Diadema Wine Bar & Restaurant

by Paolo Valdastri 07/20/22
126 |

Alternative August among the fire and earth of Impruneta to enjoy chef Alessio Leporatti's mouthwatering dishes at the gourmet restaurant of the Relais Villa Olmo Food & Wine Resort, a stone's throw from Florence.

The summer heat prompts people to seek refreshment on the beaches or in the high mountains. Thinking of finding refreshment in a location famous for its kilns may seem like an outlandish idea reserved for some passing masochist.

At Impruneta, a locality in the countryside south of Florence, just a few minutes' drive from Piazzale Michelangelo, there is a true green oasis capable of restoring body and mind in spite of the torrid summer temperatures and the fires lit by the fornacini. Terracotta has been produced at Impruneta for more than 1,000 years, and Brunelleschi's dome owes its lightness to this very product, born of clay material rich in marl and iron oxide. Fire and earth are the distinctive elements of this strip of Tuscany on the outskirts of Florence.

Freshness, pure air and silence, on the other hand, are the elements that characterize the Relais Villa Olmo, a place of global regeneration for the mind, body and palate. A hotel with luxurious, warm and cozy rooms, private villas, a panoramic swimming pool, apartments with private pools, the organic vegetable garden, a wine cellar and the Diadema Wine Bar & Restaurant as a synthesis of perfection in hospitality have been created from the restoration of an ancient hamlet dating back to the 1500s.

The food and wine element takes center stage in the idyllic world of Villa Olmo. The chef is Alessio Leporatti, coming from Mediterranean experiences between Barcelona and Positano, and Tuscan stops first at Cibreo and Arnolfo's, then at Osteria di Passignano. He arrives at Diadema in 2019 and, despite the difficulties of the pandemic moment, creates the basis for a cuisine of proximity that privileges above all the Villa's vegetable garden and small local producers. This principle can already be read well in the composition on the menu of cutting boards with selections of artisanal cured meats, local cheeses and garden delicacies in the name of sustainability.

Ingenious are some of the first courses such as the "Bottoncini di pasta fresca con ripieno di pernice al burro, rosmarino e bottarga d'uovo" or the "Dischi volanti in salsa Cibreo, cialda alla salvia, limone marinato," and for those who know the recipe for the real Cibreo it is easy to understand how much tradition has been poured into these dishes.

We still find tradition in the meaty main courses such as the hearty but very soft "Peposo dell'Impruneta di guancia di manzo di manzo con fagioli al fiasco," originally a result dish of the Impruneta fornacini who would leave terrines of tough, calloused meats flavored with Chianti and generous handfuls of black pepper to cook overnight in the oven. My favorite dish was the "Pigeon, Chocolate, Red Fruits, Thousand Potato Leaves," an explosion of flavors and textures that invites experimentation with pairings with Tuscany's greatest red wines.

Also impeccable is the proposal of the catch, always very fresh and renewed from day to day, offered with classic steamed or grilled preparations, or in a very tasty soup with bread crumbs and seaweed.

For chocolate lovers, among the desserts on the Sunday menu, we find a nice "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

The menus, precisely, are divided into an evening offering valid all week, a daytime offering and a Sunday menu. The wine list is absolutely personal with some bold proposals and is mainly centered on Diadema's production, from Champagnes to amphorae. The oil list is interesting with a division of use by vegetables, meat, fish. The presence of Nocellara del Belice grown in Calabria by Pasquale Librandi stands out, alongside, of course, the house oil, D Oleum.

For mixology and spirits lovers, the sector is curated by Luca Giaccone with an offer set on local products, such as the 16 Italian gins, vermouths, bitters, and grappas. Florentine gins are featured, such as the ever-present Peter in Florence, gin from Elba Island, Livorno, and Argentario, to name a few. Don't miss the aperitif with Dirty Martini, which perhaps would have caught even Hemingway's attention.

Diadema wine

Villa Olmo is part of the WHS Worlding Hospitality Solutions group, founded by Luca Perfetto and Urbano Brini, with Patrizio Montevecchi. The Relais is closely connected with the Giannotti Family's Diadema winery, which now has sisters Giulia and Livia in the control room. The wine line is entirely original and relies in no small way on precious packaging or alternative cellar choices. The Diadema Rosso and Diadema Champagne lines are embellished with crystals applied by hand by expert Florentine artisans, when not by Swarovski, but there is also a very limited series where the crystals have been replaced with real diamonds. The Champagne line can carry this name thanks to a collaboration with a small producer in the Côte de Bar who works under a biodynamic regime. Then there is the Damare line, red, white and rosé, more international in style, and finally the wine that represents the true spirit of the place: the Imprunetis.

This is a selection of Sangiovese vinified in purity in terracotta amphorae from Impruneta and packaged in nice bottles of the same material. The amphora gives a special character to the Sangiovese, enhancing the fruity notes with very intense aromas and a savory, mineral finish. Produced in a limited edition, it is not easy to find, but on the Diadema Restaurant card the 2016 vintage is available at the entirely reasonable cost of 39€.

In the case of a multi-day stopover, the activities offered by the Relais satisfy every need. They range, of course, from visits to wineries, in their own or Tuscany's best, with guided tastings, to a cooking school and wine pairing under the supervision of Sommelier Serena Restuccia. Plus visits to oil mills, cities of art, Chianti villages, hiking, horseback riding, Vespa riding or biking. 

All in the midst of the sea. Yes, the green sea of olive trees and Chianti hills.


Relais Villa Olmo

Tel.  +39 055 2311311
Email: info@relaisvillaolmo.com



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