Gambero Rosso tasting: Central and Southern Italy
The Gambero Rosso wine juggernaut finally reached Australian shores today, with the ‘Top Italian Wine Roadshow’ stopping off in Sydney town for the first ever.
As a result, I spent the afternoon perusing the wines of a range of Italian wine producers that were quite unknown to me, with a significant portion of the wineries on show having no representation within Australia. It was quite refreshing to approach a producer with little preconceptions about quality or reputation actually, even though the odd tacky label gave some of it away…
By the same token, the lack of information about where producers were from made comparisons bloody hard work. Stands were setup alphabetically, which makes sense in the scheme of things but still didn’t help for lesser known makers.
|Yes, that is a cruise ship back there|
A high point of the afternoon was the masterclasses, which involved some shit-hot wines indeed (and they were free. Which means they were very well attended). I spent an hour or so at the Central/Southern Italian masterclass, covering a wide gamut of styles and flavours.
If the tasting gave up anything, it was the reminder that even maligned grapes like Trebbiano can be magical in the right hands. Cheap too.
Now, I have no idea of prices, nor availability for any of these wines (sadly). The newly released 2014 Gambero Rosso might have such info but I totally forgot to buy one…
I’ve put any background information available in italics. Notes are as written (hurriedly) during the tasting and naming came straight from the tasting booklet.
Valle Reale Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Lupe Reali 2012 (Abruzzo)
A burst of flesh but it is also a slightly blocky wine – it’s a bit foreboding with bitterness. Would be a lovely wine with salty seafood. By itself this doesn’t quite satisfy – a bit firm. Just a bit brutal. 17.5/20, 91/100+
Fun and open nose – pretty and a little honeysuckle. At first this seems a bit broad and cheap tasting, but the finish is dry and classy, flecked with a passionfruit fruit line. Pretty damn good for 7 euros! 17/20, 90/100
Really quite nutty and a little musky. God you could smash this! Intensity is off the charts – chewy and intense. Hardly elegant but powerful with a compact salty finish. Wonderful. Not noble but beautiful. A big, flashing ad for Vermentino. 18.1/20, 93/100
Vigne Surrau Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala 2012 (Sardinia)
Really quite pretty! Lovely juiciness – direct. It’s a young wine but a well made one, light but not awkward with a pretty raspberry fragrance and fruit. This is bloody delicious. Not complex, but delicious light-mid weight red. 17.8/20, 92/100
Such concentration! Black like coal. Mushroomy and wild too. Feels a bit straight-laced on the palate. Too linear? Clever though. I could warm to this. 17.5/20, 91/100+
Slippery and black. So much juicy blackness. Comes through in a big black licorice rush but just pulls up a teensy but lacking through the finish. Glycerol rich and juicy, but a concocted wine in many ways. 17/20, 90/100
Black and alcoholic. Representative but feels quite commercial and simple. Black fruit but also has a skinny finish. A cheapie methinks.
Has a smoky nose – really juicy and open. Very modern. Big tannins and big alcohol. Very international. Has a place but hard to drink. Inky blackness and big flavours. But I couldn’t finish a glass. 16.8/20, 89/100
Slighlty reductive and über commercial. Lacks much love but certainly packs a black fruitiness. Simple beast. 15.5/20, 85/100