at Babbo, NYC (10/13/2007)

Photos are here.

I haven't written up my detailed notes yet, but below is a list of the wines and my general impressions.

FLIGHT 1: Cappellano Barolo


FLIGHT 2: Bartolo Mascarello Barolo

1954 Canubbi Riserva

FLIGHT 3: Bruno Giacosa

1978 Barbaresco Gallina di Neive
1985 Barbaresco Rio Sordo
1985 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano
1989 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano
1990 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano
1982 Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda
1989 Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda

FLIGHT 4: More Wine

1971 Gaja Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn
1978 Gaja Barbaresco
1971 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Albesani
1997 Dal Forno Valpolicella magnum

FLIGHT 5: Dessert

2004 Lis Neris Tal Luc
[95% Verduzzo, 5% Riesling]
2001 Marion Passito Bianco
[40% Garganega, 60% Trebbiano]

Some general comments:

Thanks to all for a wonderful evening, though I didn't sit next to any Knights, it was interesting to talk to Joe.

The food was stellar. A great, great meal! All of it delicious. Only the Brasato al Barolo was a bit disappointing in how it went with the wines. (A dish like this should have been perfect, but the porcini were marinated in vinegar, so they fought the wine a little. But that is quibbling.) The 2 pasta dishes were perfect. When Joe asked about joining us at Della Notte in January, someone asked if he could bring the food!

We started with Joe's own Tocai Friuliano which was quite tasty and fresh.

Then the Cappellanos:

The 52 was on its way over the hill, but still proved to be a lovely traditional Barolo.

The 55 was quite classic, with a nice long finish.

The 57 was the star of the flight for me and quite a surprise. Jamie, do you have any left?

My glass of 58 was disappointing, but others liked it quite a bit more. Mine had some very weird sediment in it, so maybe it was spoiled somehow.

The 74 was gone.

The Bartolo Mascarellos:

The 54 Riserva was a big surprise. I bought it in 2003 for my 50th birthday (in 2004), but decided not to serve it then. Brought it here figuring if it was good, this was the group to share it with. I loved it and others seemed impressed. Amazing what a great winemaker can do in an ill-reputed vintage.

The 71 and 74 were ok, but not good examples of these wines, and the 79 was corked.

The 82 was great, and the 89 was even greater. My top non-Giacosa wine of the night.

The Giacosas began with the 78 Gallina which was better than I expected. Classic Giacosa and a beautiful wine with some tannins remaining.

The 85 Rio Sordo was delicious, but fairly atypical for a Giacosa, with noticeable sweet vanilla in the nose. The palate was more like a Barolo with a big beefy flavors and a long sweet finish.

The remaining Giacosas (from 85 on) could have benefited from more decanting time.

The 85 SSR was great but backward.

89 SSR was great. Joe said "The most complete wine so far." I would agree.

The first 90 SSR was defective, but the second one was beautiful. It would have benefited from more air.

The 82 Rionda Riserva was great. Still the wine that really drew me into Barolo.

The 89 Rionda Riserva is once again even better. A magnificent bottle of wine. One of the all-time greats!

Then 3 surprises:

One of Joe's 2 friends who were at the dinner, Mike Steinberg, brought 2 Gajas:

The 71 Sorì Tildìn, which was beautiful and classic, and a 78 Barbaresco which was off.

In between we had surprise bottle of 1971 Giacosa Albesani di Neive which was glorious, but again not typical Giacosa with strong notes of chocolate, cherries, and brown sugar. What a treat. Thanks Antonio! (Any chance you could send me a photo?)

Joe thought we needed a mag of 97 Dal Forno Valpolicella, but it was too much for me at this point.

Then 2 dessert wines:

A 2004 Lis Neris Tal Luc which was sumptuous with delicious tropical fruit, but the 2001 Marion Passito Bianco was just too much wine for me. I was done!

Service was also excellent. Again, thanks to all for another wine evening of a lifetime!

  1. Assorted Antipasti.
  2. Raw Porcini Salad: Arugula dressed in lemon and olive oil, thinly sliced porcini, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of twelve-year old Balsamic vinegar.
  3. Neci con Funghi Misti: A chestnut-flour crispella folded around a mixed sautee of wild mushrooms, topped with shaved radicchio, Parmigiano Reggiano, herb-infused oil and balsamico.
  4. Warm Lamb's Tongue Vinaigrette: Lamb's tongue is boiled, then diced and sauteed with chanterelles and black truffles and served with arugula and a two-minute egg sprinkled with porcini dust.
  5. Garganelli with Funghi Trifolati: Hand-rolled penne-shaped pasta tossed with porcini and oyster mushrooms that are sautéed in butter with garlic.
  6. Beef Cheek Ravioli: Ravioli filled with beef cheek and finished with brown butter, crushed squab liver and black truffles.
  7. Brasato al Barolo: Beef shoulder braised in red wine & porcini broth, in a pool of polenta, topped with porcini and a gremolata of raw oyster mushrooms, celery leaves & lemon zest..
  8. Selection of Cheeses: Bra Duro (aged in grape pressings), Castelmagno, Robiola Paglina, Nostrale di Elva, Castelrosso.

See Photos for pictures of the amazing food.

If you subscribe to, you can read Antonio Galloni's notes on this dinner.




All original content © Ken Vastola