The legends of Italian wine are among the world’s finest, and their viticultural tradition has ancient roots. Regions like Piedmont, Tuscany, and Sicily are home to a wine heritage that now resonates far beyond the Mediterranean coast. The top-class status of these wines is often reflected in their price. Some of the big names that come to mind include Angelo Gaja, Biondi-Santi, La Tenuta San Guido, Mascarello, and Roagna, whose superb cuvées fly the flag of Italian excellence.
Of course, we could never sum up the produce of such a vast and historical winemaking country in just ten bottles, but we’ve done our best to pick some good wines at nice prices from each of the main regions.
Let’s begin in the north, in the foothills of the Alps, where a cool terroir often confers a beautiful freshness to the region’s wines.
IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti 2018 by Elisabetta Foradori (€21) – a flagship name for wine made in the Dolomites and a star of Italian biodynamics, Elisabetta Foradori here crafts a lovely cuvée from the Terodelgo grape, a local and almost-forgotten variety. This is a floral and mineral wine with a hint of spice that can be enjoyed with white meat or traditional dishes like lasagne.
Over to the north-west now to Piedmont, where we find such legendary grape varietals as Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Moscato all proudly cultivated.
Dolcetto d’Alba 2018 by Carlo Viglione (€16) – a Triple A wine (find out more about this label here) made from the Dolcetto grape, this cuvée is simple but well-made, perfect to serve alongside an everyday meal. It has a nice balance and cherry aromas with well-integrated tannins and a hint of freshness. Its long finish is pleasantly bitter.
Langhe bianco 2018 by Roagna (€19.90) – an original blend of Chardonnay and Nebbiolo (a small amount), this wine is crafted by a real star of the region in limited quantities. It exudes notes of white fruit and aromatic herbs, as well as a hint of spice. On the palate, it is elegant and sapid with a notably fresh underscore. A gem!
Cinque Terre 2019 by Azienda Agricola Possa (€25) – you may already be familiar with the colourful, picture-postcard coast of the Cinque Terre, but did you know that this stunning region is also home to some sublime wines? Try this natural cuvée made from Bosco and Albarola varietals, a glass imbued with nutty and herbaceous scents that make way for a full-bodied mouthfeel. A real taste of the Mediterranean.
North-east Italy is where you’ll find, as well as the labyrinthine canals of Venice, the traditional producers of Amarone and prosecco.
Valpolicella Superiore 2017 from Musela (€16) – this biodynamic cuvée is light, fruity, and elegant, made from Corvina and Corvinone (80%), Rondinella (10%), and Barbera (10%). Pure in its fruity profile and easy to drink, the supple and tender tannins of this wine make it a good companion to a charcuterie board.
Moving a little further south now, Tuscany is one of Italy’s largest winemaking regions, counting Bolgheri, Brunello di Montalcino, and Chianti among its distinguished produce.
IGT Colli della Toscana Centrale Trebbiano 2015 by Azienda Agricola Casale (€17) – a white, biodynamic cuvée made from Trebbiano (known as Ugni Blanc in France); light, fruity, and lively in style. A simple and delicious wine to be enjoyed in it youth.
Rosso di Montalcino 2017 Il Poggione (€17) – an elegant sangiovese produced by one of Italy’s rising stars. Offering aromas of red and black fruit with gentle spices, and a palate structured by velvety tannins. A bottle to serve with red meat dishes or mature cheese.
IGT Toscane Le Difese 2018 from Tenuta San Guido (€22) – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese, this wine comes from the domain that crafts the famous Sassicaia cuvée. Its round profile, supple tannins, and excellent aging potential make this an excellent little addition to your collection.
Let’s not forget the beautiful island of Sicily, also a land of truly fine wine to discover!
IGP Sicile Nero di Lupo 2019 by Azienda Agricola Cos (€21) – a superb organic cuvée made from Nero d’Avola and matured in amphora pots. This is a flavourful wine, both fruity and spiced on the palate. Its delightful profile is marked by fine tannins and lovely length.
Etna bianco 2019 from Tenuta delle Terre Nere Marco de Grazie (€21) – did you know that wine could be made at the base of Mount Etna? This unique terroir has had the spotlight drawn onto it by skilled vintners who manage to work in harmony with this wild environment. This organic cuvée is an excellent example, the fruit of blending many different grapes like Carricante (65%), Catarratto (25%), Minnella (5%), and Grecanico (1%). Minerality is the key feature at play here.