Castello di Tassarolo
2014 “Spinola” Gavi
Every year at around this time, there’s a palpable excitement in the restaurant. “Can you feel the energy?” “How much rain was there this summer?” “How long until they’re here?” “Can you smell them?” Care to take a guess what we’re referring to? If you said Alba white truffles, well… you’d be right! And we promise they’ll be here soon, and we’ll have the BEST that Piemonte has to offer.
While truffle fever builds it’s best not to forget there are other amazing members of the Fungi kingdom in bloom at this time of year. So as we wait for the Tuber magnatum to begin fruiting, we propose a special treat that takes advantage of the last of the summer forests’ bounty. Golden Chanterelles are lovely during this time of year, especially when shaved raw over steamed leeks, garnished with a touch of Castelmagno cheese and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Simple, earthy, and delicious, like most Italian cuisine.
With leeks, wild mushrooms and Piemontese cheese on the menu, it makes sense to feature Piemonte’s greatest white varietal. So let’s head south from Alba towards Liguria, to one of Gavi’s 11 comunes, Tassarolo, for some fantastic “Cortese di Gavi” from Castello di Tassarolo. Castello di Tassarolo’s owners, the Spinola family, have owned the estate for well over 600 years! Originally built around a Roman tower dating to the 3rd Century, the estate has grown over the years into its modern form, a fully organic winery following biodynamic principles, low-sulphur winemaking and even the use of heavy horses to ensure the health and biodiversity of the vineyard. This special “Spinola” bottling, made entirely from the Cortese grape, is grown in 6 hectares of clayey marl and limestone soils. True to the varietal it is light to medium bodied with an intense nose of orange blossom, chamomile and citrus peel. On the palate the wine is crisp and fresh, full of orchard and stone fruit, ending with a soft mineral finish.
September is the only month Babbo will be serving this delicious pairing from Piemonte. Come October we’ll dig deep in the cellar and uncork some aged Barolo to go with the white truffles, but who wants rich cuisine when it’s still 90 degrees outside!