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Leo Ricciardella, wine director at Sofia in NYC, wins Gambero Rosso-Villa Sandi “Contemporary Wine List Award.”

Above: Leo Ricciardella (center), wine director at Sofia Wine Bar in New York City, is presented with the Gambero Rosso-Villa Sandi “Best Contemporary Wine List Award” by Villa Sandi’s Diva Polegato Moretti (right) and Flavio Geretto (left).

On Friday, February 20 in New York, Leo Ricciardelli (above, center), wine director at Sofia Wine Bar in midtown Manhattan, was awarded the Gambero Rosso-Villa Sandi “Best Contemporary Wine List Award” by the editors of the Gambero Rosso Guide to the Wines of Italy.

Villa Sandi’s Diva Polegato Moretti and Flavio Geretto were on hand to present the prize along with Gambero Rosso international editor Lorenzo Ruggeri and Gambero Rosso senior editor Marco Sabellico. The presentation took place during the annual Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tasting where Italy’s top-rated wines are featured (winners of the guide’s top accolade, the Tre Bicchieri or “3 glasses” award).

Since 2009, Sofia Wine Bar has been one of wine-loving New Yorkers’ go-to spots in midtown. Known for its small plates and romantic ambiance (according to the New York Magazine bar guide), it’s one of the few midtown spots where you can find such a thoughtful and personalized wine program.

Every year, in each city where the tour travels, Gambero Rosso honors U.S. restaurants with its “Top Italian Restaurants 2020: the best Italian food abroad” prizes. They represent the “best of the best” among the restaurants that appear in its “Guide for Italian Food Abroad.”

At each tasting, the editors also present the following prizes:

Chef of The Year
Up-and-Coming Restaurant of the Year
Pizzeria of the Year
Wine List of the Year
Best New Opening
Guardian of Tradition
Restaurant of the Year

This year, for the first time, the Tre Bicchieri tastings across the U.S. also included the “Best Contemporary Wine List Award,” a prize that “doesn’t go to the biggest or best wine list,” says Villa Sandi Export Director Flavio Geretto, “but rather to wine programs that reflect the sommelier’s personality, wine programs that deliver excellence thanks to the wine director’s personal tastes.”

“It’s the first time,” he adds, “that the Gambero Rosso is recognizing the sommeliers themselves and not just the wine lists.”

Villa Sandi doesn’t play a role in selecting the winners, he notes. “They are chosen strictly by the Gambero Rosso editors.”

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