WineHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning Italian red wine

Barolo, Valpolicella, Chianti... no wonder red wine lovers instinctively look to Italy. Here are 18 top Italian red wines from the IWSC 2021

Words by IWSC judges

italian red wine grapes on the vine
Handpicked by IWSC

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.

chianti wine barrels italy

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.


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.

More from Club Oenologique

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.