Laid-back, convivial and gourmet. These are the three things that make up the concept of Epos, the bistrot of Poggio Le Volpi Wine Estate in Monte Porzio Catone. It is a destination that’s conveniently located just thirty kilometers from the capital where wine and food are represented at their optimum quality with a kitchen authored by the prizewinning German chef Oliver Glowig. The chef’s approach to the kitchen of Epos is straightforward which is deeply rooted to the territory and giving precedence to the seasonality of the ingredients. A traditional cuisine is what he offers with touches of innovative elements.
With 35 hectares of land in Monte Porzio Catone, Poggio Le Volpi was created by Armando and his son Felice Mergè. Their intention was to give life to local wines, enhancing their ampelographic richness. By selecting only the most suitable indigenous vines and the best grapes, using all the family knowledge and driven by passion, wines of great stature were born such as the Epos Frascati Superiore. DOCG, the Asonia Frascati DOC Spumante, the Donnaluce Lazio IGP and Baccarossa Lazio IGP.
Chef Oliver Glowig who originated from Germany, has conquered Italy through the excellence of his kitchen from his debut in the Italian soil in 2001 at the Grand Hotel Quisana in Capri. He was awarded 2 Michelin stars twice at the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa soon after. In 2010 Oliver moved to Rome at the Hotel Aldrovandi Villa Borghese wherein he immediately had success until the achievement of the 2 Michelin stars in 2012. In 2017, he welcomed the proposal of of the Mergè family to become the executive chef of Barrique, the fine dining restaurant of Poggio Le Volpi Wine Estate. Today Oliver is at the head chef of both Barrique and Epos.
Epos, born in December 2014, almost twenty years after Poggio Le Volpi was created, is a place where anyone who walks in can revel in the warm and informal dining atmosphere where the beauty of the surroundings amplifies the experience but still maintaining the elegant approach of the wine estate. It is spread out on the upper level of the wine estate, right above the barrel cellar where the other gourmet restaurant, Barrique, is located. In the internal dining area, the capacity is 50 while in the outdoor area, there are 60 places. The open air terrace that overlooks the vineyards provides a spacious alfresco dining. The table setting has a particular simplicity of a totally white look – white tables with ecru chairs. Wicker sofa sets at the end of the terrace provide a true area of relaxation in the company of Poggio Le Volpi’s vineyards.
“The philosophy of our family is to enhance the ampelographic richness of our territory, creating a sweet and persuasive liaison between tradition and innovation. Through sensorial journeys, Chef Oliver Glowig creates the menu, on a seasonal basis and in combination with our wine production,” explains Rossella Macchia who is in charge of Epos.
The protagonist of the bistrot is displayed at the central part of the internal dining room. A dry-aging fridge is filled with the best dry-aged beef from all over the world: Phenomena, Simmental, Black Angus, Galiciana, Irish, Kobe, Chianina, Marchigiana and the crown jewel of the selection, Manzetta Prussiana, while next to it is the grill where they are cooked. Dry-aged for 100 days, the natural enzymes of the meat work in breaking down the molecular bonds of resulting in enough moisture loss leaving the meat tenderized and with a richer and concentrated taste. When grilled, these qualities are accentuated. The prices vary per cut, weight and type of meat ranging between €7.00 to €30.00 per hectogram.
Another notable highlight of Epos is the Wall of Taste, a temperature-controlled aging area for high-quality cheese and charcuterie products by the best local and foreign craftsmen such as Jamon Iberico, Capocollo of Martina, Fiocco di Nero Casertano and Caciocavallo Podolico.
The menu offers a wide range of meat, fish and vegetable dishes for the traditional palates while some are zhuzhed up with touches of creativity. Appetizers (€12 to €25) include Tempura Vegetables with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Timbale of Sardines, Aubergines and Pepper Cream, Hand-Cut Ham and Mixed Charcuterie or Cheese Platter. The first dishes of Pasta and Risotto (€12 to €16) are more with classic flair wherein the pasta are fresh using well-selected flour and eggs with particular attention technique in making them. Fettuccine with Three Types of Tomatoes, Mixed Pasta with Zucchini, Prawns and Lemon and Rigatoni alla Carbonara are just some of the dishes that can be found on the menu. Even if dry-aged beef is particularly emphasized for the Main Course, there is also room for seafood lovers, wherein the ingredients come from trusted fishermen from the nearby Lazio coasts. Entries vary from €14 to €20. Amberjack with Peppers, Olives and Capers, and Fried Salted Cod or Baccala with Endives, Gaeta Olives and Tomatoes are present in the menu while other main courses are Fried Lamb Chops with Artichokes, and Lemon Zest Veal Meatballs with Fried Rocket and Mashed Potatoes. Desserts (€8) are not to be left behind like the Eclairs in Tiramisù Style, and Hot Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ice Cream.
The wine list not only represents the wine estate’s own production but it also features the wine labels of the sister company Masca del Tacco, an Apulian company that is also owned by Felice Mergè. Then it widens to various Italian noble wine producers from Italy and abroad with France as the main protagonist. It also includes the sommelier’s selection of Sommelier Luca Boccoli with wines of great value.