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09.27.2006

The Best Italian Wines: Announcing The 2007 Tre Bicchieri

There are very few awards for that mean anything in this modern age we live in. There are so many different judging bodies and associations that most of them are marginalized before they even begin. I've lost my faith in gambero_rosso_07.jpgmost of them, and some, like the Oscars®, I gave up on decades ago. The Nobel prize, the Pulitzer, the Pritker prize for architecture -- there are only a few that I think cling to respectability in an age of meaningless popularity contests.

One more that I might be tempted to add to the list, and the only one in the wine world worth mentioning is the Tre Bicchieri awards which are given away each year by the Gambero Rosso. While I attend the tasting of most of these wines each year and don't agree with all their picks, I'm pretty impressed with the level of quality and the selectivity of these awards. Each year they manage to sift through literally tens of thousands of wines and highlight some pretty tremendous ones. I'm sure these awards have their politics, but I'd use them as a guide for buying much more readily than any other set of wine awards that I'm aware of in the world.

Even among the most famous of wine authorities, there are few that equal the depth, the comprehensiveness, and the sheer exhaustive coverage of the Gambero Rosso. Often referred to as THE Italian Wine guide, the Gambero Rosso debuted in 1986 as an eight page newspaper insert. Within a few years of that first insert, it grew into the most respected and most complete guide to Italian wines in the world, and its trademark "uno, due, and tre bicchieri" (one, two, and three glasses) rating system for wines became Italy's (and the world's) gold standard for evaluating everything from Barolo to Zibibbo. The guide is now printed in English and German as well as Italian, and weighs in at roughly 900 pages and reviews about 14,000 wines produced in Italy each year.

The Tre Bicchieri designation was conferred on only 282 of those 14,000 wines this year (up from 246 last year). Unfortunately the news is so hot that the press release hasn't been translated into English yet, but you'll get the gist of it, and you can see the list of wines, of course. Incidentally, this year is the 20th publication of their guide.

I'm very happy to see a couple of Gravner wines on the list, as well as Poggio di Sotto, Dino Illuminati, Feudi di San Gregorio, Firriato, and Giuseppe Quintarelli, all of whom are among my favorite Italian producers. I've gotta say, I can't wait to taste them! Check out the list.

Thanks to Jack over at Fork & Bottle for tipping me off to the news.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud