The Food :

Tajarin with mountain butter and Modena white cow Parmigiano (Tajarin all’uomo con burro di montagna e parmigiano delle vacche bianche modenesi)

Plin three ways: smoked, with artist’s sauce, grilled (Plin al cubo: al fumo, con sugo d’artista e alla griglia)

Warm capon salad with cow’s milk cheese and pomegranate (Insalata calda di cappone con robiola vaccina e melograno)

Rack of lamb with herb praline and sautéed artichokes (Carrè di agnello con pralinato di erbe e carciofi scottati)

Sinestesia…medley of garden vegetables with acacia honey citronette (Sinestesia...varietà di ortaggi con citronette al miele di acacia)

The Wines


2005 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Rocche del Falletto


2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur Clos Vougeot Musigni Grand Cru 


1989 Trimbach Gewürztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles


2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese  Goldkaspel    


Tajarin with mountain butter and Modena white cow Parmigiano

Vintage 1997 has been around for some time in Torino, and is, frankly, a reminder of a Torino that no longer exists. The restaurant itself was originally called Tiffany, back when historic restaurants like Balbo, il Tastevin, Vecchia Lanterna and i Due Lampioni, now all gone, were cornerstone of the local dining scene. And so it is that Vintage 1997 is not an especially trendy destination today, and, as such is not on the radar of foodies and flavor of the month seekers. Vintage 1997 is instead the safe retreat of many food lovers less interested in bells and whistles, but who know they will have well-cooked traditional Piedmontese food made from sound ingredients and a very good wine list. There had been some concern amongst my food loving friends that Vintage 1997 might suffer from longtime chef’s Pierluigi Consonni’s recent departure. However, his business partner Umberto Chiodi Latini rearranged the kitchen staff and the talented professionals already in place have ensured a seamless transition into the restaurant’s new phase of life.

Plin three ways: smoked, with artist’s sauce, grilled

The restaurant’s clientele is made up of a curious mix of couples holding hands (the main dining room has a romantic, retro air about it), star soccer players, politicians and finance types (government and bank buildings are nearby), but despite the large expense account crowd, the place offers two lunch menus for twenty-four euros that are a real steal (there is also a vegan lunch offer at 20 euros). Prices are not especially high at dinner either.

Warm capon salad with cow’s milk cheese and pomegranate

The best dishes on this night were the two pastas. The tajarin were exceptionally light and eggy, with a concentrated butter sauce and wonderfully perfumed white truffles. The plin, served in three different ways on the same plate, were even better. I am in the Langhe for a week to ten days almost every month and rarely have I had a better dish of plin than this one. I liked the capon, even though I am not the world’s biggest fan (I find the meat just too bland most of the time) but Vintage 1997’s version was moist, juicy and perfectly cooked.

Rack of lamb with herb praline and sautéed artichokes

The wines were even better. Despite the restaurant’s name, there are not that many choices from the 1997 vintage on the list, but the overall selection will make most wine lovers happy. Bruno Giacosa’s 2005 Barolo Rocche del Falletto shows the master on top of his game. This bottle offered sweet, polished tannins and an almost decadent flavor of red cherries and raspberry syrup, complicated by hints of botanical herbs. This midweight, luscious and sexy Barolo made it truly hard to put the glass back down empty at every sip. I have always liked the 2005 Barolo vintage. Giacosa’s 2005 Rocche shows just how great some wines from that generally underrated year can be. The 2005 Domaine Gros Frère et Soeur Clos Vougeot Musigni was almost as good, if in a completely different way. Penetrating and pure black and red cherry aromas and flavors were magically complemented by Oriental spices and soy sauce. The piercing, intensely mineral finish lasted minutes. Made from grapes grown in one of the very best parcels of vines in all of the Clos Vougeot, the 2005 is still extremely young. Although it is perfectly good to drink now, I would not touch another bottle for two or three years at least.

Sinestesia…medley of garden vegetables with acacia honey citronette

Trimbach’s 1989 Gewürztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles was never characterized by waterfall-like levels of acidity. This particular bottle was dangerously close to being a little flat, but it still offered remarkably sexy tropical fruit, flowers and sweet spices wrapped up in a luscious mouthful of sweetness. Totally different and piercingly fresh, the Fritz Haag’s 2007 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel is a work of art. Magically long and refined, with a mineral undertone complicating the sweet pineapple, ginger, lemon verbena and jasmine aromas and flavors, the 2007 was stellar. Refreshing and lively, concentrated and extremely well balanced, the 2007 also showed why great Rieslings are so unforgettable.