That's power tasting. Obviously I couldn't take notes but having worked in a Italian restaurant that boasted over 650 wines in two and a half years - all my memories of tasting Italian wines came right back to me.
Gioacchino Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Podium 2010
- Garofoli is the oldest winery in Marche and one I have never tried. I adore Verdicchio and it hails so deservingly here in this region. Fresh fruit flavors with an elegant body content, this racy wine is the perfect answer to any season of the year. This wine can evolve and would make a great addition to any list regardless of its menu.
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara del Fondatore 2011
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Vigneto Enrico Cialdini 2011
- Cleto Chiarli is one of my favorite Lambrusco producers. They represent such great value with an overabundance of flavor. There are three strands of Lambrusco and two of them are represented here. The first one was all about its structure while the second one had me dreaming of its aromatics. I'd happily take either one with me on a picnic where I could lay under the tree and feed myself prosciutto - even in my lonesome.
Velenosi Rosso Piceno Superiore Roggio del Filare 2008
- I was Italian in my past life, but Sangiovese is not my preferred poison. However, when you blend it in a bottle with Montepulciano, it's as if I am reunited with an old friend. I'm talking black berries - all of them, introducing themselves one at a time as the wine lingers on my tongue. I love the wines of Rosso Piceno because they have the ability of being rustic and playful at the same time.
Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda Riserva 2006
- It's not everyday I get the chance to drink Barolo. In fact, it's been quite a while since I tasted one worth chatting about but having a taste of this one left me speechless. I tried Massolino for the first time three years ago and was instantly hooked. From the Serralunga d'Alba sub-region and made in a modern fashion, it's still one I fancy. I'm all about the nose and the violets leaped so heavenly into my olfactory receptors that I was quite taken back. Definitely worth aging - gotta get your hands on one for the cellar. Actually, I should too.
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Masseto 2009
- One Wednesday night back in 2007, I was working the floor selling wine like it was nobody's business. I was opening up stuff I'd never tasted - I was in my glory. But nothing prepared me for the wine that would turn out to be my epiphany wine. That wine was the 1994 Masseto. It was still young for its time, but so amazingly delicious. It might have been showing well because most Italian fans don't seem to agree with my viewpoint, but it changed me and I will never pass up a chance to try a new vintage. Made with 100% Merlot grapes, I'm convinced if Miles were here, I think he'd agree it was pretty special. And if he didn't, all the more for me.
Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze Vigna La Rivetta 2011
- A great stand in, this Prosecco is fresh, with great effervescent and the bottle shape is unique. Definitely a great product for its price. After all we're talking bubbles and you could never go wrong there.
Nino Negri Valtellina Sfursat 5 Stelle 2009
- Another new producer on my list of ones I've never tried, the Valtellina Sfursat is damn tasty. Chiavennasca is the local name for Nebbiolo in Lombardia and Sfursat is a wine made with dried grapes that has been left out to dry naturally in its air for 100 days. It's as if you could experience the breeze that surrounds its compound as it develops its flavors. A wine worthy of aging, it's great with braised meals of all sorts. Sounds comforting, doesn't it? Well, take it from me - it really is.
Agricola Punica Barrua 2009
- That's right, I didn't try the Sassicaia. I tend to not go for coveted wines, but rather the underdog - if you want to consider the Barrua the underdog because I really don't. The Punica winery is a joint venture between Tenuta San Guido (Bolgheri, Toscana) and Cantina di Santadi (respectable cooperative in Sardegna). Consisting of 85 % Carignano (Carignan of France, Cariñena of Spain), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, this is a beautiful wine. It has class, it has structure and it's terrior driven. Have always loved the Barrua and it's a great offering to someone who wants boldness without breaking the bank.
Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Etichetta Nera 2011
Cantine Lunae Bosoni Colli di Luni Vermentino Cavagino 2011
- I tried the wines of Lunae at last year's Tre Bicchieri and was blown away, so I knew I didn't want to miss them this year. The Etichetta Nera is fermented in stainless steel, while 40% of Cavagino is fermented in barriques. While both wines are very different, they both possess outstanding aromatics, dignified structure and evolving originality in their own right. I couldn't say I like one more than the other, but I will say this: will a little bit of age these wines will grow up gracefully. That's pretty impressive for whites coming from the lesser known region of Liguria.
Planeta Chardonnay 2010
- The Planeta winery possesses six estates, each representing their own territory. I've never had a white wine from Planeta, let alone a Chardonnay, so when I saw they were featuring one at Tre Bicchieri, I knew I had to try it. I am a sucker for Italian Chardonnays because they flourish so uniquely from other regions of the world. In the south, on the island of Sicily, they are over ripe, delightful and voluptuous. 5o% of this wine sees new oak and it doesn't overbear. The fruits are exotic, the body is textured and the structure is inviting. You can drink this wine now or keep it for a few years. However, I recommend if you could find this wine - give it a rest and wait for the future it holds. I guarantee it will not disappoint.
Cantina Produttori Colterenzio Sauvignon Prail Praedium 2011
Cantina Produttori Colterenzio Chardonnay Altkirch 2011
- This is, hands down, my favorite region of all Italy. Not just for its diversity, but also its intricate history and neighboring influences from Germany and Austria. The Colterenzio is a cooperative that puts forth quality before quantity. The first wine is a single vineyard offering that is like no other. Consisting of exotic and citrus fruits, the aromatics on this wine is a cross of springtime and heaven if it ever existed. The Chardonnay is a cross of tropical fruits and minerality, all stainless steel fermented, its complexity stems from time on its lees. Both are outstanding representation of northern Italy's great white potential.
Cantina Tramin Gewürztraminer Nussbaumer 2011
- Traminer is the name for the original vine of what most people know as Gewürztraminer. The prefix Gewürz meaning "perfumed" lends it credit to the grape's floral and spicy aromatics. This wine is a perfect representation of the grape. Its muscat personality combined with ample acidity has earned "three glasses" in the Gambero Rosso wine guide 21 times to date. That's pretty impressive for a northern white most people don't ever have the chance to indulge in.
Librandi Magno Megonio 2010
- Maybe you've had Gaglioppo, like Librandi's Duca San Felice Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva DOC bottling which I sold quite often in the past. But not many have had the opportunity to try Magliocco. I wouldn't even know how to quite describe the grape except to say it is most definitely at home to the region of Calabria. Fermented in stainless steel, it spends just over a year in new French oak and it's stunning. It's a power wine whose roots can be traced back to Roman times. Picture this: old world Malbec marries old world Merlot with ripe black fruits and melted Swiss chocolate. I'm also thinking a great wine to pair with cheese. Kinda of reminds me of the sexy high school chemistry teacher whose grey hair and mustache made all the girls swoon. Wish I could remember his name...