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Gianfranco Sorrentino

Restaurateur (www.ilgattopardonyc.com) and Chairman of Gruppo Italiano, the largest association of authentic Italian restaurants in the US

There is still nothing like that feeling of levering a cork out of a special bottle of wine. Pop! And our guests love it. The tradition of pulling the cork and presenting it to the enthusiast wine lover will never die. Natural cork allows oxygen to interact with the wine at a very slow rate, which allows the wine to age gradually over time. I still remember pulling the very long cork from a Gaja Costa Russi 1978, first vintage. I broke it twice. I felt very embarrassed and clumsy but my guest let me taste it and I still remember the warmth of the wine wrapping me. It took me a few seconds to come back to reality and pour the wine.

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