White Truffles: 10 Insider Secrets You Need to Know

white truffles

White truffles: punishingly expensive, its season lasts a precious few month, and some say it smells like sex.

But what is the real deal with this magical mushroom from the forests of Alba, Italy. Now that it is the heart of truffle season, I paid a visit to North America’s largest distributor of truffles, Urbani Truffles. There I met with Urbani Truffles’ Vittorio Giordano and asked him to spill all sorts of insider secrets revealed in this new video.

I asked Vittorio to try to describe the classic aromas of the white truffle, although such characteristics can vary with the truffle. You will learn how to tell good truffle from bad, the most delicious food pairings, the best wine matches, and why wines like Barolo are especially good with white truffles, beyond just their geography affinity. Finally, I asked Vittorio to approximate the retail value of the big, beautiful truffles in front of us – and his answer just might shock you.

In other truffle news, you can find a report on the 2020 white truffle season here.

And watch this light hearted “remix” music video I created about the joy of white truffles here. It uses footage of truffle adventures I have had in years past.

white truffles

White Truffles in the Movies: The Truffle Hunters

 

And a hot tip for my fellow food and wine lovers: I saw an advanced screening of a heartwarming new film, “The Truffle Hunters”. With gorgeous, painterly cinematography, the film follows seasoned truffle hunters and their trusty dogs as they comb the woods of Northern Italy for the prized fungus.
It offers a fascinating look into a secretive and delightfully antiquated world. At one point there’s even a “dog cam” where you get to see what it looks like to stalk truffles from the dog’s point of view. It is set to open through Sony Pictures Classics in the U.S. on Dec. 25, though I suspect there will also be plenty of streaming opportunities around that time, too.

The Truffle Hunters

NFL Star Beats Actors & Snoop Dogg in Celebrity Wine Battle

snoop wine

He may be one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, but Charles Woodson’s wine was playing offense in my latest celebrity wine competition, the “Celebrity War of the Red Wines”.

Woodson’s Intercept Pinot Noir had all the right moves with 32% of the total votes, while the Washington State red blend from actor Kyle MacLachlan, best known for his roles in Twin Peaks and Sex in the City, scored a strong 21% of the votes. Snoop Dogg’s 19 Crimes “Cal Red” avoided the dog house by retaining a place in the middle of the pack (16%)

With 296 households logged in via Zoom, I instructed the group on how to evaluate red wine and then presented the six contenders. Participants voted through Zoom’s online polling system, with the following results for favorite wine:

1] Intercept Pinot Noir 2017 (Charles Woodson) (32%) winner

2] Pursued by Bear “Bear Cub” Red Blend 2016 (Kyle MacLachlan) (21%)

3] 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red 2019 (Snoop Dogg) (16%)

4] 7 Cellars “The Farm” Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2018 (John Elway) (11%)

6] tie) Wade Cellars Three By Wade Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Dwayne Wade) (10%)

6] tie) Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Lisa Vanderpump) (10%)

The results for best label/packaging are as follows:

1] Pursued by Bear “Bear Cub” Red Blend 2016 (Kyle MacLachlan) (35%) winner

2] tie) Intercept Pinot Noir 2017 (Charles Woodson) (24%)

2] tie) 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red 2019 (Snoop Dogg) (24%)

4] Wade Cellars Three By Wade Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Dwayne Wade) (11%)

5] 7 Cellars “The Farm” Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2018 (John Elway) (4%)

6] Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Lisa Vanderpump) (2%)

The next celebrity wine competition happens December 9th, the Celebrity War of the Luxury Red Wines, with luxury-level bottles from Ayesha Curry, Kurt Russell, Josh Groban, Sting, John Legend, and Yao Ming.

Don’t miss my two other free virtual wine experiences coming up soon:

  • “Secrets of Napa Legend: Celebrating 50 Years of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars with Winemaker Marcus Notaro”
  • “Big Little Lies: Magical Monterey”

All of these virtual wine tastings are FREE to those who register.

Celebrity Wine: Brad Pitt’s Rosé Triumphs in “War of the Rosés”

celebrity wine

With the height of rosé season upon us and celebrity wines flooding the marketplace, this week I hosted a virtual “Celebrity Rosé Deathmatch” to determine which celebrity rosés were worthy of the vinous A-list.

With 471 households logged in via Zoom, I instructed the group on how to evaluate rosé wine and then presented the seven contenders. Under scrutiny were the pink drinks by Pitt & Jolie, John Legend, Francis Ford Coppola, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, and Post Malone. Attendees purchased the wines in advance of the tasting.

Participants voted through Zoom’s online polling system, and the results were as follows:

1] Miraval Rosé 2019 (Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie) (29%) (winner)

2] tie) Hampton Water Rosé 2019 (Bon Jovi) (20%)

2] tie) LVE Cotes de Provence Rosé 2018 (John Legend) (20%)

4] tie) Maison No. 9 Rosé 2019 (16%) (Post Malone) (16%)

4] tie) Sofia Rosé 2019 (Francis Ford Coppola) (16%)

6] Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio Ramato 2019 (Mary J Blige) (8%)

7] Invivo X Rosé 2019 (Sarah Jessica Parker) (7%)

The Miraval was prized for its zesty, delicate personality and notes of red berry, melon, and tangerine. One could argue that this gorgeous rosé is one of the best things to come out of Brangelina’s marriage. Jon Bon Jovi and John Legend’s pink rosé also fared well in the competition.

I also asked participants to vote for the best rosé packaging. Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia Rosé, named for Coppola’s movie-director daughter, won the day with its long, bowling-pin bottle shape and floral label. Close behind were the squat, cognac-shaped designs of John Legend and Pitt & Jolie. Also performing well was the slender, bat-shaped bottle and gothic design from relative upstart Post Malone.

1] Sofia Rosé 2019 (Francis Ford Coppola) (24%) (winner)

2] tie) LVE Cotes de Provence Rosé 2018  (21%) (John Legend)

2] tie) Maison No. 9 Rosé 2019 (Post Malone) (21%)

2] tie) Miraval Rosé 2019 (Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie) (21%)

5] Hampton Water Rosé 2019 (Bon Jovi) (16%)

6] Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio Ramato 2019 (Mary J Blige) (11%)

7] Invivo X Rosé 2019 (Sarah Jessica Parker) (3%)

Despite some experts’ disdain for celebrity wine, all of these rosés had charm and refreshment value, even the ones ranked lower.

The next celebrity wine tasting happens on August 18th, when I hosts a “Celebrity White Wine Showdown” in which the white wines of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Dave Matthews, Sting, Lisa Vanderpump, and Zac Brown will battle it out for supremacy.

Next week, on August 11th, I also host “Mind of a Wine Fraudster” with Peter Hellman, author of the award-winning In Vino Duplicitas. We will discuss Hellman’s research into the motivations behind the crimes of notorious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan

These virtual tastings are free to those who register. To sign up or to see a full listing of virtual wine tastings, please visit this page.

Virtual tasting this Wednesday: Secrets of Wine and Food Pairing

Join me this Wednesday at 8pm ET as we cover one the central aspects of wine appreciation: wine and food pairing. Register for this webinar here.

And to get in the mood, here is an Appgrooves interview I did a few days ago with Tracy Block about when and how do to wine pairings with meals at home.

wine and food pairing