Vini d’Italia! Gambero Rosso brought the Tre Bicchieri Wines to the West Coast

The Tre Bicchieri World Tour came to San Francisco to showcase the 2012 Tre Bicchieri winners, the top-rated Italian wines of the past year.  Organized by Gambero Rosso, which began in 1986, more than 20,000 wines were tasted by the panels, who awarded one, two, or three “Bicchieri” (or “glasses”) to wines of exceptional character and quality.  This year every style of Italian wine and every region was represented among the 375 that received the highest rating of Tre Bicchieri (three glasses).

As I typically organize events of this kind, I rarely have the opportunity to spend the entire afternoon tasting and learning and not running around keeping everything organized.  Walking into a room with more than 130 producers (and 300+ wines) can be rather overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Should you taste by varietal?  by region?  all whites and then reds?  By the time you figure out how you are going to approach the tasting, you have lost valuable tasting time.  Luckily, I had the great pleasure to taste the wines alongside Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, wine educator and author of books such as Great Wine Made Simple. Andrea recommends jumping back and forth between varietals, styles and regions so that your palate doesn’t get fatigued quickly.  With her guidance, we tasted through more than half the tasting in just over two hours.

Here are some of the standouts from my tasting:

Edo Keber Collio Bianco 2010, Friuli Venezia Giulia (a blend of Friulano, Malvasia and Ribbolo Giala)

Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2008, Piemonte (exemplifies the terroir, nothing else is in the way!)

Elena Walch A. A. Gewurztraminer Kastelaz 2010, Alto Adige (white flower nose)

Sergio Mottura Grechetto Poggio della Costa 2010, Lazio (savory, mouth-watering)

Vignalta Colli Euganei Fior d’Arancio Passito Alpianae 2008, Veneto (apricot and orange peel with lovely acidity)

Ermete Midici & Figli Reggiano Concerto 2010, Emilia Romagna (the first Lambrusco to receive Tre Bicchieri)

Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo V. Liste 2006, Piemonte (Intense garnet red, full bodied, earthy)

Podere Orma 2008, Toscana (Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sav. – their 3rd tre bicchieri in 4 vintages)

Cantina Del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2007, Piemonte (soft and elegant)

Gioacchino Garofoli Verdicchio del Castelli di Jesi Classico, Sel. Gioacchino Garofoli Riserva 2006, Marche (good texture, elegant acidity, savory)

Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Et. Nera 2010, Liguria (wow! floral, great acidity)

Ettore Germano Langhe Bianco Herzu 2009, Piemonte (stony, petrol nose)

Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo Cutizzi 2010, Campania (zesty lemon)

Ferrari Trento Extra Brut Perle Nero 2005 (meaty nose)

Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Cambrugiano Riserva 2008, Marche (like unsweetened Juicy Fruit gum)

Cantina Produttori San Michele Appiano A. A. Sauvignon St. Valentin 2010, Alto Adige (pineapple and grapefruit)

Marchesi Antinori Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2009, Puglia (blackberry, leather, tobacco, sweet spices)

Tenuta Mazzolino OP Pinot Nero Noir 2008, Lombardia (like a nice fruit cup with an earthy finish)

Cavalchina Custoza Superiore Amedeo 2009, Veneto (Gargenega, Trebbianello, Fernanda (Cortese), Trebbiano – with notes of saffron)

Marisa Cuomo Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco 2010, Campania (Falanghina – perfume and floral with mellow acids

Volpe Pasini COF Sauvignon Zuc di Volpe 2010, Friuli Venezia Guilia (bright citrus)

Torrevento Castel del Monte Rosso V. Pedale Riserva 2008, Puglia (Nero di Troia – herbacious)