John’s Weekend in NYC at the Gambero Rosso Tasting

We were really looking forward to this legendary wine tasting being held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street in the stylish Chelsea neighborhood of New York.  Due to midday traffic we arrived a bit later than desired and so proceeded to the end of the line eagerly awaiting our turn to get in.  In attendance with me

John Gannon Tasting

was John Gannon the wine buyer for Nordstrom’s Bistro Café in Peabody,MA.  Once inside we elected to sample as many white wines as we could, before segueing into the reds.  The enormous loft-like function room was divided in regions of Italy with some wineries presenting just one wine while others had multiple wines to show.  To get an understanding of the quantity of wines available for tasting, it is only at the Boston Wine Expo that I am faced with with such a dauntingly large selection but we’re professionals so we faced this task happily.  Sparkling wines including Proseccos were included with the white wines and we enjoyed a Merotto di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Colbelo, in addition to  Berlucchi Cuvee 61’ Brut and Brut Rose.  When you are faced with so many choices, it’s that much harder to decide what to taste, but here are some of the

Industriously taking my notes

white wines I liked:  Cantina Terlano Nova Domus08’ (Alto Adige), Livio Felluga Rosazzo Bianco Terre Alte 09’ (Friuli), Gioacchino Garofoli Verdicchio dei Jesi 06’ (Marche), all with great fresh flavors despite some considerable age for being white wines.   Some additional whites of more recent vintage are Marisa Cuomo Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco 10’ (Campania), which has some Falangina blended in and was particularly herbaceous and spicy, as was the Cantina Tramin Gewurtztraminer Nussbaumer 10’.  That winery’s barrel aged Pinot Grigio Unterebner 10’ was especially delightful.  I must also mention Decugnano dei Barbi Orvieto Il Bianco 10’ from Umbria and also Coffele Soave Ca’Visco 10’ from Veneto.
At this point we opted to make the switch to red wines but first stopping by the generous buffet of cheese, breads and fruit…also hydrating with Aqua Panna water.
Red wines are truly the stars at this tasting and there is a level of frustration with not being able to sample all that you see and although some may try, I feel that it is better to taste fewer wines, thereby really focusing on them and allowing them to speak to you completely.  It is around this time, approximately an hour and a half into the tasting, that the room starts to really fill up.  Lines begin to form in front of certain tables and people are starting to get sloppy at the spitbuckets (don’t ever wear white to one of these events).
We tried to plot carefully which reds we would taste but again due to the enormity of the room, the number of wines and the growing number of people, we didn’t always get to the ones we wanted.  Having said that, we tasted some pretty spectacular wines.  From Tuscany,  Barone Ricasoli had two wines I liked including their Casalferro 08’, which is 100% Merlot and Chianti Colledila 08’, 100% Sangiovese, both rich with chewy tannins.  In a similar vein also from Tuscany I tried the Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro Cortona Il Bosco 08’ which was somewhat richer and also chewy as well as the Planeta Plumbago 09’ from Sicily which had a slightly jammier plummier quality.  Another Sicilian bigboy was from Cusumano named Sagana 09’ which is a single vineyard, I can still taste the rich, dense berry fruit.  There were a couple of excellent Umbrian reds including Lungarotti Torgiano Rosso Vigna Monticchio Riserva 06’,

About to dive into the reds

amazingly fresh for a wine with six years on it and Montefalco:  Fattoria Colle Alledole Montefalco Rosso Riserva 08’, my notes only say “spectacular”.  Of course no Italian wine tasting would be complete without Piedmont and I tried the Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Liste 06’, which was drinking very well ( also being poured by the glass at Mario Batali’s Eatly for $15.00 a glass), and Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Nizza 08’ which I found to be both elegant and dry, which contrasts with Braida Barbera d’Asti dell’Uccellone 09’, significantly fuller and richer.  Finally to complete the tasting tour I sampled two Brunello’s :  La Togata Brunello di Montalcino 06’ had vibrant fruit with moderate tannins and Donna Olga Arte 04’ which was as I hoped: quite beautiful.

By this time, enough wine had been tasted and soon they all start to taste the same so it was time to leave.  Heading out the door into a New York sun filled afternoon I was reminded of a time long long ago of stepping out of a club just after the sun had risen, after a night of partying…there was the same feeling of time well spent and thoroughly enjoyed.

Glorious NYC afternoon

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