Hot Dish: Inside the Chaîne’s Vintner Dinner with Piero Antinori
A peek at exclusive eats and drinks
Piero Antinori with Donna Solimene, emeritus member of the Baillaige de Naples
Photos by Dorothea Hunter Sönne
In our August issue, we dove headfirst into the fraternal order of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a historic gastronomic society with roots dating back to 1248 in Paris and more than 25,000 current members worldwide. We chronicled the feats of its knights and ladies in the Bailliage de Naples, the second-largest of the United States’ 125 chapters; their seasonal dinners are monthly productions from November to May that feature unique menus written to pair each of the multiple courses with fine wines. This past year the chapter hosted a very special guest, Italian nobleman Piero Antinori, at LaPlaya's private beach club. "An evening with vintner Marchese Piero Antinori" took shape around five prized vintages from his 26-generation family wine label, Marchesi Antinori (the company dates back before fellow Apennine Peninsula native Christopher Columbus discovered America). Gulfshore Life was given an exclusive look.
First course: charred octopus with grilled zucchini, roasted fennel and artichokes with smoked piquillo pepper vinaigrette served with 2013 Guado al Tasso Vermentino
“I’m honored to be here with you,” Antinori told the crowd at the start of dinner. “This is a very special time for me, as I’m celebrating my 50th year in the wine business.”
Second course: pan-seared branzino with cannellini-bean ragout and prosciutto crisp with yellow tomato coulis served with 2011 Peppoli Chianti Classico
“I actually do drink this every day,” he said of the versatile Chianti Classico, which, as the bailliage witnessed, goes well with everything from branzino to pork to red meat.
Third course: braised veal osso buco and veal loin roulade with foie gras mousse, morels, salsify puree and baby heirloom carrots served with both 2006 Tignanello and 2003 Solaia
Regarding his two premium pours—what everyone had waited all evening to try—Antinori described them as "two sides of the same coin.” The Tignanello, a blend of 80 percent Sangiovese and 20 percent Cabernet, and the Solaia, 80 percent Cabernet and 20 percent Sangiovese, are IGTs, a category of wine invented to classify Piero’s first Tignanello and what spurred the Super Tuscan Revolution in the 1970s where Italian winemakers rushed to mimic his winsome recipe, catapulting the Antinori family business to global prominence in the process.
Fourth course: mocha gelato with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, dark chocolate bark and biscotti crumble and almond tuile served with Fattoria Aldobrandesca Aleatico Sovana
In addition to the storied Antinori estates in Tuscany, the family purchased vineyards in California to form Antica Napa Valley. Ed Kolesar, the Naples’ Chaîne bailli (president), visited there a few years ago, and this dessert left such an impression he asked the chef at LaPlaya to recreate it for the event last season.