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

Truffles 2020: Why Now is a Buying Opportunity

Truffles 2020

Truffles 2020: is it a season to buy?  

I just talked to Urbani Truffles’ Vittorio Giordano about the 2020 truffle season. Good news: the pandemic has kept prices from skyrocketing in what would have been an especially expensive season for white truffles. View the video report here.

To save your sanity, get yourself a bottle of Barolo (or Barbera d’Alba) and some thin pasta, butter, and a white truffle from Alba.

For some groovy, truffle-y escapism, check out this “Truffle Remix” music video I made a few years ago after a trip to Alba.

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.

“Fire on All Sides” – Mark Oldman Interviews Doug Boeschen About his Vineyards’ Remarkable Escape from the Vineyard Fires

Boeschen

Fire on all sides: this is what Boeschen Vineyards winemaker and cofounder Doug Boeschen saw as flames threatened his Napa winery. Join me Thurs, Oct 22 7 pm ET/ 4pm PT for an interview and virtual tasting with Doug Boeschen about his winery’s remarkable escape from destruction and how he and his fellow winemakers are surviving the terrible fires. The event is FREE but seats are limited. Register here. (We will definitely be raising a glass to the brave first responders).

Embers fly from a tree as the Glass Fire burns at Boeschen Vineyards in St. Helena, Calif. The photograph made it around the world in the international press and became a symbol of the terrible Napa fires.

Wine Globe Being Finished: a Mark Oldman collaboration with Bellerby Globemakers

wine globe
“With geography and travel so critical to wine appreciation, why isn’t there a high-quality wine globe,” I asked myself a few years ago.
After contacting the world’s finest globemakers, Bellerby & Co., and visiting its remarkable London studio last summer, I partnered with them to create the first-ever globe of the world’s wine regions. 🍷 🌎  It is the culmination of 15 months of laborious research. All of the world’s major wine regions are represented, including appellations and districts in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the United States, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Portugal, New Zealand, Uruguay, Croatia, Georgia, and others. Based on my quarter century of writing and speaking on wine, it also includes “Oldman’s Icons,” a listing of the most iconic wine producers in the world.
Above is a photo of my prototype being (hand)made today in London. Our beautiful vinous globe will soon be available to order and will make an unparalleled gift for wine connoisseurs, especially in this era of Covid-curtailed travel. For inquiries, please email Alf (alf@markoldman.com). Stay tuned for updates.