Yesterday was the Gambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road Show in New York City. It was held at 583 Park Avenue, which proved to be an excellent venue for this type of event. The idea to have the best and highest rated Italian wines from the previous year under one roof, is a terrific one. Over two floors and dozens of tables one well made, well rated and often legendary wine after another was available for tasting. The gamut of Italian wines from traditional Chianti, Barberesco, Barolo etc were poured alongside the relatively newer Super-Tuscans and single varietal bottlings of things such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and the like.
One of the most interesting tastings of the day for me was a 3 year vertical of Verdicchio. The years on hand were 2002-2004. All three vintages were unique and interesting. However the 2002 was for my palate the one to drink now. It has achieved a minerality and subtlety that the younger vintages have yet to achieve. This was proof for anyone who tasted through them that some Italian whites can age very well. In fact for me the 2002 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Plenio (imported by Bedford International) was one of the top two or three White Wines of the event. Considering the great wines being poured that says a lot.
There were approximately 170 of the best Italian Wines being poured yesterday. To get to all of them would have been impossible. That being the case I made my way around in a leisurely fashion throughout both floors and made a point to taste some wines such as Tignanello that I was already familiar with. But I made even more of an effort to seek out wines that I was previously either unfamiliar with or only knew by reputation. I should be covering some of these hear in the not too distant future.
The bottom line is that Italy is producing some of the best wines in the world. Overall quality across price levels was impressive. If you have a way to beg, borrow or steal your way into a future Gambero Rosso tasting, it's highly recommended.