A sauce so satisfying and delicious that the people of Piemonte have dedicated an entire December festival to it, bagna cauda--which means "hot bath"--is, as its name implies, a warm dip. It's essentially an Italian fondue starring butter, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies, the salty Mediterranean fish that are an important staple in everyday Piemonte cuisine. You traditionally serve bagna cauda in a small terracotta pot with a flame below the sauce, but you can also heat it over the stove. The part I love about it is its amazing simplicity: Just dip your favorite raw, boiled, or roasted vegetables, everything from artichokes to zucchini, and enjoy a supreme comfort food.
Colors and aromas merge and create an exceptional opening a meal or an event. More importantly, bagna cauda provides the perfect match for Piemonte's wines. Match it with a Barolo, a Barbaresco, even a Barbera, and you're in for a serious treat. It's a great winter alternative to more conventional antipasto, and simple as it is, it's even more traditional and delicious.
Today, I'm very pleased to feature a beautiful Luciano Sandrone Barolo. This 2005 Barolo Cannubi Boschis has just entered its drinking window, so you can enjoy it now with your bagna cauda, your risotto with truffles, or any other winter treat. Along with this wine, I'm very pleased to offer magnums of Cupano's bright, expressive 2008 Rosso di Montalcino, which is perfect for any dinner party. Finally, I've secured a limited allocation of Jacques Selosse Champagne Brut Version Originale, and this is a magnificent wine--Champagne lovers will love it.