This post is also available in: Italian

The Bottega del Vino in Colleferro is more than just Leo’s little wine shop, it is an enoteca for wines of the region – a temporary home for wines seeking your palate.

It is also a meeting place for a motley group of locals from all fields of endeavour but mostly men of an age when more has already gone under the belt than is still to come – in winter evenings crowded inside around a small table decorated by bottle tops and in summer filling the micro piazza in front of this atelier of Leo Camilli and his daughter Stella.

An atelier it is – supplying not just wines from small excellent growers, but local foods and virgin oil, the clientelle may be offered white or red pizza or specialities from the local bakery. For those coming anew to this fine wine shop, stop awhile and listen to Leo wax lyrical on wines, white and red, selected by him from small wineries throughout Italy, on the basis of value for money and good taste.

You may come with your shopping list and you may choose your more expensive Cesanese del Piglio, but if you care to stay and sample from the advice and bottle of your friendly sommelier, you are likely to leave with another selection at a substantial discount.

Let us set the scene to find this Bottega and to meet its owner. Maybe you already know the Church of Santa Barbara with the one-way street (Via Sobrero) taking you down to Corso Garibaldi. Passing the Fire Station and the entrance to the food markets, and you will find the red canvas awning fronting Leo and his Bottega.

Leo, with his jockey’s cap to protect his balding pate, is a man of much experience and expertise. He started this Bottega with his son Gianmarco who is specialized in Artisanal Beers and now runs is successful pub Porco Rosso.

His aim was and is to recover the traditional Italian spirit of friends chatting, maybe about secrets of life and doing so in a genuine way. No more mass products and artificial flavours but tasty products made by real people. Those who share the same values and lifestyle.

But maybe your first experience of the Bottega, after noting the invitation ‘vini sfusi’ – bulk (unbottled) wine, will be confrontation with four very large stainless steel vats advertising wine by the litre for those to whom economy is the highest priority, and from which you could have a replete evening with friends for under Euro 3,00.

In the shelves on the right of the door, is an excellent selection of red and white wines in 3 and 5 litres containers, some of which are also available in standard bottles, with ‘rarities’ such as Refosco from Alto Adige sitting alongside some picks from Lazio – all selected for value, taste and quality.

Maybe you prefer a frizzante (sparkling) from the tap? Ask and it shall arrive.  Or is it a Malbec, Syrah, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, or white Pecorino, Pinot Grigio, and even a pink – local rosato, all waiting expectantly for your selection beside Quattrociocchi oils – Delicato, Superbo, Olivastro.

For those without budget restrictions, take a tour down the shelves and ask Leo for a little advice as price is not always the only guide for a top quality wine.

There is an answer to that deficiency and that is to return and join the band of Leo’s friends sharing new and old selections and an evening chat. Alternatively wander past on Saturday or Sunday morning before lunch and share a local white or frizzante (sparkling) aperitif with traditional local Italian ‘nibbles’.

You may arrive unknown, but you will leave as a friend!

Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine