The Legacy of Babbo Wine
When Babbo opened in 1998, restaurant wine programs in the United States were very different than they are today. Babbo offered Italian wines only (no Bordeaux or Burgundy) and represented every region on the Italian Peninsula (not Brunello and Super Tuscans alone). Babbo was the first restaurant to organize its wine list by region, the first to offer wine by the quartino, and the first to prime glassware before wine service. Whereas common practice was for restaurants to offer current releases, Joe Bastianich bought wines in bulk and stored them, building a cellar over time.
For two decades, Babbo’s wine philosophy has been consistent: (1) represent all of Italy’s winemaking regions, with as many diverse styles of wine as possible; (2) offer selections of older vintages of great wines; and (3) refrain from discriminating based on price or style.
To celebrate the legacy of Babbo’s wine program, we will offer monthly wine dinners called The Enoteca Series. Once a month we will highlight one region of Italy to evoke a sense of place, in the way only food and wine can. Reaching into our 2,700-bottle cellar, our wine team has selected groundbreaking wines/estates that demonstrate the depth of our cellar. All of the wines for these dinners were bought on release. Now they are aged perfectly to share with you.
ENOTECA SERIES 2021
AT THE FOOT OF THE ALPS:
A Wine Dinner Featuring the Food and Wine of Piemonte
Let us take you through a winter tasting experience with the traditional food and wine that come to us from the “foot of the mountains,” also known as Piemonte. While Barolo and Barbaresco take center stage in this region (as we think they should), local indigenous varietals reveal the nuances of the terroir. And when we pair these wines with the rich flavors of polenta, truffle, bagna cauda and braised meat, we hope you will get a real feel for what it is like to live, eat and drink in a hamlet in these hilly, secluded areas. Our Chef and Wine Director are pleased to have curated a five-course tasting dinner to bring the culture, traditions and secrets of Piemonte to you at Babbo.
IL CARNEVALE DI BABBO:
A Wine Dinner Featuring the Food and Wine of Veneto
There is no place like Carnevale in Veneto. To celebrate this famed region and special time of year, Babbo takes you from the coast with seafood marinated in the traditional method known as “saor” to the mountains where slow-cooked meats also soar to culinary heights. Polenta, bigoli, radicchio and crostoli reign supreme here and are matched perfectly with the vinicultural region we are proud to showcase, Valpolicella. From zesty garganega to international varietals to the well-known variations of wine that are produced from the trio of grapes Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara (ripasso! recioto!), the wines of Valpolicella are as diverse as the region itself. So, grab a mask, grab a glass and enjoy the five-course tasting dinner our Chef and Wine Director have prepared for you!
When In Lazio…
A Wine Dinner Featuring the Food and Wine of Lazio
When in Rome… the famous city in Lazio is home to some of the most famous dishes in Italy (cacio e pepe!) and we love eating them. But the culinary tradition in the whole of Lazio is just as spectacular as in the capital city and focuses on seasonal vegetables, braised offal and cured meats. Ricotta, guanciale and baked semolina gnocco are found throughout Lazio and places like Amatrice have their own namesake dishes. Winemakers work through this tension between well-known and known-well locally in what they choose to plant. Famous international grapes have long been popular in Lazio, but a revival of indigenous varietals tells a more complex picture of the region. The clones of Cesanese can be just as distinctive on the palette as youthful Canaiolo Nero or an elegant Frusinate Lecinaro. What is a Frusinate Lecinaro? Well, taste it along-side bucatini amatriciana and find out… because as they say, “When is Lazio…”
A Wine Dinner Featuring the Food and Wine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Friuli Venezia Giulia holds a special place in the heart of Babbo. FVG is the home of Bastianich Wines (which we like to call our “ family wines”) whose mission is to continue the region’s reputation for producing the best white wines of Italy and to showcase what reds can do in the north. We also like the region because FVG, like Babbo, is notorious for bucking norms: so-called international varieties like chardonnay are locally-known as indigenous varietals and Italian food is also Austrian food and Slavic food and Hungarian food. In this Italian melting-pot, potatoes and polenta rule, the creamy unpasteurized Montasio cheese is prized and San Daniele Prosciutto is a protected class. With so much diversity of influences and ideas, Friuli conjures the question, “What makes Italian food and wine, Italian food and wine?” And the answer is…