White Truffles, Barolo & Barbaresco
Fontina Fonduta; 143 degree egg, white truffle
House-made Tagliatelle, Parmesan, white truffle
Mascarpone Risotto, white truffle
Roasted Capon; Celery root, natural jus, truffle
Vanilla Panna Cotta; strawberry, biscuit
White truffles, Barolo and Barbaresco. Is there anything
better in the fall? Not in my book.
I was thrilled to host this small dinner for one of Vinous’s
private clients. The truffles were abundant, as they should be, and the
Nebbiolo flowed during a fabulous evening of great food, wine and conversation
focused on the great wines of Piedmont. For the occasion I chose reference point wines with an emphasis on
transparency so as not to overwhelm the truffles. We opened the wines around 4pm and double
decanted everything except the 1997 Produttoris, which tasted a bit on the
forward side. Dinner was served around 7pm. The wines were all fabulous. In
particular, I loved the three 2006s, all of which were simply stellar.
Our menu provides a series of perfect vehicles through which
the discovery of the white truffle awaits. The 143-degree egg is superb. Another terrific
dish for these wines, the capon is perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious.
There isn't anything too surprising about our pasta and risotto dishes, both of
which serve their purpose in highlighting the joys of the white truffle.
Fontina Fonduta; 143 degree egg, white truffle
How many dinners start with a wine of the pedigree of Luciano Sandrone’s 2006 Barolo Le Vigne?
Not too many. The 2006 was incredibly tight when we opened, but after a few
hours of air it is striking. What a wine. The flavor profile and tannin
structure are decidedly classic, but the expression of fruit and overall
texture are those of the modern school. This is a superb showing from the 2006.
97/Drinking window: 2016-2028. Mauro Mascarello’s 2008 Barolo Monprivato is a much more lifted and translucent wine
than the 2006 Le Vigne. A wine that needs considerable air, the 2008 only
starts to blossom with a few hours in the glass. Monprivato is often quirky,
but the 2008 is a real moving target. Just this week alone I have tasted six
bottles of the 2008 and found the wine a bit all over the place, especially
compared to other wines from the same year. Still, with patience, the 2008 really
sings. Ideally, readers should plan on cellaring the 2008 for at least another
few years. 95+/Drinking window:
Things only get better. Is Giacomo Conterno’s 2006 Barolo Cascina Francia a
traditional or modern Barolo? Great question. Texturally, the 2006 boasts
marvelous depth and a level of pure intensity not often seen in traditionally
made wines, yet the aromatics, tannin and overall structure are all super
classic. This is another austere, tannic Barolo best left alone. 97+/Drinking window: 2018-2046. Giuseppe
Rinaldi’s 2006 Barolo Brunate-Le Coste
is beyond special. Initially hard as nails, the 2006 opens up gradually with
time in the glass as it shows off its super-classic personality. On this night,
the 2006 is utterly majestic. Readers who own the 2006 should be thrilled, as
it is a magnificent Barolo through and through. 97+/Drinking window: 2016-2046.
Two wines from Bruno Giacosa, both from magnum, are
brilliant. The 2004 Barolo Falletto (magnum)
is deep, sinewy and exceptionally polished. Opened much too young, the 2004
nevertheless confirms the greatness of the year at Giacosa. Floral and savory
notes are supported by firm tannins in a super-classic, taut Barolo endowed
with magnificent energy and tension. Readers need to be patient, but there is a
lot to look forward to. 95/Drinking
window: 2016-2034. The 2005 Barbaresco
Asili (magnum) is a bit more rewarding to drink today than the 2004 Barolo
Falletto, although it is not likely to age as gracefully. In this classic Giacosa
dried rose petal and spice notes are alive in the glass, but here it is the
wine’s mid-palate that is super-expressive and generous. 95/Drinking window: 2014-2029.
A pair of 1997 Riservas from the Produttori del Barbaresco
round out the night. The Barbaresco
Riserva Asili is soft, round and supple, with gorgeous depth and plenty of
resonance. I expect that the 1997 will continue to age gracefully given the
sheer depth of its fruit, although the aromatics are a bit forward. 91/Drinking window: 2014-2029. The Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà is quite a bit more structured and
vibrant than the Asili. Dark, powerful and intense, the 1997 is absolutely
gorgeous today. At the same time, it is impossible to miss just how much the
Produttori have improved quality in the last decade. The older Barbarescos turn
out to be a great pairing with the capon, as I had hoped they would. 93/Drinking window: 2014-2022.
I can’t say enough about the food, setting and overall
hospitality of our hosts. This was about as perfect a night of great wine and
food as one could reasonably hope for.
-- Antonio Galloni