2023 Italian Wine Tasting and Cooking

Click here for photos from the event!

On Saturday November 18th from 1:30 to 5 pm at the home of Diane Duerr and Matt Levine, 5887 Arboretum Drive, Los Altos, CA  94024, the Silicon Valley Chapter enjoyed a rare opportunity to taste the unique wines of the Punta Crena winery of Italy, a tasting which was led by Ron Fenolio, the Echanson Provincial of the Pacific Northwest Region. Some of you may recall Ron's informative and entertaining presentation about Portuguese wines earlier this year.  This event focused on the wines of the Liguria Region's village of Varigotti. There, high above the Mediterranean, the Ruffino family has been making rare wines for more than 500 years. We tasted a few of these wines perhaps for the first and last time, as some varieties may soon be extinct.  Other varieties are the subject of intense efforts by the family to help the vines adapt to climate change.  A few of the varieties and wines can be found nowhere else in the world except at Punta Crena.  We will be tasting eight wines made from Crovino, Mataossu and Barbarossa grapes, starting with sparking whites and progressing to deep reds. 

Such wines demand very special food.  Ron has generously started the afternoon with a mortar and pestle class to prepare the freshest antipasti platter, Carpaccio Tonnato and Pasta con Pesto  All the ingredients were be provided, but attendees brought their own Mortar and Pestle.





Mortadella, bresaolla (for those who don’t eat pork)

Fresh sliced vegetables 


(dried, salted cod fish, rehydrated, and blended

with potatoes and garlic using THE MORTAR AND PESTLE)



Today, almost all cooks make Tonnato using a shortcut, the blender.  The traditional tonnato is made by pounding  the tuna in A  MORTAR AND PESTLE, adding the ingredients for sauce.

This is a wonderful sauce to put over a poached chicken breast, a poached sliced Turkey breast, a poached veal roast, or as we will do today, drizzled over carpaccio with capers, arugula and sliced parmesan.



Traditionally the sauce is applied not just to pasta, but to pasta, blanched green beans, and boiled potatoes.  We will hand make fresh pesto using THE MORTAR AND PESTLE, tossing the sauce with the traditionally made Genevese style pasta, beans and potatoes.

Assorted condiments, water, Italian sodas. Prosecco