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Italian Wine Weekend at Del Posto
Dom Perignon (magnum)
Krug Collection (magnum)
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant Marey-Monge
Dujac Clos St. Denis
Domaine Leroy Romanée St. Vivant
Heitz Cabernet Sauvingon Martha’s Vineyard
Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Montefico
Aldo Conterno Barolo Riserva Granbussia
Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Gallina
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Villero
Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda
Ceretto Barolo Brunate Zonchetta
Dom Perignon Oenothèque
The first Italian Wine Weekend was held in New York City on November 12-14, 2009. The event, loosely based on Daniel Johnnes’s La Paulée, was held to benefit the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. As might be expected for any event in its first year, there were some rough spots, but both dinners I attended at Del Posto were packed. The charity auction raised almost $400,000 for the University, a great achievement by any measure. I am particularly grateful to the generous bidders who purchased the two dinner lots I was involved with. I hope the organizers, participating restaurants and wineries will make Italian Wine Weekend an annual tradition.
The first event on the calendar was an auction held by Zachys featuring a mind-boggling array of wines from Italy and the world. The atmosphere was positively electric as prices for Italy’s blue chip wines and other collectibles were bid to prices I have never seen. In the middle of all the excitement, my wife and I enjoyed one of the best meals we have ever had at Del Posto. Sometimes simpler is better, and this menu of updated classics hit many high notes. The pastas in particular were both superb and the lamb was delicious. The wines were equally spectacular. Even though the main event, a white truffle gala dinner, was held the following night, it was hard to beat the sheer ambience and excitement in the room on this evening. I am amazed at how seamless the service of the food was with all of the spirited bidding that was going on in the dining room!
Krug’s 1976 Vintage was compelling, rich and expansive, as it completely covered the palate with textured fruit. Blessed with extraordinary inner perfume, the wine continued to get better and better in the glass, with final notes of graphite and mint that framed an eternal finish. The 1975 Dom Perignon (magnum) was exuberant, seductive and fresh. This was a wonderful bottle. The 1964 Krug Collection, also from magnum, was incredibly refined, with delicate notes of caramel and roasted nuts. In a word: breathtaking!
The 1971 Romanée St. Vivant (Marey-Monge) from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti opened with an extraordinary bouquet I got lost in. The wine was equally brilliant on the palate, where delineated, perfumed fruit worked its magic through to the sublime finish. The 1990 Dujac Clos St. Denis was quite a contrast, as it was obviously much younger. A rich, concentrated wine, it covered the palate with masses of dark fruit in a ripe, seamless style I found superbly pleasing. Rouget’s 1986 Echézeaux was powerful, tannic and a touch lean, but the extraordinary bouquet compensated in large measure. Domaine Leroy’s 1991 Romanée St. Vivant was a bit more controversial as wild, animal aromas and flavors vied with the impressively concentrated fruit for my attention. Despite the wine’s sheer power, this remained a somewhat rustic Burgundy. The 1966 Palmer was a model of understated elegance in its soft, perfumed fruit and wonderful sense of harmony.
Bruno Giacosa’s 1970 Barbaresco Montefico was simply magnificent. Rich, sensual and hedonistic – a word I don’t use often – the wine offered compelling inner perfume, gorgeous fruit and great overall balance. It was a great bottle from a mostly-forgotten vintage. Ceretto’s 1974 Barolo Brunate Zonchetta was incredible for its intense color and rich, powerful fruit. This was a very strong showing for Ceretto’s entry-level Barolo. Both of these wines from the 1970s are clear overachievers.
Aldo Conterno’s 1989 Barolo Riserva Granbussia is one of the greatest wines ever made in Piedmont, and this was one of very finest examples I have ever tasted. An array of red berries, roses, orange peel and spices emerged from this fresh, vibrant and totally monumental Barolo. What a bottle! Gaja’s 1982 Barbaresco was surprisingly dense, powerful and brooding but in such a sweet spot on this night. The 1982 Barbaresco Gallina from Bruno Giacosa was also drinking beautifully, with tons of richness, depth and class. The 1978 Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda was without question the wine of the night. All conversation ceased at the table as we stopped to admire this utterly profound, moving Barolo. Sweet roses, violets, cherries and plums all came together in a Barolo that was at once sensual and powerful. This was a magic, transcendental Rionda; an epic wine for the ages!
Giacosa’s 1996 Barolo Villero was incredibly shut down and tight, yet the intensity of color and perfume suggested it was marvelously intact, but not in a mood to show its pedigree. Luciano Sandrone’s 1996 Barolo Cannubi Boschis was more open and accessible. Next to these more traditional Barolos and Barbarescos the fruit and oak were a bit of shock to the palate, but the wine was nevertheless beautiful for its delineation, detail and sense of harmony.
The 1982 Cristal is one my favorite wines from Roederer and it was stunning on this evening. Sublime aromatics melded into a magnificent, towering expression of fruit as this gorgeous wine opened up in the glass. We finished with what turned out to be a relatively delicate, forward bottle of the 1964 Dom Perignon Oenothèque. Apricots and flowers informed a long, sublime close.
Chef’s Selection of Plated Assaggi
Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Robiola Sformato & Truffled Hazelnuts
Handmade Orecchiette with Lamb Sausage, Cherry Peppers & Broccoli Rabe
Garganelli Verdi al Ragu Bolognese
Roasted Lamb Rack with Lamb Shank Ragu alla Puttanesca
Brioche Custard Cake with Moscato Zabaglione & Roasted Apples
Del Posto Ristorante, 85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, Tel (212) 497-8090