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Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C.

The Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Road Show took place at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC

On Monday, June 3rd, we attended the Gambero Rosso’s Top Italian Wines Show in Washington D.C. held at the Embassy of Italy. The weather was beautiful for a June day in the nation’s capital. We had a mile walk to the Italian Embassy from the DuPont Circle Metro Station. The walk was easy passing many embassies along the way.

We were asked to arrive early for our scheduled 1:15 pm seminar on Italian wine. Unfortunately, we were informed that they were not ready so we had to wait outside the entrance gat for the embassy. At 1:40 pm we were let in, only to wait again. The session began at 2:15 pm. During this wait, I recalled the first day we were touring wineries in the country Georgia. We were quickly off our itinerary schedule and were simply told that Georgia is in the GMT (Georgia Maybe Time) time zone. Perhaps today, we experienced the GMT time zone.

The atrium at the Italian Embassy was crowded with wine enthusiasts.

The Great Hall atrium in the embassy is a large area where tables were set up for more than 60 wineries with over 200 wines. Wine producers or their representatives were setting up for a grand tasting during the afternoon. Our seminar was in a room off the atrium. Once seated we learned that we were going to cruise through 31 wines. A placemat had 15 circles on it and two numbers in each circle. On the mat there were 15 glasses. An extra glass was placed at the setting for wine #16. There was also a glass for still or sparkling water and a plastic cup for spitting. 

For our posts, Kathy is going to write about the white wines and I will write about the reds. The goal of the seminar was to inform the participants of the vast and diverse wine regions in Italy including many wine grape varieties that were new to many of the participants. Our seminar focused on nine regions “Under the Southern Sun.” The pace of the tasting was quick and one could not reflect for too long on any wine before starting the next. Our pace was about four minutes per wine. Fortunately we attended several wine blogger conferences where we tasted 12 wines in an hour; we had five minutes per wine to evaluate and write a description.

Wine Tasting seminar featuring wines from “Under the Southern Sun.”

Red wines were tasted from the following wine regions.

Emilia Romagna

For each region, I’ll focus on a wine that caught my attention.

From Emilia Romagna, the producer La Rocche Malatestiane had a 2017 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Sigismondo. This 100% Sangiovese wine had a translucent dark red color and 13.5% alcohol. There were red fruits on the aroma and the taste emphasized red cherries. The wine had a medium/full body with medium tannins. The finish was crisp with cherry notes.

We tasted three wines from Tuscany. The 2015 Bolgheri Superiore Grattamacco from Colle Massari was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese. The translucent ruby colored wine had 14% alcohol. The aroma was reminiscent of a black fruit salad. The taste offered cassis, blackberry and black caps. The full-bodied wine had bold tannins. The fruity finish had a bit of baking spices.

From Lazio we tasted the 2017 Poggio Le Volpi Roma Ed. Limitata. The wine was a blend of Montepulciano, Cesanese and Syrah. It had an opaque dark ruby color and 14% alcohol. Black fruits and pepper were noticed on the aroma. The taste included blackberries, baking spices, black pepper and licorice. The wine was full bodied with bold tannins. On the finish, fruit yielded to spices.

From the Abruzzo region we tasted the 2014 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Mo’ Ris produced by Cantina Tollo. The 13% alcohol wine had an opaque ruby color. Black berry fruits were noticed on the aroma. The taste offered black raspberries, black berries and baking spices. The wine was full bodied with kissing tannins. The tannins pucker your lips as though you are going to kiss someone. The finish was both fruity and spicy.

From Campania we tasted the San Salvatore 2017 Jungano. The wine was crafted with the Aglianico grape. Flowers and black fruits were on the aroma. The taste reminded me of violets and blackberries. The wine had a full body and bold tannins. Fruit and baking spices were on the finish.

We tasted five red wines from the Puglia region. The Tenute Rubino 2017 Oltremé was made from the Susumaniello grape, a rare grape from the Puglia region. The wine had a translucent dark ruby color. It had red and black fruits on the aroma, while the taste was reminiscent of raspberries and blackberries. The wine had a full body with bold tannins. The finish was fruity with a touch of baking spices. This is a 3P wine, good for a porch, patio and pool.

From Sicily we tasted three wines. The 2017 Cottanera Etna Rosso Diciassettesalme was crafted from the Nerello Mascalese grape. The wine had a translucent dark red color with 13% alcohol. Dark fruits were on the aroma. The taste had black raspberries, blackberries and some baking spices. The full-bodied wine had kissing tannins. The finish was fruity with some mild spice notes.

From Sardinia we had the Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo Carignano del Sulcis Buio 2018 Cantina Mesa. The wine was made from the Carignano (Carignan) grape. The wine had a translucent red color with pink hue. The 14% alcohol wine had spices and dark fruits on the aroma. The taste offered black berries and raspberries. The wine had a full body with bold tannins. The finish was fruit forward with just a hint of salt.

Our final wine was from the Marche region. The 2017 Velenosi Lacrima dl Morro d’Alba Querciantica was made from the Lacrima grape. The wine had sweetness and flowers on the aroma. The taste offered red and black raspberries. The wine was full bodied with bold tannins. The finish was very fruity. This is also a 3P wine.

After the seminar we walked around the atrium tasted a couple more wines, mostly sparkling. The tasting certainly accomplished its goal to show diversity of Italian wine regions and introduced several new varietal grapes.


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