Four Italian red wines to buy for special occasions

Many of Italy’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, often in combination with the grape variety. If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an Italian wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice. Let’s start with the best Italian red wines for your special occasions.

1. Barolo

Piedmont’s Barolo is the undoubtedly the king of Italian red wines. Made from Nebbiolo, the wines of this small appellation in Italy’s northwest are among the most ageable in the world. Whether it is saved for next year, five years, ten or twenty years, this is one Italian red that showcases the benefits of aging wine.

Our selection : Barolo Cannubi DOCG by Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno 2014

Barolo Cannubi DOCG by Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno 2014

We were recently in Piedmont tasting the new releases from Borgogno. This tasting included the 2014 Barolo Cannubi DOCG as well as many other wines.

Just so you know the production of the Barolo Cannubi in 2014 was teeny tiny and therefore has not been sent to critics for ratings. Without doubt, this is one of the best wines we have ever tasted to come from Borgogno. According to them, the grape selection for this Barolo Cannubi in 2014 was painstaking producing something truly epic. Even now, this wine is absolutely wonderful and it is only going to get better over the next decade or so.

Borgogno’s 2014 Barolo Cannubi is simply irresistible. Piemonte is one of the world’s premier wine regions. If you have not yet discovered how great the wines can be from Piemonte, it is time to try!

2. Barbaresco

Also a Piedmontese wine made with Nebbiolo, Barbaresco is the queen to Barolo’s king. Renowned for finesse and perfume, the wines of Barbaresco are among Italy’s best.

Our selection : Barbaresco Tettineive DOCG by Scarpa 2006

Barbaresco Tettineive DOCG by Scarpa 2006

Scarpa is one of 2 or 3 producers to be able to produce the Tettineive single vineyard of Barbaresco. The wines are made traditionally with long fermentation and natural yeasts. We recently had the opportunity to enjoy a bottle of their 1962 Barolo which was stunning. There was still fruit and just the slightest bit of tannin remaining. The colour was spectacular.

2006 was a tricky growing season but a classic year in Barbaresco, delivering bold, tannic, and austere wines that will repay cellaring.
The bouquet of this Barbaresco is rich, and elegant, with powerful strawberry laced cherry fruit supported by deft greenish accents and pleasant nutmeg spice. On the palate it’s full and rich with powerful berry fruit laced with yellow peach sweetness and supported by deft sour strawberry acidity, while the tannins are quite young, with a slight burr and very smooth, and flow into a long clean warm finish. Just coming into its own.

3. Brunello

Brunello di Montalcino is the king of wines made with Sangiovese. This Tuscan red wine gets its name from the local name for Sangiovese (Brunello) and Montalcino, a small medieval hill town overlooking the Tuscan countryside. These are complex wines with incredible aging potential.

Our selection : Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG (OWC) by Uccelliera 2012

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG (OWC) by Uccelliera 2012

Andrea Cortonelli once again produces one of the greatest wines to come out of a vintage. This Brunello is crazy good.

We went to visit Andrea and his family a couple of years back. As is often the case in Italy, this is a family run affair with Grandma ensuring that everyone is well fed while the rest of the family is making great wines. We were lucky enough to get to sit in on a family lunch, and oh yeah, we were served some awesome wines too.

Defying the intense heat of the growing season, many 2012 Brunellos have the vibrancy usually found in cooler vintages. 2012 will be remembered as the smallest crop in the last ten years, a result of heat and intense drought that reduced yields.

The 2012 Brunellos even have more consistent quality across the denomination than the highly acclaimed 2010 Brunellos.

Need reassurance? Check out these remarks:

“Andrea Cortonesi reflects the best of the artisan spirit in Montalcino. The Uccelleria wines are rich, layered and beautifully textured.”

Antonio Galloni

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Andrea Cortonesi of Uccelliera lands high on my list of favorite Brunello di Montalcino producers.”

The Wine Advocate

4. Amarone

Amarone is a powerful and concentrated dry red wine made with dried grapes in Italy’s Veneto region. Made from native Italian grapes, Amarone is a wine that dazzles and impresses.

Our selection : Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG by Brigaldara 2013

Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG by Brigaldara 2013

The critics seem to agree :

“Brigaldara holds the Valpolicella banner high and makes some of the best Amarone available today.”

Monica Larner (Robert Parker’s, Wine Advocate)

“Brigaldara’s Amarones are uncompromisingly rich and intense… Readers who like large-scaled Amarones will find much to like here.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

Brigaldara brings a splendid 2013 Amarone that garnered Tre Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso (equivalent of high 90’s rating from a North American reviewer). 

This delicious Amarone hails from the Veneto, very near Lake Garda in northern Italy made by the legendary Brigaldara family.

Where to find these wines?

Barolo Cannubi DOCG by Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno 2014
Barbaresco Tettineive DOCG by Scarpa 2006
Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG (OWC) by Uccelliera 2012
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG by Brigaldara 2013

Content retrieved from: https://www.winescholarguild.org/blog/top-ten-italian-red-wines-beginner-guide.html.

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