Sunday, December 11, 2022

Wine Dinner at Ristorante i Ricchi in Downtown Washington DC with the Wines of Marchesi Antinori and the Food of Chef Christianne Ricchi, USA/ Italy

Annette and I enjoyed a lovely wine dinner at Ristorante i Rocchi in dowtown Washington DC with the wines of Marchesi Antinori and the food of Chef Christianne Ricchi, organized by Calvert and Woodley.

Calvert & Woodley: Invitation

It's our last dinner of 2022 and we couldn't be more excited to host an Italian wine dinner featuring the wines of Marchesi Antinori. This dinner will be a "tour of Italy" with four different Italian regions being represented through a dish and wine(s) from that region. The guest of honor leading this exceptional evening will be Cecile Roesch-Giannangeli, US brand Ambassador for Marchesi Antinori and Luxury. The dinner will be held on Tuesday, December 6th, at Ristorante i Ricchi in downtown DC, where Christianne Ricchi created a delicious menu based on traditional holiday regional dishes to pair with these fantastic wines.

For more than 635 years — spanning 26 generations — the Antinori family has produced exceptional wines, making it the 10th oldest family-owned company in the world. While Marchesi Antinori started with its roots in Tuscany and Umbria, over the years they have invested in many properties around Italy and beyond, bringing their experience and innovative spirit to each newly acquired estate. As current owner Marchese Piero Antinori loves to say: “Ancient family roots play an important part in our philosophy but they have never hindered our innovative spirit."

Space for the dinner is limited to 40 people. To reserve your spot for this dinner, please sign-up online now. See full details below.

$200 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity)

Ristorante i Ricchi

Ristorante i Ricchi was one of the first traditional Tuscan restaurants to open in the United States and it did not go unnoticed. 

“The triumph of i Ricchi – nowhere else in this country have I had such authentic, Tuscan food. In fact, only at a handful of Florence’s restaurants is such tradition available.” 

exclaimed Phyllis Richman, food critic of The Washington Post. Heralded by the New York Times as a "Florentine import and hottest restaurant in Washington" and honored by the former President of Italy as "one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy," they haven't looked back since. The restaurant has won dozens of awards over the years, including: Best 25 Restaurants in North America, Food & Wine Magazine; and Top 10 Restaurants in the US, American Academy of Restaurant Sciences.

Tasting Bites - i Ricchi: An Old Timer in Washington DC (2015)

Actually, there were several reasons why we should visit this restaurant. To begin with, i Ricchi had been around for twenty-five years, which is in itself a big achievement.  Moreover, the story of Christianne and Francesco is fascinating, as it resembles more a Hollywood movie of the 60’s than real life. As reported The Hill, Christianne was a young American art student who went to Florence to study painting and ended up working in the trattoria of her future husband’s mother. Francesco and Christianne married in 1975 and until 1989 they jointly ran the trattoria in Cercina that had been started by Francesco’s grandfather in 1929. In 1989 they moved to Washington, DC and started i Ricchi.

The restaurant became an immediate success, in part because one month after its opening a White House speechwriter chose i Ricchi to celebrate his birthday and among his guests were George and Barbara Bush. In 1992, i Ricchi received the Fine Dining Award from Food &Wine, as one of the top 25 restaurants in America. In 1997, Francesco Ricchi opened Cesco Trattoria and Christianne Ricchi remains as the executive chef of i Ricchi until today.

Barry Bros. and Rudd - Marchesi Antinori

Antinori is the most famous name in Italian wine and the influence of Piero Antinori in the last 25 years has been nothing short of revolutionary. Antinori's flagship wine, Tignanello, first appeared in 1971 and caused a sensation by its use Cabernet Sauvignon in the Sangiovese blend and with its practice of ageing in small French barriques. Antinori was accused of vinous treachery and treason but soon barrique-aged blends of Sangiovese and Cabernet began appearing all across Tuscany.

Solaia is a Cabernet-dominated blend, which, like Tignanello, is from the Santa Cristina estate and is stunningly rich. Tenuta Belvedere is in Bolgheri on the Mediterranean coast .

The Guado al Tasso estate is also part of the small, prestigiousBolgheri DOC zone which has been famous for its Rosé wines since the Seventies: along with the white wines made here, they were awarded the DOC in 1984, which was extended to the reds in 1994. The area is now best-known and admired for its outstanding red wines, the so-called Super-Tuscans.  The estate covers over 1,000 hectares, 300 of which are planted with vineyards, and the rest with wheat, sunflowers and olives

Tenuta Guado al Tasso was part of feudal lands of about 4,048 hectares along about 7km of coast and belonged to the Della Gherardesca family, whose roots in this region date back to over 1,200 years ago. In the Thirties the land was inherited by Carlotta della Gherardesca Antinori - mother of Piero Antinori - and her sister, who was married to Mario Incisa della Rocchetta (who took possession of the nearby Tenuta San Guido). There were seven castles on the estate, four of which are still standing, and 86 watchtowers, built 1000 years ago to protect the family from Saracen invaders from the African coast.

There are currently 300 hectares of vineyards at Tenuta Guado al Tasso, situated at an altitude of 45-60m a.s.l. on various types of soil. The varieties planted are Vermentino (a grape variety native to the coastal area of Liguria and northern Tuscany, which has also flourished for many years in Corsica and Sardinia), Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. There are also small quantities of other varieties including Cabernet Franc.

Many ideas and resources have been invested in the Guado al Tasso estate, for constant research into improved quality: as a result, a nursery for rooted cuttings was created here in 1994, mainly for the propagation of Vermentino, but also to produce the best possible selections of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for use in other Antinori estates.

The mitigating influence of the Mediterranean prevents drastic temperature variations and the vines flower and ripen early, thanks to the stable, fairly warm microclimate with its extraordinary light during the final phases of ripening. Thanks to the microclimate of the "Bolgheri amphitheatre", harvesting takes place early here, about two weeks before the Chianti harvest.

The Guado al Tasso estate makes Scalabrone (Bolgheri Rosato DOC) from Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah, Vermentino di Bolgheri DOC, a monovarietal Vermentino (made for the first time in 1996) and since 1990, the Guado al Tasso Bolgheri DOC Superiore from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. - Marchesi Antinori 

Marchesi Antinori is one of the most iconic Super Tuscan producers, who’s been in the wine business for over six centuries. 

Today the winery continues to innovate and produce mind-blowing red blends. For the past 49 years, Piero Antinori (the 25th generation) has been the driving force behind the Antinori wines while spearheading the renaissance of Italian wine.

The estate is headquartered in the Chianti Classico region (San Casciano Val di Pesa) between Florence and Siena.

The family-owned wine company started with Giovanni di Piero Antinori in the 1300s and has lasted for 26 generations. 

The innovations of the Antinori family played a significant role in the “Super Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s.   

Today, Marquis Piero Antinori and his three daughters Allegra, Alessia, and Albiera Antinori (the 26th generation) oversee the firm’s activities. Alessia Antinori represents the Antinori family on the board of Primum Familiae Vini (fine wine association.)

The winery is most famous for its red wine blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese. The most famous Antinori red wines are Tignanello and Solaia. 

Antinori also produces Chianti Classico and a small amount of white wines from Pinot Grigio, Reisling, Pinot Bianco, Trebbiano, and Malvasia Toscana. 

This Italian wine producer releases around 20 million bottles annually and has over 150 labels.

This Italian wine company started when Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Winemakers Guild (Arte Fiorentina dei Vinattieri) in the 14th century.

The Antinori family bought the Piazza Antinori (Palazzo Antinori) in Florence in 1506 and gained the title of Marquis in the 18th century. 

In 1900, Marchese Piero Antinori purchased 47 hectares of vineyards in the Chianti Classico region. 

In 1924, Marchese Niccolò Antinori, son of Piero, bought properties including Santa Cristina and Castello della Sala (Umbria.) 

After Marchese Niccolò Antinori retired in 1966, his son started experimenting with early harvesting of white grape varietals and malolactic fermentation of their red wines.

Winemaker Giacomo Tachis joined Antinori in 1961. He introduced non-indigenous grapes and new winemaking techniques, including malolactic fermentation and bottle aging. 

In 1974, Antinori launched the first vintage of Tignanello. Following the success of this red wine, Antinori launched Solaia in 1978 from grape varietals from a neighboring vineyard. 

The Antinori family started investing in wineries across the globe. The most notable ones are the Atlas Peak winery in Napa Valley (1985) and Badia a Passignano (1987.)

They also expanded the firm to Apulia, Piedmont, and forged joint ventures in Hungary, Bataapati, Chile (Maipo Valley), Romania, Malta, and the USA (Antica Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap, and Col Solare.) 

Tour of Italy Wine Dinner at Ristorante i Rocchi in Dowtown Washington DC with the Wines of Marchesi Antinori and the Food of Chef Christianne Ricchi








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