Ai Fiori

400 5th Avenue 2nd Level/Langham Place Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

+ 1 (212) 613-8660


2000 Tarlant Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs La Vigne d’Antan    


2004 Le Pupille Saffredi


2006 Sette Ponti Oreno 


2001 Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva


2003 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis


2004 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria



Tortelli; ricotta & mascarpone ravioli, sottocenere, red wine glaze

Ippoglosso; line caught Atlantic halibut, delicata squash, apple purèe, Brussels sprouts

Panna Cotta; balsamic crema, fig, pomegranate, mandarin sorbetto

Two recent meals at Michael White’s Ai Fiori have been superb. This dinner featured a number of my favorite wines, all of which showed beautifully.

Earlier this year Marzia and I enjoyed an absolutely stellar lunch at Ai Fiori. Everything was perfect; the setting, the food, the wines, and of course, the service. Chef Michael White and his Chef de Cuisine PJ Calapa have a way of creating dishes that captures the essence of the Italian kitchen in a way that introduces a few twists but without straying off course. This three-course menu was simple, but everything was cooked and seasoned perfectly. Readers who haven’t been to Ai Fiori owe it to themselves to check it out. The bar scene is a bit more vibrant than at Marea, White’s mid-town temple to fish and seafood, but things are a bit more laid-back in the spacious, beautifully appointed dining room. Our wines were delicious and paired very well with the food. For more on the wines, readers might enjoy this short video I shot just before guests arrived.

I adore Benoit Tarlant’s Champagnes, I just don’t see them as often as I would like. The 2000 Blanc de Blancs La Vigne d’Antan is stellar, with tons of deep fruit and fabulous richness. It more than lives up to the promise I first sensed years ago. What a gorgeous Champagne this is.

Elisabetta Geppetti’s 2004 Saffredi shows the sexiness and silkiness of this great Tuscan vintage. Here it is the expressive bouquet and silky tannins that stand out most. The 2004 can be enjoyed today and over the next decade or so. Saffredi is one of my favorite Maremma wines and 2004 is one of the top vintages. A much more powerful side of Tuscany comes through in the 2006 Sette Ponti a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from vineyards near Arezzo. The 2006 still boasts considerable power, but in this context it lacks a bit of finesse. Pertimali’s 2001 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a poignant reminder of a time in the estate’s history when the wines were consistently brilliant. Dusty red cherries, tobacco, Mediterranean herbs and cedar lift from the glass in a super-classic Brunello that shows just how exciting Sangiovese can be in Montalcino. Sadly, the Pertimali wines are rarely this compelling today.

The 2003 Barolo Cannubi Boschis from Luciano Sandrone is gorgeous. Just starting to show the early signs of tertiary complexity, the 2003 graces the palate with dark red/blue fruit, licorice, mint and dried flowers. The 2003 isn’t going to get better from here, but it is absolutely stellar right now. This is a gorgeous showing. Vietti’s 2004 Barbaresco Masseria is the most impressive wine of the evening, especially with regards to its potential for the future. A super-classic profile of rose petal, cinnamon, tar, plum and savory herbs lifts out of the glass in this striking, mid-weight Barbaresco. On this night, the 2004 Masseria is incredibly beautiful. Readers lucky enough to own it can look forward to another 15-20 years of fabulous drinking. I have tasted a number of 2004 Barolos and Barbarescos over the last few months and been very pleased with the way the wines are developing.

-- Antonio Galloni