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Antinori Fine Tuscan Wine Dinner at Balla - The Star

Home > Sydney > Restaurants | Food and Wine
by Raphael A Nazario (subscribe)
—R. A. Nazario Wine & Food blog:; website:
For those of you that are not constrained by budgetary concerns, there is a most noteworthy Wine and Food event next Friday, 7 September, hosted at Balla Osteria, in Pyrmont.

Yes, there are lots of wine and food dinners out there, but this one is noteworthy because two of the wines to be served and tasted, the Antinori Tignanello 2008

Bottle Sample

and the Solaia (2006) are two of the rarest Italian reds on the market–especially in this far flung spot on the earth.

label sample

The dinner would thus provide a culinary pleasure-seeker (or one simply seeking enlightenment) the opportunity to expand their horizons and frame of reference. The palate, after all, is a muscle; albeit, a muscle of perception. One can train it in the same manner one trains the body: with patience, diligence and consistency. But the key empowering component in learning about wine—or most anything else, for that matter— is an open mind and heart (and in the case of wine, the ability and willingness to part with chunks of cash now and then comes in handy). So in the relative scheme of things, 150.00 for dinner could be seen as reasonable.

Antinori has long been a respected maker of Chianti and the family has been in the wine business since 1385. You read that correctly, 1385. Or to put it another way they've been making wine for 627 years (which in dog years would be 4,389—but who's barking?). But back to the modern times, where wines like Tignanello and Solaia are commonly known as "Super Tuscans", a name as extravagantly over-the-top as the '80's sensibility that engendered it. Nonetheless, Tignanello is generally credited with shaking up sleepy Italian wine-making and marketing traditions and help usher in the era of modern great wines, an area in which, Italy is second to none.

The 2008 Tignanello is 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, some 47 hectares of limestone-rich soil 350-400 meters above sea level. It was arguably the first Sangiovese wine to be aged in small oak barrels, the first Italian red wine to use such non-traditional varieties as Cabernet in the blend (Piero Antinori, elder, had started playing with the mix back in the '20s, and among the very first red wines from the Chianti Classico area to be produced without the traditional addition of white grapes.

A total of 8 wines will be served that night, each of them, excellent.

While this writer has never dined at Balla, the restaurant has been called "bold, beautiful and fun". It's über-moderne look apparently an homage to Futurist artist Giacomo Balla. Balla is located at The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW. Three reviews can be read at these links. While this writer has never dined at Balla, the restaurant has been called "bold, beautiful and fun"; it's über-moderne look an homage to Futurist artist Giacomo Balla. Balla is located at The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW. Three reviews can be read at these links, AGFG, Gourmet Traveller, and Taste.

For reservations: 1 800 700 700

Here's a copy of the evening's menu:

Balla-Antinori Dinner
Tuscan Dinner Menu-with matching wines

7pm, September 7th
Cost: A $150.00 pp
Modern Tuscan cuisine meets wines from one of Florence's oldest estates.
Bookings Essential.
NV Montenisa Brut

ANTIPASTI (Before the Pasta)
Tuscan style tripe panino with salsa verde and chili
Baked chick pea tart with shaved Pecorino
Polenta crostino with sauteed seasonal mushrooms
2010 Antinori Bianco Toscana
2010 Castello della Sala Bramito del Cervo

Potato Ravioli with Duck Ragu
2009 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico
2007 Tenute Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva

Traditional wood-grilled Florentine T-bone, served with borlotti beans
2008 Antinori Tignanello •
2006 Antinori Solaia

A selection of Fine Tuscan cheeses
Rolled Chestnut pancakes with fresh ricotta
2005 Tenute Marchesi Antinori Vin Santo

"A restaurant dedicated to the culture of Italian food, wine and service"
1800 700 700

(Photo credits: Tignanello,; Solaia,; Dinner Menu: FiveWayCellars (Paddington) weekly mailer.)
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When: Friday, 7 September 2012
Where: Level G, Harbour Side, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street Pyrmont, 2009
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