I told Luca Sanjust of Petrolo that I would throw him a birthday dinner tonight, and what started as a small meal for a half dozen people is now up to 17 people! I had to clear out the furniture from my living room to make more dining space because we can’t eat outside tonight and use the big tables I have in my courtyard. It’s raining, and pretty miserable outside.
Everyone seemed to want to bring friends tonight. I wonder if you have had similar instances, when a small dinner turns into a full-blown wine and food festival? I should have charged an entrance fee, like at the Wine Experience!
My assistant, Rosanne, continues to say that the summer is over because it is raining today, which is a national holiday in Italy. I don’t believe such silly superstitions. The sun will be back soon – even tomorrow. (Although I will be inside tasting tomorrow, to get caught up on my Piedmont reviews.)
Anyway, my buddy Thomas came through for me and is making the first two courses, which include steamed prawns with a zucchini puree followed by a red shrimp risotto. I am doing my super Tuscan burgers, which are ground sirloin burgers on grilled peasant bread with tomato, lettuce, red onions, and a slice of buffalo mozzarella. A few drops of extra virgin olive oil help, too!
To drink, we have some non-vintage Gosset Champagne, followed by a 2005 Meursault from Lucien Moine, 2001 Casanova di Neri Casa Nova Brunello di Montalcino and a range of 1998 Barolos. The latter are samples I tasted today for a coming report in the magazine.
Ten years on, the 1998 Barolos are drinking beautifully. I think I might have slightly underrated the vintage, but the 93-point rating I gave is pretty excellent. And most of the wines are just now beginning to show their outstanding ripe fruit, fine tannins and fresh finish. Some of the firm Nebbiolo tannins are starting to soften. The top names all made some excellent wines. The Barolos that particularly blew me away were from Bruno Giacosa, Roberto Voerzio, and Dominico Clerico. Their Barolos still need more bottle time – at least three or four years.
But I am interested to see how they go with a super Tuscan burger. I will let you know. Wish me luck with the party. The guests arrive in 30 minutes.
Merlin — Zurich, Switzerland — August 16, 2008 7:25am ET
Steven Balavender — Tampa, Fl — August 16, 2008 9:56am ET
James Suckling — — August 16, 2008 11:09am ET
Kevin Callahan — Montreal, QC — August 16, 2008 1:51pm ET
Steven Balavender — Tampa, Fl — August 16, 2008 3:33pm ET
Bryan Hassin — Houston, TX — August 16, 2008 4:33pm ET
Merlin — Zurich, Switzerland — August 17, 2008 3:14am ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — August 17, 2008 3:19pm ET
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