Bring on the knowledge!

With each glass (every one of them a generous pour, might I add) we got a tasting of a savory Italian treat-- a rich, creamy house-made cheese, a single, succulent meatball, and in one case, a much-needed bowl of pasta Alla Amatriciana.. all of which we devoured.

house-made burrata

Cheese topped with caramelized onions (front) and fig jam (back)
A meatball with the perfect piece of polenta 
Carbs, glorious carbs...
We also had a generous serving of tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts of all time. I took one bite and had a 'moment.' This is one of the most heavenly, sublime, sumptuous tiramisu I've had the pleasure of tasting. This bite alone would have been worth the flight to bella Roma!

There wasn't a bad wine in the bunch, as you can imagine. AlesSandro, bless his heart, also encouraged us to "finish the bottles" we had left. If you know me, you know I'M VERY LITERAL. Apparently, I took these words to heart, and had a few more glasses.

Holding the 5th wine we sampled, a  Negroamaro & a crowd favorite...

Oh, Alessandro. This Irish girl got a bit animated, and WAY TOO TALKATIVE. When Alessandro mentioned that he was planning to come to New York to sample our wines, I became FAR too enthusiastic, and perhaps interrupted a bit too much due to said enthusiasm. Perdonami, Alessandro, per favore!

By the time the class finished, we truly had developed a greater appreciation for even more wines, and we'd not only LEARNED, but we'd so enjoyed it. I must thank Alessandro again, not only for his enthusiastic sharing of wisdom, but for his unfailing patience, and his generous hospitaliano. I can't recommend this class enough. If you're in Rome, you MUST take a class here. Just be sure to have a sandwich before-- I can't stress this enough! If you go on an empty stomach, you might find yourself enthusiastically interrupting your gracious host, Alessandro, and trust me, he's had quite enough of that!

For more information on these classes, visit their website here!

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