[My belated notes from ] Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Event
Two 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.
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:
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.
2009 Torre dei Beati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cocciapazza – perfect!
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!
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
2010 Sergio Mottura Grechetto Latour a Civitella – excellent
2011 Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Cavagnino – mint and apricot on the nose and palate, OMG
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!
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
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!
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.
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)
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!
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!
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!
Long post, after a long delay – but it is finally done. Yay! Cheers!