The Best Wine to Serve with Truffles
Five sommeliers select the perfect pairing for their restaurant’s truffle spécialité.
Updated September 18, 2012—Ask any good sommelier about this pairing and his face will light up.
Ristorante Conti Roero, Monticello d’Alba, Italy
Conti Roero is located in an old castle in a hilltop village just north of Alba, and Chef and General Manager Fulvio Siccardi has a hard time deciding which wine to drink with his dish, Uovo in Gabbia con Crema di Latte e Parmigiano al Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, a concoction of egg, cream and Parmesan cheese with truffles. “I like other wines but my heart rests in Piedmont, and I love all wine from this country,” he confesses, eventually settling on a 2004 La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina.
Michel Rostang, Paris
Sommelier Alain Ronzatti somewhat surprisingly opts for a white wine, albeit a great white Burgundy, a 1992 Meursault Perrières de Jean-Marc Roulot, to accompany the restaurant’s famous truffle sandwich. However, after hearing his reasoning, his choice isn’t so surprising after all: “This wine respects the meal as well as glorifying it. Its balance between tertiary notes of truffles, mushrooms and wood, underlined by floral notes and a delicate mineralisation, its distinguished mouth, and its entire and full vitality invite us to meditation.”
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Four Seasons Hotel New York
General Manager Stephane Colling is from Alsace, so perhaps it’s to be expected that his choice is from there: the 1989 Riesling Grand Cru Fürstentum Vieilles Vignes. “I chose Riesling because of the connection with the soil. With the expression of some mature Riesling and truffles we get those rich, deep flavours. On one side with the truffles we get that earthy, nutty musk, and on the other side you have that mineral petrol with some layers of lemon confits and hay.”
French Laundry, Napa Valley, California
James Hayes, associate director of wine and beverage for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, takes a more traditional approach, opting for a red Burgundy, the 1993 Corton Renardes, Grand Cru, from Michel Gaunoux to accompany Périgord truffles. “Black truffles are simultaneously elegant and earthy, much like great Corton Rouge. A well-made Corton with a bit of bottle age matches a classic, rustic earthiness with the finesse one expects from Grand Cru Pinot Noir.”
Vue de Monde, Melbourne, Australia
Sommelier David Clarke makes another unorthodox choice to accompany Chef Shannon Bennett’s truffle risotto flavoured with tarragon—1962 Cantine Pellegrino Marsala Vergine Riserva. His rationale is intriguing: “The dry Vergine, being a dark gold caramel colour, almost looks like it could be part of the dish. The nose is extraordinary, as you might expect from a wine 40-plus years old: dark, exotic spices and toasted nuts with a waft of burnt citrus peel all adding seasoning to dried fruits. The utterly dry palate of the wine is as intense as it is long and leaves your mouth fresh and singing for more of the creamy risotto.”