What are the best Italian red wines? Discover the best Italian reds recommended by us with photos and descriptions. To learn more, we also recommend the articles on the best rosé wines, the best white wines and the best sparkling wines.
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BEST ITALIAN RED WINES – Recommended by Jean Marco Palmieri
What are the best Italian red wines? Below you will find a list of annually updated labels recommended by Jean Marco Palmieri.
Discover the wines recommended by Italy’s Finest Wines with our tasting so that everyone can find the ideal wine for their tastes and needs.
You will find more iconic and historic companies but also those that have stood out for their unique and original character.
Barolo Riserva Monfortino 2013 – Giacomo Conterno
Description: Olfactorily it is articulated in a kaleidoscope of floral stamps among which wisteria and violet stand out followed by small red fruits and medicinal herbs, embellished with suggestions of austere spices, tobacco, goudron and bloody nuances. On the palate it is rich and enveloping, with compact and powerful tannins that evolve in progression towards a finish of extraordinary persistence in which the fruit echoes as the protagonist.
Alcoholic fermentation in 61 hl oak vats with long maceration on the skins; malolactic fermentation in Austrian oak barrels of different sizes.
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo
A historic and iconic wine born from the best vintages and the best grapes of the renowned France cru in Serralunga d’Alba in 1978. The undisputed protagonist in the history of the Langhe: titanic, exciting and sensational persistence and evolutionary potential. Without a doubt one of the most iconic, historic and best internationally recognized Italian red wines.
Brunello di Montalcino ‘Madonna delle Grazie’ 2016 – Il Marroneto
Description:Multifaceted, fine and complex character: it opens on display on berries and ripe cherries, embellished with spices, bloody notes, licorice and medicinal herbs. Great extract in the mouth with compact tannins of great thickness and finesse.
Excellent persistence and elegance. Minimum interventions in the vineyard and in the cellar to let the potential of Sangiovese express itself, limited macerations to preserve the floral and fragrant part.
Obtained from grapes of the historic vineyard at 400 meters above sea level. Fermentation in Allier oak vats for 20-22 days and aging for about 41 months in Allier oak barrels.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
An imaginative and exciting wine, an extraordinarily elegant interpretation of Brunello di Montalcino, certainly among the best Italian red wines for its sensational dialectic between fruit clarity and tertiary notes.
‘Sassicaia’ 2019 – Tenuta San Guido
Description: Titillates the nose by alternating intense varietal aromas of cherry, myrtle, garrigue, eucalyptus and hints of green pepper. The sip is material and harmonious with powerful and velvety tannins well balanced by a pressing acidity that creates sensational freshness on the palate.
Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts in steel at controlled temperature, maceration for 9-12 days in steel. Aging for 24 months in French oak barriques.
Grapes: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Cabernet Franc
A wine that made the history of Cabernets in Italy and paved the way for Bolgheri wines: dutifully one of the best red wines for unquestionable finesse. A wine of great elegance, refined but imaginative that tells of the eloquence of the Bolgheri terroir.
Brunello di Montalcino Madonna del Piano 2016 – Valdicava
Description: The aromatic picture is interesting, spreading elegant and intense notes of blackberries and blueberries, blood nuances, salted undergrowth, patchouli for a spicy finish. On the palate it is enveloping, smooth and with thick tannins and sensational acidity that gives balance.
Fermentation by indigenous yeasts.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
A Brunello di Montalcino with a great material extract but also stands out for its character: multifaceted and imaginative nose and compact, vigorous and exciting tannins. Fully among the best Italian red wines.
Brunello di Montalcino ‘Cerretalto’ 2016 – Casanova di Neri
Description : The aromatic spectrum is seductive and outlines nuances of ripe cherry, wild raspberry to make room for woody, tar and tobacco tones. On the palate it is voluminous, with a thick tannic texture well outlined and synergistically linked to an acidity that creates dialectic and rhythm. Excellent persistence with aftertaste echoes on the fruit and spices.
From grapes obtained from the Cerretalto cru, on vineyards located at an altitude of 270-290 m. asl., with exposure to the East. Fermentation by indigenous yeasts only in truncated cone-shaped vats at a controlled temperature and maceration for 3/4 weeks. Aging for 36 months in oak barrels, then at least 30 months in the bottle.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
An unmissable wine: riot of perfumes and skilfully integrated tertiary notes It is right to classify it among the best Italian red wines for its ability to masterfully renew the character of the Brunello di Montalcino to which we are accustomed.
U 2007 – Giorgio Mercandelli
It gives off intense flavors of ripe cherries and strawberry grapes preserved in alcohol, flanked by flavors of goudron, tobacco and nuances of roasting. In the mouth it has a well-defined material and compact tannin and a great grip acidity that creates harmony and cleanliness on the palate. Extraordinary persistence on balsamic echoes.
Very low yields and minimum interventions in the vineyard. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts in ATLAC resin vats with very long contact with the skins. No fining, filtration and added sulfites.
Grapes: Blend of Red Grapes
Region: Lombardy (Oltrepò Pavese)
Amarone Classico Riserva ‘La Mattonara’ 2009 – Zymé
Scents of blackberry jam and dried figs join registers of dehydrated flowers and echoes of toasted black pepper. The sip is clear and flowing, well balanced between fine-grained tannins and excellent flavor.
Natural drying of the grapes for at least 90 days, pressing and slow spontaneous fermentation in steel and cement, with pumping over and punching down and maceration on the skins for over 2 months. Refines at least 9 years in large Slavonian oak barrels, then at least 12 months in the bottle.
A very material wine, slightly austere and surprisingly persistent. Extraordinary aging potential. Deservedly among the best Italian red wines.
Grapes: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta, Croatina
Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella ‘Pergole Vece’ 2017 – Le Salette
Description:Delicate incipit with complex notes of cherries preserved in alcohol, which continues with nuances of dates, plum, oriental spices and leather.
The palate confirms the sense of smell: the sip is enveloping and round, dominated by an impeccable and satisfying tannic structure. Drying of the grapes for about 120 days to reduce the water content and further concentrate the sugars. Aging 36 months in barriques and large barrels.
The sincere expression of the eloquence of the fruit, expansive, fine and passionate.
One of the best Italian red wines for its ability to combine structure and richness with aromatic finesse and volume on the palate.
Barolo 2016 – Bartolo Mascarello
Description : The bouquet is articulated on intense tones of ripe red fruits, withered flowers, continuing its evolution towards notes of roasting, tobacco, returns of camphor and sylvan suggestions of autumn woods. The mouth is full and dry, the powerful and material tannins in fieri spread on the palate and are well balanced by a sinewy acidity. The finish is very persistent with delicate references to fruit and spices.
Grapes from the Rué, San Lorenzo and Cannubi vineyards in the municipality of Barolo and Le Rocche in the municipality of La Morra. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, 32 months aging in Slavonian oak barrels.
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo
A classic and sincere wine of extraordinary evolutionary potential born from one of the most iconic wineries in the Langhe. Ineffable expression of the varietal character of Nebbiolo. An icon of Italian enology, deservedly among the most famous, historic and best Italian red wines.
Le Pergole Torte 2019 – Montevertine
Characteristics: Smell initially played on notes of black cherry, violet, blood orange embellished with more enigmatic hints of wild catmint and humus. On the palate well-defined and compact tannins and great acidity that gives smoothness.
Fermentation of 25 days by indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks. Aging begins in Slavonian oak barrels for 12 months, followed by Allier barriques for a further 12 months and ends with 6 months of rest in the bottle.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese
A historic and inebriating wine among the best interpretations of pure Sangiovese for multifaceted taste-olfactory complexity.
Refined, elegiac and long-limbed: with an interesting iodized sapidity and inexhaustible persistence in which the varietal character of Sangiovese resurfaces as the undisputed protagonist in its eloquence. Certainly one of the most historic and best Italian red wines.
Barolo Bussia 2016 – Livia Fontana
Galvanizes the nose with a kaleidoscope of aromas ranging from intense hints of ripe berries, hints of plum embellished with humus, camphor and pine resin.
On the palate it has a very thick and silky tannic texture which is counterbalanced by an important acidity that gives it freshness and drinkability. Voluminous and harmonious finish, of extraordinary persistence.
Fermentation in steel tanks at controlled temperature with frequent pumping over and délestages. Maceration of about 20 days. Aging for at least 30 months in traditional oak barrels and then in the bottle until being put on sale.
A wine with an enthralling and expansive sip that maximizes the eloquent and elegant character of Nebbiolo. Imaginative and exciting, rightfully among the best red wines for taste-olfactory finesse.
Pinot Nero ‘Ponkler’ 2016 – Franz Haas
DescriptionThe bouquet is captivating and outlines notes of small ripe red fruits, white chocolate, cloves and alpine flora. On the palate it reveals a silky tannic texture, well integrated with a pleasant acidity that makes it fresh and smooth to drink.
Grapes obtained from the Ponkler vineyard, at an altitude of 700 meters on soils rich in porphyry facing south, south-west. Alcoholic fermentation in open tanks, with frequent punching down and malolactic fermentation in barrique. Aging 12 months in barrique and 24 months in bottle.
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Region: South Tyrol
An extraordinary wine, icon of Pinot Noir in Italy. It is an enveloping wine of extraordinary extraction and expressive complexity.
Deservedly among the best Italian red wines for identity and enhancement of the Pinot Noir varietal.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016 – Emidio Pepe
It opens incisively on notes of small dark ripe fruits, dried violets and licorice root, to continue towards reminiscences of resin, dried figs and locust beans.
On the palate it is dense and sumptuous, with well-defined tannins linked to a long acid line that denotes great evolutionary potential. Grapes destemmed by hand in wooden vats, spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts in vitrified cement tanks and maceration with manual punching down. Bottled and decanted by hand without filtration. It ages for 24 months on the fine lees in vitrified cement tanks and a few months in the bottle.
A true legend among Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines. A material wine with a sublime olfactory expressiveness. Fully among the best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines for its extraordinary aging capacity.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015 – Valentini
Characteristics: The aromatic range is surprising, outlining blackberry in spirit, plum, wild fennel followed by toasted and spicy notes. Powerful and compact tannins of excellent maturity and finish with references to fruit and aromatic herbs.
Fermentation through the intervention ofindigenous yeasts only. The refinement takes place for 12 months in large oak and chestnut barrels, followed by a long rest of about 4 years in the bottle.
Grapes: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 100%
From the most historic cellars of Abruzzo, a superb wine of unusual eloquence and elegance. Deservedly among the most famous, historic and best Italian red wines.
Kurni 2019 – Oasi degli Angeli
Characteristics: Ripe cherry and blackberries and leather and notes of leather are peremptorily pressing us, in the background resin, white chocolate and references of tobacco. On the palate it is silky and expansive, with a vigorous and well integrated tannin with the acidity endowed with a sensational grip that gives smoothness.
Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts in steel tanks and in large barrels. Aging of about 20 months in barrique
Grapes: Montepulciano 100%
Without a doubt one of the best biodynamic Italian red wines: sui generis, whimsical and passionate, an engaging dialectic between tannins and overwhelming acidity.
Terre di Lavoro 2019 – Galardi
Description : Galvanizes with a fine and complex aromatic picture that is articulated between dark berries and well integrated spicy and toasted tones. The mouth is compact, with a sensational extract synergistically linked to a pleasant iodized sapidity that amplifies the sip. Extraordinary persistence of excellent cleaning.
From vineyards facing south-west on volcanic soils at an altitude of 400-500 metres. Fermentation in steel with maceration on the skins for 20 days and frequent punching down.
Grapes: Aglianico 80% and Piedirosso 20%
A real wine institution of Campania. Fully among the best Italian red wines.
Vigna Quintodecimo 2017 – Quintodecimo
It surprises us with a nose full of facets, between aromas of blackberry bush, eucalyptus, balsamic registers and roasting. Rich and savory in the mouth with a powerful tannin synergistically integrated with the acidity of the backbone that gives balance and freshness. Fermentation for 20 – 25 days at a temperature of 28 – 30° C. Subsequently an elevage of 18 – 24 months is carried out in new oak barriques.
A sensational wine, produced by one of the leading international wine experts, Professor Luigi Moio.
To be counted among the best Italian red wines for its austere character and opulence: Harmonic wine with an exciting and very long finish.
‘ES’ 2021 – Gianfranco Fino
Description:It opens peremptorily in a lysergic riot of scents ranging from red flower potpourri, plum, dehydrated figs, Modica chocolate and wild fennel. On the palate it is voluminous and enveloping, with a sensational phenolic extract that creates a synergistic dialectic with a sinewy acidity. Final of imperishable persistence in which the Manduria terroir echoes unequivocally and eloquently.
Slightly late harvest. Maceration on the skins for 3 or 4 weeks and fermentation in steel with 2 daily delestages, malolactic fermentation in barrique. Aging 9 months in small 228 liter oak barrels, 50% new, and at least 9 months in the bottle. Without clarifications or filtrations.
Considered one of the most iconic Puglia producers, Gianfranco Fino’s ES wine is a Primitivo with a Mediterranean, lysergic and archaic character. Among the best Italian red wines for its ability to interpret the majesty of the terroir.
Etna Rosso Prephylloxera 2020 – Tenuta delle Terre Nere
Strokes of rose petals, plums and raspberries in syrup leave room for clear notes of graphite, humus and nutmeg. On the palate it is sumptuous, with a sculptural body enlivened by a lively minerality that makes it vertical and expansive. Alcoholic fermentation with controlled temperature at 28°-30°C, followed by spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Aging 16-18 months in French oak barriques and tonneaux, then 1 month in steel.
Grapes: Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio
Region: Sicily (Etna)
A rare pearl of Sicilian viticulture, it flawlessly expresses the essence of Etna, incisive and with an unmistakable character. Among the best Italian red wines.
Il Carbonaione 2018 – Podere Poggio Scalette
Characteristics:The aromatic spectrum is seductive and outlines nuances of ripe cherry, wild raspberry to make room for woody, tar and tobacco tones.
On the palate it is voluminous, with a thick tannic texture well outlined and synergistically linked to an acidity that creates dialectic and rhythm. Excellent persistence with aftertaste echoes on the fruit and spices.
An unmissable wine: a riot of perfumes and skilfully integrated tertiary notes. It is dutiful to include it among the best Italian wines for its ability to masterfully renew the character of Sangiovese.
What are the best red wines in Italy?
What is the best red wine in Italy? Choosing is a difficult undertaking, which in any case is inevitably subject to the limits of a subjective opinion, which as such, by definition, is deficient and arbitrary.
We have simply compiled our own list of favorite interpretations according to our evaluations. However, it remains essential to underline that wine is not born to be prestigious, exhibited or flaunted.
But to get excited and be shared in a genuine way with the people we love, bonding to contingent situations and unrepeatable and intimate moments of our lives.
Therefore, we invite you to visit wineries and get to know the producers who produce wines in their uniqueness, so that you can independently discover and choose the wine that canbe counted among your personal favorite wines for you. If you have had the patience to read this far, I thank you for your attention, but now is the time to fill your glasses and cut off distant hopes, and therefore:
Cheers, Salute, Santé