The beauty of Italian red wines has always been the choice on offer. If you like powerful, ageworthy reds, Barolo in Piedmont in the north-west is ideal; for something lighter and still great with food, Chianti from Tuscany or Valpolicella from Veneto work well; and if you like your reds to be rich and ripe, head south to Puglia or Sicily.
There are plenty of classic red wines in Italy, but it’s worth looking beyond the Sangioveses and Nebbiolos of this world, too. Italy has more indigenous grape varieties than anywhere in the world, which is great news for wine drinkers keen to try something new.
Two shining examples took Silver in this year’s IWSC: Velenosi Querciantica Superiore 2020 from the Marche, made with the Lacrima grape, was an aromatic delight, with notes of violet, rose petals and strawberries, while Cantine di Ora Il Casato Teroldego 2020 from Trentino-Alto Adige in the north shows off the charms of the Teroldego grape to the full, with dark berries, plums, cherry and a dash of balsamic.
The reds of northern Italy performed well all round, with five Golds shared by wines from Trentino and Veneto. Tenuta San Giorgio Brumanera 2015 top-scored with 96/100pts, a feast of jammy red and black fruits, ripe cherries and violets, balanced by savoury notes of green and black olives.
Further west in Piedmont, Isobella della Croce Augusta 2016, made with 100% Barbera, impressed the judges with its complex aromas of cranberry, cedar and crushed gravel, with a plush palate of blackberry and mulberry.
Every Italian red wine at this year’s IWSC was tasted blind by an expert panel of judges. Masters of Wine Sarah Abbott and Alistair Cooper chaired proceedings, and were helped by Enotria buying director Sergio De Luca, Majestic buyer Nadia Williamson, and sommeliers Gearoid Devaney and Eric Zwiebel.
Italy’s trump card is being able to produce red wines like nowhere else, and this selection of award-winning bottles is a showcase of what this fascinating country is capable of. We’re proud to present the best Italian red wines from the 2021 IWSC.
18 of the best Italian red wines 2021
- Tenuta San Giorgio, Bruma Nera 2015
- Isobella della Croce, Augusta 2016
- Ca’ della Scala Mezzopiano 2018
- Brigaldara, Superiore 2018
- Peter Soelva, Amistar Cabernet Franc 2018
- Scriani 2015
- Subbia Antica 2018
- Banfi, Poggio Alle Mura 2016
- La Togata, Notte di Note 2016
- Terre Astesane Anno Domini 2017
- Tenuta Scrafana, Benintende 2018
- Aldi, Specially Selected 2016
- Geografico, Contessa di Radda 2018
- Farina 2018
- Santa Sofia, Antichello 2016
- Vinchio Vaglio I Tre Vescovi 2018
- Velenosi, Querciantica Superiore 2020
- Cantine di Ora Il Casato Teroldego 2020
How do we judge these wines?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
How do we score these wines?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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Top Rated Bottles
Tenuta San Giorgio, Bruma Nera 2015
Isobella della Croce, Augusta 2016
Ca' della Scala, Mezzopiano Ripasso 2018
Brigaldara, Superiore 2018
Peter Soelva, Amistar Cabernet Franc 2018
Scriani Riserva 2015
Subbia Antica 2018
Banfi, Poggio Alle Mura 2016
La Togata, Notte di Note 2016
Terre Astesane, Anno Domini 2017
Tenuta Scrafana, Benintende Superiore 2018
Aldi, Specially Selected 2016
Geografico, Contessa di Radda 2018
Santa Sofia, Antichello 2016
Vinchio Vaglio, I Tre Vescovi 2018
Velenosi, Querciantica Superiore 2020
Cantine di Ora, Il Casato Teroldego 2020
Italy’s most collectible wines
Ten Bolgheri wine estates to know (beyond the obvious)
Wine Handpicked by IWSC
14 award-winning Tuscan red wines
Behind the Bottle: Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino
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