It just seemed right to open up a bottle of Cà Del Bosco Dosage Zero to kick off our evening. You see exactly one year ago at the #EWBC11 in Franciacorta a new friendship was born.  I had only spoken to Keith, aka @wineorl, for about 10 minutes but we became twitter buddies and mutual blog supporters right away. When I got a message saying that he and his fun wife were going to be in Piemonte, I was so excited to have the possibility to meet up again and have a nice dinner together.As soon as we got the bubbly flowing so did the conversation. You know when you just automatically feel at ease with someone, like you were long lost friends? Well, that’s how I felt with them last Thursday night despite having to get to know everything about each other. We chose to go to (take a deep breath!) Antico Podere Tota Virginia in Serralunga D’Alba for dinner mainly because of their extensive wine list and surprisingly good options for vegetarians, like vegetable pastas and fish for pescatarians like myself. I had come across this hotel last summer and was impressed by the view.

A previous visit to Tota Virginia

But forget about the view because it was dark, and forget about all the right pairings for our fish dishes because Keith rightly went straight for a 2004 Paolo Conterno La Ginestra Riserva BAROLO and damn was that good! I’d have to say it was one of the best young Barolos I have ever tasted. It was brilliant ruby red with notes of cherries, licorice, and spices which elegantly left a long lingering finish that you just didn’t want to go away. The tannins were smooth yet drying and I savored this wine until the very end of our meal.

The Barolo was well matched with the ladies’ mushroom potato cakes, Claudio’s lamb, and Keith’s local specialty, polenta with wild boar. As we finished our meal, and we were about ready to wrap up the evening, Keith looked at us like we were wimps and said, “Well, I was actually thinking of ordering another bottle of Barolo!”. Like the Woody Allen movie says, whatever works! Let’s go for it!

In hindsight, maybe we should have stopped there, or rather, have gone back to the same Barolo to keep the standard high. Naively we followed the waitress’ advice and ordered the expensive Azelia La Rocca 2004 Barolo to see how it compared…and well…it didn’t. A little disappointed with this wine despite its rave reviews, we made the best out of it by ordering some cheese and tasting some local “paste secche” cookies to keep the momentum going.

The momentum was going so well, that we were even the last to leave the restaurant. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our new friends but will hopefully see them soon on the East Coast. We will remember this amazing night full of good wine and laughs forever…thanks for the experience.

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