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.

Virtual Wine Tasting: Secrets of a Napa Legend with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Join me for a virtual tasting and interview with Marcus Notaro, winemaker of iconic Napa winery Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is no less than an American legend, its Cabernet having beaten the French in the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting that put California wineries on the global map.

Free registration for this event is here.

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.

Cameron Diaz’s “Clean Wine” Stumbles in “War of the White Wines”; Sting and Dave Matthews Score Big

Cameron Diaz is a beloved A-lister but her newly released white wine doesn’t quite match her golden reputation, a survey of celebrity wines found.

Cameron Diaz’s “clean wine” was voted least favorite (14%) of the celebrity white wines, while musicians Sting and Dave Matthews triumphed – tying for top spot, the survey found.

With celebrity wines gaining plenty of attention of late, wine expert and author Mark Oldman wanted to determine which star’s beverage was the best, and hosted the first ever virtual “Celebrity White Wine Showdown”.

‘One of the most interesting findings was that almost everyone (88%) agreed that celebrities should not call themselves “winemakers,” said Oldman. “That is a title best left to trained professionals,” Oldman said.

With 386 households logged in via Zoom, Oldman instructed the group on how to evaluate white wine and then presented the contenders. Under scrutiny were five celebrity white wines by Dave Matthews, Zac Brown, Cameron Diaz, Lisa Vanderpump, and Sting. (Drew Barrymore’s Carmel Road Chardonnay was disqualified before the event as the actress is no longer associated with the label.) Attendees purchased the wines in advance of the tasting.

The competition comes on the heels of Oldman’s “Celebrity Rosé Deathmatch,” in which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wine was voted top rosé.

The results for best celebrity wine white were as follows:

1] tie) The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews)  (co-winner) (26%)

1] tie) Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting) (co-winner) (26%)

3] Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (20%)

4] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (16%)

5] Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (14%)

The survey also revealed:

  • 90% said they are no more likely to buy a wine advertised as “clean” but 56% believe that wines should disclose more information on their labels
  • Only 23% of respondents think celebrities drink their own wine “often”

The next celebrity wine competition happens this Wednesday (August 26th, 8pm ET), when Oldman hosts the “Celebrity War of the Sparkling Wines” in which Christie Brinkley, Isiah Thomas, Francis Ford Coppola, Giuliana Rancic, John Legend, and Drake (aka “Champagne Papi”) compete for sparkling supremacy, Free registration is here:

For full survey results, please see below.

                                 Celebrity White Showdown: Full Results

Poll: August 18, 2020

Via: Zoom Polling

Respondents: 386 households


1.Which wine was most delicious/tasted the best?

1] tie The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews) (26%) co-winner

1] tie Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting & Trudie Styler) (26%) co-winner

3] Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (20%)

4] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (16%)

5] Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (14%)


2. Which wine had the best label/packaging?

1] The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2018 (Dave Matthews) (37%) winner

2] Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Chardonnay 2017 (Zac Brown) (21%)

3] tie) Avaline White Blend (Cameron Diaz) (16%)

3] tie) Vanderpump Chardonnay 2018 (Lisa Vanderpump) (16%)

5] Il Palagio Roxanne Toscana Bianco 2018 (Sting & Trudie Styler) (9%)


3. Does it matter to you if a wine calls itself “clean”? Are you more likely to buy it?

Yes (10%)

No (90%)


4. Do wines need to disclose more on their labels beyond sulfites (e.g., additives like lactic acid, sugar)?

Yes (56%)

No (44%)


5. How much do you think celebrities drink their own wine?

A lot (23%)

A little (60%)

Never (7%)


6. Should a (non-formally-trained) celebrity who has his/her own wine be able to call themselves a “winemaker”

Yes (12%)

No (88%)