Gambero Rosso is an Italian publishing company that produces the Vini d’Italia wine guide. Each year, its staff tastes and rates more than 25,000 wines, from Italy’s 350 varietals from all of its 21 wine regions. Each year, the guide awards fewer that 500 of these wines its highest distinction—Tre Biccheri.
Then the company hosts a world tour in which the vintners of more than half of these wines display, taste and explain the selected wines and up to two of their other wines to trade professionals around the world. We attended the 2017 San Francisco event where we did our best to sample a cross-section of these 400+ wines—a task that is made even more difficult by the addition of more than 100 additional Italian wines at the associated Tre Biccheri Pre-Tasting!
We sampled a number of sparking and white wines from many of the regions and then focused our primary attentions on the dozens of red varietals where, after tasting across many regions, we focused primarily on our favorite regions of Tuscany, Piedmont and Lombardy. We finished with a few of the limited number of dessert wines that were available.
We were rewarded for our efforts by the discovery of dozens of wonderful wines. While this included several $100+ (and a few priced at more than $200), most were attractively priced, often at well below the prices of comparable quality American wines. Among a few of our particular favorites were:
- Tasca di Almerita’ Sicilia Carricante Buonora Tascante (2015 from Sicily)
- Velenosi’s Rosso Piceno Sup. Roggio del Filare (2013 from Marche)
- Decugnano dei Barbi’ Orvieto CI. Sup. Il Bianco (2015 from Umbria)
- Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Pinto Bianco Myo (2015 from Friuli)
- Masi’s Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Vaio Amaron Serego Alighieri (2011 from Veneto)
- Tenuta Sarno’s Fiano di Avellino (2015 from Compania)
- Falesco’s Montiano (2013 from Lazio)
- Sandro Fay’s Valtellina Sup. Valgella Ca Morei (2013 from Lombardy)
- Donna Olympia’s Bolgheri Rosso Sup. Millepassi (2013 from Tuscany)
We also had some very big Piedmont Barolos, including:
- Giacomo Borgogno & Figli’s 2011 Barolo Liste; and
- Vite Colte’s Barolo del Comune di Barolo Essence.
… and some wonderful Chianti Classico Riservas, such as:
- Famiglia Cecchi’s 2013 Chianti Classico Villa Cerna Riserva;
- Torre a Cona’s 2013 Chianti Colli Fiorentini Badia a Corte Riserva; and
- Fattoria Nittardi’s 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva.
At the end of the day, however, some of our fondest memories were of two other Tre Biccheri wines from one of our favorite Tuscan sub-regions, Montepulciano. These were:
- 2012 Nobilie di Montepulciano Riserva from Tenuta di Graccano della Seta; and
- 2013 Nobilie di Montepulciano from Maria Caterina Dei.
This, however, was one only one of our recent tastings. After recently returning from Australia and New Zealand (where we worked our way through more than a dozen wine regions, we returned to a San Francisco tasting schedule that included wines from Australia (where we met some friends from some of our on-site tastings), Bordeaux, Catalan (Spain) and varietal-specific tasting of California Zinfandels.
Yes, it’s a lot of work; but we aren’t complaining.