Barack and Michelle Obama

Filippo Bartolotta "guides" Barack and Michelle Obama on a wine tour exploring the regions of Italy.

The idea seemed so crazy that it appeared unrealizable; however, as often happens in these situations, it transformed into one of those unique, almost magical evenings where emotion becomes one with passion. I selected 10 wines to serve to former US President Barack Obama, guiding the leader and his wife Michelle through the best (of the best) of Italian oenology in black tie attire and… sneakers!

Indeed, sometimes you prepare meticulously until the last detail, and then, in a moment, you slip on a banana peel! On that morning, I was a bit nervous; until the last minute, everything hung on an uncertain edge, amid the significant demands of secrecy. When everything seemed to be proceeding in the right direction, I realized I had forgotten my elegant shoes: I had the right suit, but on my feet, a pair of black Nikes.

It was a true honor to share this marvelous journey with Michelle and Barack Obama: two extremely cordial and kind individuals whose genuine curiosity contributed to making the experience even more extraordinary, a playful “journey” to discover the oenological gems of Italy. Here they are:

  • Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2005
  • Apollonio Rosè 18 Fanali 2014
  • Oddero Barolo 1961 (Barack’s birth year)
  • Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 1964 (Michelle’s birth year)
  • Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25 anni 2010
  • Cecchi Coevo 2010

After the tasting, the guests sat down to discover Massimo Bottura’s cuisine. Alongside the master’s dishes, there was an additional selection of great Italian wines:

  • Gravner Ribolla 2008
  • Tasca d’Almerita Tascante Buonora 2016
  • Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2009
  • Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Riserva 2008

I had requested 30 minutes, but it ended up lasting an hour and a half. And I enjoyed it. It was an unforgettable evening where I had the pleasure of narrating, through a tasting of excellent (some extremely rare) wines, the stories of people capable of turning insights into concrete projects, with determination, taste, and great courage: my producer friends, who, from Sicily to the Alps, accept daily challenges and create wines that are the purest expression of our Italian essence, a blend of beauty, flavor, harmony, and quality.

Thanks to them, I was able to realize The Amazing Italian Wine Journey: a fantastic journey that made me once again aware that life is made of intuitions and passions, the very ingredients necessary to produce a good wine.