Friday Food Stuff: Barolo Week(s) at Eataly NYC

As a public figure who has his formal education in journalism and theology, and spent the majority of my career observing sociopolitical cultural issues, and who has only recently opened himself up to the idea of opining on things beyond those narrow spheres I am unsure how my thoughts on food and the life we draw from it will be received.

But being a lover of food, and not just for the nourishment it brings us, but for the intangibles of life we live around it, I’ve decided to share them anyway.

As a small boy some of my favorite times spent with my mom, in particular, centered on trying to learn what she knew about food. She was not fancy. She did not think of herself as gourmet, and we were poor. Which meant we opened more things out of cans than most.

But I didn’t know that because she did all she could to try to make me and our family feel loved through the preparations she served us.

I think about Mom a lot, especially on Saturday mornings.

That’s when #DaddyChefKMC takes to the kitchen and now my three anklebiters climb up to the center island and talk to me as we make the from-scratch-bourbon-vanilla pancakes every Saturday.

We laugh, we talk, and then we eat… And as it should be, we spend time just being.

And there’s the food, right in the center of it all.

Food is not merely the fuel for our bodies, but it is the embodiment of life.

So be warned, in addition to my observations of all things cultural (here at The Binge Thinker,) and in addition to our new series Resource Strategies (ideas to help you live life to the fullest,) we’re adding “Friday Food Stuff” and what it will be I won’t always know. But if you’ve followed my Instagram you know that I love food. (So why not share a love with you that you may love too?)

Which brings me to this past week.

With the craziness of my work schedule, and with the long string of contacts with the public I’ve gathered over the course of a career spent in media, I’ve been invited to some pretty amazing things.

Lunch at Manhattan’s famous FlatIron Eataly was certainly one of them.

But not just any lunch… In fact it was more of an education.

I have for the better part of my adult food life decided that my favorite all time region of the planet for great wine is Chateauneuf-du-Pape in France. In fact my bride and I have a taste for wines from across the Rhone valley but we’ve always been drawn to the CDP’s in particular.

This week at the invite of Barolo Wines I sat down to taste a flight of six vintages that they were kicking off “Barolo Weeks” in the Eataly eateries across the globe. (Eataly simultaneously had “white truffle week” corresponding.) Barolo is one of the finest vintages of the FontanaFredda winery in the Piemonte region of Italy.

The six vintages we tasted were: Serralunga D’Alba (of the Barolo Riserva) 2010, 2005, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996.

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These six verticals have recently been put together in a boxed set for Barolo that retails for between $800-$1000 per set.

Long story short… this was fantastic wine. They also poured (just for fun) the Barolo 1967 and the Barolo Riserva 1982.

Since the day I attended the event I had a good deal of work to yet accomplish my tastes were truly that, just tastes (leaving more in each glass than I consumed–and they were short tasting pours to begin with.)

But to my palette here’s how they drank to me:

Serralunga D’Alba 2010 – The nose had big ripe cherry notes, the mouth was full-bodied, and just the right acid finish. I am a big fan of big reds and this younger (youngest of the vintages we tasted) had some of my favorite notes. Paired with  Carne Cruda E Funghi. img_8332

Seraalunga D’Alba 2005 – The nose had big fruit up front, spicy and balsamic on the mouth, and a finish that to me seemed to evaporate as quickly as it came.

Serralunga D’Alba 2000 – The nose was rich, ripe, red fruit, a very balanced mouth of cinnamon and clove hints, and a very satisfying long finish.

Serralunga D’Alba 1999 – Only a year removed from the 2000 but by far my favorite of the entire tasting. Garnet red, with perhaps slight orange hues in the color, a full nose with hints of mint, a superb balance on the mouth between ripe fruit and hints of mushroom, and the *perfect* long lasting acidic finish. The structure of this wine was one of the most perfect I’ve ever tasted. Paired perfectly with Short Rib over Creamed Polenta with shaved white truffles. img_8333

Serralunga D’Alba 1998 – The nose is floral, fruity, and a bit spicy with notes of liquorice, tobacco, and balsamic hints. The mouth sits very dry, and the finish is a long lasting silky balance.

Serralunga D’Alba 1996 – The nose is a balanced bouquet of mature fruit, mint, and eucalyptus. The mouth is full-bodied, long lasting balanced tannins and good acidity.

The beloved chef at Eataly prepared three courses to pair with these six tastes. The menu incorporated the style and ingredients of the Piemonte region of Italy (the native home of Fontanna Fredda.)

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The experience left me with a renewed perspective of Italian wine potential. I intellectually have always known that great wines can come (and do) from regions of every nook and cranny across the globe. But its now a point for me to pursue finding those especially well done vintages that are standing the test of time. And for Barolo Wines the Serralunga D’Alba verticals I’ve identified here definitively are.

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Of course it doesn’t hurt to showcase them against the backdrop of Eataly, NYC!

“Mangia!”