2009 Tenute Piccini – Il Pacchia – IGT Maremma Toscana: 2 ‘glasses’ Gambero Rosso for 4.99€

2 ‘Glasses’ For 4.99€

Today’s wine review is different. Usually I do not review wines for under 10€ – most of the time they are not worth mentioning. This wine is worth mentioning.

2009 Tenute Piccini - Il Pacchia - IGT Maremma ToscanaA few weeks ago, a friend of mine brought over a bottle of 2009 Tenute Piccini Il Pacchia. A Tuscan blend of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes. We all know the Gambero Rosso don’t we? The famous Italian wine guide. Il Pacchia was awarded 2 glasses by the Gambero Rosso, yet the wine only costs 4.99€. How is that even possible? Come and join me on a journey full of “surprises”.

My friend did not tell me the price tag of the wine until I was done taking notes.

If you take a closer look at the label, then you read at the bottom Tenuta Moraia. Because I always like to know a little bit about the winery I tend to google them. I assumed that Tenuta Moraia was the producer but it turned out that Tenuta Moraia is just a fantasy name. Il Pacchia is actually bottled by Tenute Piccini, a very large  winery from Tuscany. According to their website, Piccini looks back to 125 year long history, has four different estates and exports wine to over 70 countries. But why would a winery invent an imaginary name, which they print on their labels? To me that looks just very suspicious.

A few days after drinking the wine, I did a little research on it. It turns out that the 2009 Il Pacchia is only available in Germany, Switzerland and a few other countries. Furthermore it looks like Aldi (same company that operates Trader Joe’s) secured itself a monopole for the wine.

Why does a wine win an award in an Italian wine guide if it is not available in Italy? At first glance, one would say that this does not make much sense but after tasting the wine it does make sense that it is not available in Italy. I will come to the Gambero Rosso rating later on in this review.

Tasting Notes Il Pacchia

The wine is a blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot grapes. Il Pacchia aged for six months in French oak and is classified as IGT Maremma Toscana. 13% was the label listed ABV.

In the glass, the wine had a garnet red color with ruby red hints. The bouquet consists of blackberries, blueberries and plum. On the palate, dry with hints of vanilla and lots of fruit. Il Pacchia was of medium body. The finish was rather short and boring.

2 / 5 stars      

2 ‘Glasses’ – How is that possible?

Il Pacchia is best used for cooking and I am tempted to give this wine just a 1.5 star rating and might do so later. For 4.99€ the wine was alright but I certainly won’t buy it again.

It makes perfectly sense now that the wine is not available in Italy. I am sure that there are more customers for cheap wine in Germany than in Italy.  How in the world is it possible that the Gambero Rosso rated this wine high? I do not have an answer to that question. I assume though that money was involved. More and more people buy Italian wine which was rated high by the Gambero Rosso. Advertising with a Gambero Rosso logo almost certainly guarantees buys. So that could be an explanation but it is also possible that the Gambero Rosso judges really liked this wine. I hardly believe though that this is the case.

I am very disappointed to find a wine like Il Pacchia in the Gambero Rosso. I have been reading their reviews for many years, but lately more and more wines that are listed in the Gambero Rosso were either a flop or nothing special. I recall my experience with a Colle Massari Montecucco Riserva here. Hopefully, the Gambero Rosso will go back to its roots. Otherwise they will lose many readers like myself. I understand, that a company wants to make money but we can only hope that the Gambero Rosso will not become another biased wine guide.

What is your opinion on this? Have you had a similar experience with a wine that was rated by the Gambero Rosso with at least 2 glasses?


10 comments on “2009 Tenute Piccini – Il Pacchia – IGT Maremma Toscana: 2 ‘glasses’ Gambero Rosso for 4.99€”

  1. hannah-theis hannah-theis Reply

    Julian, I very much enjoyed this post. I don’t know if the Italian wines that I did not like were awarded 2/3 glasses by the Gambero Rosso or not. I never checked. If I won’t forget it then I will do so next time though. I also agree with you that it seems very odd that a winery does not put its own name on the front label.

    • vino in love Reply

      I’d say that in most cases the “bad” wines were not listed in the Gambero Rosso, however it’s still possible that they were (just like Il Pacchia was)

  2. Sean P. Reply

    Good question! I don’t think I had a GR wine that tasted aweful yet. But I also don’t buy wine for under €15.

    Can’t believe it that GR rates a €5 wine high. So shocking. Always thought only WA sells their ratings for cash.

    • vino in love Reply

      Thanks for commenting. I wouldn’t say that wine for over 15€ is always better. I tried a 3-glasses Gambero Rosso Montecucco from Colle Massari and it was awful, too. I’m sure it cost more than 15€ (but don’t remember if it cost less or not)

  3. wineking3 wineking3 Reply

    The Gambero Rosso needs to make money, too so in my opinion they can sell reviews if they want to. Not saying that they do but I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
    If I was that friend of yours then I wouldn’t even have bought the wine in first place. 4.99€ just doesn’t seem right!

    • vino in love Reply

      While I agree with you that the Gambero Rosso needs to make money, I don’t agee with you that they should sell their awards like Wine Spectator.
      My friend’s wife only bought the wine because we wanted to know how a 4.99€ Gambero Rosso 2-glasses wine would taste. Now we know 🙂

  4. johnny hepburn Reply

    That’s a good option for cooking with as I’ve been looking for an affordable red wine here for ages. And Aldi might just stock that here. Thanks for the info.

    • vino in love Reply

      Thanks for stopping by! I agree with you so much that it’s hard to find an affordable wine for cooking! This one definitely does the job 🙂
      If you don’t find it at Aldi you might as well want to check at Trader Joe’s since they are part of Aldi.

  5. Eatwithnamie Reply

    It becomes problem when winemakers spend money that should go into making wine into advertising and buying ratings 🙁 I have had some bad, maybe worst wines produced by big label producers and wondered how they can treat wine as money. Sad…

    • vino in love Reply

      I completely agree with your statement! The money should go into the wine-making process and not into advertising. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case…

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