In a couple of weeks I am delighted to be heading off to Piedmont with the same rather wonderful gang as I was lucky to go to Burgundy with last May, see A very special trip to Burgundy…

The trip promises to be a good one and the lunches, visits and dinners are all booked. The Piedmont region is virgin territory for the vast majority of those going so I thought a warm-up dinner at Zucca would be a good idea. I mentioned this to owner Sam Harris and he suggested that they do a menu that showcased some of the regions most traditional dishes:

Carne Crudo, from brilliant veal with lemon through it and then Parmesan on top.

Vitello Tonnato, my all time favourite.
Russian salad – which I love but always reminds me of large format Sandwich spread.
Agnolotti – magic stuff
and many more…

It worked really well with Megan rustling them all up to perfection. So the wines:

Langhe Chardonnay 2012, Ca del Baio – fresh Chardonnay with a very slight spritz and no oak influence at all, a good palate preparer and a wine that will gain texture and complexity with age.

Barbera d’Alba Cerretta 2008, Giacomo Conterno – fleshy and supple, lovely fruit, mellow structure, I wanted to show this alongside the next wine as a way of showing Barbera alongside Nebbiolo. Same site, same vintage, same producer.

Langhe Nebbiolo Cerretta 2008, Giacomo Conterno – More focussed and linear than the Barbera this showed just the differences I wanted.

Barolo Pie Rupestris 2009, Cappellano – the big surprise of the evening for me, I was the only one that liked it (I had bought my allocation of 2010 that morning), the others I think found it a little too dry and animal, sure Cappellano needs time (though that should never be an excuse) but for me this was complex and promised much for the future. I plan to serve this blind to these guys post trip and see if they have fallen for the old-school Nebbiolo magic by then.

Barolo Tartufaia 2009, G.Negri – we will be visiting Guilia on the trip and so I wanted to show this wine as a counter-point to the Cappellano but also to show a slighlty more modern style, it worked well showing more fruit and lushness but still not too much. 

Barolo Brunate 2004, Marengo – FVDB brought this and the next bottle, the Marengo really showed well, with an openness and rounded fruit that really showed how good 2004 is and how special Brunate is as a site…lovely wine with propper structure but great balance and crucially that sweet fruited nature.

Barolo Bussia Riserva 2000, Pianpolvere Soprano -is a wine and an estate I know nothing about, it combined the warm (sometimes over) ripe nature of 2000 with a regime of more oak. The bottle was probably the heaviest I have come across in a Piedmoint wine (think Gaja +45%). The wine itself has promise if it can outlast the slightly over present new oak texture. Would love to try this again in the future.

Barolo Cannubi 2003, Brezza – there always needs to be on last bottle and this worked out to be a good choice, 2003 is tricky but (many of) the traditonal producers have done well. Brezza we will visit and Cannubi is next to Brunate so it made a good comparison, I really liked it, am pleased to be buying Brezza for my own cellar.

So that, baring a Limoncello for a couple of the team, was the evening done, just two weeks to wait now!!