Category Archives: Gambero Rosso

Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri Tasting

Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri Tasting 2022 NYC

Gambero Rosso’s guide, “Vini d’Italia,”  is issued every year in the autumn.  More than 20,000 wines from all the regions of Italy are tasted every year by a competent jury and only the very best, about 400 are selected with the distinction of being awarded “Tre Bicchieri” the highest honor bestowed by Gambero Rosso.IMG_6863 3

The event was very well attended by producers from Italy, wine writers, importers, retailers and restaurateurs.  It felt like a coming out party for Italian wine after two years of Covid. Wines from 104 producers were featured.

Some of the wines I tasted:

IMG_6840Ilaria Pettito with the DonnaChiara Greco di Tufo made from 100% Greco di Tufo (Campania) The wine has hints of citrus fruit, pear, apricot and pineapple. I have known Ilaria for some time and have visited the winery. I always enjoy her wines and I am a very big fan of the white wines of Campania.

IMG_6853Elise Rialland Forgione With “Anthem” Bianco Lazio IGT made from 100% Bellone Casale del Giglio (Lazio). The wine has hints of tropical fruit, like mango and papaya, a touch of flowers and a note of spice. Because of the good acidity this is a wine that will age.  I visited the winery and enjoyed a traditional Roman meal matched perfectly with the wines.

IMG_6855 2Federico Lombardo di Monte Lato with the Etna DOC Bianco “Cavanera” made from Carricante and Catarratto, Firriato (Sicily). The wine has hints of apples and peaches with a touch herbs and a note of seaweed. I visited the winery a number of years ago. More recently, I hosted a lunch and tasting for the press at Norma  restaurant in NYC.

IMG_6861Giulia Cecchi with the Maremma Toscana “Aurelio” Family Cecchi (Tuscany) made from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. This is a full bodied balanced wine with hints of ripe red fruit, black pepper, spice and chocolate. I have been enjoying Cecchi wines for many years.

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Fabrizio Santarelli  with the Lazio Bianco  “Donna Adriana” made from 80% Viognier, 20% Malvasia del Lazio  Castel De Paolis (Lazio). The wine has hints of exotic fruit, apricot and peach with a mineral finish. I visited the winery and it is so close to Rome that you can see the dome of Saint Peter’s from the terrace.

IMG_4180 Tony DTony Di Dio(Tony di Dio Selections) with the wines of Cusumano Alta Mora” Etna Bianco  DOC (Sicily) made from 100% Carricante. The wine has hints of lemongrass, melon, and pear with undertones of citrus fruit, a touch of herbs and mineral notes.  Cusumano Tenuta Ficuzza Terre Siciliano IGT “Salealto” (Sicily) made from Inzolia, Grillo and Zibibbo. The wine has notes of Mediterranean herbs, dried fruit, apricots and a whiff of the sea.

IMG_4184PGAlso with Tony Di Dio, Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl”(Veneto) made from 100% Pinot Grigio. This is a white wine that will age. It has more depth than most Pinot Grigios, with ripe fresh fruit, a touch of pear, a hint of spice, good mineral character and fresh acidity. 

IMG_6830L’ Albereta Riserva Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018  Il Colombaio di Santachiara 2018 made from 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The wine has hints of ripe yellow stone fruit, apricot, citrus, white flowers, toasted almond and a note of vanilla. This is a white wine that will age.

IMG_6846 3Vietti Barolo Castiglione 2017 made from 100% Nebbiolo.  The wine has hints of assorted berries, plum, blackberry, black cherry, rose petal, a note of tobacco and a touch of leather. I first visited the Vietti winery in 1982 and have been enjoying their wine ever since.

IMG_6838 2Livio Felluga Terre Alte 2018 (Friuli Venezia Giulia) made from Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has a touch of sage, hints of pear, apricot, peach and almonds. This is the Gambero Rosso’s White Wine of the year.

IMG_6860Elvio Cogno Barolo DOCG Ravera “Bricco Pernice” (Piedmont) made from 100% Lampia, a sub-variety of Nebbiolo. This is a complex  wine with notes of violets, ripe red fruit, a hint of damp soil and subtle spiciness. I have visited the winery on a number of occasions.

IMG_6834 2Michele Chiarlo (Piedmont) Nizza Cipressi 2019 made from 100% Barbera The wine has hints of red fruit mature cherries, raspberries and a note of sweet tobacco.

There was also a very interesting and informative seminar, “Italy In A Nutshell,” which I attended. With 16 wines from Prosecco to Amarone, the two speakers took us on a tour from the North to the South of Italy.

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Tasting Six “Tre Bicchieri” Wines

Walking around the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Tasting, an annual event, I was pleased to see a number of wines that I like that were chosen for their highest award.

Malvasia Istriana Collio 2012 DOC 100% Malvasia Istriana Ronco dei Tassi (Friuli) IMG_4828

A little background on this first winery.  When I was the wine director for I Trulli Restaurant in NYC, I went every year to Vinitaly, the wine fair in Verona, with Nicola the owner of the restaurant.  We became friendly with a producer from Friuli and always visited him.  He shared his booth with another producer from Friuli, Ronco dei Tassi.  The Coser Family, who owned Ronco dei Tassi, were very nice and  we would also taste their wines.  However, it was embarrassing because we did not like the wine. This went on for a few years. Then one year we tried the wines and were amazed at how good they had become! We tasted through their entire line and liked them so much that Nicola decided to import them. Today they are among the best wines made in Friuli.

There are 1.2 acres of 60-year old vines 650 feet above sea level in the heart of the Collio zone near Cormons. After a vigorous selection and soft pressing, the wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts. The wine is bottled in the spring 6 months after the harvest. There are only 3,000 bottles produced.

Greco di Tufo “Cutizzi” 2012 DOCG Feudi Di San Gregorio (Irpinia,Campania)

Maurizio De Rosa

Maurizio De Rosa

As I was walking around I saw Maurizio de Rosa, North American representative for Feudi Di San Gregorio pouring wines. I had not spoken to Maurizio in some time and stopped to catch up and to taste the wines. I always enjoy speaking to Maurizio because he is very knowledgeable on the subject of Italian wines, the wines of Campania and Taurasi in particular.


The Cutizzi vineyard is in Santa Paolina. The vines are 15 years old and they are at 1,600 ft. There is a southwest exposure and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. The soil is deep, finely textured, moderately alkaline and very calcareous. Harvest is in mid October. The grapes are destemmed and undergo a gentle pressing, followed by a cold settling for 48 hours. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on the lees for 4 months in stainless steel tanks with daily batonnage (stirring of the lees).  After 2 months in bottle the wine is released. The wine has hints of peaches, pears, white flowers and a touch of spearmint. There is crisp acidity, minerality and a hint of almonds in the finish. The winery was started in 1986 and I visited there a few years ago. It is very impressive and has a very good restauran

Chianti Classico Estate Riserva 2009 DOCG Badia a Coltibuono (Tuscany) made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo.IMG_4818

I first went to the winery in 1983 and remember drinking the 1978 Chianti Classico  Riserva at the restaurant on the property. I have been drinking it ever since.

Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti was pouring her wines and I see her often at tasting in NYC.

Emanuela Strucchio Prinrtti

Emanuela Strucchi Prinetti

The grapes are organically grown and vinified using natural yeast. The winery has minimal environmental impact, they use gravity flow, manual grape sorting, and the destemmed fruit goes to the fermentation tanks and vats for separate vinification.  There is a piston cap punch-down system and maturation is mostly in large casks and not in small barrels.


This is the 1982 vintage- my last bottle

Barolo Villero Riserva 2006  DOCG100% Nebbiolo, the Michet clone. Vietti (Piedmont)

I first met Alfredo and Luciana Currado owners of the Vietti winery in 1981 when I went to visit them. We became good friends and I saw them often in Italy and in NY. The winery is now in the capable hands of their son Luca.

The vineyard is in Castiglione Falletto and has a south/southwest exposure. The average age of the vines is 37 years. After alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 19 days, the wine is macerated on the skins for a total of 33 days.  The wine is then immediately transferred into small barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. It is then aged for a period of time in 30HL casks. The wine is bottled without filtration.


Lost the picture of the 2008

Barolo “Bricco Pernice” DOCG 2008. Cogno (Piedmont)

I have been a big fan of the Cogno-Marcarini wines ever since Sheldon Wasserman introduced me to them. Elvio Cogno now has his own winery and the winemaker is his very talented son-in-law Walter Fassore. Walter makes traditional classic Barolo.  I have visited the winery a number of times and have met with Walter here in NYC.

Made from a sub-variety of Nebbiolo called Lampia. The vineyard is 300 meters above sea level with 5000 vines per hectare and faces southward. The grapes are from the finest vineyards in Novello, in the most historic part of the Ravera cru. Harvest is in October. Fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks with pumping over and 30 days maceration with submerged cap. It is aged for 24 months in large Slovenian oak barrels 25/30 HL. It remains on the lees for 90 days and spends12 months in bottle before it is released. This is a classic, traditional Barolo; well structured and elegant and is going to need a lot of time to develop.

Coevo Toscana IGT 2010 Cecchi (Tuscany)

Andrea Cecchi

Andrea Cecchi

Someone I have known for a number of years and enjoy seeing and talking to is the very personable Andrea Cecchi. We always have discussions on the changing wine scene in Tuscany and what is going on in the American market. He was very pleased when I told him that Coevo was a Super Tuscan I could drink and enjoy.IMG_4839

The area of production is Castellina in Chianti, for the Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon and the Maremma Toscana for the Merlot and the Petit Verdot.

Made from 60% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot. At Castellina in Chianti the vineyards were at 200mt and in the Maremma at 250mt.  The soil and climate are very different in these two regions and certain grapes did better in different zones.

There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the vine training is spurred cordon. The grapes are picked by hand, the Merlot is harvested from August 23, Petit Verdot from September 12,Sangiovese from September 25, and Cabernet Sauvignon from October 5

Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The alcoholic fermentation takes place with the skins.  Maceration is for 3 weeks for the Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 weeks for the Merlot and Sangiovese. The wine is aged in barriques and tonneaux for 18 months and in bottle for 12 months before release.

There is no sign of vanilla or over concentration, the calling cards of Super Tuscans. It is a balanced, elegant wine with red fruit, violet and earthy aromas and flavors and a hint of pepper. It has a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. The wine needs a few more years to develop.



Filed under Badia a Coltibuono, Barolo, Cecchi, Cogno- Marcarini, Gambero Rosso, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Malvasia, Ronco dei Tassi, Vietti