I just got back from the THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON WINE DINNER CHINESE NEW YEAR BANQUET AT ORIENTAL GARDEN with the oldest wine shop in America: Acker Merrall & Condit. I’ll report on this later as I had 16 amazing wines that are worth mentioning.
I am tired though because I had a very long week-end supporting the cause of Martha’s Table and D.C. Central Kithchen.
Jan came all tha way from Martha’s vineyard and she is the reason why I am here,
Joan invented everything,
Alice leads the way!
-over 350 people for the Sips at the Newseum
-roughly 400 people for the Suppers with 20 homes and 40 chefs
Everything else is people getting together to share ideas about how to help those in need, how to experience better nutrition and how to be more useful and nicer to one another and…to eat and drink well.
This is my third year in a row and now I feel home. Indeed, I have been fed breakfasts, lunches and dinners just like home! I have seen hundreds of people coming to help in any way or form and then sharing a meal together: on the way back to New York I travelled with Liz and Jeffrey, two of the volunteers that silently made all this happen.
The Long Week End in Pictures:
First came the unveiling of Alice Waters portrait at the National Portrait Gallery,
The Sips at the Newseum
Two weeks ago I asked Benedetta over the phone: would you like to come to D.C. to cook with me?
I didn’t even finish the question and she was already at the airport! I like how Benedetta answers to proposal so enthusiastically!
Make sense? Well it means that the “Wine Town” Tuscan event is taking place in Manhattan this Monday and Tuesday. Â I barely made it back home from St. Petersberg and here I am already in the big apple, where of course I find the snow.
I left Russia with some nice memories of a hot soup and a really good St Petersberg Vodka.
It would actually feel more appropriate to have some here in New York then in Russia.
The one to the right is the really good one!
Here are some pictures of the great design of the 20th C. vodkas.
My road to my house the day before catching the plane to New York. The extra-virgin Olive Oil has started in the warmest October in decades!
But my morning run this morning was glorious. This is dedicated to Serena Guidobaldi.
My shopping for the week at the Amish Market. Now let’s do some lunch!
Returning home for a hot shower.
Some China town shopping a simple dim-sum Sunday lunch. Then a little walk dinner.
Then dinner at the bitter/acidc WD50. YEP! This is not a restaurant for sweet easy neutral palate. Every dish last for at least ten minutes and they are all made with love and care by Wylie Dufresne always in the kitchen and not busy doing tv shows!
This is what the dinner tonight was like, plus some little treats on the way in and the way out
Halibut, hen oâ€™ the woods, burnt lemon, soybean, mushroom jus
Blood orange curd, thyme, swiss chard, hibiscus
Soft meringue, passionfruit, banana, star anise
Liquid churro, bitter cocoa, chilies, meyer lemon
Any dish really here is something you will remember forever. The preparation, the almost absence of any cream or fat,
the delicious mouthwatering combination of acidity, smokiness and bitterness is a very challenging and delicious exercise for your brain.
A very good friend asked me what wine to go for. I decided for a 1974. It was one of the top thirty wines of my life so far: Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1974, from Napa Valley. My choice was among some pretty delicious wines among which a 1961 Chateneuf du Pape. But I thought to myself 1974 Napa? It is either going to be good or really bad.
It was the first one. This is a wine which during the famous 1976 wine tasting in Paris won against the french. 30 ears on, in 2006 and during another blind tasting the US wines won agin against the French. Steven Spurrier, the organizer, said that everyone was surprised about the results! Even more so after thirty years. Well I wasn’t part of the tasting panel then, but I can tell you that this 1974 Napa Cabernet was just simply a delicious wine.
The start was very new world Cab varietal with a lot of green peppers, black currants, cider wood and a very sweet palate. Immediately we were taken aback about the youth of the wine. Then, after thirty min. in the decanter the wine became more vertical, mineral and leathery. The menthol started to pop out together with a spicy oriental leaf complexity, sage and licorice. By the end of the evening the wine became more tobacco leaf like with a lot more minerality and a perfect tannic touch. More life ahead.
Italy at Your Table goes to Jackson Hole – Wyoming…tasting with bears!
by Filippo Bartolotta
Actually, this is not a bad way to come home: Montevertine Pergole Torte 1988 at Cibreo restaurant in Florence.
I am invited to join a Florence Market Walk with a couple of serious food nuts!
I get late into town because of road works and I didn’t manage to have breakfast yet. Jet Lag is having the upper hand. After many days of americano I now am in desperate need for an Espresso.
Lucky for me the best chocolate place in Florence is opened -Roberto Catinari- and I can have chocolate and coffee at once. Now I am getting in the mood for food:).
So we taste some delicious Sao TomÃ¨ chocolate and we head for a truffle sandwich at Procacci. The wheather is nice. We decide to go to the Central Market for a cheese, balsamic vinegar and extravirgin olive oil adventure! Ah, says Jeffrey, we have to try the bollito panini! I paused and looked him and Laura: you guys are serius about this? Tey look at me with joyful eys and nod. Ok then let me tak you to Nerbone to have bollito and lampredotto -the third stomach of the cow- panini. They both looked at me a little scared: the third stomach? Donâ€™t worry is like a very soft and tasty pastrami!
Now this how I usually finish the market walk mornings but today. My guests deiceded to go for a proper Florentine lunch at Cibreo to savour some delicious plates with a serious Sangiovese.
So I had to sacrifice myself for a series of wonderful Fabio Picchi (Cibreo owner and chef) bites and signature dishes such as: the florentine trippa â€“ a cold tripe salad with celeryâ€¦so light and refreshing-; a cold pappa al pomodoroâ€¦a classic gentle tomato soup-; a spicy fish soup to die for; and a divine cod mouse with leeks. The service warm, smiley and pleasant, the wine? Pergole Torte 1988. This is a pure 100% Sangiovese from the heart of Chianti Classico with suade leather, tobacco and classic cherry and violets Sangiovese action. Lots of definition and an earthy complexity. Not bad a welcome back!
The best thing to come back though is always the kids.
I still them from school and summer camps to spend a loving afternoon together and now on my way to the Caserta, direction Amalfi Coast, to taste a few hundred Taurasi, Fiano and Falanghina for the Espresso Italian Wine Guide. Giampaolo Gravina, one of Italy most senior taster is waiting for me.
So this is my coming back home. But last night someone coplained about not keeping a steady peace with my blog so I have to do a bit of re-cap! SIC!
After the ViniToscana week in New York City. showcasing the best Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Chianti Colli Senesi I moved to rap up the Italy at Your Table Road Show 2011 in Jackson Hole – Wyoming.
The occasion was the annual charity wine auction to support the Grand Teton Opera House where some of the world greatest musicians and some of the youngest talents can express themselves in a glorious theatre over 6500 feet right under the Teton Peack. Tired of the one too many a flight I decided to go check the Mountain out arriving at almost 11000ft asl.
After the huslle and buzzle of the New York hot city life, I enjoy the contrast of being so high up in the sky in such a clean and crystalline air all bymyself before my tasting went live.
The only thing I had to worry here were just some cuddley mummals!!!
Jokes aside this is a beautiful land full of elk, gigantic moose, mountain lions and…bears.Â I mean this is crazy for me. If you go by a basball hat here theyâ€™ll ask you things like:
would you like a â€œbear sprayâ€? What I say? Yeah you know…with the snow still up there some bears are coming down the valley. What I say? Yeah they usually mind their own business though.
I remain silent and I ask if they instead sell guns! No, sir. Also the hunting season is not on yet! I was kidding I say, just kidding!
I move along without sprays or guns and the Teton Mountain welcomes me really softly…on top of the peak there’s the world’s best waffle!
As you know I always get very excited about America. The energy, the ability and will to go ahead with ideas and projects and the make it happen actitude. So Jackson was a confirmation of my ideas and on top of this getting there is a spectacular landing!
This year we filed an incredible amout of phenomenal winter tasting events.
The Jackson Hole event was another masterpiece of team work between LeBaccanti Italy and The Grand Teton Musica Festival. This year Prince of Luxemburg was the main host of the Gala Dinner at the Four Seasons, showcasing the best of Haut Brion with its lusciously smooth Haut Brion 2005, the profound earthy and black currants Haut Brion 1998 and the austere and structured Haut Brion 1995 plus a selection of the second lables of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion to match the dishes ofÂ Chefs Jean FranÃ§ois Bruel of DANIEL, New York City and Michel Richard of Citronelle, Washington, D.C
Before the empowering wine auction a Champagne reception was offered to the many attendees while the silent auction was taking place.
At the end of the evening we reached over $100.000, which is a lot for a small year like this year, LeBaccanti Wine and Holiday lot sold for $ 7.350!!!
I am nothing but extremely proud of this wonderful results, for which I have in turn to express my deepest gratitute to all LeBaccanti members â€“Vanessa, Benedetta, Carrie, Corinna and Jessica- and to the 2011 ItalyatYourTable Team:
Dal Forno Romano
Fattoria delle Ripalte
Feudi di San Gregorio
Isole e Olena
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Giuseppe Giusti
Galleria Frilli Firenze
Also I would like to thank Jeffrey Berenson without whom all this couldnâ€™t happen, Allan Tessler and Gerard Yvernault for their generosity and pass-part-tout approach and of course Chip Scott -Director of the Jackson Hole Wine Auction-; Director of the Musica Festival; and Amanda, Luke, Jac and sommelier Anthony Puccia of the Four Seasons Teton Village.
Of course I made sure before leaving Jackson to have people tasting our â€œgoodsâ€.
So right before the innagural concert of the Grand Teton Festival, an Italy at Your Table Fine wine tasting was held at the Four Seasons. I was almost a little nervous to open again my twelve magical wines in such an amazing environment, but the wines didnâ€™t let me down. Infact after the winter they are actually showing even better then ever and people are just overwhelmed. One comment was: I am a disappointed! I say, why? And he goes: I canâ€™t believe that all the 12 wines were sooo good. Not even one that I didnâ€™t like!
1800 is cocktail hour at the commnos in Teton Village before the concert.
This is what was played under the inspirational direction of: Donald Runnicles.
Among the great musicians: Sarah Chang and pianists Brian Connelly and Jeremy Denk.
I couldnâ€™t ask for more. At this stage, after being uplifted by the wonderful music and the ItalyatYourTable wine selection. But I did get more a really succulent Buffalo steak at the Snake River Grill in Jackson!
Talk to you soon from Campania…No where but in the South of Italy can one eat such a succulent dish of pasta…
Before coming to New York for the ViniToscana event I knew I was going to meet with some friends.
It happened on a Sunday morning, somewhere uptown in a nice house with terrace.
But before the big Sunday lunch I first had dinner in one of three favorite spots in New York: The Blue Ribbon. Here, in the most laid back environment one can enjoy the freshest and greatest American food with no frills!
AJ brought a couple of bottles: a beautifully structured Vina Tondonia Rioja 1954 with an elegant lean figure and a super youthful juiciness and a sweet, luscious, tobacco and fat leathery Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1977.
Then I went for a 24 h ride to New Jersey.
We are picked up in the morning and we leave Manhattan going the Soprano’s way to NJ. Loved it.
So what do you do when you get to a beautiful mansion house in the middle of the countryside and there’s a baby shower with sixty ladies???
You get a ride into town to buy some wine with the boys. Then some steaks to barbeque them the American way and wait till it is all over.
After a great series of really yummy antipasti at IlÂ Capriccio -ps: awesome wine list- we go to bad pretty full. A couple of morning Mama pancakes to face the Sexy Sunday Barolo Lunch.
After a little break, now I am ready to hit the Big Apple again.
So here we are.
1961 Antonio Vallana Spanna
1964 Oddero Barolo
1967 Giacosa Barbaresco Cru Asili Riserva
1971 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
1974 Prunotto Pira
1978 Prunotto Ginestra
1978 Giacosa Barbaresco Gallina
1978 Cappellano Rupestris
1978 Antonio Vallana Gattinara
1999 Monfortino Riserva
2003Â Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
2004 Cappellano Rupestris
2006 ProprietÃ Sperino Lessona
Well, I want to put down my tasting notes, but is 2 in the morning here and 8 a.m. in Florence and I want to call my kids before they go for summer camp, so I promise I will post the update tomorrow from Jackson Hole.