It was definitely a privilege to be invited by Marco Sabellico, renowned Senior Editor of Gambero Rosso tasting at their office with Marco himself, Lorenzo Ruggeri, International food and wine editor of Gambero Rosso and the team for their Tre Bicchieri in Rome 2 month ago back in August.
Just in case some may not be too familiar with the name, Gambero Rosso is pretty much the authority on Italian food and wine. Established in 1986 it is acknowledged throughout Italy (and by those in the know internationally) as the guide into ‘saper vivere’, the Italian way of life.
Rome Headquarter – City of Taste
First time being at their City of Taste which is only 15 mins cab rid, going west from Trastevere where I was staying, was eye opening. it is a place offering different courses for whoever whom is new to food and wine, a keen amateur, or looking to become a professional chef, sommelier or industry expert, to get inspired. And for me this, I just went straight to the tasting office, passing by thousands of bottles tasted which I had missed a week ago on Barolo Riserva, and started tasting with the team on Veneto’s wine. First come first, at 9am, sparkling, not a bad category to start.
How Tre Bicchieri Were Granted
Wines honored with a Tre Bicchieri (“three glasses”) award are generally recognized in Italy and internationally as Italy’s best wines. It is the time of the year where the final round of tasting is held when I was there. During my day at office tasting together, blinded, I gained enormous respect at their tasting team. We did it blind, quick and as unbiased as possible. If wine are great yet seems like a borderline of being a Tre Bicchieri, it will be retested together and get a consenses. The process was intensive and extensive.
In fact, before the final round, much has been done to narrowed down which wines come to the table for final round tasting. Every year wineries submit wines to Gambero Rosso and all wine will undergo a comparative tasting by panels of experts at local, regional and national level tastings. At each level the wines are tasted “blind” so no reviewer know exactly what individual wine is being tasted at any time. Only after the panel releases the wine scores are the labels disclosed.
The final round of tastings is held in July and August here at Gambero Rosso’s headquarters in Rome. Only wines with the highest scores from the regional round of tastings are entered for consideration in the final round of tastings. Panels of prominent judges evaluate all the wines that have made it to this point. These tastings are also done blind and an average score for each wine entered is determined.
Wines that achieve an average panel score of more than 90 points are awarded Tre Bicchieri status. All the other wines that participated in the final round of tastings but didn’t make the final cut are awarded Due Bicchieri (“two glasses”) status, a designation that they are good to very good but not quite good enough.
There are different ways of evaluating wines, by different critics and magazines around the world, such as the 20 points system, the 100 points system; not all were blinded sometimes, depending on the practice and situations. With my day at their office, I have to say Gambero Rosso surely did a fabulous job at being impartial for evaluating these Italian wines.
Tre Bicchieri Asian Tour
Gambero Rosso will be in Asia in November for the Tre Bicchieri Tour. All Tre Bicchieri wines are presented at an open-to-the-public tasting sponsored by Gambero Rosso on Wednesday, Nov 7, at the Sky Lobby of the Central Plaza in Wan Chai for their HK stop. (For the rest of their Asia / world tour, you can check the link below)
The opening ceremony takes place at 2pm. A gala tasting will follow till 7:30pm featuring only the best of wines as chosen by Gambero Rosso: Tre Bicchieri winners. No other Italian wine event has such a restrictive selection filter, a guarantee of absolute quality. Do go if you have time and let’s have a fabulous Italian week.
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