Dinner: 2008 Ca’ del Solo Albari, ’04 Le Cigare Blanc, ’01, ’03, ’05 Le Cigare Volant, Large format bottle of Cigare (older vintage), ’07 Le Vol des Anges
Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard is currently all over the national wine press after the recent release of his book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, (University of California Press). Randall is variously described as a genius, wine’s bad boy, compulsive punster, dreamer, provocateur and the Willy Wonka of the wine world.Â We find him also to be generous, endlessly interesting, totally original and a good friend. And, while he has already accomplished great things in his life, he is now beginning his greatest adventure.
The truffle dinners are now in full swing and going very nicely, but I wanted to provide a brief wrap-up of this year’s trip to Italy.
Monti-in-Chianti, about 10 miles north of Siena, has been the center of my activities since I began traveling to Italy (over ten years ago) to get truffles, and Giorgio Sacchini and his family have been my friends and guides from the beginning.
Itâ€™s Thursday night here, and all the truffles for Olivetoâ€™s truffle dinners are still in the ground; collection begins tomorrow morning. Itâ€™s cold, thereâ€™s been a good amount of rain, and the local truffle fairs have ended. Now, the truffles are for us. Truffle Dinners at Oliveto are booking up, so weâ€™ve decided to extend them through Saturday, November 21st. Iâ€™ll bring home more truffles than originally anticipated to last us into the weekend. [see menu]
Truffles are just now coming on, I encountered my first exceptional truffles last night, at the back door of Ristorante Antine in Barbaresco–I didn’t have to put my nose to it, it overwhelmed me from across the kitchen.Â Prices remain very low, we won’t be able to set the price for Oliveto Truffle dinners until we actually acquire them, but they should be a bargain. Continue reading ‘Truffle Report #3 with Aldo Vacca’s Vintage Picks’
New Olive Oils Air-Freighted from Tuscany and Sicily
on the menu this weekend
The olive harvest has begun in most northern hemisphere olive growing regions. The first cold-pressed oils are called â€œnew oils,â€ with their very special and fleeting characteristic vegetal flavor and â€œheatâ€ in the throat.Â That profound vibrancy lasts only about two weeks before it subsides and the oil stabilizes as a mellower product.
It’s still ten days or so before I move from the “just looking” phase into truffle acquisition, but here’s what we know so far: the truffles this year are very good, but not plentiful.Â Despite fewer truffles, prices are dramatically lower than they have been in recent years due to less demand and also many truffles coming from Continue reading ‘Truffle Report #2 – Italy 2009′
A very healthy rain arrived in Tuscany about a week before I did, somewhat improving truffle conditions after another very dry year. The last few days have been beautiful, but we seem to be moving into another rainy period which is good timing for truffle hunting, as long as it doesn’t get too wet.
Here are some of Giorgio’s new recruits, five-week-old truffle dogs. They are already being given bits of truffle treats and seem to like it.