You may have heard of Gambero Rosso, and their recently-held Top Italian Wines road show.

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Gambero Rosso is an Italian food & wine magazine; Mr X calls it the Decanter of Italy. Relevantly, they write about wines, they review wines, and they dish out wine awards. And, Gambero Rosso is literally “red prawn”, thus their logo.

Every year, the Gambero Rosso road show machine tours various countries to showcase authentic and fine Italian wines, and provide opportunities for participating wineries to present their vino to potential importers into these markets. In addition, wine media folks and wine lovers can participate in these roadshows, to taste and learn more about Italian wines.

I went along to the Singapore leg of their tour (held at CHIJMES on 12-Mar), to gain exposure to Italian wines. And since the high-profile Mr X was going too, I decided to tag alongside him, taking the opportunity to meet people in the local wine industry.

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After the official opening of the roadshow, we hurried along to the designated location for the masterclasses. I was lucky enough to gain entry to both masterclasses, which were guided tasting sessions. We tasted 30 wines for each masterclass, one selected from each participating winery.

The range of wines for tasting was spectacular! We started from the north of Italy in the 1st masterclass, then worked through the middle of the country down to the South in the 2nd masterclass. Each region showed distinction, in terms of style and grape varieties used. All the wines were nice in their own way, some were surprising, and a few shone for me.

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Gruppo La Vis – Trentino Müller Thurgau Vigna delle Forche 2012 (1st Masterclass)

Müller-Thurgau – a cross of Riesling & Madeleine Royale. An alluring nose of spring flowers, basil, tomato leaves, with some nuttiness. On the palate, very fresh with vibrant acid, with lots of citrus fruit flavours. There is good balance, and a hint of astringency that adds interest. This is definitely a food wine, especially with Mediterranean food.

Vigneti Le Monde – Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio 2012 (1st Masterclass)

Pinot Grigio. A beautiful colour of rose-gold, which the presenter says should be the true colour of Pinot Grigio. The fragrance of this wine leaps out of the glass, drawing you in. Both the nose and palate display flowers and minerals – influenced by the stone-y profile of the vineyard. It has a good structure, and is nicely textured.

Jermann – Vintage Tunina 2011 (1st Masterclass)

Blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Picolit. There’s a green tinge in its colour. The alluring fragrant nose enchants with notes of citrus, herbs, and ripe green apples. Similar flavours fills the mouth, well supported by good acid that gives line and length. A very well balanced wine that provides great interest.

Colpetrone – Montefalco Sagrantino 2008 (1st Masterclass)

Sagrantino – one of the most tannic varieties, alongside Touriga Nacional &Tanat. There’s a lot of fruit in both the nose and palate of the wine. Some pepper adds interest. As expected of a Sagrantino, tannins are firm and mouth-coating. There is good balance. A wonderful wine that would go very well with some aged cheese!

Bibbiano – Chianti Classico Montornello 2010 (2nd Masterclass)

Sangiovese. Enchanting nose of violets, cherries, licorice, with a nice herbal lift, and hint of cured meats. A fruit-driven palate, coupled with tobacco and wet earth adding interest. It feels a little warmer than the other Chiantis we tried, but is well balanced.

Settesoli – Cartagho Mandrarossa 2009 (2nd Masterclass)

Nero d’Avola. An impeccable Sicilian! Huge burst of dark fruits on the nose, with equally vibrant fruit profile on the palate. This is a high quality wine showing wonderful balance and good depth of flavour, coupled with mouth-filling tannins. Save the best for last, I guess – a very nice wine to finish the masterclass!

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I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to go for both masterclasses, but by the end of the 2 sessions, I was exhausted – both my brain and my palate were so tired from the tasting! One really has to respect the wine show judges, who would go through far more then this number of wines at each tasting session.

There was a walk-around section of the roadshow featuring more than 200 wines for tasting, which I didn’t take advantage of, due to my lack of stamina in wine tasting. The energy I felt at the event, and the various interactions I had, tells me it had been a successful 3rd edition of roadshow in Singapore. I’m hoping I will get the chance again for next year!

Of course, one has to have a nice photo with the gentleman who guided us through the tasting – Mr Marco Sabellico (Editor-in-Chief of the Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Guide).

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Cheers to an insightful event!

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