Wine Culture Magazine

Velenosi Estate took Gambero Rosso Solidarity Award this year for its work with L’Orto di Paolo, a socio-educational centre for autism. Pictured here are Marianna Velenosi and Angiolina Piotti.

In the final stretch of 2023, Gambero Rosso has just announced its Tre Bicchieri winners for 2024. Since 1988, Italy’s leading wine guide has been awarding “Three Glasses” to identify the top new releases from throughout the country. From over 50,000 wines tasted, the organization’s team whittled it down to 2,300 semi-finalists before selecting the final 498 worthy recipients. This is the highest number of Tre Bicchieri that the guide has ever doled out.

Since 2015, Gambero Rosso has also highlighted wines produced by certified organic and biodynamic wineries. Dubbed Tre Bicchieri Verdi—meaning ‘green’—a whopping 174 (35% of the total Tre Bicchieri) have been designation as such for 2024. This is another record for Gambero Rosso and speaks to the growing commitment to environmental stewardship in Italy’s wine industry.

Additionally, the guide recognizes value-driven wines, and this year 56 Tre Bicchieri widely retail for under €15 (CA$22). This is great news for Italian wine lovers as they can afford some of the country’s best. Look out for Monte del Frà’s 2021 Custoza Superiore ‘Ca’ del Magro’ and Medici Ermete’s 2022 Reggiano Lambrusco ‘Concerto.’ Both are regularly available at BC Liquor Stores selling for $26 and $22 respectively.

Umani Ronchi was awarded Gambero Rosso’s Winery of the Year. Here, Michele Bernetti displays the winery’s Plenio Verdicchio, available in B.C.

At the ceremony in Rome on October 15, senior editors Marco Sabellico and Gianni Fabrizio, along with contributing editor Giuseppe Carrus, handed out Gambero Rosso’s additional ‘special’ awards. Sparkling wine of the year went to Gatti’s 2016 Franciacorta Millesimo Nature; Primosic’s 2018 Collio Chardonnay Riserva won for white; and Giuliano Pettinella’s 2022 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo ‘Tauma’ took the award for rosé. As for red, the honour was bestowed on Giovanni Rosso’s 2019 Barolo Vigna Rionda Ester Canale. The best value for money hailed from the island of Sardinia—Fradiles’ 2021 Mandrolisai Rosso.

The uniquely Italian category ‘meditation wine of the year’ captures the country’s reverential drinking culture. A vino da meditazione indicates a particularly complex wine to be savoured slowly on its own (and perhaps by the fire). The 2024 winner is Florio’s 2011 Marsala Vergine Riserva. Made on the island of Sicily, Marsala is a fortified wine typically associated with cheap cooking swill. However, a fine example like Florio’s recalls Marsala’s glorious past, and the Vergine category is particularly revered for stunning dry examples.

Beyond simply awarding specific wines, Gambero Rosso likewise acknowledges standout companies. In the latest edition, Umani Ronchi was nominated as winery of the year. “This award recognizes decades of work by the Bernetti family who have championed indigenous grapes like Verdicchio and Montepulciano,” declared Export Director Giacomo Sisti at an event in Vancouver earlier this week. The estate’s locally available Vecchie Vigne Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore also received Tre Bicchieri for the 2018 vintage. An unoaked textural white, it is delicious now with seafood but equally capable of ageing.

Giovanni Rosso’s Davide Rosso displays Barolo Vignarionda Ester Canale Rosso 2019, awarded Tre Bicchieri and Best Red Wine of the Year.

In a separate category, Cantina Tramin was named cooperative of the year. Located in the Alpine region of Alto Adige, this 160-member collective is known, above all, for benchmark Gewürztraminer. The prize for up-and-coming winery was bestowed on Tenuta Ceri, a recent venture by 33-year-old Edoardo Ceri who makes Sangiovese-based wine in the Carmignano zone of Tuscany.

The plucky Marinella Camerani, who crafts acclaimed Amarone, earned grower of the year. Her Corte Sant’Alda estate is one of the few certified biodynamic properties in Valpolicella. Further underscoring Gambero Rosso’s attention to ethically minded companies, the Equalitas certified Terre Margaritelli estate in Umbria took the award for sustainable viticulture. The company has been committed to environmental, social and economic wellbeing since the 80s.

Focusing on the social aspect, Gambero Rosso’s solidarity award draws attention to projects that support their local communities—while never losing sight of quality wine. Le Marche-based Velenosi Estate took the prize this year for its work with L’Orto di Paolo, a socio-educational centre for autism. Velenosi welcomes people on the autism spectrum to participate in the harvest, production, bottling and labeling of two wines—a Falerio Pecorino and a Rosso Piceno. Profits, which thus far total €15,000, are invested in L’Orto di Paolo’s day care.

Gambero Rosso’s 2024 guidebook counts a total of 2,647 producers with 25,231 wines recommended. Besides the Tre Bicchieri, it includes wines that received two glasses—very good, and one glass—good. The English version will be available in February 2024. As always, the organization will take its show on the road, presenting Tre Bicchieri winners around the world. A Vancouver stop is planned for May 2024.

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