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The 2020 Tre Bicchieri Awards – How it Works And Some of the Big Italian Wine Winners

Have you heard of the prestigious Tre Bicchieri awards?

Each year, an organisation called Gambero Rosso hands out these awards to the best and brightest of the Italian wine industry. Those that receive such an award are generally given the distinction of being some of the best wines to come out of the country.

Just imagine what that means.

Italy produces literally thousands of vintages of wine every single year. Every region in the country has dozens, if not hundreds, of producers. And most of these producers split their efforts between multiple vintages of wine.

With so many to choose from, having the distinction of a Tre Bicchieri means that your wine is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.

The point we’re making is that receiving a Tre Bicchieri is a distinct honour. And each year, Italian wine producers wait to see if their vintages happen to have gained one.

The most recent round of awards took place in 2019.

However, Gambero Rosso tends to jump a year ahead when giving its awards. That means the 2019 winners are actually the Italian wines that the organisation recommends for the year 2020!

We’ll look at some of the wines that received the prestigious award in a little while. First, let’s check out the review process that Gambero Rosso uses.

The Review Process

Gambero Rosso takes its responsibility for choosing the very best wines to come out of the country extremely seriously.

Each year, the organisation creates several panels of well-credentialed experts in Italian wine. These are sommeliers and other industry influencers who you could consider the cream of the crop when it comes to their understanding of the vine.

Now, before any of these panel members even sniffs an Italian wine, Gambero Rosso goes through a period of accepting submissions. Entry into the awards is open to wines from all 20 of Italy’s wine regions. Furthermore, the awards allow entry to wines from Canton of Ticino. This is an Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, which has a tendency to offer up some of the more unique wines of the event.

Gambero Rosso then splits its panels of experts into local, regional, and national groups. Every single wine that gets submitted goes through all three groups as part of the testing process.

For example, let’s say that a wine comes from the Tuscany region.

The local panel will be made up of people who understand the wines that come from the specific town or city where the wine was produced.

The regional panel will be made up of people who have in-depth understand of the Tuscany region.

And finally, the national panel represents a broader base of experts who can compare the wine to other great wines from different regions.

So, we can see just how broad the range of expertise is on these panels and just how much a wine has to go through to make it to the final round of tastings (we’ll get to those in a moment).

On top of all of this, every tasting takes place blindly. This means that the taster has no idea what wine they’re drinking or who produced it. The goal here is to reduce any sort of unconscious bias that the taster might have that could influence their decision.

It’s only after the panel unveils their scores that they learn about the wines and their origins.

Now, after making it through the regional stages, an Italian wine will go onto the final round of tastings. This take place in Rome at Gambero Rosso’s headquarters. Only the wines that achieved the highest scores from the regional tasting events have any chance of making it to this final stage.

Again, the wine will go through a round of blind taste testing. Only this time, the most prominent experts at the event will be judging the wine. Each awards the wine a score out of 100 after tasting.

Those scores then get averaged out. And only those that achieve an average score of 90 or higher get the coveted Tre Bicchieri award.

So, let’s say there are five people on the national panel.

They taste a wine and give it the following scores:

  • 91
  • 87
  • 92
  • 88
  • 85

In this case, the wine has an average score of 88. It’s a mere two points off the Tre Bicchieri award, which would be heartbreaking for the producer.

However, it’s this very stringency that also makes a Tre Bicchieri so prestigious. There are no compromises. Of course, the wine that gets an 88 is still a very good wine. It’s simply not amongst the absolute best that the Italian wine industry has to offer during that year.

Any wine that gets to the final round of tastings but doesn’t achieve a score of 90 or above receives the Due Bicchieri. This shows that the wine is of great quality.

It’s just not quite exceptional.

The Results of the 2020 Tre Bicchieri Event

As Gambero Rosso holds its 2020 event in 2019 (confusing, we know), we actually have the results for the 2020 event.

Now, the list of wines that received the Tre Bicchieri is far too long for us to go into here. If you want to find some individual wines, head to the Gambero Rosso website, as they’ve written plenty about the results.

The important thing to note here is that 465 wines received the Tre Bicchieri for 2020. That’s an increase of about 2.8% on the number of Tre Bicchieri awards handed out last year.

In terms of regions, Tuscany was the big winner with 89 awards. And happily, no region walked away with no awards, though Molise was a pretty close call. That region only managed to pick up a single award in 2020.

The Final Word

The Tre Bicchieri awards are some of the most prestigious that the Italian wine industry has to offer.

That’s why we note which wines have the award on every one of our product pages.

Do you want to see which ones we have available?

Just click here to see over 200 Tre Bicchieri award winners that are available at Xtrawine.

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