The Best of Italian Wine: Gambero Rosso Winners for 2008

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_2008.gifmost 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 manage to cling to respectability in an age of meaningless popularity contests.

One more that I might be tempted to add to the list, and in my opinion 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 305 of those 14,000 wines this year (up from 282 last year). Unfortunately the news has only been released to Italy, so 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.

I’m very happy to see some of my favorites on the list again (Gravner, Giacosa, Feudi di San Gregorio, and Quintarelli, among others) Check out the list.

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