Gambero Rosso’s tasting of Italian wines awarded the prestigious ‘Tre Bicchieri’ (three glasses) wine score in their annual Italian wine guide was held this past Thursday (Feb. 6, 2014) at the Metropolitan Pavillion. This was my second trip to the MP in one week to taste Italian wines. Since the Tre Bicchieri tasting is a rare opportunity to taste what some consider to be the best of current Italian wine releases (many of which are difficult to find due to their score, price, and or small production) to say it is heavily attended would be a gross understatement.
I dislike crowds. I don’t like parades (although I have somehow found myself in Sydney for Mardi Gras on more than one occasion) I don’t like shopping in Century 21 (although its the most convenient place for me to buy underwear), so I guess the bottom line is I’ve learned to deal with crowds – I live in New York after all. Crowds at wine tastings pose their own set of challenges. First of all. its difficult to form a strategy when you can’t see or move around easily. There are always certain wines that draw a crowd, so its not unusual to have to queue up to taste. I like to taste everything, which is difficult at all but the smallest of tastings. Because there are only so many hours in a day (and in a wine tasting) I chose to edit my tasting regionally, and to focus on Umbria.
Not enough is said of Tuscany’s neighbor, even though it offers up a provocative alternative to Tuscany’s sometimes over-exposed bounty. I have had the opportunity to get to know the area while working with my friend and client Joann Piccozzi, author of ‘Umbrian Twilight‘. I had a blast in Orvieto last time I was in Umbria and am a fan of Umbrian whites from the area. When it comes to reds, I love Sagrantino di Montefalco (sagrantino is a tannic beast of a grape which can produce full bodied red wines of depth and complexity when handled deftly) as well as the sangiovese blended second ‘rosso’ wines of Montefalco. The passito sagrantinos (the most traditional wines of the area) are delicious dessert style wines.
Unfortunately (and fortunately) Umbrian wines are still largely off the radar. As such, I was able to taste all of the Umbrian wines available with plenty of time left for Barolos and Brunellos.
Decugnano dei Barbi Orvieto Classico Superiore D.O.C.
Producer: Decugnano dei Barbi
Sugg. Retail: $26
Perticaia Sagrantino Montefalco D.O.C.G.
Varietal: 100% Sagrantino
Sugg. Retail: N/A