Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Date
  • 16 June 2001

Sometimes we luck onto a real gem and Saggio di Vino restaurant is just that. Sitting on a quiet corner, Saggio di Vino is a small, 12-table place serving delicious, beautiful food, and even more spectacular vino, with many of the 150 plus wines on offer by the glass. This is paradise for wine lovers, but oh, there is more. The chef was celebrating truffle season taking place in Gisborne near Wellington, so Jim and I were able to eat some of our favorite food laced with the pungent flavor and taste of rare truffles.

I began with beef carpaccio – thin slices of raw beef flavored with olive oil and topped with fresh parmesan, and then I devoured – really, the dish was that good – a ravioli stuffed with chewy mushrooms and minced truffles, lightly covered with a thick, dark brown truffle jus. Simply superb and made even better with the great wine accompanying the food. Jim ate a green salad covered in colorful vegetables and then enjoyed one of his favorites, lamb filets with truffles. He was just as contented by the food and wine as I was.

During dinner, the two of us tried several glasses of different wines; neither of us ordered the same as the other. We tasted Te Mata Coleraine Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 99, Te Mata Awatea Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 99 (the second tier and cheaper than Coleraine, but very nice), Kingsley Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 98, Te Whau The Point Waiheke Island Cabernet Merlot 98, Giesen Reserve Canterbury Pinot Noir 99 (not good), Martinborough Late Harvest Riesling 99 and Cloudy Bay Late Harvest 99 (not good).