The white truffles were flown in from Alba. The Beni di Batasiolo wines came in from the same region, but they were brought by the company's administrative head Fiorenzo Dogliani and its' U.S. Director Ricardo March. The five-course meal was created by chef Pietro Vardeu and imported from the kitchen of his Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante to the dining room up front -- where a privileged few got to indulge in quite a lunch.
There were some interesting match-ups in terms of truffles and cuisine, and also concerning the cuisine and wine. For instance, the use of asparagus in two dishes and artichokes in another; both are often considered wine-challenged foods.
The wines, new to this area, were also noteworthy. And the truffles...well, as an elderly Italian man once said to me as I was dining with my wife in an Umbrian restaurant -- and while he, from a nearby table, was having the glorious fruit-of-the-fungus shaved onto his plate: "Truffles, they are the Viagra of Italy!"
Then he winked.
We started out with bruschetta of paper-thin grilled asparagus slices, poached quail eggs, and a generous shaving of white truffle on top. Wine: A fresh, dry white Gavi Granée.
Second course was filet mignon carpaccio, drizzled with olive oil and crowned with thin snippets of raw artichoke heart and the white truffle. Wine: Barbera d'Alba Sovrana 2008, with a ripe fruit scent that matched well with wood notes of the wine (it is aged in oak for 8 to 10 months) and with the earhty artichoke/truffle combo.
Favorite course around the table seemed to be the tagliolini pasta, seeped in quality butter and flavored with a sage and truffles. I thought the sage and truffle flavors surprised in a good way; others thought this was too strong an herb to use. We all agreed the medium-bodied, floral-nosed Batasioli Barbaresco 2006 was delicious.
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Veal scaloppine with sage, asparagus, truffles (and fluffy mashed potatoes) comprised the fourth course, matched with a Barolo 2006 and the wine treat of the day: Barolo Vigneto Cerequio 2004.The single-vineyard Cerequio produces a garnet-red, full-bodied wine with wild berry bouquet and velvety mouthfeel.
Dessert was chocolate-walnut cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries, paired with a sweet, sparkling, grapey, and refreshing Moscato D'Asti dla Rei 2010. Ricardo lamented that Americans tend to go for the $6 bottles of Moscato rather than spend an extra ten-spot for a smoother, more sophisticated Moscato D'Asti such as this one. I nodded in agreement. After finishing up this truffle/wine lunch, I was in a very agreeable mood.
Batasiolo's wines are new to this area. Some 70 percent of the product is sold in restaurants, but Milam and Laurenzo's are two spots you can buy them retail.