I love writing about the person behind the product. In this case actually, it’s not so much the product, but the business. The person is Fabio Giampiccolo, and the business is his charming little enoteca on a tiny Roman side street.
Is his stock of wine the largest in the city? No, not by a long shot. So why feature Fabio? Simply put, because his enoteca is stocked with great wine, and he wants to talk to you about it. His selection is curated by him, representing his picks for the best regional wines in Italy. We are not talking about the most popular wines, but the wines, often from small producers that just simply taste good.
There’s something else you get at Fabio’s enoteca besides good wine. You get Fabio. Fabio loves to talk wine, and has the knowledge to back up the talk. So if you go, I suggest planning to stay for more than a few minutes. Fabio can speak to the wine because he drinks the wine, and with a small collection, he’s able to speak about each one.
That dream came true about three years ago when he and his family took over the current space and made this shop their own. This has to be one of the easiest little shops to overlook in Rome. It’s on a very quiet, tiny side street (Via dei Cappuccini, 29) between Via Veneto and Via Sistina. Its small cork-lined entrance is actually the top of a short flight of stairs which lead down into the shop/cellar.
One of the reasons Fabio has not made the investment in his own wine cellar is because of the family’s next business venture. They have just acquired the very small space directly next door to the wine shop, and hope to open it any day now (in fact, it may be open by this time). The space is going to feature the best meat and cheese platters and wine by the glass. With Fabio’s background as a chef, he’s equally picky about the food he’s planning on serving.
Making this investment of time and money in this economy has been very stressful. “Why do it?” I asked. “To help people find a good product; good and real food products. Sometimes people don’t have time for a long lunch. I want to let them spend 30 minutes or an hour in another world. It’s like making love with food. Life is emotion; sometimes we cry when we see a work of art. Sometimes, food reminds us of our childhood. I want people to make a relationship, in that moment, with the food.”
The new space is not going to be a high-brow wine bar. It’s meant to be a space where locals who work nearby can pop in for a quick and delicious lunch. In the evening, a pre-dinner or light dinner nibble and nosh will be available. There’s no touristy piazza to hang out in. There’s no bubbly fountain nearby. Just delicious cured meats, local cheeses and fabulous wine….and very few tables. Sounds pretty wonderful, don’t you think?
Next time you’re in Rome, I highly recommend you stop by the charming enoteca and chat with the charming Fabio. Tell him I sent you. Or better yet, let’s go together. Join me on a tour, and we can stop in for lunch and a tasty glass. We can meet Fabio and see that lovely hard-earned sommelier certificate which has come out of the dark closet to hang proudly above the cash register. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start planning your next wine adventure in Italy.