Del Cambio

Piazza Carignano, 2

10123 Torino

Tel:+39 011 546690 

The food:

Veal in light tuna sauce (Vitello Tonnato)

Cavour Rice (Riso Cavour)

Piedmontese style meat agnolotti (Agnolotti alla Piemontese)

Mixed boiled meats (Bollito Misto)

The wines:

1995 Raveneau Chablis Forêt – 1er Cru


2011 Balbiano Freisa di Chieri Vigna Villa della Regina


1989 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape


2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti


2013 Dettori Moscadeddu


NV Cave l’Etoile Banyuls Grand Cru Doux Paillé Hors d’Age


One of Torino’s stalwarts, Del Cambio has been around since 1757, but the new owners kicked things up by quite a notch when they handed over the stoves to talented Matteo Baronetto (hiring him away from Cracco in Milan, where he was the main chef). With its subsequent blast-off into Italy’s culinary stratosphere, dining at Del Cambio isn’t exactly cheap nowadays, but the combination of a truly beautiful dining room, superlatively rendered traditional Piedmontese dishes, and a fascinating wine list makes for a memorable dining experience.

The wine list is a wonderful sight for sore eyes: what else can you say of a tome (in Italy, no less) that boasts eighteen different vintages of Chateau d’Yquem (plus those of eight other great Sauternes and Barsac estates including Climens, Coutet, de Fargues, Rieussec and Suduiraut), nine different vintages of very high quality Marsala and Marsala-like wines, six different Madeiras and six different Tokaji Aszu wines, amongst many other choices? And that’s just an example taken from the dessert wine section alone. Clearly, greater depth in older vintages amongst both the dry whites (especially) and the reds would have made for an even better dining experience, but the lack of older vintages is a general problem in practically all of Italy’s restaurants. At least head sommelier Diego Dequigiovanni (previously at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan) and his staff keep themselves busy attending wine auctions to bolster their vinous lineup.

Del Cambio’s vitello tonnato

On this day, I was fortunate to taste some really fantastic old bottles that had been marvelously well kept. The 1995 Raveneau Chablis Forêt, the premier cru I have had the least experience with from Raveneau, is an unforgettable, utterly beautiful wine that has now entered its optimal drinking window. Extremely focused and energetic, but also deep, complex and creamy, with a long lusciously smooth finish, it’s a mesmerizingly great wine. Premier cru Chablis just doesn’t get any better than this. The Chablis is a powerful way to start my lunch, but it doesn’t overpower the rather savory vitello tonnato, almost too much of a good thing in its salty delivery of flavors. Next up is the magnificent 2011 Balbiano Freisa di Chieri Vigna Villa della Regina, not an easy wine to find but drinking beautifully, really showcasing just how much Freisa and its wines can offer. The Vigna della Regina (the “queen’s vineyard”) is not just a grand cru for the variety, but also historically famous, planted right in the heart of Torino, at the royal family’s estate. Much more fruity than many Freisa wines tend to be, Balbiano’s version is redolent with lovely red cherry and berry aromas highly reminiscent of Nebbiolo (remember that Freisa and Nebbiolo are extremely close relatives), but finishes with Freisa’s take-no-prisoners tannins and slightly bitter twinge. It’s always a thrill to come across a bottle. The wines is a heavenly match with both the Riso Cavour, which is not at all a risotto, but rather a complex aromatic preparation of toasted rice with a poached egg and confit tomatoes, (an historic dish that Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, Italy’s first ever Prime Minister, used to enjoy right here at Del Cambio) and the Agnolotti alla Piemontese. These were the best and most interesting dishes I tried at Del Cambio on this visit.

The 1989 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape is one of my ten best wines of 2015, My Vinous colleague Josh Reynolds probably knows more about this wine than I or anyone else ever will, but I’ll try to do this beauty justice and say that it’s a Chateauneuf-du-Pape of mesmerizing purity, aromatic power and silky tannins offering kirsch, cassis and Oriental spice aromas and flavors that are simply drop-dead gorgeous. I have always found the 1989 to be less thick, more refined and more ageworthy than the possibly even more famous 1990 Rayas; but in any case, the 1989 offers wine lovers a truly memorable drinking experience.

The 2014 Saracco Moscato d’Asti and the 2013 Dettori Moscadeddu couldn’t be any more different as far as sweet wines go, but both are special in their own way. Saracco is in my opinion Italy’s best Moscato d’Asti producer, though his 2014 strikes me as less concentrated and fresh than some other recent vintages; while the Moscadeddu, also made from the Moscato Bianco variety, showcases the richer, sweeter, late harvest style of wine this grape delivers in Sardinia’s hotter, island environment, and is strongly characterized by a sweet and saline personality. After all that hard work, and before a less than comfortable flight to Bordeaux awaiting me later that day, I decided to kick back and relax a little in the company of the NV Cave l’Etoile Banyuls Grand Cru Doux Paillé Hors d’Age, a 75% Grenache Noir, 15% Grenache Gris and 10% Carignan blend from the oldest social coop of Banyuls, founded back in 1921. Its concentrated but refined candied fruit and spicy aromas are complemented by a delicate rancio note, making it a perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

--Ian D'Agata