Is Tuscany the new Bordeaux?

Vines growing in Tuscany

Wine enthusiasts adore Italian wine – we’ve seen this in our data – and it seems they cannot get enough of it. Having analysed the auction results from 2023, we can now confirm that the highest-priced Italian bottle came from Tuscany. With its dreamy rolling hills, Tuscana as it’s called in the language of Dante ended the year as the second largest grossing Italian region at iDealwine auctions.

Italy captures the heart of iDealwine customers

On iDealwine, Italian wines make up the majority of non-French bottles sold (61% of auction volumes). Is it due to a perceived future rareness due to the impact of drought that Italy has seen its auction sales grow so significantly? Maybe in part, but the fact that Italian fine wine is highly-sought after around the world is not new, and the global demand for it shows no sign of slowing down. iDealwine’s customer base in Italy also grew considerably last year, which is not to take away from the incredibly diverse range of customers who chose to bid on these wines, featuring no fewer than 43 nationalities in 2023. What is more, 7,677 bottles of Italian wine (when scaled to 750ml) went under the hammer which is a 37.5% increase on 2022.

Love for Tuscany is as strong as ever in iDealwine auctions

Tuscany, the second most popular Italian region at auction, continues to excite wine enthusiasts. Its world-renowned ambassadors have generously nourished auction catalogues, having produced 30% of the auctioned Italian bottles and 39% of the value sold. It is, of course, a bottle of the illustrious Sassicaia from the cult 1985 vintage given 100/100 by Robert Parker that takes the top spot as the highest-priced Italian wine of 2023. It was bought for €2,170 by a Swiss enthusiast – a record price at iDealwine but identical to a result recorded in 2022. The region counts eight representatives in the Top 20 best-selling Italian properties and six entries in the list of the highest-priced wines. Three of these bottles surpassed the €1,000 mark (when scaled to 750ml). Several iconic labels feature in the rankings such as Masseto, a wine entirely made from Merlot by Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia. This bottle from the 2001 vintage went under the hammer for €1,002.

Among the other coveted Tuscan estates in the rankings, Montevertine stands out with a bottle of Le Pergole Torte, a symbolic Italian wine. When Sergio Manetti bought this Chianti property, he planted some vines with the intention of creating a wine solely for his own consumption. After presenting his wines at a few competitions, their immediate success – from the very first vintage (1971) – incited him to develop them for the market and expand his estate. A bottle from 1988 sold for €521 in last year’s auctions and finished the year as the country’s 12th highest-priced bottle. The Solaia vineyard tells a different story in Italian viticultural history. It recounts the success of a handful of families, including that of Antinori, which have built up a veritable wine empire. A bottle of Solaia from the 2016 vintage went under the hammer for €451 (finishing the year in 18th). Other Tuscan standard-bearers producing wines from the Brunello di Montalcino slopes can be found in favourable positions in the rankings. They are Gianfranco Soldera in 4th place and Biondi Santi, a pioneer of the appellation, in 11th.

Safe bets and Tuscan discoveries

There are several names in the list of best-selling properties that have made a grand entrance into the rankings and deserve our attention. Il Marroneto, a small estate of six hectares sitting at 350 metres above sea level, produces wine without any additives or inputs. Despite only seeing 73 bottles sold at auction in 2023, Il Marroneto has been propelled to 10th place in the rankings. Le Macchiole, in 16th place, also stands out. In the heart of Bolgheri, this producer creates organic, single-varietal wines from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. We also have to highlight the presence of the winemaker Bibi Graetz in 20th place who produces natural wine from plots all over Tuscany, including Giglio Island. Among the properties that emerged during 2023, we have to mention Argiano. Rare at auction, mature vintages of its Brunello di Montalcino saw their prices soar. For example, a Riserva 1979 went under the hammer for €193 and its Solengo classed as a IGT Toscana also deserves your attention.

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