Gambero rosso conquers the Vikings
The assault of importers on Copenhagen and the super trendy hall in the snow in Oslo. Come with me to see the Gambero Rosso tastings in Scandinavia
by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Denmark is Lego land, and it is well visible, even the houses seem to be made with little bricks. Copenhagen is less monumental than Stockholm but maybe livelier. Everywhere in Scandinavia, few cars, public transport works wonderfully so everyone uses it. The Gambero Rosso tasting with 32 wineries from the Guida vini d’Italia is held in a beautiful 18th century building in the historic centre, once headquarters of the handicraft associations. The hall reserved for us has enormous crystal chandeliers. An amazing amount of importers arrives, here any enterprising wine lover can open their own company, they are called garage importers and they are a solely Danish phenomenon. To distinguish them from the more structured companies is not easy but in the end we collect a pack of business cards which at home we can check on the web and make a selection. Even though we serve the wine sparingly at 5 pm we are left without – we have served more than 300 people- with great disappointment of the wine club members who arrive during the last two hours, all with the same request <<Brunello?>>.
Tattoos are worthy of notice: there is a splendid young women with grape clusters and
barrels on half her arm and a gentleman who after a stay in our
Fattoria del Colle and having bought 6 bottles of our Brunello 2006 has had “Prime Donne” written on his skin. Fantastic!
The climate is quite mild, compared to Sweden, and the food is exquisite with enormous portions fit for an ox. In this nation where everything works we had a night-time adventure. Our bathroom gets flooded so we get moved to another room. Violante moves her thing whilst in pyjamas.
Up early for the flight to Oslo where we find lots of snow. Norway in a postcard, where you expect the reindeers and sleighs, everyone walks happily in 30 cm of snow. The tasting hall is in an unused factory, its super trendy, where even the bathrooms, with synthetic grass on the floor, are great works of design. We serve Leone Rosso and Cenerentola Orcia Doc and Brunello di Montalcino riserva 2008. The wine arrives freezing cold so the tasting is postponed by an hour so that they can warm it up. At the seminary where
Marco Sabellico explains one wine per estate in fluent English, I meet Francesco Azzarone a
young man from Puglia, rated best Scandinavian sommelier who arrived among the best 10 in the world championship in Tokyo. He tells us of the great feeling it is to explain a wine in a blond tasting in front of 4,000 people and how Paolo Basso well deserved the title thanks to an extraordinary technique and self possession. Both Basso and Azzarone are Italians who reached success abroad, it is sad but once again our talents find room to emerge only once away from home.
Evening walk through the snow as far an old monastery where one finds once of the best Italian restaurants in Oslo. In the park a red hearts remembers the massacre of the young people that took place two years ago on an isle not far away. We eat splendidly, invited by our importer Moestue Grape Selections.
At the end the result of this trip is more than positive, and it has shown us the great international fame of Gambero Rosso and the ability of Tiina , the Swede who organizes the foreign missions and doesn’t get one wrong.