1969 Taurasi and great Italian cooking? Falling in love again with Anthony Cerbone’s Manducatis in Queens.

Posting on the fly today from New York where I’ve been working all week for a couple of my clients. But just had to share these photos from an extraordinary lunch yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants in the world — Manducatis in Long Island City, Queens.

Yes, that’s right: that’s a 1969 Mastroberardino Taurasi in the photo. It came from my friend Anthony Cerbone’s legendary cellar, one of the greatest collections of old Italian wines I know of in the U.S.

It had a little funk on it when first opened. But that quickly blew away. The wine was fresh and vibrant and had all the earthy, mineral, and dark fruit hallmarks of great Taurasi.

What a wine!

Man, 2023 has just begun but this meal is going to be hard to beat.

That’s Anthony in the photo above. He’s one of the warmest and funniest human beings I’ve ever met, with a heart of gold and a symphony conductor’s palate. I adore the guy.

When I lived in New York, I spent many nights there with best friends and colleagues. And along the way, Anthony and I became friends. I really mean it when I say that I feel blessed to call him amico. We have so much in common between Italian food and wine. But he’s also an avid reader of Italian literature and a great guitar player to boot.

On the restaurant’s website, the Cerbone family describes their menu as “old country Italian.”

I’ve actually never looked at the menu because whenever I have dined there, I always just let Anthony start bringing out food. And that’s what we did yesterday to the delight of everyone at the table.

There’s one really important thing about the restaurant that I’m not saying here. New Yorker wine insiders know what I’m talking about.

Just go and you’ll find out as soon as you sit down. And you’ll be happy you did.

Manducatis is actually just one subway stop from Manhattan. It’s really easy to get to and well worth the trip. Tell Anthony I sent you.

Grande Anthony! Grazie ancora per un’esperienza indimenticabile. Non vedo l’ora di tornare da te.

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