Nebbiolo Dinner with Punch Brothers
at Peck's Arcade [now known as Donna's Italian], Troy, NY (12/10/2015)

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Gabriel Kahane opening.

The Punch Brothers: Gabe Witcher (fiddle), Chris "Critter" Eldridge (guitar), Paul Kowert (bass), Chris Thile (mandolin), Noam Pikelny (banjo).

After an amazing concert by the Punch Brothers at the acoustically perfect Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, we gathered just down the street for dinner at Peck's Arcade [now known as Donna's Italian]. Three of the five members of the Punch Brothers were able to join us: Chris Thile, Gabe Witcher, Chris "Critter" Eldridge, as well as Gabriel Kahane who opened for the Punch Brothers.

We were joined by fellow Nebbiolo Knight Henry Kahn, who flew up from Baltimore just for this evening, as well as locals Jared and Amanda Shulman, and Chris Riley, who is the local rep for Polaner.

Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers band is a serious Nebbiolo lover. He and I had met at a wonderful dinner in NYC.

The food prepared by head chef Nick Ruscitto was excellent and well-matched to the wines. Nick and I discussed the menu before the dinner. He understood exactly what I was looking for, and was able to customize the menu to fit our needs. Terrific.

The food was served family style, so my food photos won't be as nice as usual, since I "plated" them, not a professional.

Starter: Huet Vouvray Pétillant
Scallop Crudo with Lardo and Citrus
Lobster with Butternut Squash and Pecans
These both were exquisite and the sparkling Vouvray was an excellent match.

Flight 1: Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
Wild Mushrooms with Hazelnuts, Brown Butter, and Fregola (Sardinian pasta similar to couscous).
Charred Beets with House-made Stracciatella Cheese, Pistachio Pesto, and Oil-Cured Olives.
So delicious!

Flight 2: Bartolo Mascarello Barolo
House-made Ricotta Gnocchi, Pomodoro, Basil, and Meatballs.
Chicken Cacciatore with Semolina Polenta and White Alba Truffles.
Two more terrific dishes!

Flight 3: Bruno Giacosa Barolo
Braised Beef Shortribs with Pumpkin Puree and Charred Broccoli.
A good match to these more powerful wines.

Ioka Valley Panna Cotta topped with Maple Granola
Tasty, but nicely light.


What a glorious experience. I have been fortunate to have many wonderful wine dinners, but this one was extra special because we enjoyed their great music, then broke bread and shared wine. Among my greatest passions and pleasures in life are fine music, fine wine, fine food, and good friends. Tonight, we had that in spades. Very, very special.

My tasting notes posted from CellarTracker.

People Photos

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Gabriel Kahane and Jared Shulman.

Amanda Shulman, Chris Riley, and Chris Thile.

Chris Riley and Chris "Critter" Eldridge.

Chris "Critter" Eldridge, Henry Kahn, and Chris Thile.

Henry Kahn, Chris Thile, and the Fine Wine Geek.

Chris Thile and the Fine Wine Geek.

The Fine Wine Geek and Gabe Witcher.

Chef Nick Ruscitto, Owner Vic Christopher, and Cory Nelson, owner of Troy Kitchen.



All original content © Ken Vastola