To establish a Top 10 wines of a country or a region is often subjective since appreciations and tastes are different from one individual to another. Nevertheless, it is agreed that certain winemakers and certain vintages often come out on top. Therefore, certain factors are important and serve as a reference. The quality of the wine itself is an important factor. Let me explain: During a tasting by wine professionals (winemakers, oenologists, sommeliers,...) what is finally judged is the structure of the wine, its balance, its aromatic potential, its ageing potential, and if the wine does not have any defects. Consistency, a guarantee of quality in many areas, is clearly one of the pillars when it comes to establishing a top; producing a wine each year whose structure, taste, allows the identification of the grape variety, the winemaker, the plot, in short, a particular vintage, without forgetting of course the vintage effect (variable climatic conditions) The ageing potential is also important; a wine that can be kept for a long time (at least 10 years) will be more memorable than a wine that can be drunk within 2 to 3 years. Wines or vintages finally acquire national or international recognition linked to these factors, frequently placing them in a ranking of the best wines.
Our top of the best Italian wines is independent from the ranking of the most expensive Italian wines. The aim is to list the Italian wine regions that, according to the previous criteria, deserve to be qualified as the best Italian wines.
Wines of Piemont
Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo – A. Gaja
Made from a single parcel of land and a single grape variety, nebbiolo, which finds in the Barbaresco terroir a wonderful playground to express itself. Like many of its peers, Gaja's Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo is a wine with an imposing tannic structure that is austere in its youth; a wine that can be aged and needs time to show its full potential. Nose of black fruits and spices, in the mouth we have an assertive tannic matter, thanks to its terroir of limestone and clay. A long and persistent finish.
Barolo – Pio Cesare
A historic Barolo estate (since 1881), Pio Cesare is one of those winemakers whose reputation is well established thanks to its history, its desire to highlight a terroir and a wine region and to sublimate the nebbiolo among others. A Barolo of a great classicism with a long ageing (more than 3 years). A wine with present and elegant tannins, a long aromatic persistence and a fine finish.
Wines of Veneto
Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella – Quintarelli Giuseppe
If Sergio Zenato is one of the many references, it is the Giuseppe Quintarelli estate that is a legend with its exceptional vintage produced only in great vintages. A wine that is both concentrated and structured in the mouth, evoking finesse and elegance.
Wines of Tuscany
If there is a region and winemakers capable of producing great wines (with or without DOCG), it is Tuscany and its variety of wines and expressions.
Sassicaia – Tenuta San Guido
Both appellation and estate, this is a wine that needs no introduction. Made from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Tenuta San Guido shows us the best of the super-Tuscan category and an expression of the Bolgheri terroir that reveals itself after many years thanks to its ageing potential. Power, concentration and density are the key words.
Chianti Classico – Querciabella
Emblematic grape variety of Tuscany, the 100% sangiovese on the Chianti Classico appellation of Querciabella, is one of the examples of the best in Tuscany. Association of 3 terroirs that each brings its contribution, this wine presents an aromatic complexity (floral and spicy aromas, on red fruits). In the mouth it shows a tannic structure based on finesse and freshness.
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva « PS » – Siro Pacenti
Another terroir, another expression of sangiovese. South of Siena, it is in the heart of Brunello di Montalcino that we stop to talk about another eponymous winemaker: Siro Pacenti. Halfway between Montalcino and Torrenieri, the estate signs here a confidential wine (about 1500 bottles and only in exceptional years). Nose of black fruits and smoky spices, the mouth is silky and the finish of an exceptional length.
Wines of the Marches
Kurni – Oasi degli Angeli
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Italy's most famous and oldest winemakers is the Oasi Degli Angeli (Oasis of Angels) estate. Under the aegis of Marco Casolanetti and Eleonora Rossi, it is not only an estate but also an entire region that is being rediscovered. 100% Montepulciano, Kurni reveals an explosion of fruit on the palate, a unique concentration and richness, with round tannins and a long finish.
Wines of Campania
Terra di Lavoro – Galardi
Like the Marche region, Campania is another example of successful winemaking, and the Galardi estate, with Terra di Lavoro, gives us a glimpse of this. The only wine of the estate, composed of Aglianico and Piedirosso, it shows a strong tannic structure. A wine clearly made for keeping.
Wines of Puglia
Es Primitivo – Gianfranco Fino
Gianfranco Fino has a recent history and has produced a wine that reached the top and international recognition since its first vintage in 2004. 100% Primitivo and therefore necessarily 100% local, this wine reveals not only the character of this Apulian terroir but also the potential of a vineyard that has reinvented itself. Notes of stewed black fruit and tobacco. The mouth is velvety.
Wines of Sardinia
Turriga – Argiolas
A reference in Sardinian viticulture, the Argiolas estate is one of those producers who have put forward a little known vineyard and made it acquire its letters of nobility. With Turriga, we discover a part of Sardinia; a well-balanced wine with aromas reminiscent of wild berries and toasted notes.
Here is our ranking of the best Italian wines. For more information you can find our other articles on the best wine regions of Italy, visit the Super Tuscan wine store, or our best value for money for Italian wines.
Ornellaia Bianco - Tenuta dell’Ornellaia (Tuscany)
Composed mainly of sauvignon blanc and completed by viognier, this wine is the result of a blend of 3 parcels Like its red counterparts, a great rigor and a meticulous work is brought to this wine made for the guard. A bouquet of citrus and white fruits on the nose, an elegant mouth, on the fruit whose mineral touch gives relief and balance to the wine.
Gaia & Rey - Gaja
Even if Chardonnay finds one of its best expressions in Burgundy, this vintage from Gaja shows us all the potential that the Langhe region can offer with Chardonnay. Intense nose with notes of citrus fruits, grilled. The mouth is ample with a fresh finish, on minerality.
Cobalto - Val Delle Rose
Located between Rome and Livorno, the Val Delle Rose estate produces surely one of the most beautiful expressions of Vermentino. Notes of white fruit and minerality on the nose, the palate is juicy and fresh, with a slight touch of salinity.