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03.19.2009

The Best Italian Wines: Tasting Tre Bicchieri 2009

gambero_rosso_09.jpgI pride myself on my broad tastes in wine. I like wine from everywhere, and don't believe I have a specific bias towards one region or another. However, each year, that claim is shaken a little bit as I emerge from what is one of the best wine tasting events held in San Francisco, The Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting.

For those unfamiliar with the Gambero Rosso, it is essentially an organization focused on the promotion and evaluation of Italian food and wine that each year publishes a guide by the same name. The Gambero Rosso is the Italian Wine bible, and in my experience, it is the most thorough and high-quality guide to any wine region that exists in the world. The guide covers a dizzying 14,000+ wines each year from the incredibly diverse regions of Italy.

Each year the Gambero Rosso guide awards one, two, or three "Bicchieri" (or "glasses") to wines of exceptional character and quality. From tens of thousands, there are usually a couple of hundred Tre Bicchieri wines, and every Spring, along with Slow Food USA, the Gambero Rosso brings many of them to San Francisco for the media and the trade to taste.

While I don't love all the wines at this tasting, I am constantly amazed by the quality and individuality of these wines. I leave the tasting every year pining for many of these wines, and wishing I had the means to add them to my collection.

This year was a particularly interesting year for the Tre Bicchieri awards, if only for the remarkable slap in the face delivered to Brunello. Normally there are a dozen or more Brunello wines that receive Tre Bicchieri awards. This year: only one, thanks, no doubt, to the scandal over doctored Brunello earlier in the year.

Without further ado, let me get on with my ratings. I've tried my darnedest to classify the wines below correctly, but in some cases where my notes were fuzzy, I might have classified a white as a red or vice versa (gasp!), and spelling errors may also exist. If anyone spots such an error, please let me know.


White Wines

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 10
2007 Cantina Tramin A. A. Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer, Alto Adige. $36. Where to buy?

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10
2006 Jermann W.... Dreams..., Friuli Venezia Giulia. $65. Where to buy?

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
1996 Avignonesi Vin Santo, Toscana. $??
2006 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Cl. Villa Bucci Ris., Marche. $??
2006 Castello della Sala Cervaro della Sala, Umbria. $45
2006 Elena Walch A. A. Bianco Beyond the Clouds, Alto Adige. $??
2007 Elena Walch A. A. Gewürztraminer Kastelaz, Alto Adige. $??
2007 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo Cutizzi, Campania. $??
2007 Marisa Cuomo Costa d'Amalfi Fiorduva, Campania. $35
2007 Provenza Lugana Sup. Sel. Fabio Contato, Lombardia. $??
2007 Zuani Collio Bianco Zuani Vigne, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $??

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2004 Benanti Etna Bianco Sup. Pietramarina, Sicilia. $36
2001 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi, Lombardia. $??
2007 Cantina Produttori San Michele Appiano A. A. Sauvignon St. Valentin, Alto Adige. $45
2006 Cavalchina - La Prendina Custoza Sup. Amedeo, Veneto. $25
2008 Provenza Tenuta Maido Lugana, Lombardia. $??
2007 Russiz Superiore Collio Pinot Bianco, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $25
2007 Sella & Mosca Alghero Torbato Terre Bianche Cuvée 161, Sardegna . n/a

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Bisceglia Bosco delle Rose, Basilicata . n/a
2004 Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Dosage Zéro, Lombardia. $??
NV Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige, Lombardia. $??
2007 Ca' Rugate Soave Cl. Monte Fiorentine, Veneto . n/a
2005 Cantina Terlano A. A. Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Ris., Alto Adige. $??
2006 Claudio Mariotto Colli Tortonesi Bianco Pitasso, Piemonte. $29
2007 Giordano Sirch COF Friulano, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $21
2007 Isidoro Polencic Collio Pinot Bianco, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $18
2006 Lis Neris Sauvignon Picol, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $??
2007 Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo Novaserra, Campania. $32
2006 Sergio Mottura Grechetto Latour a Civitella, Lazio. $??
2005 Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Particella 68, Veneto. $24
2007 Volpe Pasini COF Pinot Bianco Zuc di Volpe, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $??

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2007 Abbazia di Novacella A. A. Valle Isarco Sylvaner Praepositus, Alto Adige. $35
2006 Gioacchino Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Cl. Sup. Podium, Marche. $??
2007 Gumphof - Markus Prackwieser A. A. Sauvignon Praesulis, Alto Adige. $??
2007 Pietracupa Greco di Tufo, Campania. $30
2007 Venica & Venica Collio Sauvignon Ronco delle Mele, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $??

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2007 Cusumano Cubia, Sicilia. $25
1999 Ferrari Trento Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore Brut, Trentino. $85
2007 La Tunella COF BiancoSesto, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $22
2006 Prà Soave Cl. Staforte, Veneto. $24
2007 Sergio Mottura Grechetto Poggio della Costa, Lazio. $??

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2001 Cavit Trento Altemasi Graal Brut Ris., Trentino. $??

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2007 Agostino Vicentini Soave Sup. Il Casale, Veneto. $??


Pink Wines

PINK WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10
NV Provenza Chiaretto Garda, Lombardia. $13. Where to buy?

PINK WINES SCORING AROUND 9.5
NV Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Rose, Lombardia. $??


Red Wines

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2004 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Cl., Veneto. $96. Where to buy?
2005 Benanti Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa, Sicilia. $36. Where to buy?
2004 Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera, Piemonte. $65. Where to buy?
2004 Giancarlo Travaglini Gattinara Tre Vigne, Piemonte. $38.
2001 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Cl. Il Margone Ris., Toscana. $50. Where to buy?
2005 Marchesi Antinori Tignanello, Toscana. $95. Where to buy?
2005 Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma, Abruzzo. $100.
2004 Monfalletto - Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Enrico VI, Piemonte. $79.
2006 Planeta Santa Cecilia, Sicilia. $42.
2006 Rocca di Frassinello Rocca di Frassinello, Toscana. $60.
2005 Tasca d'Almerita Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte, Sicilia. $70.
2004 Tormaresca Castel del Monte Rosso Bocca di Lupo, Puglia. $30. Where to buy?
2005 Velenosi Rosso Piceno Sup. Roggio del Filare, Marche. $40.
2003 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito, Piemonte. $110. Where to buy?
2004 Vigna Rionda - Massolino Barolo Parafada, Piemonte. $95. Where to buy?

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2005 Ampeleia Ampelaia, Toscana. $50
2006 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Cl., Toscana. $24
2005 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Cl.Riserva, Toscana. $34
2004 Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Pora, Piemonte. $53
2004 Còlpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino Gold, Umbria. $129
2005 Cottanera Etna Rosso, Sicilia. $28
2005 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Milleunanotte, Sicilia. $80
2004 Ettore Germano Barolo Ceretto, Piemonte. $??
2005 Fattoria di Felsina Fontalloro, Toscana. $45
2005 Fattoria le Corti Chianti Cl. Don Tomasso, Toscana. $35
2005 Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, Abruzzo. $30
2006 Palari Faro Palari, Sicilia. $??
2005 Perticaia Montefalco Sagrantino, Umbria. $??
2004 Sella Lessona S. Sebastiano allo Zoppo, Piemonte. $??
2005 Sorelle Bronca Colli di Conegliano Rosso Ser Bele, Veneto. $??
2005 Tenuta di Valgiano Colline Lucchesi Tenuta di Valgiano, Toscana. $70
2004 Tenuta Fontodi Chianti Cl. Vigna del Sorbo Riserva, Toscana. $65
2005 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Lupicaia, Toscana. $??
2005 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia, Toscana. $??
2006 Tenute Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Cabreo Il Borgo, Toscana. $50
2006 Tormaresca Masseria Maime, Puglia. $29
2004 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito, Piemonte. $110

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2005 Agricola Punica Barrua, Sardegna. $??
2006 Ampeleia Kepos, Toscana. $40
2005 Casanova di Neri Pietradonice, Toscana. $110
2001 Cav. G.B. Bertani Veneto Amarone della Valpolicella Cl., Veneto. $80
2004 Damilano Barolo Cannubi, Piemonte. $78
2004 Ettore Germano Barolo Prapò, Piemonte. $??
2004 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffredi, Toscana. $102
2005 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffredi, Toscana. $102
2006 Feudo Maccari Saia, Sicilia. $??
2004 Fontanafredda Barolo V. La Rosa, Piemonte. $120
2005 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Cl. Il Margone Ris., Toscana. $50
2004 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi, Piemonte. $68
2005 Nino Negri Valtellina Sfursat, Lombardia. $50
2006 Poggio Bonelli Poggiassai, Toscana. $??
2005 Querciabella Camartina, Toscana. $100
2006 San Felice Pugnitello, Toscana. $??
2005 San Patrignano Sangiovese di Romagna Sup. Avi Ris., Emilia Romagna. $42
2004 Tenimenti Ruffino Chianti Cl. Ris. Ducale Oro, Toscana. $42
2005 Tenuta Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve, Toscana. $??
2004 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli, Veneto. $110

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2003 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino, Toscana. $??
2005 Cantina Convento Muri-Gries A. A. Lagrein Abtei Ris., Alto Adige. $39
2006 Cusumano Sàgana, Sicilia. $??
2005 Fattoria Colle Allodole Montefalco Sagrantino Colle delle Allodole, Umbria. $100
2005 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Cl. Rancia Ris., Toscana. $36
2005 Fattoria le Corti Chianti Cl. Cortevecchia Ris., Toscana. $35
2004 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d'Alba, Piemonte. $60
2005 Frecciarossa OP Pinot Nero Giorgio Odero, Lombardia. $??
2007 Gian Piero Broglia Gavi del Comune di Gavi Bruno Broglia, Piemonte. $42
2004 Lungarotti Torgiano Rosso Vigna Monticchio Ris., Umbria. $??
2005 Santi Amarone della Valpolicella Proemio, Veneto. $90
2003 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Cl. Sergio Zenato, Veneto. $??

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2005 Agricoltori del Chianti Geografico Chianti Cl. Montegiachi Ris., Toscana. $30
2005 Castello di Ama Chianti Cl. Castello di Ama, Toscana. $??
2006 Elena Fucci Aglianico del Vulture Titolo, Basilicata. $55
2006 Giordano Emo Capodilista Colli Euganei Cabernet Sauvignon Ireneo, Veneto. $??
2007 Isidoro Polencic Collio Pinot Nero, Friuli Venezia Giulia. $18
2004 Iuli Barbera del M.to Sup. Barabba, Piemonte. $??
2006 Mamete Prevostini Valtellina Sforzato Albareda, Lombardia. $??
2004 Torraccia del Piantavigna Ghemme, Piemonte. $90
2006 Villa Medoro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Abruzzo. $??

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2005 Argentiera Bolgheri Sup. Argentiera, Toscana. $??
2005 Barone Ricasoli Casalferro, Toscana. $??
2006 Castello Monaci Artas, Puglia. $32

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2005 Barone Ricasoli Chianti Cl. Rocca Guicciarda Riserva, Toscana. $??

Comments (11)

Hande wrote:
03.20.09 at 2:53 AM

Hey, great to see which of these wines are sold in the US, thank you for that information, as my clients always ask me about that. If you are interested, I can give you the prices of some of these wines (the ones you don't have an American source for) in Italy, I do have some in my portfolio. And yes, the Nussbaumer is one of my favorites, too. It costs a mere €21,00 here (enoteca price)

Rebecca wrote:
03.20.09 at 12:48 PM

2005 Tasca d'Almerita Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte, Sicilia. $70.

Love love loved this wine! By far my favorite wine I tasted there.

Julie wrote:
03.23.09 at 6:18 AM

I am living in Italy currently and have even taken a cooking course at the "Gambero Rosso" school in Napoli. I enjoyed reading your reviews - many of these wines I have stumbled on for the first time while over here.

Jack wrote:
03.23.09 at 1:17 PM

Alder,
Did you really give the Provenca Chiaretto a 9.5 to 10?? I can get the '07 is it the same? I bought a case so I hope I am right.

Anthony wrote:
03.23.09 at 3:22 PM

2005 Cantina Terlano A. A. Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Ris., Alto Adige.

This should be less than 20 euro a bottle - Terlano is a big coop (the grapes come from many small estates) in the Alto Adige and makes many good wines, with several great whites in the line up year after year. I have not had any of their reds to date.

Alder wrote:
03.23.09 at 3:50 PM

Jack,

Yes I did. It is one of the best rose wines I have ever tasted. I'm fairly sure that the one I tasted was a non vintage or multi-vintage wine -- but I see that there are "vintage dated" versions for sale. As a result I don't have much guidance to give you. I'm flattered that you would buy a case based on my recommendation alone, but I always recommend that people try a bottle first before diving in for a case.

I hope you enjoy it.

Will Conley wrote:
03.24.09 at 2:52 AM

Gambero Rosso is awesome for the annual guide. Monthly though you should try Il Mio Vino. Same deal - Italian wines, all the time - but with a focus on affordable wines from smaller wineries.

BaroloDude wrote:
03.24.09 at 10:34 PM

A major caveat for the non-press attendees... this was my first Tre B tasting, and i was disappointed that when i got there exactly at 430pm (starting time for the public), several of the headliner/ prominent labels were poured out and representatives were gone. Biondi Santi B d M, Tignanello, and others that I was really looking forward to. Also, by 5:30pm it seemed like many if not most of the bottles were empty. I felt sorry for those folks who were still coming in. So I recommend this event if you can get the press pass and get in there before the general public... and if you can't, you MUST get there right when they open, if not beg your way in earlier. The winemakers that are represented at this event should have to bring enough wine for the general public part of the event as well. I felt a bit ripped off frankly.

Also, I felt that Piedmonte was under-represented.

Both were very disappointing - especially for the entry price of $50. Unless I can get in early next year, i will not be going. And Italian wine is my absolute favorite...

Alder wrote:
03.24.09 at 10:47 PM

Dave,

You're absolutely correct, and that is THE primary reason that I do not promote this event to my readers ahead of time. It is one of the best trade tastings all year, but one of the worst organized, worst promoted and marketed, and least consumer friendly events out there. Which is a real shame.

Alder

Anthony wrote:
03.25.09 at 12:30 AM

As far as the organization of the event goes that is too bad and I am sorry to hear that. I have not been to a Tre Bicchieri event here in Italy, but of all the other tastings I have been too, they are usually run very well (especially by Italian standards). Tre Bicchieri is not without controversy here - many think it is too powerful and overly tilted to friends and insiders, etc. They are definitely a press driven organization. You should try next time to see if you can get a press credential from their website - I have had luck with this technique for events here :)

ErinAmarone wrote:
03.29.09 at 12:57 PM

Adoro Amarone! I lived in Rome..sadly am now living in LA. I adore this article..posted to FACEBOOK!
Grazie :)

viva italia!

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