Thursday, August 22, 2013

Report from ... Gambero Rosso, Tre Bicchieri tasting - June 5, 2013

Promised as the "highlight of your tasting year" and they might just have been correct.  I have never seen such a concentration of wines that were of such consistent high quality (and delicious to boot) all in one room.  But let's put this into perspective:  "The Gambero Rosso Guide to Italian Wine is the foremost resource for lovers of Italian wine" ... the 'Tre Bicchieri' designation has a rather high distinction:  "for the 2013 edition, reviewers tasted 45,000 wines, of which 20,000 were included in the publication.  Of all wines tasted fewer than 400, or less than 1%, received the rarefied Tre Bicchieri rating" ... so the wines in the room had best be of high quality.  There were close to 100 wineries in attendance each with at least one wine to show off - so as you can see it was a daunting task, and I had but 3 hours to do it in.  So without further ado I present my list of 39 wines that scored three-and-a-half-plus stars or more (presented by region) ... I tried to taste all the wines in the room, though I might have missed a few along the way - and to pare it down to these 41 was a challenge.

Abruzzo ...
pretty with floral notes, lush dark fruit and nicely spiced (*** 1/2+)

Smooth red fruit with hints of licorice and spice for complexity (****)
blackberry jam with an anise finish (*** 1/2+)
 Alto Adige ...
super rich red and black berries with a lush / plush finish (****)
Campania ...
100% Aglianico that creates a chocolate-strawberry sensation in the mouth (*** 1/2+)
smooth and supple with hints of pepper and some tannin grit on the finish (****)
Emilia-Romagna ...
smooth yet with good acidity, the fruit really shines here, but it could use a little time to fully integrate (****)
Friuli ...
no wood here, a blend of three grapes including Tocai Friuliano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc - very fruity and very aromatic with pear, peach and a long finish (*** 1/2+)
A fruit forward Merlot with lots of cherry and blueberry notes; juicy and velvety (****)
Piedmont ...
first noticed the good acidity then the red berries and hints of licorice (*** 1/2+)
softer style Barolo - the fruit shines through along with dried leaves and dried fruit; finishes quite peppery (*** 1/2+)
Riesling?  From Italy?  Yes ... nice minerality and good acidity all with a salty freshness (*** 1/2+)

rich and succulent: juicy with fruit and rich in chocolate (****+)
Puglia ...
coffee meets chocolate and blackberry jam (****+)
lots of licorice and spice in this bottle (*** 1/2+)
Sicily ...
supple and rich with fruit and hints of chocolate and mocha on the finish (****)
juicy and black fruited with a nice spice and acid mixed finish (*** 1/2+)

decent amount of fruit with port-like character (*** 1/2+)
Trentino ...
100% Chardonnay, 6 months in French oak and 6 years in bottle - this is a well aged and delicious bubble (*** 1/2+)
Tuscany ...
this is a softer, gentler version of Chianti when compared to their 2010 version; nice chalkiness to the finish (*** 1/2+)
generous of fruit with lots of spiciness - this is a sexy wine with lots going for it (****+)

Stunning - 100% Sangiovese and 1 year in Slovenian oak ... nice initial smoothness before the acid and tannins kicks in, then red fruit joins the party ending with a lovely long finish. (**** 1/2) - Favourite wine
lots of anise and white pepper, the fruit is blackberry and black cherry; wonderfully smooth on the palate (****)
supple red fruit with nice spice - 50% Sangiovese with equal parts Merlot and Cab Sauv (*** 1/2+)
lots of chocolate, spice, blackberry and cassis (****+)
very ripe fruit, blackberry and white pepper are dominant flavours (****)
lovely balance of dark fruit and spice - full in the mouth with a lush juiciness (****+)
a Chianti with plenty of finesse: robust dried fruit, plenty of acidity and tannins (*** 1/2+)
oh so sippable, this 100% Sangiovese wine is lush and fruity (****)
very red fruit driven - dominated by Cab Sauv (65%) and Merlot (20%) - delicious (****)
elegant and supple - rich dark fruit with enough spice to back it up (****)
100% Cabernet Franc, and it's a beauty:  nice tobacco and raspberry - cherry and cranberry cocktail all nicely spiced and pleasant right through to the finish (****)
Umbria ...
this is what I deem a 'winter wine', high concentration of tannins, tons of grit, fruit is hiding in the background and it needs lots of time to come around - but it will (****)
70% Sangiovese and 30% Canaiolo - nice red fruit in the form of cherry, nice and soft, easy drinking (*** 1/2+)

Veneto ...
a vineyard designated Amarone with chocolate, cherry and anise, good acidity on the finish gives it balance (****+)
tension between the sweetness and acidity allows it to burst on the palate with freshness (****)

both wines rate a (****) as they are wonderful examples of Amarone
made from Trebbiano and dried for 25 days and barrel fermented - very intense and tasty (****)
single vineyard Amarone that deals out spice and dark fruit with a spicy-chocolate finish (****)

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