Giacosa & Conterno at La Ciau del Tornavento

9 November 2014, Treiso, Piedmont

One of the highlights of our recent trip abroad was dinner at La Ciau del Tornavento.  On a rainy, cold night, their white truffle dishes and a few nice bottles of Barolo are the perfect combination.

It begins with a funny coincidence:

It was rainy and cold that night so when we arrived, my wife requested that we sit at a table close to the fireplace.  As it was just the two of us, we decided to order a glass of champagne each and split a bottle of Barolo throughout the evening.  A few minutes after ordering, we saw a familiar face walk into the restaurant and sit down at the table right next to us.  Antonio was there with a couple friends and came over to say hello!

We were thrilled to see him and told him we were on the final leg of our honeymoon and found out we were going to a lot of the same producers to do tastings that week.  As we waited for our appetizers, the sommelier walks over and without saying a word, puts two new champagne glasses on our table.  A few minutes later he starts pouring what turned out to be the best Champagne I’ve ever tasted: NV Selosse Ay La Cote Faron – courtesy of Antonio Galloni (the wine critic) and his friends!

That was just the beginning of what was a truly memorable night for Diane and I.  By the end of the evening we had tasted half a dozen wines including some older wines that were still full of life and fruit.  The 1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia from our friends at the nearby table and the 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino from the restaurant that we were able to share with them as well (tasted but not pictured was a 1967 Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda):

1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia and 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino

1975 B. Giacosa Barolo Riserva Bussia and 1993 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino

The two Giacosa’s were magnificent.  Sweet, candied fruit in perfect balance with the mellowed structure.  I was particularly stunned by the amount of life still left in the 1967 – plenty of intensity and depth on the palate I would not have expected for a wine of this age.  The 1993 Monfortino was everything I could have hoped when we ordered – stunning aromatics that continued to evolve all night in the glass.  A powerful wine with a very long finish – my WOTN among the reds.

The sharing continued as we tasted a 1970 G. Conterno Barolo and ordered a 1997 Chateau d’Yquem for our dessert course:

1970 G. Conterno Barolo

1970 G. Conterno Barolo

The 1970 was a very different wine from the older vintage Giacosas – less candied fruit and more tertiary flavors of leather, spices and tar.  Still very much alive and another bottle firing on all cylinders that night.  The d’Yquem is a perfect end to the night at an age I prefer to drink.  Honeysuckle and peach mixed with the perfect balancing acidity and a viscosity that is still light and fresh on the palate.

With all the great wines we had a hard time focusing on the amazing dishes they serve there.  We started with their baked eggs in a box:



Followed by standard Tajarin with white truffles, and a new twist on dessert I’d never had – thistle ice cream with white truffles!  A great combination that I’m planning on copying for our Christmas dessert this year:



A fantastic evening all around and a huge thank you to the generosity of our friends.


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