Wine Stories

Over the past 35 years, the Lorenzini family has established relationships with national distributors and internationally-renowned wineries. Visiting multiple wineries in Italy and California as well as presenting owner-hosted wine dinners are yearly focuses of our restaurant. Therefore, we are able to request for our distributors to bring in the latest wines to Pennsylvania state stores for our customers. Our sommeliers, in tandem with the Grail Menu App, are always willing to guide customers in selections that will pair best with their meal and palette.

Gaja Winery
Rico's has been introducing Pittsburgh to the Gaja wines since the restaurant’s opening. Rico and David met Angelo Gaja, owner of the winery, for the first time at the 1991 VinItaly conference in Verona. In 2013, David visited the winery’s town of Barbaresco, Piedmont before attending the VinItaly wine festival. There, he met Gaia and Rossana Gaja, Angelo’s daughters, who were representing the family at the Wine Spectator Top 100 Producers Event. In May 2016, David spent a week in Barbaresco and toured the Gaja winery and vineyards. Gaja is also one of the few that produce wine in the famed “Four B” regions: Barbaresco, Barolo, Bolgheri, and Brunello di Montalcino. Please review our digital wine list for our current availabilities from this winery
Pio Cesare Winery
Rico’s began offering the Piedmontese wines of Pio Cesare in the early 1980s. In the early 1990s, David and Rico met the fourth generation owner Pio Boffa, when he came to Pittsburgh while promoting his wines throughout the United States. David met Cesare Benvenuto, a fifth generation owner, when he stopped in for lunch in 2010. David and his wife Bonnie visited the Pio Cesare winery, for the first time, in September 2012, a few weeks before Cesare came to Pittsburgh to host his first wine dinner at Rico's. David met Cesare again at VinItaly 2013 during the Wine Spectator Top 100 Producers Event. Cesare returned to Rico's in October 2014 to host another wonderful wine dinner, autographing bottles of both Barolo and Barbaresco for those in attendance. Autographed wine bottles from Pio Boffa and Cesare Benvenuto are on display in the wine cabinet. Please review our digital wine list for our current availabilities from this winery.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini Winery
Donatella Cinelli Colombini is known in the industry for starting an all-female run winery in Montalcino, Tuscany. When Colombini was starting her winery in the 1980s, she realized that hiring a skilled oenologist would be key to her success. However, the Oenology school in Siena has a long waitlist for the graduated oenologists. She quickly realized that the School was only referring to the male graduates instead of the female ones. She immediately hired the best female graduate to spearhead the winery and has continued with that philosophy since. David met Colombini at the Benvenuto Brunello 2013 conference in New York City. Later in the year, David visited her winery in Tuscany and the two subsequently met at VinItaly 2013. Please review our digital wine list for our current availabilities from this winery.
Kevin Zraly
Kevin Zraly was the head sommelier at Windows on the World Restaurant from 1976 to 2001. This platform allowed him to become a prominent figure on wine education. In the 1980s, several of his books introduced David to wine production and tasting. In January 2013, David attended the Bevenuto a Brunello event in New York City for over 100 Brunello di Montalcino producers to showcase their 2009 and 2010 vintages. At this conference, David participated in two of Kevin Zraly’s tasting classes and met with him again during VinItaly 2013.
Venge Vineyards
Venge Vinyards’ pedigree begins with Nils Venge, who produced the first Californian wine rated 100 points by Robert Parker. This 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was the beginning of a remarkable tradition and passion for the grape. David and Rico met Kirk Venge, Nils’ son, while at a party at the Failla winery in 2012. They visited Venge Vinyards, Kirk’s venture, in Calistoga, Napa Valley and sampled a variety of vintages. The single vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from their top label, Bone Ash, has received a 98 point rating from Robert Parker. After speaking with the winery and the Pennsylvania wine representatives, Rico’s became the first restaurant in Pittsburgh to serve Venge wines beginning in 2014. Rico’s remains among a handful of restaurants in Pennsylvania that is able to represent the brand. Kirk Venge hosted a private wine dinner at Rico’s in May, 2015 to introduce the vineyard’s latest vintages. David returned to Napa Valley in September, 2015 to meet with Kirk and tour the Winery again. Please review our digital wine list for our current availabilities from this winery.
Failla Winery
The Failla family have been loyal customers at Rico’s since the restaurant’s opening. The owners, Anne-Marie Failla and Ehren Jordan, are Pittsburgh natives and started the Failla Winery currently located in the St. Helena region of Napa Valley. They wanted to find a way to introduce their acclaimed wines to the Pittsburgh market, since their wines were unavailable due to Pennsylvania’s liquor laws. After working with the winery, Rico’s was able to order their wines beginning in the mid-2000s. Rico’s is heavily credited with Failla getting into the Pennsylvania market. In 2012, after Rico and David Lorenzini visited their winery, Rico’s presented a wine dinner focused on the Failla wines. In 2015, David returned to meet with Anne-Marie Failla and tour the winery. Rico’s typically carries the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals that Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator Magazine consistently rate in the high 90s. Please review our digital wine list for our current availabilities from this winery.
Biondi-Santi Winery
The Biondi-Santi family has been producing wines in Montalcino since 1865. The wine industry accredits them for creating the Brunello di Montalcino viticultural region. In fact, Jacopo Biondi-Santi told David that the family’s only regret in the wine business was not trademarking the Brunello di Montalcino name since many other winemakers now use the name in order to distinguish and trade on the particular rootstock designed by the Biondi-Santi family. David and Rico’s first visit to the Tuscan winery was in 1990. It was at the 2011 Pittsburgh Wine Experience at Heinz Field that David met Tancredi Biondi-Santi, a sixth generation family member. The Pittsburgh Wine Experience is an annual opportunity for major wine brokers, owners, and representatives to showcase their vintages to Pittsburgh restauranteurs. In April 2013, David met with the current owner and fifth generation family member, Jacopo Biondi-Santi, to discuss the history of the winery as well as the future of the family business. In May 2016, David visited the winery again. Please review our digital wine list for current availabilities from this winery.