Well, as I’ve been doing lately, I’ll tell you what I’m drinking and what I’m listening to - one of my favorite good value California Cabernet - Sawbuck, and Antiques Roadshow is on in the background (I’m such a geek).
Due to my work, I’m generally working with French wines. Since that’s the case on a daily basis, I generally drink mostly French wines. But Italian wines always have been special to me in a very different way from my French favorites. There’s something passionate and emotional about Italian wines, which I explained my feelings on it about 2 years ago in my previous Tre Bicchieri entry.
So, what’s Gambero Rosso and what’s Tre Bicchieri? Gambero Rosso is a red shrimp. Tre Bicchieri is three glasses. Let’s just say that Italian wines get awarded a number of “glasses” from 1 to 3, 3 being highest, each year. And the ones that win the award are represented at the tasting event. This was my second time attending (and it was more fun this time, because I had my “plus one” with me - he was actually there last time I went but since we wouldn’t meet each other for another 2 months...anyway this time we attended together and it’s a lot more fun that way!) - I tasted somewhat different wines than last time, and it was lots of fun, and what I decided was that, based upon the wines I got to taste, my favorites were generally the whites this time, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved good Italian whites, especially the off-beat ones, but some of these were truly outstanding and remarkable to me, based on quality and uniqueness and expression of identity.
So I’ll list all of my favorites from the tasting, and I’ll tell you a bit about them, and why they were my favorites.
Braide Alte 2011 Livon (Friuli Venezia Giulia) - a gorgeous wine that we tasted early in the event, which was so lovely and brilliant and memorable - actually gorgeous says it best for me.
AA Valle Isarco Sylvaner Praepositus 2012 Abbazia di Novacella (Alto Adige) - I love Sylvaner, and this one was as good as any I’ve tasted recently, and what I noticed about this one were its near perfect balance and expressiveness of terroir.
Soave Classico La Rocca 2011 Pieropan (Veneto) - this was, by far, the best Soave I’ve ever tasted - it’s so satisfying and delicious and everything I could hope a good Soave to be - in other words, for me it was a textbook example of the grape and region.
Muller Thurgau Vigna delle Forche La Vis/Valle di Cembra 2012 (Trentino) - another German type wine that I love when it comes from Northern Italy - beautiful, floral, lots of fruit, and mineral - lovely.
Cartizze V La Rivetta Villa Sandi Prosecco (Veneto) - we were actually on a quest to find some fabulous Prosecco and we did in fact find a bunch, but this one was my favorite of the tasting - textures, delicious, flavorful, aromatic, and just all around excellent and far from simple.
Elena Walch AA Gewurztraminer Kastelaz 2012 (Alto Adige) - I’m keeping this in the same sort of paragraph as the next wine, because they’re from the same amazing producer. The Gewurztraminer was for us a show stopper - admittedly, I have a special place in my heart (and my palate) for Gewurztraminer, but this one was, while different from examples from Alsace, absolutely incredible in both quality and uniqueness. I absolutely loved this wine - we both did.
Elena Walch AA Merlot Kastelaz Riserva 2009 (Alto Adige) - and the Merlot was lovely, delicious, and satisfying. We loved a lot of the whites, and it was nice to find a red right in my wheelhouse - balanced and all facets of it in check and yet shining simultaneously, this was an excellent wine in every way.
Lambrusco Reggiano Concerto Ermete Medici & Figli 2012 (Emilia Romagna) - I’ve never been a huge fan of Lambrusco - is it just me or are they generally kind of funky for a sparkling red? Well, agree or not, I get a dirty locker room sort of scent from many of them (fo right ahead and laugh but that’s what comes to mind, and maybe some old socks) - anyway, this one was delicious, fresh, and fun, and on the elegant side, perfect for pairing with simple dishes including pizza and summer fare. I’d be hard pressed to complain about a wine that attracts me when usually I don’t care much for its type. Good wine for sure.
Barberani Orvieto Classico Superiore Muffa Nobile Calcaia 2010 (Umbria) - just beautiful and delicious, I’ve had a few good ones from Umbria in the past couple of years, and this one was no slouch. Complex, wonderful, expressive, unique.
Tasca d’Almerita Contea di Sclafani Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Sicily) - I usually don’t go for the big wines on a regular basis. I do, however, very much enjoy all of the wines I’ve tasted over the years from this producer, and regularly recommend them - but this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to try the Cabernet - big though it is, it’s velvety and incredibly satisfying and of all the bigger style wines we tasted that day, this was one of the favorites for me.
Castellare di Castellina I Sodi di S Niccolo 2009 (Tuscany) - I’ve been working on researching and tasting more Tuscan wines as a new year’s resolution this year - this is one that goes down with the favorites - delicious and while it wasn’t quite what I expected, a surprise of that kind (a very good, balanced, delicious wine) certainly can’t disappoint.
Ruggeri & C Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Giall’Oro (Veneto) - gorgeous sparkling wine, my favorite of all the wines on his table, just beautiful with fine texture, great structure, balance, and a very real identity - fruit, mineral, and just utterly graceful on the nose and palate.
And now 2 producers that I thought their entire lineups were amazing and exciting:
Diego Conterno - Barolo Le Coste 2009, Barbera d’Alba Ferrione 2012, and Nebbiolo d’Alba Baluma 2011 - the wines are expressive, approachable, and delicious, and I believe they’re excellent examples of what they are.
Draga (Friuli Venezia Giulia) - I thought these wines were incredible and very unique, I was amazed - Collio Malvasia Miklus 2010, Collio Pinot Grigio 2012, Collio Sauvignon Draga 2012 (also an 80% Merlot blend) - I was truly blown away by these wines, especially the almost pinkish color of the Pinot Grigio and the aroma of the Sauvignon and the flavor and texture of the Malvasia (the Merlot blend felt like a wonderful bonus to me) - I was in love with these wines and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I was tasting. Just amazing, that’s for sure.
So there you have it - my favorites from this year’s Tre Bicchieri.