The best little wine bar in Las Vegas: thank you Ferraro’s! And wow, Vegas wine peeps, you are some of the coolest around (for real)

sommelier-hakkasan-las-vegasAbove, from left: Las Vegas sommeliers Elise Vandenberg (Milos), Kat Thomas (Hakkasan), Jeffrey Bencus (Lago), and wine blogger and collector Vashti Roebuck, who all came out to taste Franciacorta with me on Monday at Ferraro’s.

What an incredible experience to connect and interact with the group of sommeliers who came out to taste with me on Monday in Las Vegas! Not only were these some of the brightest and most gifted tasters I’ve met in the business, but they were also some of the nicest. In this town, it seems (at least to me), wine chops and hospitality go hand and in hand. And despite the immense talent in the room and the ego that could come with it, cordiality and collegiality (in the purest sense) were the bywords of the day.

I need to send out special, heartfelt thanks to Jaime Smith, who helped me put our Franciacorta Real Story tasting together, and Liz Davar, who organized my post-tasting tour of some of the cooler spots on the Strip. Yall — and all yall — rock, big time. Thank you!

best-wine-bar-las-vegasBut the biggest discovery for me this time around was not on the Strip: Ferraro’s Restaurant and Wine Bar is a gem of a place, with classic Italian cooking and a jaw-dropping Italian wine list.

Gino Ferraro and his family have been working as restaurateurs in Vegas for four decades and I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I really loved it.

italian-octopus-salad-recipeOctopus salad, perfectly executed. Just look at the color of that olive oil, people!

flour-gnocchi-recipePillowy, melt-in-your-mouth-without-losing-their-texture homemade gnocchi. Spot on, with the lightest tomato sauce (a coulis, really).

best-italian-restaurant-las-vegasMaybe not the most photogenic but, man, when I’m on the road, this is the type of homey food I crave. Housemade sausage can often be overly fatty and greasy. But this was light and wholesome tasting. And bring on the leafy greens, Gino! I loved this humble, delicious dish. I can’t wait to get back next year and taste Gino’s tripe.

hakkasan-kim-kardashianAlso need to give a warm shout-out to Kat Thomas who hosted our end-of-the-night group at Hakkasan. No JLo or Kardashian sightings but great food and wines and super cool to watch Kat just killing it on the floor. Man, she has the sommelier goods… Thank you, Kat!

nevada-vanity-license-platesMy peeps in Vegas are believers!

I’d only ever been to Sin City to play with the band (years ago). And I have always been wary of the scene there (it’s a trip on the Strip and if you’ve been, you know what I mean).

But it was so awesome to see this only-in-America city through the eyes of wine professionals who make it all happen — vinously, that is.

Thanks again, Las Vegas, for a truly fulfilling enogastronomic experience and for the warm welcome. I hope to get back in the spring.

Today I’m on my way to Colorado to hookup with bromance Paolo (sorry, Giovanni!) in Boulder for the Boulder Burgundy Festival where I’ll be blogging about the event. Please stay tuned and see you on the other side…

las-vegas-strip-aerial-photo-photography

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