Let’s say you have a passion for fine wines and you wake up one morning and decide to cash in all your savings in order to buy a case of 1971 Petrus. While it’s easy enough to say, this label is – apart from the cost – literally impossible to find. If you’re hoping to actually own one, you’ll need to belong to the exclusive group of people who have managed to conquer the trust and respect of the world’s best producers.
One of these people is Giorgio Pinchiorri, who is, together with his wife and cook Annie Féolde, the owner of the Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. Can you imagine 120,000 bottles of wine in one place? I thought it was impossible, until I descended into the cellar of the building in via Ghibellina, the legendary birth place of Michelangelo and Giovanni da Verrazzano. The cellar’s value is inestimable – most of the bottles are valued at thousands of euro just by themselves – and maintaining requires the same amount of attention as a newborn baby. Every bottle features a card indicating its year and a miniature reproduction of its label. There are five sommeliers who curate the collection, the new arrivals and work in the afternoons to prepare the days’ wines.
Three hundred different wines, more than twenty thousand bottles uncorked per year, and exclusive tastings that can cost up to 5,000 euro for five rare wines. And just when you think you’ve seen everything, a final room is opened, which is bathed in a strange lunar light: overhead, lies a ceiling completely covered in precious bottles, now empty, through which a greenish light filters. The surreal effect is amplified by a giant flat screen on the back wall, which shows images from the kitchen and the Niçoise woman who’s transformed this restaurant into one of the temples of global haute cuisine: Annie Feolde and her trusted guardian angels in the kitchen, chefs Italo Bassi and Riccardo Monco.
“We do contemporary cuisine with a touch of the Tuscan,” they explain in unison. “We don’t like to categorize our menu: what we do, is to make the best of what we find at the market, into dishes.” Their philosophy is perfectly represented by two of their iconic dishes: one is a doubled raviolini, which seem to be magically attached to one another by a paper thin pastry dough. The filling is made from burrata cheese and guinea fowl. And the other is the pigeon cooked in two different ways, in order to respect the different textures of the breast and the thigh.
The legendary couple, Giorgio Pinchiorri (from Modena) and Annie Féolde (from Nice, France), has made this 16th Century Palazzo Jacometti Ciofi flourish with the best of their respective nations’ culinary DNA. Among their career highlights are three Michelin stars and the Wine Spectator Award. This enoteca has become a leading example in the world for its charm and impeccable service, and this has managed to be successfully exported abroad. From 1992, there has been a location in Tokyo, and now another has opened in Nagoya, south of Tokyo. Here, the enoteca in at a breathtaking location of the 42nd floor, almost 300 metres above ground, with perhaps the world’s best wine cellar. And any true aficionado of rare bottles can now explore this one-of-kind collection, with the Enoteca Pinochiorri’s online shop, featuring products, objects and the best bottles from Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Champagne and Italy’s best regions.
Via Ghibellina, 87
Tel. +39 055/242757, Website