Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tajarin and white truffles with @JuventusFC ~ this time with Barolo

How does the taste of fresh white truffles differ when having them with Barolo versus Barbaresco? In a rare confluence of coincidence, we had the opportunity to gauge the pros and cons, at a private dinner with the Torino soccer team, Juventus, and their executive management team.

Valentina and Anna with one very lucky guy - and yes, I'm bragging!
My dear friend Anna Abbona and her daughter Valentina invited us to dinner in Barolo at the very same time that Anna’s husband Enrico was entertaining team Juventus, complete with young owner Andrea Agnelli, manager Antonio Conte and general manager Beppe Marotta. Beppe, who is personal friends with the Abbona family, brought his executive team to the winery for a night of wine truffles and time away from the travails of competition.

As we drove into the winery parking area, a well-heeled crowd was filing into the winery cellar. I thought perhaps we had gotten our days wrong, but soon Anna’s daughter Valentina welcomed us.

Walking into the elegant Forestiera dining room at Marchesi di Barolo, the chef brought us a plate of truffles and the room filled with the delicate bouquet of earth and expectation. How anyone who has ever smelled a real white truffle could ever use the criminally named “truffle oil” on anything is beyond me. It’s like comparing the more perfect perfume with the smell of a locker room after a big game.

Anna joined us and then her husband led the Juventus group to a larger table next to us in the Cannubi room.

The parking pavilion at Marchesi di Barolo
I don’t follow European football, but my family in Torino and my hard-core soccer friends have made sure I know one team. For years I would bring back Juventus team shirts for the son of a friend in Dallas. But I wouldn’t know Antonio Conte from Adam. So when he came up to me and shook my hand, I thought, “He looks like he played soccer once, nice fellow.” And that was the end of it. Contrary to my fantasies, the parking lot was filled with less Ferraris and more Chryslers – American Jeep SUV’s and the like. I wondered about that. Then it dawned on me.
Andrea Agnelli and Juventus manager Antonio Conte mug for the paparazzi

A meal at the winery always has a surprise vintage. Usually it is dedicated to the guest of honor from their birth year. This evening it was a 1975, the year Andrea Agnelli was born. The wine was still young, with no signs of ageing, still bright red, and no brick tanning on the edges. Lively. A winner.

The white truffle dish was off the charts. And the subtle difference in the preparation with the Barolo (we also had a Barbaresco and a Barbera, just for comparison) illuminated the flexibility of the white truffle and the chameleon-like ability of Nebbiolo, whether it be from Barolo or Barbaresco, to share the stage with the precious truffles. Different yes, but the gestalt opened up a whole new universe of understanding

Antonio Conte looks like he wants to be at our table
White truffles for lunch and for dinner; living a bit on the decadent side. But also very instructive and of course, all in a day’s work.

Thanks to Anna and Ernesto and Valentina and the fun folks @JuventusFC!

Texas and Marchesi di Barolo - powerful stuff

On to Gavi...
wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Jennifer said...

ahw, what a wonderful experience! I happened something similar 2 years ago, in semptember, I took 1 week off and just left for Italy to spend most pleasant and relaxing time of my life in traditional resorts close to wineries in Tuscany. Every single day I could smell the taste of wines and have lunch with some traditional italian foods (like pasta or lasagne or bolito). My suggestion is to carefully plan your trip, I was lucky in my visit cause I booked a limo service for my wine tour of Italy and Mr. Mauro from MJ Service was a perfect and kind guide (...also a handsome man!) I wish I could be there right now, autumn in italy is unforgettable.

Unknown said...

Was there last year at this time and will never forget the ambiance of the whole region.

Do Bianchi said...

I always took you for an Interista... I'm so disappointed... "Yes, I'm bragging..." great stuff, Ace...

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