110 Waverly Place,

New York, NY 10011

Tel (212) 777-0303, (212) 777-3365

April 2008

I always look forward to dinner at Babbo, one of New York’s top destinations for great food and wine. The plan was to focus on wines from the great 1980s vintages; 1982, 1985 and 1989. Along the way we added a few wines to round things out. General Manager Colum Sheehan designed a delicious menu to match our Barolos and Barbarescos. As always, food, wine and service were truly exceptional.

We enjoyed a glass of the 1985 Dom Pérignon from magnum in the cellar while we admired the restaurant’s impressive collection. The 1985 is a delicate, perfumed Dom Pérignon, although it lacks the complexity of finest vintages. Our ravenous group devoured the delicious assorted antipasti in no time. Giuseppe Mascarello’s 1961 Barolo was the only wine of the night that didn’t show well. It was likely the victim of less than ideal storage at some point.

 Bruno Giacosa’s 1982 Barolo Falletto was simply tremendous. It was a sweet, layered Barolo with tons of balsamic notes wrapped around a solid core of dark fruit. This was as great a bottle of this wine as I have ever had. The 1982 Falletto is a huge over-achiever for a mere “white label” in this vintage, a year which remains one of Giacosa’s most monumental harvests. The 1982 Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano was also extremely beautiful, even if this wasn’t a pristine bottle. Perfumed, open aromatics led to an expansive core of fruit that unfurled on the palate with exquisite grace and elegance. Both wines paired beautifully with the Pappardelle with Morels and Peas, a dish that perfectly captured the essence of early spring.

Next up were two colossal wines from 1985, one of my favorite vintages for drinking today. Conterno’s 1985 Barolo Cascina Francia is one of the standouts of the vintage. It was awesome again on this night, with tons of ripe fruit beautifully balanced by Serralunga tannins. The 1985 Mascarello Monprivato was a touch better balanced than the Cascina Francia, although that is splitting hairs at this level. Both Barolos were incredibly delicious and exquisite with the richly-flavored Gnocchi with Braised Oxtail

The crescendo of glorious Barolos reached its climax with two staggering wines from the 1989 vintage. Mascarello’s 1989 Monprivato was sweet, layered, gorgeous, expressive…all of that and more. This pristine, stunning Barolo was awesome and immensely rewarding. The 1989 Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda was the embodiment of utter perfection, as it almost always is. The Grilled Guinea Hen served alongside these two gems was absolutely delicious and seductive.

A bottle of Giacosa’s 1986 Barolo Riserva Falletto served with the cheese course was a last minute addition. This wine has been one of my favorite under the radar Giacosa wines for a long time. Over the years it has proven to be a more complex and age-worthy wine than the highly praised 1985. It was terrific again on this night, although tasting it after the 1989 Rionda wasn’t exactly fair on our part. Still, the wine showed brilliantly and continues to offer significant upside potential. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to end a meal than with a glass of Jacques Selosse’s NV Rosé. An utterly sensational Rosé, it revealed tremendous depth, purity and structure in a style that was closer to red Burgundy than a more traditional conception of Champagne. I have never failed to be completely mesmerized by this exceptional wine. All in all, this was another great night of food and wine at Babbo.


Babbo Salumi and Grissini

Assorted Antipasti

Pappardelle with Morels and Peas

Gnocchi with Braised Oxtail

Grilled Guinea Hen with Radishes, Favas and Arrope Oil

Valtaleggio with Date Mostarda

Assorted Desserts



Dom Pérignon (magnum)



Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo



Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto



Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano



Giacomo Conterno Barolo



Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato



Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Monprivato



Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Collina Rionda



Bruno Giacosa Barolo Riserva Falletto



Jacques Selosse Rosé


[Photo and credit: Babbo, New York]

--Antonio Galloni