Home > Amarone, Barolo, Italian wines, super tuscan, Wine Tasting > [My belated notes from ] Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Event

[My belated notes from ] Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Event

Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri logoTwo month ago I attended Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri event in New York city. Writing this blog post late in the game has some advantages – particularly, I can refer you to the work of others. Here is the link to the excellent blog post by Stefano of  Flora’s Table and Clicks and Corks fame. Moreover, I had a pleasure of attending the event in Stefano’s company, where his expert knowledge of Italian wines was very helpful in navigating the selection of about 500 creme de la creme wines. Thus you can even compare our notes (I doubt though you will find much discrepancy in our thoughts).

Every year since 1986, Gambero Rosso publishes its guide to Italian wines and awards its prestigious Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) rating to the best wines. The event like the one we attended has the purpose of showcasing all those best wines, and it attracts a lot of attention.

I have to start from the same rant as you can see in Stefano’s post. All the wineries were arranged by the distributors and not by the region – therefore, in presence of 173 wine tables and countless number of people, my well thought plan fell apart. Yes, I understand that distributors are important, but I don’t see why all the wineries couldn’t be pulled together by the region, instead of being all over the place. In terms of overall organization, Vinitaly, which we attended about two weeks before the Tre Bicchieri event, was put together in  a lot more logical way.

Leaving that aside, lets talk about the event. I generally attend a good number of trade wine tastings. So when you start going from a table to a table, it takes time to find the wine which will “wow” you. What I didn’t realize at first was that Tre Bicchiery event was different. All the wines which you taste there already had been preselected, they were all winners of the Tre Bicchiery award, and therefore they were all great wines by definition. This was exactly my experience. Table one – wow, this is good. Table two – very good. Table three – excellent! Table four – excellent again – what is happening? How is that possible? Ahh, it is the Tre Bicchiere event, so all the wines are rather expected to be great…

Another important part of the events such as Tre Bicchieri is opportunity to meet a lot of great people there. For instance, we met Giuseppe Vajra, a winemaker at G.D Vajra in Piedmonte, who was a pleasure to talk to.

DSC_0205 Giuseppe Vajra

He gave us a taste of his 2004 Barolo Cerretta Luigi Baudana, which he was not supposed to do at the event ( this wine was not a part of 2013 Tre Bicchieri awards), and the wine was stunning.

Meeting people is great, navigating the crowds – not so much. Here is a “hail Mary” style picture – you raise your arm with the camera as high as you can, at the angle you think will fit, and then release the shutter. Here are few pictures for you, I think it gives you an idea that the event was quite busy:

DSC_0248 Another Gambero Ross View

DSC_0247 Gambero Rosso view

Another problem with the event like this? You destined to miss on some of the wines. Taking into account gross level of disorganization at the event, it is obvious that you will miss on the best wines. The list of the wines we missed includes  Masseto, Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Oreno, Bertani and more…

The real bummer in this group was Masseto, which is a part of my “Must Try Wines ” list – it is Super Tuscan made out of 100% Merlot – this is the wine which can rival Petrus. Well, may be next year…

Now, let me offer you my highlights from the event. In the format of such an event, it is impossible (for me, at least) to take any detailed notes – I’m trying to experience as many wines as possible, only jotting down a single word descriptors at the best, which often don’t go beyond “wow” or “outstanding”. Below is the list of wines I really liked (a lot, huh?), with may be one word descriptors on them (or may be not), and then I offer to your attention a picture gallery of mostly the same wines. Oh yes – and unlike the Gambero Rosso event itself, the wines below are grouped by the region. Remember I recently suggested a new scale of ratings (yuck, ok, nice, wow, OMG) – let me use it here when possible, and I promise not to bring any “yuck” and “ok” wines to your attention. And one last note – not all the wines below have “three glasses” rating – some of them are rated at 2, but I believe they would still worth your attention. Here we go.

ABRUZZO

2009 Torre dei Beati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cocciapazza  – perfect!

ALTO ADIGE

2011 Abbazia di Novacella Alto Adige Valle Isarco Sylvaner Praepositus – outstanding bouquet on the nose, very nice overall

2009 Cantina Tarlano Alto Adige Pinot Blanco Vorberg Riserva – complex, beautiful, perfect minerality, wow!

CAMPANIA

2010 Nanni Cope Sabbie di Sopra il Bosco Terre del Volturno – nice acidity, very good overall. Added bonus – this wine has two rare grapes which I need to add to my grape count – Palagrello and Casavecchia

2010 Marisa Cuomo Casta di Amalfi Furore Bianco Fiorduva – my descriptors for this wine include “beautiful”, “amazing” and “balanced” – definitely a wow! wine. This is a very unique wine in many ways (outside of the fact that it is made out of three rare grapes Ginestra, Fenile and Ripoli) – I need to refer you to the Stefano’s blog post where you can learn more about this fascinating wine.

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

2010 Livon Collio Friulano Manditocai – complex nose, nice palate

2011 Ronco dei Tassi Collio Malvasia – nice minerality, very good overall

2011 La Tunella COF Ribolla Gialla Rjgialla – perfect white fruit, clean, excellent

2011 Livio Felluga Friulano – super expressive wine, very good overall

LAZIO

2010 Sergio Mottura Grechetto Latour a Civitella – excellent

LIGURIA

2011 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Cavagnino – mint and apricot on the nose and palate, OMG

LOMBARDY

2009 Mamete Prevostini Valtellina Superiore Riserva – very unusual nose, perfect power.

2004 Ca’Del Bosco Franciacorta Brut Rose Cuvee Annamaria Clementi – 100% Pinot Noir, nose of fresh bread and yeast, strawberries on the palate – OMG

2007 Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Extra Brut – perfect

NV Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut Rose – more complexity than the previous one, OMG

2006 Ferghettina Franciacorta Extra Brut – 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; wow!

2007 Cavalleri Franciacorta Pas Rose – very bread-y, excellent!

2008 Guido Berlucchi Franciacorta Cellarius Brut – wow!

MARCHE

2010 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Cazstelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vecchie Vigne – wow!

2009 Umani Ronchi Conero Cumaro Riserva – excellent!

2009 Velenosi Rosso Piceno Superiore Roggio del Filare – roasted, gamey nose, a touch too sweet, but good

PIEDMONT

2009 Bricco del Cucu Dogliani Bricco S. Bernardo – 100% Grechetto, cherries on the nose and palate, very nice!

2008 Le Piane Boca  – a blend of 85% Barolo, 15% Vespolina – wow!

2008 G.D Vajra Barolo Ceretta Luigi Baudana – this wine comes from the a specific plot in the vineyard, called Baudana. This was a wow wine, but the next one was one level up, as it had an age on it

2004 G.D Vajra Barolo Ceretta Luigi Baudana – OMG

2008 Schiavenza Barolo Prapo – perfect fruit, open, beautiful, wow!

2009 Vietty  Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza La Crena – excellent

2006 Massolino Barolo Villa Rionda Riserva – wow!

2010 Villa Sparina Gavi del Commune di Gavi Monterotondo – very nice

2008 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Sarmassa – nice, round, perfect!

2006 Elvio Cogno Barolo Vigna Elena Riserva – excellent!

SARDINIA

2009 Cantina di Santandi Carignano del Sulcis Superiore Rocca Rubia Riserva – aged for 24 month in oak, excellent.

2009 6Mura Carignano del Sulcis – 120 years old vines, growing on sandy soils, very good balance, excellent.

SICILY

2010 Pietradolce Etna Rosso Archineri – very green

2010 Pietradolce Vigna Barbagalli – nice

2010 Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria – the only wine in Italy to receive top awards from all wine publications! Apricots on the nose and palate, perfectly balanced. Overall – wow and OMG!

2010 Tenute Rapitala Conte Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais Grand Cru – 100% Chardonnay, excellent, clean

2010 Firriato Ribeca Perricone – excellent! ( and the rare grape called Perricone)

TRENTINO

2006 Ferrari Trento Extra Brut Perle Nero – outstanding, off brut
2002 Ferrari Trento Brut Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore – 10 years aging on the lees, wow!

TUSCANY

2008 Famiglia Cecchi Chianti Classico Villa Cerna Riserva – very nice

2009 Famiglia Cecchi Coevo – wow!

2009 Tolani Picconero – 65% Merlot, perfectly Bordeaux in style, excellent!

2007 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino – open, fresh, clean – wow!

2009 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – tannins! very good.

2009 Brancaia Chianti Classico Riserva – perfect balance, wow!

2010 Tenuta San Guido Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi – excellent!

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti Orma Toscana – OMG! depth and breadth of this wine was phenomenal

2010 Marchesi Antinori Cervaro della Sala – perfect chardonnay, outstanding!

VENETO

2010 Ottello Lugana Supweriore Molceo – parfumy, perfect!

2010 Ottello Campo Sireso – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Corvina and Lagrein – roasted notes, wow!

2009 Roccolo Grassi  Valpolicella Superiore Roccolo Grassi -very nice

2007 Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso Gemola – Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend, classic Bordeaux profile, wow!

2005 Cantina Valpolicalla Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Villa Domini Veneti – pure chocolate on the nose, a bit too sweet and too tannic on the palate. Just ok (I know, I promised that there will be no ok or lesser wines – but I’m Amarone junkie, you will have to excuse me for that…)

2007 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Capitel Monte Olmi – 16% ABV, alcohol on the nose – not “yack”, but not good [at all]

2008 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico – very good

2006 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Mazzano  – 120 days of drying the grapes, good overall (not great), too much alcohol on the nose and palate

2008 Viticoltori Speri Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Monte Sant’Urbano – 15% ABV; wow!

And here is the photo gallery for you – enjoy!

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Long post, after a long delay – but it is finally done. Yay! Cheers!

  1. April 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Wow. Those are a lot of tasting notes!

    • talkavino
      April 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      well, there were a lot of wines… : )
      you should join us next year!

  2. April 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Very nice summary. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to order wineries by distributors. It would be far more logical to organize them by region.
    Lucky you that Ferrari served the Perle Nero and the Riserva del Fondatore! At VinItaly we only got to try their basic-line..
    Why were you not allowed to try the Massetto if it was served at the trade show? Was it only offered to an exclusive group of people?

    • talkavino
      April 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

      thanks, Julian. We were perfectly allowed to taste the Masseto – and my plan was to start from Tuscany, as I knew that super tuscan will disappear first. But because of the organization by the distributors, everything was out of order, so we decided with Stefano just to go sequentially – table, 1, table 2, table 3, etc. Masseto was at the table 53 – by the time we reached there, there were out of the 9 bottles which they opened for the event… Next year, if I will make it to the event, and if Masseto will be present, this is where I will start : )

  3. April 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Wow! You got to taste a lot of wines! Even making good use of the “spit bucket”, I would have been unconscious if I had tasted that many wines in a day. I’m curious, did your palate become tired at any point in a tasting that large? Salud!!

    • talkavino
      April 20, 2013 at 8:38 am

      yes, there were lots of wines : ) I can share with you a couple of “trade secrets” :)
      First, about one or two hours before the event, take two tablespoons of the olive oil. Second, spit bucket is your friend, for sure. I often don’t start tasting the wine until I have an access to the nearest spit bucket.
      Yes, your palate gets very tired, especially after a line of Barolo. There are two weapons to fight it. 1 Cheese. Usually there is a big wheel of Parmesan at such tastings, and Parmesan perfectly cleans and refreshes your palate. 2. Sparkling wine. Usually we start our own gatherings with sparklers, right? At a tasting like that, the sip of sparkler gives you such a refreshed feeling, it is even hard to describe…
      Now you are ready : )

      • April 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

        Olive oil?? I need to hear more about this . . . do tell!!

        • talkavino
          April 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm

          Quite honestly, there is not much more to tell. I don’t remember where I read about it the first time. But I personally did it a few times (together with friends) before big trade tastings (with hundreds of wines). The olive oil coats your stomach and slows down alcohol absorption into the blood. It still doesn’t mean that you can swallow the wine instead of spitting it out, but it makes you last much longer throughout the tasting. Note of caution – you don’t want to drink too much of olive oil, as in the large quantities it will have rather a laxative effect…

        • April 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm

          I’m completely intrigued . . . I will have to give it a try! :o)

        • talkavino
          April 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm

          sure! Let me know what do you think once you do.

  4. April 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Anatoli, first off, great post as usual and wow, oh so thorough!!! It really was a great event to attend and I am very glad we were there together. It made it even more enjoyable and “educational”.
    Secondly, apologies if it took me forever to read and comment on your post: I have been swamped with work and am now deep in catch up mode…
    Last but not least, many thanks for your always way too kind mentions and links. Much appreciated. I will go back and revisit my post on the Tre Bicchieri event and link back to yours.

    • talkavino
      April 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you Stefano for all the kind words! It was a great event, and it really took me a while to write this post – but I’m glad I took the time to do it. And thank you for linking back from your posts – appreciate it!

  5. June 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Next year I am going, I am so upset that I missed this but your review is fantastic.

    • talkavino
      June 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you very much for your kind words! Yes, this was a great event, overwhelming but well worth attending.

  1. April 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm
  2. April 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

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