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Pasta w/ truffle oil. Wine pairing?

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At the wine expo, I had pasta w/ truffle oil. Would this go with an oaky/buttery Chard?

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  1. I'd be tempted to pair this with a pinot noir, which often has earthy, mushroom-y characteristics that are an analog to same characteristics in truffles. Pinot is hard to find at budget prices, but O'Reilly's from the Willamette Valley is a good value for around $16 (and has fairly broad distribution; you could probably find a bottle in NY).

    Not so sure about pairing this dish with a buttery, oaky Chard. I'd be tempted to find a white that would cut through the richness of the truffle oil, something with good acidity along the lines of an albarino, a dry riesling, or a gewurztraminer. Mind you, I'm no expert on food-wine pairings, so I'm sure others on this board will have good insights to share with you. Good luck, and let us know which pairing works best.

    1. Hi,

      We just had some white truffle (early season) to pasta.

      People in Europe tend to enjoy it to the following wines:

      Reds: Rustic reds, like Barbera or Dolcetto.
      Whites: Arneis or bubbly Asti.

      We had it with a simple Silvaner (German, light) and it went very well indeed.

      1. Barolo.

        An aged one would be my preference.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          Yup. Forgot that one. Absolutely spot-on.

          1. re: RCC

            I like a Barolo here.

            OP, you seem really interested in pairing food with buttery, oaky Chard. Besides lobster with butter, there's not a ton a big, CA Chard is going to go with. They're really not the best food wines (lower acid, over the top flavor profile).

            One of the better CA Chards for food pairing I've had recently is the Sonoma Cutrer Les Pierres but it's sun-kissed minerality is surely not what the OP is looking for.

          2. Krug Grande Cuvée

            1. I would pair a pasta with truffle oil with a dry white wine from Trentino Alto Adige.

              Or Champagne.

              Or a *good* Prosecco where the bubbles aren't too big.

              1. It depends.

                If the truffle oil is good quality, it's necessarily subtle. Wine pairing needs to be low profile to avoid overpowering the dish. Mengathon & whiner recs should be the way to go.

                If the truffle oil is a cheapy TJoe's kind of stuff, forget it. Probably kerosene is the best pairing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RicRios

                  "To truffle oil-haters, there is no worse ingredient, and no easier way to ruin a perfectly good french fry, soup, or dish of mac-n-cheese. It has an acrid flavor that tastes like a synthetic, ramped-up version of the real thing and also kind of like someone poured mushroomy chemical all over your food."

                  Thank you, Besha!

                  http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                2. Chardonnay? No! But...

                  If it is JUST pasta tossed with a good quality White Truffle Oil, I, too, would think about serving an Arneis or perhaps Gavo (but only if you can find a truly good one).

                  If it's anything heavier, then I would lean more towards a Piedmontese-grown Nebbiolo: a Nebbiolo del Langhe, a Barbaresco, or especially a Barolo!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: zin1953

                    Sitting at La Libera in Alba for the truffle festival. I went with the Arneis for the pasta and white truffle. Thanks, it was a good choice

                    1. re: zin1953

                      Or for a lighter-footed Nebbiolo based one, try something from Gattinara (Antoniolo if you can get it, particularly her San Francesco bottling) or maybe a Carema from Ferrando. Lots of nice Nebbiolo-based wine in Val d'oasta, too. The Donnas from the Caves Cooperative are really nice.

                      And I agree - Nebbiolo and mushrooms/truffles are splendid matches.

                    2. If black truffles, then I'd look to PN, like Anewton. If white truffles, then a white Burg, maybe a Corton or Montrachet.

                      Since most "truffle oil" (that I've used) comes from white truffles, I think that a bigger FR white Burg would work best. Still, if there is an earthy element in the oil (taste beforehand), then a PN - either OR/WA or FR.

                      Hunt

                      31 Replies
                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Bill,
                        most truffle oil comes from a) olive oil plus b) chemical essence.
                        Now, the chemicals ( as well as the oil ) can be of high, mid or low quality, that's what makes the difference...

                        1. re: RicRios

                          Not the ones that I buy.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Unfortunately, Ric is correct.

                            Most truffle oil is vile stuff. I learned this firsthand from Faith Heller Willinger, who teaches cooking at her school in Florence, and is the author of Eating in Italy and The Chefs of Cucina Amore.

                            She writes:
                            "I've eaten an unfair share of truffles over the years, so naturally I was intrigued when "truffle oil" began appearing on American menus in the mid '80s. I'd seen truffle paste (smashed up truffles with a bit of aroma added) used in Italy, but never truffle oil, which made me suspicious.
                            The oil is infused with an aroma that is synthesized. Urbani, the largest packager of truffle products, uses a "natural" scent distilled from white truffle scraps, but I find it an exaggeration. You just can't extract the genuine aroma out of a truffle - period. Less scrupulous producers are said to odorize their oils with petroleum products. Urbani also sells oil with a pasteurized crumble of white truffle in the bottle (they patented a process to prevent fermentation and are therefore the only producers to include the genuine thing in their oil), but for me it really doesn't have any flavor."
                            http://www.faithwillinger.com/travel....

                            Though I have no doubt that if there is some good truffle oil around,
                            Bill Hunt has found it.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              More info on the subject from an article in NYT ->
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/din...

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                ML,

                                Maybe I am just a victim of ad "jargon," but...

                                I have no idea what the OP is planning on using. I based my recs. on what I would have used. Here are the first two containers that I grabbed:

                                D’allasandro Gold Black Truffle Oil, Product of France.
                                Tag reads: “D'allasandro Gold Black Truffle oil is a blend of the richness and aroma we know and love as black truffles. Hailing from France and their strict requirements for labeling of truffle products you know this oil is truly authentic. This oil is a blend of fresh black truffles and virgin olive oil. Woodland Foods searched for, and tasted truffle products from all over Europe and China. We chose a small family run business in the south of France. They have the attention to detail needed for such an astonishing ingredient.”

                                Urbani Tartufi, Gocce di Turtufo Bianco, S. Anatolia, PG, Nello Stabilimento, Terria Ferentillo, Terria, IT. Tag reads, “Olive oil infused with white truffles (Tuber Magnatum Pico).

                                Maybe my palate is going off, but each carries the taste of Black Truffles and White Truffles. Wife has a couple more, but these were closest at hand.

                                Now, maybe I/we have been duped. Would not be the first time. However, compared to what we normally taste from Williams-Sonoma and the "gourmet" markets, these impressed us. One other, that I did not find immediately is a "truffle" oil that we order from a cheese shop in Modena, IT, along with our cheeses. That guy costs us €35.00/oz, plus shipping and duties. Maybe now the price will fall on our next order.

                                Now, my wife did point me to the "truffle oil" from Williams-Sonoma. It states that it is "extra virgin olive oil and truffle "aroma" [quotation marks mine]. To me, it tastes like Wesson Oil and plastic. It also costs about the same for 8 oz, as the first two do per 1 and 1.7 oz.. Hey, maybe I am being fooled. It would not be the first time. Still, the ones that we buy (the Williams-Sonoma excepted) carry a bang for the buck, at least on my palate.

                                Unless I am doing my math wrong, the truffle oil is about the most expensive item in our home / volume, except for my wife's perfunes, but that is another story for a non-CH thread. Still, I love her!

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Bill, you said it, not me: just a victim of ad "jargon,"

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    As for the Urbani, here's what's in the NYT article ->
                                    "Vittorio Giordano of Urbani Tartufi called its manufacturing method, though conducted in a laboratory, a “natural process.” He described the essence that his company uses as “something from the truffle that is not the truffle.”

                                    As for the d'Allasandro, the website for the distributor, Woodland Foods, lists the ingredients as "Virgin olive oil, truffle and truffle aroma". It's the "truffle aroma" that permits the wiggle room (after all, how can "aroma" be an ingredient?).

                                    Having said all that, clearly some are better than others and sine teh d'Allasandro is listing "truffle" as an ingredient it has to have some actual truffle in there.

                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                      "it has to have some actual truffle in there"

                                      Most manufacturers drop a piece of truffle in the bottle, but that's just for the looks. No effect on taste/flavor whatsoever.

                                      1. re: RicRios

                                        Just sayin'. If the only ingredients listed were "oil" and "truffle," that would be a pretty good indicator of quality I'd think.

                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                          You'll never see that.

                                          1. re: RicRios

                                            Apparently, Bill Hunt has that.

                                            1. re: RCC

                                              I have that, too. Don't know if it makes a difference. I get it from Salumeria Italiana.

                                              I'm with Bill on this. Used judiciously, this stuff can do the trick. I'll give it up for good if anyone can tell me where to find the real thing around here. Truffle season is coming up... looking for sources!

                                              But don't come at me with those little jars of summer truffle. That shit is gross to the extent it has any flavor at all. I'll take my truffle oil over that any day.

                                              1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                "Truffle season is coming up... looking for sources!"

                                                Up to 40 C heat this summer in european truffle areas, no rains, don't hold your breath.

                                                1. re: RicRios

                                                  So what's a truffle lover to do?

                                                  (Oh right... move to the Piedmont!)

                                                  1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                    "(Oh right... move to the Piedmont!)"

                                                    Not advisable.
                                                    Worst season in the last 20 years, related today to me on the phone by somebody in the middle of it all.

                                                    1. re: RicRios

                                                      Yeah. Sigh. A query about truffles actually came up in this thread about the grape harvest in the Langhe: http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/v...

                                                      I guess Tim's surmise that "a bad wine vintage = a good truffle season" may not hold true. Or maybe the sorted fruit will deliver great wine in very small yields, sorta like Burgundy 2010?

                                                      (Well, here's hoping...)

                                                      1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                        Well, on the good side of news: it's probably fantastic season for Moroccan producers of Tuber Oligospermum, a.k.a. the fake Alba truffle.

                                                        1. re: RicRios

                                                          You might be able to find some Burgundy truffles. Don't know for sure how their season was. It was awfully cold for much of the summer in Beaune.

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            That would be Tuber Uncinatum, as opposed to Tuber Magnatum referred to implicitly above. Unfortunately, the truffle industry is at the stage the wine industry was when wine was either red or white, and sold loose in unlabelled containers.

                                                      2. re: RicRios

                                                        We have a house smack dab in the middle of white truffle heaven in Istria and attended a truffle festival in October as we do each year. The price is over double what it was last year due to severe drought - the worst in over 100 years.

                                                        Re truffle oil - each time we go truffle hunting we place a truffle into fresh Istrian olive oil. Only ingredients are truffles and oil. And those two ingredients make me a very happy girl. :-)

                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                          So you met the Zigantes? (Or at least, their stuff? )

                                                          1. re: RicRios

                                                            Oh, most definitely both them and their stuff. You know them? We haven't gone truffle hunting with them, though.

                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                              "truffle hunting with them"
                                                              Forget it!
                                                              They only do "truffle hunting" for the Guiness' sake.
                                                              They just procure stuff from small vendors all around.
                                                              Do good business, though: they supply the entire "Alba Truffle Fair". Yes, in Alba ( Piemonte ).

                                                              1. re: RicRios

                                                                That's ok - we prefer to go hunting with the folks we go with, anyway. Rather than purchase many of their products we like to buy the fresh truffles and then shave onto our own dishes at home.

                                                                Yes, I knew about the Piemonte thing but I imagine many are unaware. I actually do prefer Istrian truffles.

                                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                                  Maybe next year (should be about right), we can do the truffle harvest at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN, as they should have a harvest then.

                                                                  Hunt

                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                I recently had an abalone and summer black truffle spaghettini that went insanely well with a 2004 Niellon Chevalier Montrachet.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Just citing ChefJune a couple inches further down:
                                  "Remember OP said truffle OIL, not truffles??"

                                  1. re: RicRios

                                    I know. Just agreeing with Bill's recommendation of white burgundy with truffles in general since everyone else is going with nebbiolo or red burgundy (also recs better with real truffles than truffle oil).

                                  2. re: Porthos

                                    Just had the '06 Niellon, though the Chassagne Montrachet, with black truffles at Farallon in San Francisco, and it went well.

                                    Last December, we had a wonderful López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva (white) '94 with shaved white truffles at Restaurant Daniel, NYC, and that was sublime. I also got to see a white Alba truffle, the size of a baseball.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      "Alba truffle, the size of a baseball"

                                      As in other businesses, when it gets to truffles size does matter .
                                      Big carpofori usually do not attain optimal spore maturation, which translates into weaker organoleptic properties. Not to mention price, that increases with size.

                                      1. re: RicRios

                                        Oh, regardless of what some say, "size does not matter" in much of life.

                                        However, the size DID catch our attention. I pass no judgement on that, other than it WAS a great truffle, though probably NOT because of the size. Was it less of a truffle, due to the size? Heck, I did not have the opportunity to do an A-B tasting with a tiny one - still, it was great - maybe the best that I have ever tasted.

                                        Hunt

                                2. Not being a fan of "oaky/buttery Chardonnay," to say the least, the wine I would choose with this dish would definitely be a Barolo.

                                  1. Remember OP said truffle OIL, not truffles??

                                    I'd say no to the o/b Chardonnay. would probably pair with Champagne. Not Krug. Save that for the real truffles. ;)

                                    1. Oaky, buttery chards have no purpose. Like most American wines, they are utter garbage.

                                      30 Replies
                                      1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                        Oddly, they pair well with mushrooms and truffle oil (even though I usually abhor the stuff). The degree of ML and oak are factors, of course. I never would have believed till I experienced it myself.

                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                          Yes, the degree of ML (not Maria Lorraine... ) CAN make a difference. It all depends. Some winemakers eschew it completely, while some create great wines, with tempered amounts of ML, and too many overdo it horribly. Same for oak, and for many other aspects. When done correctly, and in balance, it can be lovely.

                                          Hunt

                                        2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                          Interesting. Some do not agree with you, but such is life and also the world of wines.

                                          If one has never tasted a "buttery" Le Montrachet, a Bâtard Montrachet, a great Puligny Montrachet, a wonderful Chassagne Montrachet, or Chevalier Montrachet, then they have not really lived. There might well be a reason that Chardonnay is considered one of the "noble grapes." All of the above are aged in American oak, and all have some element of "butter," at least on my palate.

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            If one has never tasted a "buttery" Le Montrachet, a Bâtard Montrachet, a great Puligny Montrachet, a wonderful Chassagne Montrachet, or Chevalier Montrachet, then they have not really lived.
                                            ============================
                                            Ouch! Tough criteria for living! I may never have the opportunity to taste a Le Montrachet. Hopefully drinking plenty of the others will make up for it ;)

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              It will, trust me! Though I would do things differently, should there be a "Lottery Winner" in my future, Le Montrachet and many Corton-Charlemagnes are just out of my reach. That does not diminish they greatness, just my access to them. When possible, I greatly enjoy, but a Marc Colin Puligny-Montrachet will usually have to suffice.

                                              Still, when one dismisses Chardonnay, I wonder. Though I am more into the "bigger" FR Chards, I have also had many wonderful Chablis, and not all 1er Cru. These are not your average Yellow Tail Chards.

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                Unfortunately, I seem to like Leflaive Puligny-Montrachets especially the Pucelles as the 1999 version was the one that opened my eyes to the beauty of white burgundy

                                                Fortunately, I am finding great pleasure drinking their 2010 and 2009 Bourgogne blancs and even the Olivier Leflaive Setilles.

                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                I chose Puligny Montrachet to be served at my wedding (40 years ago), Absolutely superb wine.

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  "I may never have the opportunity to taste a Le Montrachet"

                                                  Ok, you win: I'll schlepp one to the Cornelissen dinner.

                                                  1. re: RicRios

                                                    You know, I may never have the opportunity to taste a 1990 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux...

                                                    1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                      Sorry Richard, you're on the right, I'm on the left.
                                                      Coast, that is.

                                                      1. re: RicRios

                                                        Airfare vs. this: http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/hen...

                                                        (I'll still be far enough ahead to spring for that truffle trip to Alba... but next Fall apparently!)

                                                        1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                          Bottles are like women: if they are too expensive, they are not worth it.

                                                          1. re: RicRios

                                                            *Except for Burgundy.

                                                          2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                            heheheh that's a bit above my price range...

                                                      2. re: RicRios

                                                        I may never have the opportunity to taste a 1990 Henri Jayer... ;)

                                                        Unfortunately I am working that weekend so no Cornelissen or Le Montrachet for me...although, if you are serious I will have no choice but to payoff someone to cover my shift.

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          Serious?
                                                          Monsieur, I'd never ever joke re. Le Montrachet.

                                                          1. re: RicRios

                                                            Why so serious?

                                                            See you there.

                                                  2. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                    Yes, well . . . California makes the best California wines in the world . . . France just happens to make the best French wines in the world, and Spain? Italy? Portugal? Well, it just so happens that they make the best Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese wines, respectively.

                                                    And guess what? There are both OUTSTANDING wines and GARBAGE wines made in each and every one of those places. But to make a blanket statement , couched as fact, is not only incorrect, it's misleading and potentially harmful to other readers.

                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                      Yes. It seems that the "ABC" (Anything BUT Chardonnay) crowd are still about. I thought that they had all moved to the hills, long ago, but am obviously incorrect.

                                                      Hunt

                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        Report from the hills - I could not drink the over-oaked CA chards I tried and thought I was ABC. Then I tried some Chardonnay from Burgundy….Wow! Back in CA I found Keenan and Mer Soleil Silver to be very enjoyable. I guess ABC is a curable disease.

                                                        1. re: BN1

                                                          @BN1, @AlkieGourmand

                                                          You see, that's it. Taste a poorly made, out-of-balance wine (or wines) from a category, and the tendency is to think the entire category is horrible, when that's not an accurate assessment.

                                                          Over-buttery, over-oaked Chards were the reason the expression ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) caught on. That over/over winemaking style killed the love for all Chard, even beautifully restrained and balanced American Chards, made in a Burgundian style.

                                                          In the years since that over/over winemaking style prevailed, California has mostly backed off that winemaking style -- certainly not in all brands, and certainly not at lower price points -- and mostly created Chards with clear (unclouded) fruit expression and enough acidity to keep the wine refreshing. There are still examples of over-buttery and over-oaked Chards, but they do not define the category. If you think so, your tasting sample is dated or has been too small, and it's time to update your perception of what's going on.

                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                            Ok, let me just throw this suggestion out there for discussion or outright dismissal (never having considered trying it with truffles):

                                                            1995 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée LD (this is still the current release of this bottling, I believe). Ridiculously great QPR at under $30.

                                                            This is NOT typical Cali Chard by a longshot, but I definitely got a bit of that buttery-malo as well as the oxidative notes of an aged Rioja blanco. Here's part of my ridiculously long TN as I try to get my mind around this wine with some more familiar examples: "...Equal parts rich, ripe, buttery-butterscotch Cali Chard with the lime-apple sizzle and tense interplay between delicate sweetness and electric acidity of a Mosel Riesling along with the oxidative complexity, potpourri and floral perfume of an aged Lopez de Heredia blanco. There's a bit of Nicolas Joly in here, too, both in the headlong willfulness of the winemaking style and the wine's kinship to a Coulée de Serrant (baked apples, a savory, ciderish brininess and washed-rind cheese pungency). The high-toned acidity allows for a big, but balanced wine totally unique in my experience of CA wines, and the oxidative qualities give flight to highly personalized evocations and descriptions. Tangerines? Sure. Nuts? Why not. Cheesy, waxy umami? I got that, too. The little box of dried flowers next to the old lady perfume... and so on."

                                                            I don't know if this would flatter truffles or not. Damn good wine though.

                                                            1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                              Signore Malocchio:
                                                              based on your TN I got hold of a half dozen of the 1995 Kalin Chardonnay.
                                                              Damn good wine it certainly is, and I thank you very much for the rec, I wouldn't have otherwise bought it.
                                                              Now, pairing with truffles? T.Magnatum? Melano? Borchii, or Uncinatum perhaps? No way. Too assertive the liquid power here, way too much macho muscle for the delicate feminine soft insinuating subtlety of a hypogeous sporocarp.

                                                              1. re: RicRios

                                                                Their Semillon is also fantastic!

                                                                (Btw, thanks again for the learning experience that was that '99 Clerico Percristina. Any further notions as to what happened with those? Massively over-oaked and perhaps too extracted?)

                                                                1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                                  Unfortunately, I've given up on barolos. In particular, since my dear friend Luigi Baudana sold his property, I'm still slowly enjoying his last 2001's. BTW, yesterday I saw a barolo ( real, no kidding! )at Trader Joe for about 14 bucks, maybe even less. Oh well!

                                                                  1. re: RicRios

                                                                    Just curious, why have you given up on Barolos? Is it the nebbiola grape or is it the DOCG's inclination towards modernist techniques over the traditionalists (i.e. Barolo Wars)?

                                                                    Because over the last 20 years, in my opinion better vineyard management and winemaking techniques (and perhaps even global warming) have contributed to an overall increase in quality of Barolos. And while I acknowledge that perhaps shortcuts have led to more wines that are less distinctive, I also think there are more wines that have good value and are approachable without 20 years in the cellar.

                                                                    1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                                                      I must say the 1999 Clerico Percristina mentioned above by Malocchio could be cited as one of the reasons I've given up on barolos. Here's the full story:
                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/732545
                                                                      Another reason: my very high recent QPR ( Quasi Pissed Results ) with the appelation.

                                                                      1. re: RicRios

                                                                        But the craziness of the late-90s "modernization" has largely blown over, and the traditionalists have perservered!

                                                                        I drank an '03 Bartolo Mascerello last Friday that killed. Perfumed and totally high-toned, and this from the scorched '03 vintage. New blood like Andrea Sottimano are taking up the traditionalist banner, and we're seeing more great Nebbys from the further flung regions of Vallee d'Aosta, Boca, Ghemme, and elsewhere.

                                                                        It's practically a resurgence of Nebbiolo! So, forget about those overly woody, hyper extracted Baroli from that dark period of so-called "modernization". Sure, their like still lurk the Piemonte, but the good guys are back, baby ... in spades!

                                                                        1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                                                          Signore Malocchio:
                                                                          After the Kalin rec, who can say no to your suggestions?
                                                                          Will give'em a try.

                                                          2. re: BN1

                                                            I agree completely. It always depends on the wine. Chardonnay is a great grape, but one might have to look a bit, to find really good examples. I find that to be true with PN's, as well. Lot of PN on the market, but the really good ones, are a bit buried by the gallons of less desirable wines.

                                                            Hunt