Italy’s Best Wines

Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and Italian wines are known worldwide for their broad variety. Italy, closely followed by France, is the world’s largest wine producer by volume. Its contribution is about 45–50 million hl per year, and represents about ⅓ of global production. Italian wine is exported around the world and is also extremely popular in Italy: Italians rank fifth on the world wine consumption list by volume with 42 litres per capita consumption. Grapes are grown in almost every region of the country and there are more than one million vineyards under cultivation. In 1963, the first official Italian system of classification of wines was launched. Since then, several modifications and additions to the legislation have been made (a major one in 1992), the last of which, in 2010, has established four basic categories, which are consistent with the last EU regulation in matter of wine (2008–09). The categories, from the bottom level to the top one, are:
• Vini (Wines – informally called ‘generic wines’): These are wines that can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU; no indication of geographical origin, of the grape varieties used, or of the vintage is allowed on the label. (The label only reports the color of the wine.)
• Vini Varietali (Varietal Wines): These are generic wines that are made either mostly (at least 85%) from one kind of authorized ‘international’ grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah) or entirely from two or more of them. The grapes and the vintage can be indicated on the label. (The prohibition to indicate the geographical origin is instead maintained. These wines can be produced anywhere in the territory of the EU.)
• Vini IGP (Wines with Protected Geographical Indication): This category (also traditionally implemented in Italy as IGT – Typical Geographical Indication) is reserved to wines produced in a specific territory within Italy and following a series of specific and precise regulations on authorized varieties, viticultural and vinification practices, organoleptic and chemico-physical characteristics, labeling instructions, etc. Currently (2014) there exist 118 IGPs/IGTs.
• Vini DOP (Wines with Protected Designation of Origin): This category includes two sub-categories, i.e. Vini DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) and Vini DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). DOC wines must have been IGP wines for at least 5 years. They generally come from smaller regions, within a certain IGP territory, that are particularly vocated for their climatic and geological characteristics and for the quality and originality of the local winemaking traditions. They also must follow stricter production regulations than IGP wines. A DOC wine can be promoted to DOCG if it has been a DOC for at least 10 years. In addition to fulfilling the requisites for DOC wines (since that’s the category they come from), before commercialization DOCG wines must pass stricter analyses, including a tasting by a specifically appointed committee. DOCG wines have also demonstrated a superior commercial success. Currently (2014) there exist 332 DOCs and 73 DOCGs for a total of 405 DOPs.
A number of sub-categories also exist regulating the production of sparkling wines (e.g. Vino Spumante, Vino Spumante di Qualità, Vino Spumante di Qualità di Tipo Aromatico, Vino Frizzante).
Within the DOP category, ‘Classico’ is a wine produced in the historically oldest part of the protected territory. ‘Superiore’ is a wine with at least 0.5 more alc%/vol than its correspondent regular DOP wine and produced using a smaller allowed quantity of grapes per hectare, generally yielding a higher quality. ‘Riserva’ is a wine that has been aged for a minimum period of time, depending on the typology (red, white, Traditional-method sparkling, Charmat-method sparkling). Sometimes, ‘Classico’ or ‘Superiore’ are themselves part of the name of the DOP (e.g. Chianti Classico DOCG or Soave Superiore DOCG).
The Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAAF) regularly publishes updates to the official classification.
It is important to remark that looser regulations do not necessarily correspond to lower quality. In fact, many IGP wines are actually top level products, mainly due to the special skills of their producers (e.g. so called “Super Tuscan” wines are generally IGP wines, but there are also several other IGP wines of superior quality). The term “Super Tuscan” is a term (mostly used in the wine Anglosphere and virtually unknown in Italy) that describes any wine (mostly red, but sometimes also white) produced in Tuscany and that generally does not adhere to the traditional local DOC(G) regulations.

The Italian wine classification


1. Alto Adige Terlano I Grande Cuvee 2011 Terlano, Alto Adige
2. Barbaresco Crichet Paje 2004 Roagna I Paglieri, Piemonte
3. Barolo 2010 Bartolo Mascarello, Piemonte
4. Barolo Monfortino Riserva 2006 Giacomo Conterno, Piemonte
5. Barolo Monprivato Ca D’Morissio Riserva 2006 Giuseppe & Figlio Mascarello, Piemonte
6. Barolo Villero Riserva 2007 Vietti, Piemonte
7. Bolgheri Sassicaia 2011 Tenuta San Guido, Toscana
8. Faro 2009 Palari, Sicilia
9. San Leonardo 2007 San Leonardo, Trentino


1. Amarone della Valpolicella Vigneto di Monte Lodoletta 2008 Romano dal Forno, Veneto
2. Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2003 Quintarelli Giuseppe, Veneto
3. Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2007 Bruno Giacosa, Piemonte
4. Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva 2006 Giuseppe Cortese, Piemonte
5. Boca 2010 Le Piane, Piemonte
6. Calvari 2006 Miani, Friuli Venezia Giulia
7. Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 Querciabella, Toscana
8. Franciacorta Cuvee Annamaria Clementi Rose Extra Brut 2006 Ca’ del Bosco, Lombardia
9. Gattinara Osso San Grato 2010 Antoniolo, Piemonte
10. Kupra 2011 Oasi degli Angeli, Marche
11. Matarocchio 2009 Guado al Tasso, Toscana
12. Montecucco Sangiovese Grotte Rosse 2011 Salustri, Toscana
13. Romagna Albana Passito AR Riserva 2006 Fattoria Zerbina, Emilia Romagna
14. Solaia 2011 Antinori, Toscana
15. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2010 Valentini, Abruzzo
16. Trento Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore Collezione 1995 Ferrari, Trentino
17. Vecchio Samperi Ventennale Marco De Bartoli, Sicilia


1. Alzero 2004 Quintarelli Giuseppe, Veneto
2. Barbaresco Curra 2010 Sottimano, Piemonte
3. Barbaresco Pajore 2011 Sottimano, Piemonte
4. Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Riserva della Famiglia 2006 Coppo, Piemonte
5. Barolo Arborina 2010 Elio Altare, Piemonte
6. Barolo Gran Bussia Riserva 2006 Aldo Conterno, Piemonte
7. Barolo Ornato 2010 Pio Cesare, Piemonte
8. Barolo Riserva 2006 Borgogno, Piemonte
9. Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva 2007 Col D’Orcia, Toscana
10. Cannonau di Sardegna Giuseppe Sedilesu Riserva 2010 Giuseppe Sedilesu, Sardegna
11. Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 Val delle Corti, Toscana
12. Duemani 2011 Due Mani, Toscana
13. Fontalloro 2011 Felsina, Toscana
14. Friuli Colli Orientali Merlot Buri 2009 Miani, Friuli Venezia Giulia
15. Langhe Nebbiolo Sori Tildin 2010 Gaja, Piemonte
16. Masseto 2011 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, Toscana
17. Primitivo di Manduria Es 2012 Gianfranco Fino, Puglia
18. Riecine 2010 Riecine, Toscana
19. Valpolicella Superiore Vigneto di Monte Lodoletta 2008 Romano dal Forno, Veneto


1. Aglianico del Vulture Titolo 2012 Elena Fucci, Basilicata
2. Alto Adige Gewurztraminer Terminum V.T. 2011 Tramin, Alto Adige
3. Alto Adige Pinot Bianco Rarita 2002 Terlano, Alto Adige
4. Alto Adige Terlano Riserva Nova Domus 2011 Terlano, Alto Adige
5. Alto Adige Valle Isarco Sylvaner R 2012 Kofererhof, Alto Adige
6. Amarone della Valpolicella Campolongo di Torbe 2007 Masi, Veneto
7. Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007 Bertani, Veneto
8. Barbaresco Camp Gros Martinenga Riserva 2010 Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy, Piemonte
9. Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva 2009 Produttori del Barbaresco, Piemonte
10. Barbera d’Asti Superiore Alfiera 2011 Marchesi Alfieri, Piemonte
11. Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza La Court Vigna Veja Nespolo 2010 Michele Chiarlo, Piemonte
12. Barolo Gavarini Vigna Chiniera 2010 Elio Grasso, Piemonte
13. Barolo Le Rocche dei Falletto Riserva 2008 Bruno Giacosa, Piemonte
14. Barolo Monvigliero 2010 Fratelli Alessandria, Piemonte
15. Barolo Villero 2010 Brovia, Piemonte
16. Brunello di Montalcino 2009 Cerbaiona, Toscana
17. Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2008 Casanova di Neri, Toscana
18. Brunello di Montalcino Il Greppo Riserva 2007 Biondi Santi – Tenuta il Greppo, Toscana
19. Cannonau di Sardegna Classico Dule 2011 Gabbas, Sardegna
20. Capichera 2012 Capichera, Sardegna
21. Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva Ottagono 2012 Torrevento, Puglia
22. Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classico Villa Bucci Riserva 2010 Bucci, Marche
23. Cepparello 2011 Isole e Olena, Toscana
24. Cervaro della Sala 2012 Castello della Sala, Umbria
25. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colledila 2011 Barone Ricasoli . Castello di Brolio, Toscana
26. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Puro 2010 Castello di Volpaia, Toscana
27. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Sergio Zingarelli 2010 Rocca delle Macie, Toscana
28. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Solatio 2010 Castello d’Albola, Toscana
29. Chianti Classico Il Poggio Riserva 2009 Castello di Monsanto, Toscana
30. Chianti Classico La Selvanella Riserva 2010 Melini, Toscana
31. Collio Friulano 2013 Schiopetto, Friuli Venezia Giulia
32. Conero Riserva Campo San Giorgio 2009 Umani Ronchi, Marche
33. Etna Rosso 2011 Cottanera, Sicilia
34. Etna San Lorenzo 2012 Girolamo Russo, Sicilia
35. Friuli Colli Orientali Merlot Filip 2009 Miani, Friuli Venezia Giulia
36. Friuli Colli Orientali Pinot Bianco Zuc di Volpe 2013 Volpe Pasini, Friuli Venezia Giulia
37. Galatrona 2011 Petrolo, Toscana
38. Gioia del Colle Primitivo 17 2011 Polvanera, Puglia
39. Gioia del Colle Primitivo Muro Sant’Angelo Contrada Barbatto 2011 Chiaromonte, Puglia
40. I Sodi di San Niccolo 2010 Castellare di Castellina, Toscana
41. Il Pollenza 2011 Il Pollenza, Marche
42. Kurni 2012 Oasi degli Angeli, Marche
43. Langhe Nebbiolo Sperss 2010 Gaja, Piemonte
44. Mix 36 2011 Castello di Fonterutoli, Toscana
45. Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva Lombrone 2011 ColleMassari, Toscana
46. Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2009 Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria
47. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Villa Gemma 2008 Masciarelli, Abruzzo
48. Montevetrano 2012 Montevetrano, Campania
49. Montiano 2011 Falesco, Lazio
50. Moscato Passito di Saracena 2013 Cantine Viola, Calabria
51. Oreno 2011 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Toscana
52. Pantelleria Passito Ben Rye 2012 Donnafugata, Sicilia
53. Ribolla Anfora 2006 Gravner, Friuli Venezia Giulia
54. Sforzato di Valtellina Sfursat 5 Stelle 2010 Nino Negri, Lombardia
55. Sicilia Nero d’Avola Sagana 2012 Cusumano, Sicilia
56. Tal Luc 2010 Lis Neris, Friuli Venezia Giulia
57. Taurasi 2006 Perillo, Campania
58. Taurasi Radici Riserva 2008 Mastroberardino, Campania
59. Trento Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2002 Ferrari, Trentino
60. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Asinone 2010 Poliziano, Toscana
61. Vitovska Solo MM9 2009 Vodopivec, Friuli Venezia Giulia