Menu Announced for Barbaresco Dinner with Aldo Vacca


Dinner with Aldo Vacca
Thursday, March 24, 7pm

Call to reserve (510) 547-5356

Elusive, feminine Barbaresco is meant to be savored with food, and in the case of our upcoming dinner with friend and mentor Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco, the food will be as eloquent, and as outrageously good, as the wine.

While we compare two Barbaresco vineyards over the course of four vintages, chef Jonah will be treating us to food from the region – of which the cotechino is eagerly anticipated. A new addition to chef Jonah’s repertoire, it will be similar to the one he created for our recent Whole Hog Dinners, in which the muscles were removed from a pig’s shank, stuffed back into its skin, and braised in wine.


Warm salad of roasted vegetables with bagna cauda classica
Vitello tonnato classic Northern Italian cold veal with tuna sauce
Tajarin with pigeon ragù
Cotechino al Barolo with de Puy lentils and salsa verde
Crema di latticello with poached rhubarb, elderflower granita, juniper-rhubarb reduction and meringue crumb


1982 Asili
2001 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2009 Asili vs Ovello


This intimate four-course prix-fixe dinner will take place in the Siena room.

not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 7p
Call to Reserve
2017-09-12T15:46:39-07:00March 17th, 2016|Coming up..., Italy, Piedmont, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Winemaker Dinner with Aldo Vacca


Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

Photo courtesy of Produttori del Barbaresco.

March 24, 2016 at 7pm
Call to Reserve (510) 547-5356

We’re endlessly fond of our longtime friend Aldo Vacca, a gentle, highly intelligent soul whose light hand, as the director of world-renowned Produttori del Barbaresco, persuades the Nebbiolo grape to express what seems inexpressible – the essence of a place.

His skill has made his wine cooperative world-renowned, and he’s done much to shape our own cellar and ideas about wine.

Our list of single-vineyard Barbarescos from the Produttori is extensive, going back to 1979. Made without care to trends, focused exclusively on place, they are elusive, delicate, untamed, and made to age, which they do in surprising ways. We sent Aldo the full list and he’s selected seven for our comparison – four different vintages that represent two very different vineyards in the area.

2009 Asili vs Ovello
2004 Asili vs Ovello
2001 Asili vs Ovello
1982 Asili

It will be a fascinating evening with a master craftsman. Aldo is an inspiring teacher of terroir – in fact we made a video in tribute to what he’s taught us. The four-course prix-fixe dinner will be intimate, taking place in the Siena room. Be sure to call, instead of making an online reservation, to be certain of booking.

not including tax and service charge
March 24th, 2016 at 7pm

Call to Reserve!
(510) 547-5356

A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

We are great admirers of young winemaker Cristiano Garella. Considered a “whiz kid” by Wine Spectator, he quickly made his mark with outrageously good wines in the emerging region of Northern Piedmont. At the age of 23, he was made the winemaker of Tenute Sella, the most prominent winery in the region at that time, and manager of the whole estate a year later. Now 30, he is a consulting winemaker for a number of small producers in Northern Piedmont, and one in the Oltrepò Pavese.

“Cristiano is my kind of enologist,” says wine importer Oliver McCrum, “very technologically savvy but committed to making wines that express terroir through largely traditional techniques. He’s an amazing taster, too.”

This area is considered up-and-coming, but actually the area was producing Nebbiolo far before Barolo and Barbaresco became fashionable — in fact it is the original home of Nebbiolo, and these new wines are a reconnection to the area’s past and its long-held traditions, which are capable of producing beautiful, age-worthy reds with character.

We will be tasting four wines based on the delicate and complex Nebbiolo grape, coming from three different growing areas in Northern Piedmont — Bramaterra, Fara, and Lessona, all with varying soil types and terrain. These wines come from small, young wineries for which Garella consults: Le Pianelle, Boniperti, and La Prevostura. Garella makes wine organically, favoring a low-intervention approach with natural yeasts.

After the tasting, our menu upstairs will feature Garella’s wines by the glass and Piedmontese dishes, and Garella will be present to discuss his wines.
August 16th, 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm



2017-09-12T15:46:54-07:00July 30th, 2015|Commons Past Events, Events, Happened already..., Italy, Piedmont, Wine Events|Comments Off on A Tasting with Alto Piemonte’s Brilliant Young Winemaker Cristiano Garella

Visitors from Sicily


Monday, June 15th

We’re huge fans of Ciro and Stef Biondi. They are smart, generous, and full of life. Their wines are too. While their vineyards have been producing wine for centuries on Mt. Etna, Ciro hit the restart button less than two decades ago, trying to make a great wine, taking full advantage of the extraordinary gifts of Mt. Etna — its young volcanic soil, its altitude high above the sea, and warm days.

We’re pleased to introduce you to them. Ciro and Stef will be in the Oliveto dining room, pouring their wines (some older vintages too) this coming Monday, and Chef Jonah will be offering some appropriate dishes to go with these wines:

  • Fritto of house made ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms
  • Crudo of swordfish with oregano, currants, pine nuts, and lemon
  • Rigatoni alla trapanese
  • Spaghetti with fresh anchovies, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Charcoal-grilled pork porterhouse with eggplant, artichoke, and salmoriglio

There are also a few places still available in the 6:15 to 7 PM tasting that Ciro will offering in our private dining room.

  • 2014 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Bianco
  • 2013 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2011 ‘Cisterna Fuori’
  • 2008 Biondi ‘Outis’ Etna Rosso
  • 2007 Biondi ‘Monte Ilice’ Etna Rosso

The tasting is $40. Register here.
After the tasting, stay for dinner.

An Evening with Roberto Stucchi and the wines of Badia a Coltibuono


Early this year Oliveto sous chef Hans Huysentruyt scored a stage at famed Osteria Le Logge. Thanks to the assistance of our friend Roberto Stucchi of Badia a Coltibuono, Hans spent three weeks in the kitchen “of arguably the best restaurant in Siena” according to Oliveto owner Bob Klein, “…and I’ve been to a lot of restaurants,” he quantified. With Roberto in town this month and some of his older wines ready to drink, we thought it would be cool to arrange a particularly Tuscan menu to accompany them.

Prix Fixe Le Logge-inspired menu

Crostini of whipped lardo
Crostini of almond puree
Arancini with tomato conserva

Ribolita with poached egg

Penne with albacore and tomato

Due of Liberty duck with ricotta and black garlic


Roberto will have on hand the following wines from Coltibuono’s catalog which will be available for purchase by the glass and half-glass:

2010/2011 Chianti Classico
90% Sangioveto 10% canaiolo+Colorino+Ciliegiolo. From the Monti (Gaiole) and Vitignano (Castelnuovo Berardenga) estate vineyards, organically farmed for 20 years, planted with the estate’s historical “massal “ selection. Fermented with indigenous yeast. Aged 1 year in 20 hl (400 gallons) austrian and french oak casks. True Chianti expression, elegant, complex, fresh and food friendly. Chianti that tastes like Chianti at it’s best.

2008 Chianti Riserva
90% Sangioveto 10% Canaiolo+Colorino+Ciliegiolo.From the Monti (Gaiole) estate vineyards, organically farmed for 20 years, planted with the estate’s historical “massal “ selection. Fermented with indigenous yeast. Aged 2 year in 20 hl (400 gallons) austrian and french oak casks. The top selection from the vintage, the deepest expression of the estate; a wine made to live and evolve for decades.

2009 Cultus Boni
80% Sangioveto 20% Canaiolo+Colorino+Ciliegiolo+Mammolo+Fogliatonda+Pugnitello+Malvasia Nera+Sanforte. From the Monti (Gaiole) estate vineyards, organically farmed for 20 years, planted with the estate’s historical “massal “ selection. Fermented with indigenous yeast. Aged 12 months in french oak barrels, 10% new oak. A modern expression of a classic.

2009 Sangioveto
100% Sangioveto. From 30+ year vineyards, the oldest in the estate, in Monti, organically farmed for 20 years, planted with the estate’s historical “massal “ selection. Fermented with indigenous yeast. Aged 12 months in french oak barrels, 10% new oak. One of the original “Supertuscans” created in 1980 to make a statement about the potential of Sangioveto in its purest expression.

2007 Vin Santo
50% Malvasia 50% Trebbiano from the estate’s Monti vineyards, organically farmed for 20 years. Grapes partially raisined indoors, wine fermented and aged in sealed barrels in attics. The true tuscan hospitality wine. Sweet and crisp and aromatic, more than a dessert wine.

And in very limited supply:
1985 Chianti Classico Riserva

Wine In Time 2.0: Rinaldi Vertical

Monday, December 16, 2013

A legend among piedmontese producers, Giuseppe Rinaldi has been producing Barolo wine for over a century. As traditional as it gets, “Beppe” Rinaldi still ferments all of his Baroli in the massive, 110 year old piedmontese oak vat that his great grandfather used. The wines are aged in large old oak for two years before bottling. Rinaldi still holds to the tradition of blending fruit from different vineyards to create a perfectly balanced, long aging wine.

We’ll taste some cool/classic vintages as well as some warmer vintages.

Presented by Peter Granoff, master sommelier and co-proprietor of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar in San Francisco and Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant in Napa, CA.



Four-course dinner and wine: $125 (tax and gratuity not included)

CALL TO RESERVE: 510-547-5356

see the full Wine In Time 2.0 schedule

2017-09-12T15:47:29-07:00December 11th, 2013|2013, Events, Italy, Wine Events, Wine Journal|0 Comments

Wine In Time 2.0: 2000 Barolo vs. Barbaresco

Monday, November 11, 2013

Presented by David Lynch, owner of St. Vincent Restaurant in San Francisco, CA

A rare chance to taste four distinct terriors and winemaking styles from the highly publicized 2000 Piedmontese vintage.
Please join us!

Produttori de Barbaresco ‘Asili’ Barbaresco
Giacosa ‘Asili’ Barbaresco
Verduno ‘monvigliero’ Barolo
Barale ‘Bussia’ Barolo

Vitello” tonato of Magruder beef

German butterball potato gnocchi with pigeon sugo and Barolo reduction

Brasato of Magruder lamb with red flint Corn polenta

Dessert: TBD

(White truffles available by the gram M.P.)

Dinner and wine: $125 (tax and gratuity not included)

CALL TO RESERVE: 510-547-535

see the full Wine In Time 2.0 schedule

Winemaker Dinner: Le Vigne di Alice

Friday, February 8, 2013


Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Winemaker Cinzia Canzian (one website refers to her as “the wonder woman of Venetian bubbly”) of Le Vigne di Alice, a small-scale boutique winery located in the Veneto region, will be joining us for dinner this Friday to share some of her lovely sparkling wines. The menu will be our regular a la carte dinner menu but we will have a select offering of Le Vigne di Alice wines. Cinzia will be available to chat and taste (just make sure to mention you’ll be tasting when you are making your reservation).

We will be pouring the following Le Vigne di Alice wines by the glass and half glass:

Tajad Brut, N/V
Field blend of native grapes: Prosecco, Verdiso, Boschera
Vineyard: Conegliano and Valdobbiadene

Doro Brut, 2011
100% Prosecco
Vineyard: Valdobbiadene DOCG

Ose Brut, Rosato, N/V
10% Marzemino; 90% Prosecco
Vineyard: Conegliano and Valdobbiadene

Extra Dry, 2011
100% Prosecco
Vineyard: Conegliano and Valdobbiadene DOCG

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

2017-09-12T15:47:50-07:00February 4th, 2013|2013, Events, Italy, Wine Events, Wine Journal, Wine Makers|0 Comments

Winemaker Dinner with Scacciadiavoli


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Please join us for dinner at Oliveto Restaurant as we welcome Liu Pambuffetti, winemaker for Azienda Agraria Scacciadiavoli in the Montefalco region of Umbria.

Chef Jonah Rhodehamel will prepare a special four-course menu that will be paired with outstanding wines from the Scacciadiavoli Winery.

Crostini di fegatini di pollo
with Umbrian poultry liver pȃté
Sagrantino Spumante Classico Rose N/V

Lenticchie con salsicce di Cascia
Umbrian lentils with pork sausage and sage
Montefalco Rosso 2009

Agnello allo spiedo
Spit-roasted leg of lamb with farro, sultana raisins, and pine nuts
Montefalco Sagrantino 2006

Selection of Caciotta, Pecorino and house-pulled mozzarella cheeses
Sagrantino Passito 2005

$95. plus tax and 18% gratuity
($60. menu $35. for wine parings)

Liu Pambuffetti will be in the dining room and available throughout the evening to chat and taste. All wines will be offered by the glass and half-glass if you chose not to order the prix fixe menu.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online


Founded in 1884, Cantina Scacciadiavoli, which translates as “cast out the devils,” takes its named from a 19th century exorcist who lived in the small village bordering the vineyard. Originally built by the Prince of Piombino, Ugo Boncompagni-Ludovisi, today Scacciadiavoli is owned by the wine-making Pambuffetti family. The estate covers 130 hectares with 35 hectares of vineyards, and is located in the heart of the Montefalco appellation. The vines are located at an average altitude of 400 meters with soils mixed between sand, schist and the typical clay of the area. The terrain is well suited for late maturing varieties such as the indigenous Sagrantino.

Sagrantino is a unique and rare grape variety grown in Umbria. Sagrantino produces elegant, complex, large structured red wines. It is full of character and has excellent aging potential.


Wine in Time just in Time for Truffles

Aldo Vacca of Produttori del Barbaresco gives us his vintage picks for this year’s truffle dinners:

The Oliveto “Wine in Time” program officially launched in 2007 with the intention of finding a way to serve great, age-worthy wine at somewhat affordable prices. Serving Barbaresco or Barolo with only five or six years of age doesn’t do wines like these much justice and in our opinion barbarescos and barolos made in a modern, more early-drinking style are not of the same quality.

Through good friends and cleverness, we were able to establish a very fine, though focused cellar of outstanding vintage Barbarescos and Barolos at bargain prices.

Events like our annual Truffle Dinners are when all that effort (and waiting!) truly pay off. We are so pleased to be able to offer some wonderful aged wines from our cellar as recommended by our friend Aldo Vacca of the renowned Produttori del Barbaresco estate in Piedmonte.

Wines for Truffles 2012

Special Produttori del Barbaresco Flight

Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, ‘Asili’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 2001
Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, ‘Ovello’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 2001

Whites by the glass

Cortese, La Scolca, ‘Black Label’, Gavi di Gavi, Piemonte 2009
Nascetta, Elvio Cogno, ‘Anas-Cetta’, Piemonte 2009
Fiano di Avellino, I Favati, “Pietramara Etichetta Bianca’, Campania 2007
Ribolla Gialla, Gravner, Anfora, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 2004
Verdicchio/Trebbiano/Malvasia/Grechetto, Monastero Suore Cistercensi,
Coenobium ‘Rusticum’, Lazio 2009
Ripoli/Fenile/Ginestra, Marisa Cuomo, ‘Fiorduva’, Costa d’Amalfi, Campania 2009

Reds by the glass

Nebbiolo, Marchesi di Barolo, Barolo, Piemonte 2006
Chiavanesca, Nino Negri, ‘Sfursat’, Valtellina, Lombardia 2007
Gropello, Zuliani, Garda Classico, Lombardia 2007
Barbera/Bonarda, Castello di Luzzano, ‘Romeo’, Emilia-Romagna 2008
Merlot/Pinot Nero/Cabernet Sauvignon, Movia, ‘Veliko Rosso’, Goriska Brda, Slovenia 2004
Nebbiolo, Castello di Verduno, Barolo, Piemonte 2002

Whites by the Bottle

Riesling, Bollig-Lehnert, ‘Piesporter Goldtropfchen’, Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany 1989
Malvasia, Boncompagni Ludovisi Fiorano, ‘Botte 26’, Lazio 1994 /
‘Botte 32’, Lazio 1993 / ‘Botte 26’, Lazio 1988 / ‘Botte 25’, Lazio 1986

Reds by the Bottle

Nebbiolo, Bruno Giacosa, ‘Gallina di Neive’, Barbaresco, Piemonte 1995
Nebbiolo, Giuseppe Rinaldi, ‘Brunate’, Barolo, Piemonte 1998

2017-09-12T15:47:57-07:00November 5th, 2012|2012, Events, Happened already..., Italy, Wine Journal|0 Comments
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