I must say this wBlog is different than others, but this experience at this restaurant was so unique and awesome that I needed to write an individual blog.
Event was kicked off on 5th of August at Verona, day before of our Soave and Valpolicella visit. After several hours sightseeing with my wife at old town, suddenly both of us wanted to have a glass of very good wine. We found a wine bar which was noisy and crowded but no time to look for a better one. We ordered a good quality Valpolicella Ripasso but the wine was approx. 27 degrees of Celsius but the queue to the desk was long, so we just left most of the wines to the table and left towards our hotel.
While we walked to the hotel, we couldn´t forget the tought of good wine. Close to our hotel there was a fancy restaurant named Al Cristo where were couple of customers finishing their dinners. It was very late but they welcomed us to sit down and have glass of wine. With 7 euros we got big glasses of very, very good Amarone. Wine came in Riedel Sommelier series glass in perfect temperature. This was the perfect satisfaction to fill our wine thirst. We decided that we need to come for dinner to this place on Saturday evening.
It was time to go Al Cristo for dinner after fabulous day of winery visits on Saturday. Owner´s lovely wife (figured out later) took our order and asked what kind of wine we want. After hearing that we wanted some local white from Soave she showed Tenuta Sant´Antonio Vecchio Vigne Soave wine out of menu. We accepted the wine and told her that we just visited at Gini in Soave in the morning of the same day.
While enjoying our lovely dinner, some customers from Eastern Europe came to the next table of ours. They ordered a very old wine and two waiters tried to open the bottle but cork was broken. After sieving the wine, other waiter gave me a glass under my nose to check if the wine was still good before giving the same glass to the customer next table. This was a bit confusing. A little bit later other waiter came to ask if I am a sommelier as well? “No I am not!”, I answered a bit confused. Owner wants to show his cellar he said. Of course we were honored to visit in wine cellar of this restaurant. Owner was actually the same as waiter who gave me a sniff of this old wine which went to next table. Owner name was Luca and he was very passionate of wines and his cellar was a huge with thousands bottles of a very expensive top wines. During discussions of the wines, he told that he is a brand ambassador for Tenuta Sant´Antonio wines in China where he and his wife staying half of the year. I told that I want to be an importer in near future so he invited us to visit next day at the restaurant so he can give a tasting of the Tenuta Sant´Antonio wines with some food.
Sunday, next day when we went to Luca´s restaurant, he told that he had investigated and found out that there is an importer to Tenuta Sant´Antonio´s wines in Finland (Vindirekt). Luca invited us for tasting anyway without direct business aspect. After sitting to the table at 8 pm, tasting ended around 1.30 am wines and small dishes just came to the table all the time. Luca offered us a delicious spider crab pasta which he was planning to add to the menu next week (top right image in the picture above).
After countless number of Sant´Antonio´s wines and small dishes served, a bottle of 1995 Vega Sicilia Valbuano appeared to the table. I told to waiter that he probably made a mistake and this bottle belongs to other table. He put a third glass to the table and said that the owner will come to join this bottle with you. After Luca came to the table enjoy this fabulous wine, he told that this particularly bottle was rejected by other table after tasting. Neither me or Luca or my wife agreed other table’s decision of corked wine. Also the waiter tested the wine and agreed this was perfectly fine, but did not like it otherwise. Well rest of the bottle we drunk with my wife and we were very pleased. Next bottle was 1992 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. In the bottle there was a golf ball sized wine rock but wine was perfectly fine. Also Luca´s wife joined to taste this wine with some cheeses and cold cuts.
When last customers ordered glasses of grappa, guess who needed to drink the rest of the bottle? Luckily Luca drank most of it. Because Tenuta Saint´Antonio tasting was incomplete by two Amarones, Luca gave us those in a doggy pack with some good raw pasta.
This was unbelievable experience. Thousand times thank you to Luca and his lovely wife for hospitality and culinary experience!
Everybody – when visiting Verona, go have dinner at Al Cristo, especially wine lovers. Very good food and the wine list is thick as a bible.
–Markus Laukkanen, 13.10.2016