Gambero Rosso was founded in 1986 as a food and wine magazine for a daily Italian newspaper. Today it has established itself as a global authority on Italian wines. They publish on an annual basis The Vini d’Italia guide reviewing 20,000 wines and more than 2,500 wineries each year. The result is a carefully curated selection of wines celebrated for the skilled craftmanship of their winery and the impeccable wines they produce. The most coveted wines are awarded “Tre Bicchieri”.
Here is a list of 36 wines that were awarded the highly esteemed Gambero Rosso “Tre Bicchieri”. These wines represent the top wines of Italy. Next time you are shopping for great Italian wines, look no further and be sure to take this list. These are truly some of the best of the best wines of Italy. The article is divided into three separate posts. Part three is a journey through central and northern Italy. Here we start in Lombardy with Lugana wines, then continue to Piedmonte. we then take a deep dive into Tuscany and finally end in Valpolicella with some incredible Amarones.
Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Wines
OTTELLA Lugana Molceo Riserva 2018 (Retail $42) – Lombardy, Italy
The winemaking venture launched many years ago by Lodovico Montresor together with his sons Francesco and Michele has grown into one of Lugana’s most beautiful estates. Over the years, Ottella has expanded the area under vine. The winery’s heart, however, remains in Lugana, where it seeks to bring out the wine’s varietal qualities and age-worthiness.
Tasting Notes – Molceo Riserva is a complex and evolved wine that is 100% Turbiana. Aromatic mineral notes along with peach, pear, white pepper and basil make this a memorable wine. There is a velvety creamy supple texture that coats the mouth. The wine starts rich and dense and finishes with nice acidity. It is the minerality that drives this wine. A very special and classic wine of Luguana and a treat for Italian wine lovers.
PERLA DEL GARDA Lugana Superiore Madonna della Scoperta 2017 – Lombardy, Italy
In the year 2000 brother and sister Giovanna and Ettore Prandini revived viticulture on the family estate, a property that goes back generations. Perla Del Garda production started in 2006, in a modern, three-level cellar. 30 hectares are cultivated with Turbiana. Organic certification is already in place, testifying their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Tasting Notes – This is a single vineyard wine made from 100% Turbiana. It has a pale straw yellow color with golden reflections. There are gentle exotic fruits on the nose like mango and papaya. On the palate, it has nice acidity and firm minerality with notes of lemon, lime, pear and green apple. This is a beautiful and classic expression of Lugana that has a bit of age.
TACCHINO Barbera del Monferrato Albarola 2016 (Retail $40) – Piedmonte, Italy
Romina and Alessio lead one of the area’s most vibrant wineries, thanks to a rare spirit of initiative combined with a strong passion for their work. Their wines benefit from the extreme care shown. At the heart of it all is the valuable work done with Dolcetto di Ovada, which despite its peculiarities once risked falling into oblivion. The Tacchino range is characterized by a clean, modern style.
Tasting Notes – Albarola is an old tower on their vineyards built-in 917, which is the last tower of this type used for communication in the area. This is a single vineyard wine with lots of character made with 100% Barbera. The nose is very dark with aromas of currants, cherries and licorice. On the palate, it is an explosion of fruit. Nice round body with very well-balanced fruit, alcohol and tannins. The wine has lots of freshness and elegance. The finish is long and glorious.
BADIA A COLTIBUONO Chianti Classico 2018 (Retail $22) – Tuscany, Italy
Badia a Coltibuono’s wines are some of the most stylistically discernible examples of the Chianti Classico appellation. In spite of fashion and changes in climate, they have managed to maintain a unique and inimitable character, demonstrating that the power of terroir sometimes exceeds all else. Their vineyards, which have been cultivated organically since 2000, are mostly located in Monti in Chianti, a southern offshoot of the Gaiole subzone bordering Castelnuovo Berardenga.
Tasting Notes – This is a classic and beautiful wine made with 90% Sangiovese and 10% traditional grapes. Fresh and aromatic, the wine has notes of cherries, raspberries and spice. It is crispy, fresh and lively. This is a traditional style of Gaiole that is food-friendly. Light tannins coat the mouth with a lingering expression on the palate filled with notes of red fruit, rosemary and basil.
BARONE RICASOLI Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colledilà 2017 (Retail $72) – Tuscany, Italy
Here stands a castle whose origins go back almost a thousand years. The Ricasoli family, documented wine merchants as far back as the late 15th century, have lived in it since time immemorial. Linked to the winery is the story of Bettino, the “iron baron” inventor of the famous “Chianti formula”. These are just a few of the highlights of the history of this authentic Italian ‘château’. They have distinguished themselves for a forward-thinking zoning project that further evidences the dynamism faithfully expressed by wines conceived with a modern ‘Chianti’ approach.
Tasting Notes – Colledilà is a beautiful Chianti Gran Selezione made with 100% Sangiovese from a single vineyard. There are gentle aromas of red berries, balsamic notes and some earthiness. On the palate, it is very structured yet restrained. This wine will have a beautiful evolution in the bottle. There is nice fruit, acidity and savory characteristics that give the wine elegance and finesse.
TENUTA DI ARCENO Chianti Classico Riserva 2017 (Retail $38) – Tuscany, Italy
Near Castelnuovo Berardenga, the “capital” of the southernmost area of Chianti Classico you find Tenuta di Arceno, which produces wines of impeccable quality and craftsmanship. From Chianti’s Sangiovese, with its clean, modern style and a focus on not detracting from personality and character to Bordeaux-based blends that exhibit the same care and elegance.
Tasting Notes – On the nose, there are warm spicy notes with bright red fruit. The structure is wonderful and the wine is well balanced, fresh and lively. Notes of spice and cedar coat the palate. Produced from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon this Chianti Classico Riserva has bright acidity and a distinct minerality that makes you salivate and invites you to keep on drinking. You will enjoy pouring this wine again and again.
TENUTA MONTETI Monteti 2016 (Retail $32) – Tuscany, Italy
The Baratta family’s Tenuta Monteti is located near Capalbio, in the southernmost part of Maremma wine country. The varieties grown are exclusively international and range from Petit Verdot to Cabernet Franc, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot, all the way to Alicante Bouschet. A modern production approach is natural here, with maturation carried out in small oak barrels of various ages, depending on the wine. The style is rich, with Mediterranean nuances amplifying their wines’ personality.
Tasting Notes – Monteti is a blend of 45% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc. There are gentle aromatics of spice and herbs like rosemary, licorice and thyme. The palate has natural sweetness from the fruit along with nice freshness. The texture and structure is very pleasing with a finish that is very focused.
PIAGGIA Carmignano Riserva 2017 (Retail $40) – Tuscany, Italy
The Piaggia estate vineyards are situated in the municipalities of Poggio a Caiano and Carmignano. The original site was purchased in the mid-1970s by Mauro Vannucci. Today, after other acquisitions, the property has grown to 25 hectares, 15 of which are planted with vines. Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are all grown. Silvia, Mauro’s daughter, now runs the estate.
Tasting Notes – Piaggia Riserva is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot. This wine is produced from their oldest vineyards (60 years old). On the nose, there are notes of dark fruit, balsamic, juniper and berries. There is nice energy and strength on the palate along with complexity and concentration. It is a gorgeous wine with a lively finish.
CAIAROSSA Aria di Caiarossa 2016 (Retail $40) – Tuscany, Italy
Situated in the southernmost part of the province of Pisa, not far from the sea, Caiarossa is dedicated to principles of biodynamic agriculture. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Sangiovese, Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier all grow well here. In the winery itself, which is structured on four levels and designed according to the principles of Feng Shui, winemaking is powered by gravity.
Tasting Notes – Aria di Caiarossa comes from their highest vineyards of volcanic soils. The blend is comprised Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are balsamic notes on the nose and palate. The wine exhibits freshness and spice. There is a good balance between tannins, alcohol and acidity. It is a medium, body wine with a long finish.
TENUTA DI SESTA Brunello di Montalcino 2015 (Retail $45) – Tuscany, Italy
Founded in the 1960s by Giuseppe Ciacci, Tenuta di Sesta gets its name from one of southern Montalcino’s most well-known areas. One of few veteran producers operating in the district, today it’s led by Andrea and Francesca together with their father, Giovanni. The family has managed to go further in bringing out the unique attributes of their vineyards, situated at around 350 meters above sea level on calcareous soils, rich in clay and iron.
Tasting Notes – There are bright notes of red fruit and spice with great texture on the palate. There is a velvety mouthfeel with round soft tannins and a solid mid-palate. This is a beautiful wine for aging due to its density, concentration, freshness and tannins. Tenuta di Sesta is a very polished Brunello.
SPERI Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Sant’Urbano 2016 (Retaill $79) – Veneto, Italy
Going back through the history of the Speri family in Valpolicella means learning about the history of a territory with a great viticultural tradition. Over a century of production and sales, and owners of one of the most beautiful vineyards on Monte Sant’Urbano for over eighty years, the family were among the first to link their wines to their vineyard of origin. The Speri’s have lived through lean times and international success, remaining faithful to an idea of wine in which territory plays a central role while limiting production to the typologies provided for by the appellation.
Tasting Notes – The Speri Amarone is a classic wine that is produced by a historical winery that has a very traditional style. Produced from the single-vineyard estates of Sant’Urbano, the wine has a strong sense of terroir. Elegance and finesse grace the glass. This is a dry and classic style of Amarone with red fruit and hints of rose petals. It is a very dynamic wine with notes of almonds and hazelnuts, which is typical of old-style Amarone.
TENUTA SANT’ANTONIO Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli 2016 (Retail $75) – Veneto, Italy
The Castagnedi brothers established Tenuta Sant’Antonio in the mid-1990s with the clear intention of aiming for the highest standards of quality. Today the area covered has expanded considerably and their range touches a bit on everything, but the mantra of quality has never waned. The heart of the winery continues to beat on the hill of San Briccio, which lets the character of its white marl soil emerge. Vineyard and cellar management are increasingly focused on limiting their environmental impact.
Tasting Notes – This classic Amarone has notes of red fruit, chocolate, mint, licorice and black pepper. The wine has nice acidity and brightness and its tannic structure is very pronounced. This finish has spicy herbaceous notes. Campo dei Gigli delivers a full-bodied, intense, rich and dynamic Amarone.