Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Tasting: Vancouver

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Gambero Rosso, one of Italy’s leading wine publications, has put on tastings of its “three glass” award winning wines for years. However, this is the first year they’ve come to Canada, starting in Vancouver and moving to Toronto. This is an important step for our wine industry, which needs more tastings with unrepresented wineries pouring wines. This will help to expose many in the industry to a broader array of the world’s wines.

That said, the Gambero Rosso tasting suggests a preference in that publication for internationally styled, modern, wines. No ‘natural’ wines were represented (which is a significant and burgeoning movement in Italy with both great and terrible examples), and only a couple traditionalists. As such, the tasting did not present a true cross section of the best of Italy. There were a few great wines, and a few very good ones, which I detail below.

The Great Wines

Provenza Lugana Fabio Contato 2010 Made from Trebbiano, this was a fascinating, waxy and honeyed example that was utterly delicious and one of the most interesting expressions of the grape I’ve had. This will be brought into the province by Vintage Corks at a very fair price of about $40. Highly Recommended.

Pra Monte Grande Soave Classico 2011. Pra has always been one of my favourite Soave producers. Round and complex, but fresh and perfect for B.C. seafood. This is serious wine and has not been in the market for years. Currently unrepresented but I hope that is rectified soon.

Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo 2006: I had an older Cavallotto for the first time at a Barolo dinner with friends and colleagues a few months ago that was one of the top wines of that night. This bottle confirmed my impression. A stunning, traditional Barolo that is amazingly expressive right now, and sure to transform into wonderful things over time. This was my top wine of the entire show.

Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino 2007: Stunning Brunello. Feminine, transparent juice that put the rest of the Brunellos in the room to shame with its purity. Most of the other Brunellos were overly heavy and difficult to drink. This, however, was like a chamber string quartet: seamless, lifted harmony.

The Very Good Wines

Pietradolce Archineri 2010: A mount Etna wine made from 40-80 year old vines, some of which are pre-phylloxera. This is decently made Nerello Mascalese using quality fruit, hampered by its international style and use of commercial yeasts. A quality drop that shows both the elegance and deep flavour of the grape, but I feel this could be more exciting if more of a hands off approach were taken.

Feudi di San Gregorio Piano di Monte Vergine Taurasi 2007: This is killer Aglianico, and almost good enough to make it into the Great Wine category above. Powerful, as Aglianico is, but also beautifully structured and expressive.

Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi 2008: Also very good Aglianico, as is to be expected from this producer. Traditionally made.

Elena Fucci Titolo Aglianico: A more feminine, modern version of Aglianico. A good wine, though not at the same level of excitement as the Feudi or Mastroberardino.

Ettore Germano Barolo Cerretta 2008: An elegant barolo with powerful tannin. This is a beautifully balanced wine that will drink well from 2018.

Speri Amarone 2008: This was the most elegant and pretty of all the Amarone’s, and avoided the overly pruney, alcoholic flavours that can be common amongst these wines.

Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 2007: Ripe and round, I think this forward wine will drink on the younger side.

Colpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino 2007: A funkier style of Sagrantino, I enjoyed this for its ability to reign in the intensity of the grape, but also provide an authentic sense of place and typicity.

Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 2008: Huge wine, needs years, but this is one of the top Sagrantino producers out there (other than Paolo Bea).

Ettore Germano Herzu Riesling 2010: A very surprising example of Riesling from Piedmont. This is a dry style, with wonderful subtle mineral and petrol notes, but plenty of interesting citrus and orchard fruit over top. A very good example of an international grape doing well in a strange setting.

Posted in: Features, Tastings

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