Gambero Rossi 3 bicheri (3 glasses) tasting in Melbourne

Gambero Rossi has many tasting panels that assess 40,000 wines from 70-odd regions of Italy. The best of these are re-assessed and may be awarded 1,2  or 3 glasses (aprox 423 wines) . There is a worldwide roadshow at 30 cities of a selection of these wines, and for the first time, this came to Melbourne.

The event was held at the Windsor hotel, and after tasting many of the wines,  I was able to attend a masterclass hosted by the ebullient Marco Sabellico with Max Allen conscripted onto the panel with interjections from Jane Faulkner.

What did I learn?

  1. Well, Prosecco is not really to my taste. There were disconcerting esters, verging on banana common to most of these wines. This is likely to be varietal, but didn’t help my appreciation. I suspect there is no brand loyalty, and Prosecco in the buying public mind is similar to “water”, something generic and inoffensive.
  2. Lambrusco is not at all to my taste. Interestingly, its not vitis Vinifera, but something else. Anyway, the few I tasted had a “foxiness” and lactic angles that I found unappealing. Others may be able to appreciate the spices and tannins behind the mask.
  3. I have held a prejudice against Italian white wines, believing them to be poorly made, or possessing overwhelming neutrality of flavour, and more a curio not representing value-for-money. Verdict- need to reassess!
  4. 2010 is a fantastic vintage for red wines. There has been unusual excitement with 2010 Barolo, and the 2010 Brunellos offers are emerging. People who have extensive tasting experience suggest its the best vintage since 1990.

Highlights

AA Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Riserva 2011 (alto aldige)

Lively, textured, pears and nettles, supreme balance and will keep.  A white wine of enormous interest

Colle Massari Montecucco Sangiovese Lombrone Riserva 2010

Medium- bodied, but superb balance and a true savoury style. Dark chocolates, Bravo!

Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella 2010

Amarone can be a bit weird, with dangers of botrytis intrusions, oxidation, high alcohol and some pruney or burnt/dead fruit. When it works however it activates your senses and is thrilling! This wine was dense, rich and ripe, with some pine-like elements on the bouquet, Beautiful and complex, with a long future

Congratulations to the team – the organisation and the importers. There was plenty of room, plenty of spittoons, and plenty of food – including coffee. The only quibble was the very ordinary tasting glasses supplied.

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