White Truffles With Wine

It’s time of the year for white truffles. What kind of white truffle, which dishes and what wine to pair with it, are not really what most of us think about everyday during the year.

What Do Truffles Taste Like

White truffles, a.k.a. Tuber magnatum, or  “white diamonds”  I called it for being €250-350 per 100 grams for nuggets weighing an average of 20 grams this year, commonly described as slightly garlicky with a deep musky aroma. Its earthy, pungent and deliciously funky notes makes it one of the most complex yet delicate tastes on earth. They’re so aromatic that they’re almost always shaved raw on top of dishes, a scene that is playing out in high-end restaurants all over the world this time of the year.

Barolo with 20 years of age – Sordo Barolo Riserva Gabutti 1998 went well with White truffle dishes at Tosca

How To Pair White Truffle With Wine 

Am always an advocate of what grows together, goes together.  Piemonte Alba white truffles (especially if it’s a red meat dish) go well together with Barolo aka “the king of wines” (such as a graceful 2006 Ceretto Bricco Rocche which I last had at Piazza Duomo Alba), and its neighbour Barbaresco, (like a 1999 Gaja San Lorenzo which I recently tasted comes to mind) or a fantastic 2013 Elvio Cogno Ravera, being all Nebbiolo in its gene.

The aged and graceful Ceretto Bricco Rocche 2006 at the ultimate 3 stars Piazza Duomo Alba (on my left, Head Sommelier Vincenzo Donatiello)
Elvio Cogno Ravera from the amazing vintage of 2013
Gaja San Lorenzo 1999 would be a fantastic match

Wine Other than Piemonte?

In a restaurant, if you are can’t find a Barolo or Barbaresco you prefer to have, what wine goes?

In fact white truffle red meat dishes go well with some aged Bordeaux like a 2006 Chateau Clos L’eglis or the amazing 1989 Leoville Las Cases or if too much cash had spend on truffles trying to have a slightly more humble aged wine, some of the Roc De Cambes or Chateau Barde-Haut which usually have high quality to price ratio can be a go for.

white truffle red meat dishes go well with some aged Bordeaux
Try some of the Sicilian Etnese Wines such made from Nerello Mascalese, great wineries such as Pietradolce
The elegant “almost Pinot” in style Passopisciaro from Mount Etna May as well pair well too

The aging of a great pinot or a Chardonnay, even in its bubbly form, (imagining a Krug 96),  when they begins to evolves into these earthy, tea like, wet forest floor, mushroomy notes and even some of the nutty flavours would perfectly complement the wet-leaves, pagan earthiness of truffles.  I personally love to have a common non-meat dish such as a truffle egg or risotto with some old elegant white such as an aged Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrache, a Coche Dury Meursault. If it’s a fish based dish, I’d go for some softer yet balanced red burgundy like an aged Roumier Chambolle Musigny.

Where Can You Get The Best

BANGKOK: I’d my first of the year Alba white truffles a month ago in Bangkok at my friend Luca Appino’s restaurant and it was fabulous.  First at La Bottega di Luca, we’d a bottle of the Italian Sparkling Ferrari followed by the Rhino, La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi from the fabulous year of 2001, an aromatic, savoury and firm red with racy character matched so well with our shaved white truffled dishes.

Bangkok fun – Alba white truffle feast at Pizza Massilia Sukhumvit

The next noon, reminiscing the irresistible truffle flavours from the night before,  I couldn’t help but headed to Pizza Massilia Sukhumvit for more.   The most impressive dishes were the Calzone and the Parmesan Foundue & Quail eggs with alba white truffles (an absolute steal at an addition of 45USD ).  Despite it’s a “just” a pizzeria, these world class dishes would goes best with some multi-vintage blended champagne such as a Grand Siecle, or an aged Francois Carillon Les Enseignieres.  If you are in Bangkok, remember to make it as one of your stop before they run out of the top white truffles in town.

HONG KONG : Few of my most favorite Italian restaurants serve the most amazing white truffle dishes in town, do try at Octavium, 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, Tosca at Ritz, Grand Hyatt Grissini and Locanda dell’Angelo and at some of the French restaurants such as Amuse Bouche.

These restaurants have some of the most impressive wine lists that you can always find a great bottle for the ultimate white truffle indulgence.  If pairing is not your best expertise, try to get hold of these very experienced Somm such as Sandro Brusco (Octavium), Marino Braccu (Otto e Mezzo),  Gon Leung (Locanda dell’Angelo) and  Leo Lo (Tosca), Julien Peros (Grissini) and Kent Wong (Amuse Bouche), they will surely make your night one of the greatest this winter.

White Truffle Risotto matching with Barolo Sordo at Tosca